Welcome to the one hundred and fifteenth 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.


[Yellow Light]This week the Knowles Vs Millar fight broke out. I say "fight," I mean "marketing opportunity." When Rich Johnson (no relation, honest) of New York's Page Six column picked up on Mark Millar's declaration on Millarworld.biz that Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," was to play Superman in the new movie, Harry Knowles smacked the rumour down. With each now pledging $1000 to charity depending on whether the story is right or not, each is very sure of their sources.

I understand that Harry Knowles' sources are very close to Bryan Singer. And, I'm told, that Bryan Singer has a particular theme in mind regarding this film. As an openly gay activist, he's wanting to give the world a new young gay role model, and is looking to employ someone who is either openly gay or closeted gay, who'll come out during publicity for the movie. Superman itself can also be seen as an allegory for closeted homosexuality (and is also the topic of a superhero comic project I'm working on called "The Glamour") and Singer wants to add that meta-textual element to the movie. As of yet, Singer has not plumped for any actor over another, though many are being considered.

Warner Brothers, however, are definitely in favour of Caviezel, and they love the whole Jesus-As-Superman angle they'd be able to play off. They've made the decision and Singer was part of the loop.

If Caviezel is cast as Superman (and I've heard that's pretty much a lock now), that tells us Warners' wishes have won out. Or that Bryan Singer isn't telling us something about Caviezel. Yet.

Now, wouldn't that be a Mel-Gibson-provoking headline.


[Yellow Light]Millar's inside sources, while occasionally very reliable indeed, don't always seem to have been exactly on the ball.... and words have been, ooh, stretched just a tad possibly.

Despite allegations to the contrary, Millar didn't publically call Bryan Singer as the new director of Superman, when people claim he did. In fact, he gave the impression he wasn't the new director... and his casting comments are the opposite of his current declaration.

In May, Millar said in the thread that's now a legend, "Their idea is to use almost entirely unknown actors and make us believe they ARE Lois, Clark, Jimmy, etc. SUPERMAN is enough of a headline to sell the flick, but one star as Lex and maybe a former star as Jor-El."

But Millar now says that Calaziel is Superman... he then went on to write about the director/producer. "The team in question has grossed over a billion dollars for the studio in the last few years. McG did Charlie's Angel: Full Throttle. My last word on the matter until a year or so down the line."

That was three months ago. DeSantos/Singer haven't grossed a billion for Warner Brothers.

When the rumours were first going round that Bryan Singer was going to "Superman" before "Logan's Run," Millar spoke to some Millarworld people at a dinner. Back in May, Millarworld mod Carlos Fraile wrote at the time, "Millar told us today at the dinner that this news are not true... but it´s close enough, so some if us are thinking about Christopher Mcquarrie...who knows..."

And just recently, when Millar claimed, "That said, my source is a good one and, as Carlos and Peyton will tell you, I told them Singer before Christmas last year."

Carlos Fraile replied, "No you didn't, not to me anyway. But truth is that all the movie and comic scoops you've told me have proven to be true. like Whedon on X men ages before it happened."

Nevertheless, Mark Millar is currently the only comic book creator connected publicly with the Superman movie. Must have made Levitz's day, that one. As the piece also plugged Millar's "Wolverine" title, I understand Levitz was heard complaining, "He's using our characters to sell his books."


[Green Light]So, what will Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips be doing after "Sleeper" finishes?

I understand they have two, yes that's right, two creator-owned comic books coming out in the near future. And, no, neither are from DC Comics.


[Yellow Light]I understand that Dreamwave's Nick Kilislian may be ghost-layouting and ghost-pencilling much of Dreamwave's upcoming "X-Men/Fantastic Four" series, though Pat Lee will be providing finishes and his trademark flourishes on the book.

In a recent Newsarama interview, Pat stated, "I can average about two to three pages a day." This might explain how Pat's name is attached to three monthlies/mini series... XM/FF, "Devil May Cry" and "Transformers/GI Joe" Part 2....


[Green Light]Gutterati Filthy Assistant #3 reports from DragonCon that Warren Ellis said he had another TV show "optioned for cable" and that it was "one of my graphic novels."

LITG has already stated that "MEK" and "Tokyo Storm Warning" are in the pipeline.

Ellis also stated that his new novel was to have been called "Heart of America," but his publisher told him it wouldn't sell with the word "America" in the title. Apparently it's an exploration of American sub-subcultures, and includes a scene involving a masturbating dinosaur, and another involving testicular saline injections.

Which was nice.


