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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.

SOUND OUT

[Yellow Light]

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

Zatanna

Shining Knight

Bulleteer

Klarion the Witch Boy

Mister Miracle

Spawn of Frankenstein

Guardian

LANTERN’S LIGHT

[Green Light]

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?

“Research.”

KIRKMAN NOT HAWKMAN

[Green Light]

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

[Green Light]

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.

NAUGHTY GHOST

[Yellow Light]

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?

SUITS YOU

[Yellow Light]

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.

ALESSI ATTACK

[Yellow Light]

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?

MYSTIC LIVES?

[Yellow Light]

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.

Still kicking?

DEATH OF A FAN

[Green Light]

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.

CRACK ART

[Green Light]

Thanks to Grant Morrison’s CrackComicks for the following…

Pages 6 and 7 of “We3”

Page 1 from the second issue of “Vimanarama”

Page 2 of issue 2 of “Seaguy”

GET YOUR PEN AND PAPER READY

[Green Light]

Okay, who’s for a game of spot the difference? How many changes can you see from this character in X-Force…

To the next page?

We’re down to six… can you see any more? Answer next week!

THE ITALIANS ARE COMING

[Green Light]

After the international success of W.I.T.C.H., it seems Italian Disney are setting up offices in the USA and are using their new high profile to launch a monthly comic series calledKylion“:

The first issue of KYLION has a print run of 200,000 copies, retailing for 1 Euro/$1.5 each as a special launching price, for eighty colour pages.

Say, did you know that 70% of Disney comics in the world are produced in Italy?

CAT. PIGEONS.

[Green Light]

Diamond Select, the creator and distributor of a number of toylines to comic retailers is now becoming those retailers’ direct competition.

They’ve launched a retail section of the Web site to sell toys directly to the public. First up is a bunch of Willow dolls, a number of which were previously exclusive to certain venues, and unavailable to purchase by most stores.

SAN DIEGOING GOING GONE

[Yellow Light]

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.

[Green Light]

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.

HOLED TWO

[Green Light]

