Welcome to the one hundred and twenty-third chapter in the latest volume of the long-running gossip and rumour column for the comic book industry. Over ten years damnit! Written by British comics commentator, me, Rich Johnston, it's read by comic book professionals and readers alike. Loved and hated equally, every Monday (ish) it brings the stories not-quite-ready-for-primetime, a look behind the curtain, a sniff of the toilet seat, the worst and the best that the comics industry can inspire. Go in with your eyes open, your blinkers off and a peg on your nose.

As for the traffic lights, RED means that the story is unlikely to be true, and you should read that with that context. AMBER signifies an identifiable agenda/slant or bias in the source that may affect the work, or that the source isn't clear, or another factor that might bring the piece into doubt. GREEN means that the story feels right to me, my gut instinct says go for it. However, as is often the case, while the gist may be correct, the detail may be wrong - and in fact I may be having an off day and the whole thing may be buggered. It wouldn't be the first time.

So there you go.

No spoilers I can see. Bit of "Identity Crisis" speculation but, you know, I get the feeling these guys are putting more work into it than Brad is.


[Green Light]And so the pendulum swings back.

DC are currently the company getting press coverage for their work, expanding the range, breadth and diversity of their work, this time going outside the company with CMX, Les Humanoides and Rebellion, rather than inside with Paradox and Vertigo. And there seems to be a breath in the air that DC are becoming "cool" again. While Marvel have reduced their experimentation, consolidated their lines into more and more traditional superhero with the occasional blemish, and have pulled up the drawbridge to using the press as their playthings. Doesn't mean DC are going to make more money than Marvel - though watch the Batstuff start to grow... but they are becoming the cool place to work again. And DC certainly seems to have one of the more complex shag trees in New York, for starters. More on that, next week.

Now all DC have to do is make the CMX volumes available in the UK and I'll be a happy boy. Otherwise, Tokyopop may just steal a march on them on this side of the pond as well.


[Green Light]Talking of which, I understand that Mike Turner will be returning to DC in 2005 for another big event style series, next year's equivalent of "Identity Crisis," with Geoff Johns writing.

I was told to look for more at the WizardWorld Texas Show but that's now unlikely.


[Green Light]With Brandon Routh being confirmed as playing the new Superman, and all sorts of online speculation about his sexuality going round the message boards, I'd like you all to remember where you heard it first.

A few months ago, when I reported on the Millar/Knowles challenge and named it as, actually, a battle between Warner Brothers and Bryan Singer respectively, I also reported a rumour about the criteria for Bryan. That the actor be gay or closeted gay (and would come out during the promotion for the movie). That this would mirror themes within the movie, the concept of living two different lives, giving the project a meta-textuality. That Bryan would give young, scared, alone gay people a hero, an icon, a strong mainstream role model of their own.

But that the character of Superman would not be homosexual. Only his standard heterosexual bestiality for Lois Lane.

Okay, that was a bit geekish, even for me.

Has this rumour been made flesh? Watch the publicity as the movie comes closer to screening. If nothing has happened by then, you can start throwing the rubber chickens my way.

However, I'd better finish off my "The Glamour" superhero comic script. I need a publisher, quick! The zeitgeist is about to leave the station!


[Green Light]I understand that French publisher Soliel has signed Humberto Ramos for two projects, with three books in each project.

Ramos will be working with Didier Crisse on the first, and will appear at Angouleme, the world's largest comic book convention, in January to promote it.


[Green Light]

Ultimate. Thor. Oooooh.


[Green Light]I understand that "Left Behind"/"Bay City Jive"/"Puffed"/"Stargate" fellow John Layman is currently working on a manga-style book with David Hutchison for IDW.


[Yellow Light]"Wanted" was originally a Secret Society of Supervillains story that DC rejected. And "Wannabee" (now with Goatboy attached as artist) for Vicious Circle was originally my "Marville" pitch.

I'm told that the Kurk Busiek/Ron Garney story running in JLA was originally a "Crime Syndicate" pitch rejected in the nineties.

Glad to see that old "bottom drawer" still in use.


[Green Light]Vicious Circle also have a new series called "Detectives In Space" on the books, by Shawn DePasquale, Matt Doucette and Bukshot.

Features a cover by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner coloured by my bestest mate, Paul Mounts.


[Green Light]AP Comics are creating a "Mr. T" comic book.


[Green Light]The British sugary blackcurrant drink, Ribena, has launched their special Hallowe'en "Batcurrant" juice, with packaging by comic artist and designer extraordinaire, Rian Hughes.

And if you buy one of the carton multipacks, you get a little comic strip by Rian and his brother-in-law, "Terra Obscura" writer, Pete Hogan - first time they've worked together since "Sam Slade."

It's a comic you can drink. Yes, now you pay attention.


[Green Light]Michelle Pugliese, CrossGen's former Freelance Coordinator, has a thing about selling Bart Sears art.

However, she seems to have had trouble with the most recent piece...

Hey, any way Robert Rodi can be linked to CompGate?


[Yellow Light]"Youngblood: Genesis 2" is being shortshipped to Diamond, shy of 5000 copies.

Using up their previously-printed-and-convention-distributed copies, there are already rumours as to why Rob Liefeld and Arcade Comics are unable to get a printer to print up the necessary copies. With the recent "recovering" of previous prints with a new cover for "Youngblood Bloodsport," all sorts of conspiracy theories are hotting up.


[Green Light]I hear Disney people have been explicitly talking about a way to revive "Abadazad." And if that all falls apart, Joe Pruett is looking to publish a very similar comic by the same creative team, J.M. DeMatties and Mike Ploog.


[Red Light]Take it away, Franscisco Gonzalez.

"IN 1991, two months after the solicitation of Armageddon 2001 issue 2, there were solicitations for 'Captain Atom' and 'Hawk & Dove' just to not give away events in that issue, not yet sold.

"Have you noticed that in the January solicitations of DC, just after the end of 'Identity Crisis,' there is not mention of Nightwing in 'Outsiders' (maybe he is not the central character in that months issue), his own magazine tells a retro story and both Robin and Batgirl are the new residents of the former home of Nightwing Bludhaven???"

I hadn't noticed, no. Still haven't.


[Green Light]I've started a new feature at Waiting For Tommy - "Taking The Temperature Of The Comics Industry". Bryan Hitch, Frank Cho, Chris Bachalo, those kind of people. Check it out.


[Yellow Light]Which recent comics visitor to the UK reportedly has a penis that would put John Cassaday's reported member to shame?

Which comic book creator exaggerrates his sexual performance, in exactly the same fashion as he does his drawing speed?

Which male comic gossip columnist has, this very weekend, had photos taken of him wearing lipstick and mascara and purple hair?


Vote Kerry. Or I'll kiss you. On the lips.


If you've got a story, talk to me. Your identity will remain anonymous unless you wish otherwise. You can choose a pseudonym and join the ranks of the Gutterati. Or be a demon reposter, join the Gutter Snipes and spread the word about stories in this column across the Internet, where relevant. Then tell me where you've put them up - the more mainstream the better!

You can contact me at:

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Be seeing you.

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