Welcome to the one hundred and second 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.
The "Seven Soldiers" project I mentioned last week from Grant Morrison is picking up steam. Here's the list of intermingled mini-series in fill
Klarion the Witch Boy
Spawn of Frankenstein
So what's lined up for Dave "Watchmen" Gibbons as part of his DC exclusive deal? One bright spark at Bristol saw the Ben-Elton-alike buying copious quantities of Green Lantern back issues, then a boxful of Guy Gardner Warrior comics. The reason given?
KIRKMAN NOT HAWKMAN
No I've no idea what was up with that Robert Kirkman Shadowhawk series rumour that he so thoroughly debunked.
Could it be a mixture of Jim Valenetino's new Shadowhawk series…
… with the fact that Kirkman is actually working on another Image founder's original book?
AMERICAN BEOWULF IN ARGENTINA
An interview with well-know Argentinian artist Enrique Alcatena for an Italian site revealed that "...e farò una versione a fumetti di Beowulf con Chuck Dixon."
He's working on a comic version of Beowulf with Chuck Dixon.
Dark Horse commissioned Jason Pearson for a Ghost illustration casting Beyonce in the star role. Apparently they didn't want an exact likeness, just a close approximation for their own nefarious purposes.
What are they up to?
I understand that Mark Alessi is suing ex-Crossgen employees Brian Soltis (Controller), Chris Oarr (VP of Sales), Mike Beattie (Financial Officer) and Bart Sears (Art Director) in a joint suit, in relation to their management of CrossGen and their recent resignations.
However, some industry sources tell me they doubt the veracity of such a case, and see it as fireworks lit by the dying embers of the company.
But things never seem to go easy for Alessi. Fleshing out a rumour I'd heard earlier in the year, it seems Alessi was banned from his favourite bar, The Chase Club, in February. On the day of the Super Bowl, routing for the Patriots (his team), and drunk, he got into a dispute with some patrons defending another CG staffer. When things got heated and Alessi threatened to have the patron 'seen to', the bar staff called the police and Alessi was banned from the bar.
How many other publishers would go to such lengths to defend an employee?
I understand that Larry Molinar is still at Crossgen… and is working on a new project with Sergio Cariello, supposedly a relaunch of "Mystic" without any connection to the sigil concept.
DEATH OF A FAN
One of Rob Liefeld's biggest fans has finally called it a day. Anthony L has defended the man and his work for ten years, across Usenet, newsgroups, message boards and blogs.
He writes, "Over the last two years i've been spending time and money to accumulate every single project Rob Liefeld as done. I'm 3/4 of the way there. I wanted to make the biggest Rob Liefeld resource online that there ever was. I got that opportunity, and the EIC of ComiX-Fan Eric Moreels was kind enough to host it upon completion.
"That was my big secret project. I have no qualms letting the cat out of the bag now because now it's not going to happen. Because I'm so sick of it all. Dont tell me you're going to give me an interview and then go to Newsarama every single time, and then ignore my emails after you tell me.
"That's just wrong. I dont know if he's mad at me or what, and I used to care. I dont anymore. I dont care about the resource project i've been working on for over a year now, I dont care about interviewing him and pimping out his work (free of charge, i mean, come on, who turns down free publicity on a major comic book site?). I dont care about reviewing his work when it comes out. I just dont care.
"Why should I? He obviously doesnt.
"So i'm done."
The thread also kicked off other allegations about broken promises, lies, broken orders and other problems over here as Arcade's Jimmy Jay tried to mop up the spills.
Image Comics may not have been as timely with their San Diego convention fees as they might have. As of yesterday, they hadn't been placed on the floor map. Word is from the con organisers that they will get placed, but it most probably will be on the outskirts of the publisher area, far from the multi media companies, and near the various smaller retail areas.
As ever with San Diego, the "you snooze, you lose" rule seems to be in full effect.
WAITING FOR THE TRADE TRADE.
Big thick collection collecting previous collections are all the rage right now. From Barnes And Noble 1000+ page "Ultimate Spider-Man" hardcover to the "Complete Bone" clocking in at 1300+pages, we're all going to need sturdier bookshelves.
Thankfully Peter Bagge hasn't gone to quite those extremes. But next year Fantagraphics are collecting "Hate" in larger wedges with "Buddy Does Seattle," collecting the first few "Hate" trades, merely 340 pages for $15.
It should not have escaped your notice that issue two of "Rich Johnston's Holed Up" shipped last week from Avatar Press. If your comic shop ordered it, that is. For those thus far deprived of such literary delight, as the Holed Family first interrogate a suspicious postman, get into a siege situation with the FBI then take a trip to Saudi Arabia, here are a few places who say they've got copies…
2050 Lincoln Ave San Jose, CA 95125
Comic Relief: THE Comic Bookstore
2138 University Avenue, Berkeley, California 94704-1026
Brave New World Comics
23566 Lyons Ave #103
Newhall, CA 91321
Dr. No's Comics & Games
3428 Canton Road
Marietta GA 30066
1A Bellevue Park Plaza, Belleville, IL 62226
Graham Crackers Comics,
69 East Madison Street Chciago Illinois 60603, Inbetween Wabash and Michigan Avenue
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:
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org (which often gets full, but it'll reach me during the day)
AOL Instant Message me at TwistRich
0780 1350982 (01144780 1350982 from N America)
Anthrax packages can be sent to 8 Robin Hood Lane, Kingston Vale, London SW15 3PU, ENGLAND