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…

CALIFORNIA

Hijinx Comics

2050 Lincoln Ave San Jose, CA 95125

www.hijinxcomics.com

408 266-1103

info@hijinxcomics.com

Comic Relief: THE Comic Bookstore

2138 University Avenue, Berkeley, California 94704-1026

www.comicrelief.net

510.843.5002

info@comicrelief.net

Brave New World Comics

23566 Lyons Ave #103

Newhall, CA 91321

www.bravenewworldcomics.com

661-259-4745

mail@bravenewworldcomics.com

GEORGIA

Dr. No’s Comics & Games

3428 Canton Road

Marietta GA 30066

www.drnos.com

770.422.4642

info@drnos.com

ILLINOIS

Twilight Comics

1A Bellevue Park Plaza, Belleville, IL 62226

www.twilightcomics.com

618-233-1085

brian@twilightcomics.com

Graham Crackers Comics,

69 East Madison Street Chciago Illinois 60603, Inbetween Wabash and Michigan Avenue

Website: http://www.grahamcrackers.com

phone# 1-312-629-1810

Fax: 1-312 629-1812

MASSACHUSETTS

Comicopia

464 Commonwealth Av #13

Boston, MA 02215

(617) 266-4266

http://www.comicopia.com

info@comicopia.com

MICHIGAN

Green Brain Comics

13210 Michigan

www.greenbrain.biz

313-582-9444

greenbrain@greenbrain.biz

21st Century Comics & Games

515 E Grand River East Lansing MI

http://21stcomics.com/index.php

517.324.3585

lon@chronopolis.com

MINNESOTA

Big Brain Comics

81 South Tenth Street

Downtown Minneapolis, MN

612-338-4390

bigbrain@visi.com

Source Comics and Games

1601 W Larpenteur Ave

Falcon Heights, MN 55113

651/645-0386

http://www.sourcecandg.com

NEW JERSEY

The Record Store

6299 Route 9 North

Howell, NJ 07731

USA

732-905-9056

therecordstore@aol.com

NORTH CAROLINA

Silver Billet Comics

1571 Hanes Mall Blvd, Winston Salem, NC 27103

www.silverbulletcomics.com

336-794-3692

walan@silverbulletcomics.com

Silver Billet Comics

1207 Central St Suite 4A, Wilkesboro, NC 28697

www.silverbulletcomics.com

336-838-7736

walan@silverbulletcomics.com

OKLAHOMA

Speeding Bullet Comics and Ricochet Cafe

614 N Porter Ave Norman OK 73071

www.speedingbulletcomics.com

(405) 360-6866

sbcomics@aol.com

TEXAS

Titan Comics

3701 W Northwest Hwy #125 Dallas Texas 75220

www.titancomics.com

214-350-4420

info@titancomics.com

VIRGINIA

Metropolis Comics

105 Pickwick Ave.

Colonial Heights, VA 23834

804-526-8750

metropoliscomics@aol.com

Amazing Fantasy Comics

14346 Warwick Blcd. Suite 444

Newport News, VA. 23602

Phone # 757-877-6030

Email – afcomics@aol.com

CANADA

The Beguiling Books & Art

601 Markham Street

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

M6G 2L7

http://www.beguiling.com

(416) 533-9168

mail@beguiling.com

Another Dimension

130-10th Street NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1V3

www.another-dimension.com

(403)283-7078

comics@another-dimension.com

Astro Books/Librairie Astro

1844 Ste.Catherine St.W.

(514) 932-1139

astro@autoroute.net

Strange Adventures Comic Bookshop

5262 Sackville Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

www.strangeadventures.com

U.S. 1-866-6-COMICS

shop@strangeadventures.com

Strange Adventures Comic Bookshop

366 Queen Street, Fredericton, New Brunswick

www.strangeadventures.com

U.S. 1-866-6-COMICS

shop@strangeadventures.com

UK

Comix-shop

7a High Street

Maidenhead

Berkshire

SL6 1JN

http://www.comix-shop.co.uk/

01628 777 998

webmaster@comix-shop.co.uk

Orbital

9 Old Compton Street

Soho

London W1

020 7434 9363

Gosh! Comics

39 Great Russell Street

London

WC1B 3BD

020 7636 1011

http://www.goshlondon.com

Comics Showcase

63 Charing Cross Road

London WC2H 0NE

020 74344349

comicshowcase@talk21.com

Forbidden Planet London

179 Shaftesbury Avenue

London

WC2H 8JR

020 7420 3666

www.forbiddenplanet.com

Page 45

9 Market Street

Nottingham

Nottinghamshire NG1 6HY

page45@page45.couk.com

01159 508045

http://www.page45.couk.com/

Forbidden Planet

5 Duke Street , Cardiff

www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk

02920228885

http://www.forbiddenplanetinternational.com

World’s Apart

58/60 LIME ST

LIVERPOOL

L1 1JN

tel 0151-707-0839

fax 0151-707-2192

e-mail wa@worldsapart.f9.co.uk

86th Floor Comics

www.86thfloor.com

0115 9443009

enquiry@86thfloor.com

Forbidden Planet Leeds

30 Eastgate,

Headrow, Leeds

0113 242 6325

Fpleeds@fpleeds.plus.net

Forbidden Planet

168 Buchanan street

www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk

0141 331 1215

fp@fpscotland.f9.co.uk

Asylum Books & Games

29 Adelphi

www.asylum-booksandgames.com

01224 574637

info@asylum-booksandgames.com

Comics 24-7 Limited

PO BOX 111, AYLESBURY, BUCKS HP21 9WE

WWW.COMICS24-7.CO.UK

01296 424676

SALES@COMICS24-7.CO.UK

Calamity Comics

90 QUEEN’S ROAD

WATFORD

HERTS

WD17 2LA

www.calamitycomics.com

TEL: 01923 249293

E-MAIL: orders@calamitycomics.com

Calamity Comics

160 STATION ROAD

HARROW, MIDDLESEX HA1 2RH

www.calamitycomics.com

020 8427 3831

orders@calamitycomics.com

Ace Comics Southend

324-325 CHARTWELL NORTH,VICTORIA PLAZA, SOUTHEND-ON-SEA,ESSEX,SS25SR

www.acecomics.net

01702 613021

info@acecomics.net

Whatevercomics

5 Middle Row

High St

Maidstone

Kent

www.whatevercomics.com

01622 681041

www.whatevercomics.com

RECRUITING IN THE GUTTERS

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:rich@twistandshout.freeserve.co.uk (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

Be seeing you.

Discuss this column on the Lying In The Gutters Forum.
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