[Green Light]With "Captain America: Vol 5 Homeland" shipping, collecting writer Bob Morales run on the series, Bob had more to share about how this comic arc played out. He wrote, again on Joe Quesada's message board, "I have to confess great ambivalence toward asking people to buy a collection of a storyline Marvel didn't think worth continuing. I'd urge people to check it out to see Chris Bachalo at the top of his game - and the great Eddie Campbell having a total lark (that Eddie, btw, goes unmentioned on the trade's back cover copy is a terrible oversight I hope is corrected in future editions).

"But the story - which is what matters most to me, when all is said and done - is not what it might've been had it not been waylaid by corporate chimps, esp. given the current turn of the presidential campaign. In fact, Alan Moore lamented to me the other day that it would've been great to see cretins question Cap's war record, had he been running for prez about now. (A process I was starting to examine in the Bucky issue.) Oh, well..."


[Green Light]Ever wanted to buy Neil Gaiman in rat form?

Now's your chance.


[Green Light]In the old days, you wanted to grow up and be a comic book artist. That's where the glamour, the excitement was. Then, the writer suddenly became the thing to be (and hey, you couldn't draw anyway... and anyone can write) so all the kids wanted to be the next Alan Moore.

But after the Brian Michael Bendis/Bob Wayne shindig, everyone suddenly wants to be a Vice President in Sales And Marketing at DC Comics, just like Bob Wayne.

Well, how about being a Senior Vice President in Sales and Marketing? Wouldn't that be even better?

I understand this position is an internal reorganization to put mass market and speciality (direct market) in a single department again to consolidate resources at DC.

And if that doesn't work out, maybe it's the heady art of Fine Arts And Comic Books that could be calling you.


[Yellow Light]If you are a new cult-favourite screenplay writer who's directing a new film you've also written starring a woman with a reputation of being a little difficult on some projects, don't go around a film festival that's presenting a directors cut of your big cult hit, telling all the staff that you absolutely hate her and you're only getting her in the film so it will make some money.

Otherwise I might get to hear it.

Expect the usual abrasive fall out stories and so on, should it actually get going full steam rather than the piffling messing around going on now.


[Yellow Light]Over on Newsarama, new poster miguzigoldfish posted as to whether Joe Quesda would be leaving Marvel to join Bill Jemas' new company.

While such a scenario is unlikely in the extreme, Quesada being well entrenched in Marvel, the original post (before being mostly deleted, but saved by post-crisis.blogspot.com) did possibly reveal one thing - that Bill Jemas (who recently took his www.billjemas.com back from Peter David for an unnamed project) is planning a new publishing company called 360 Squared.

Nice name.


[Green Light]On the Joe Quesada board, Marvel employee Jenny Grunwald tackles problems and requests about Marvel's trade paperback line admirably and professionally.

David Jay Gabriel, Marvel sales manager does so less...

Sean McKeever asked if there was any chance of his "Inhumans" run being reprinted as a digest TPB.

David responded "no chance."

Jen replied in a far nicer manner, "Not only do I love the series, but I would like nothing more than to make Sean happy! However, I am not in charge of what books get made, I'm just in charge of making them good! If I ever get an opportunity to push this book towards existence, don't even think that I won't try my hardest. Now I have a question of my own Mr. McKeever: Any chance I'll get to read more 'Waiting Place' in the near future?"

Sean countered with "Tell you what: if you can get all 12 issues of my 'Inhumans' run reprinted in collected format, I'll write a new TWP story just for you."

And from David?

"no means no

don't you have enough to write at the moment my friend?"



[Yellow Light]I hear that Tom Cruise is no longer in the running for the "Iron Man" movie... and that it's all because of the money. After "Punisher" and "Daredevil," studios are now aware that not all of Marvel's movies are the money making bonanza some thought they all might be.

"Catwoman" can't have helped either.


[Green Light]Some promo art from the upcoming "Wetworks" relaunch, by Mike Carey and Whilce Portacio broke out... have a peek.

UPDATE: These pieces first appeared on the Whilce Portacio forum.


Ron Marz' next projects.

Gonzalo Martinez, the atist of "Holed Up," has a new project - he's drawing one of the "Just A Buck Comics," written by Ron Fortier coming from Atomic Pop Art. They also have a graphic novel together, "Satin's Way," being shipped round publishers as we speak.

Too late for last week's column, ex-Borderline publisher and ex-Comics International news editor, Phil Hall deservedly took a swipe at Kev Sutherland earlier last week, over the continuing saga of the payment of excess fees from the Bristol convention, the money raised for auction at Childline, and the future of UK conventions. Both ended up apologising, but you could can the chemistry between them with a carefully placed chopstick.

The battles occur and continue here and here.


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!

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Be seeing you.

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