www.cbr.com

Welcome to the ninety-fourth 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.

HOLED

[Green Light]You're used to a "Holed Up" plug at the beginning of LITG these days. Good, this should be easy then. Rich Johnston's "Holed Up" #1 ships from Avatar Press this Wednesday (Thursday for the UK).

Most retailers won't have ordered it. Most retailers don't order most comics. Par for the course if you're not X-Men these days. And even those who did may have ordered few. Understandable in the current market. So it might sell out sharpish.

So here's the deal. If you want a copy, Avatar Press have overprinted so your retailer will be able to order new copies.

However, you may be impatient. At the end of this column is a list of a number of retailers who have supported "Holed Up," who have ordered copies for the shelf and would love your custom. So go give it to them. And maybe buy a couple of other things while you're there.

You know, this would get published when I'm out of the country. Till I return (in a few days), here's a reduced, prepared in advance Lying In The Gutters.

BITS AND PIECES FROM A CAFE IN VIENNA

[Yellow Light]A few things doing the rounds....

Hasbro buying out Dreamwave due to financial issues?

Joe Bennet the new regular artist for "Captain America" and "Falcon?"

Rachel Summers kicking Emma Frost's ass in "Uncanny X-Men" #444?

A "Rogue" mini series by Robert Rodi and drawn by Dante Bastianoni

Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend they still are with marvel working together on another Marvel project?

Marvels "Eye of the Camera" to only arrive a lot later this year, Jay is still drawing issue 2?

Darick Robertson working on an X Book?

MAY TRICKS

[Green Light]Remember the Steve Skroce comic LITG mentioned way back? Turns out publisher owner Larry Wachowski will co-write the book with Skroce. Both this book, "Doc. Frankenstein," and Geoff Darrow's "Shaolin Cwboy" will be published by Burly Men Comics, owned by the Matrix brothers.

VARIABLE RETURNS

[Yellow Light]The Top Ten chart is all where it's at baby! With threats from Marvel in the shape of Mark Millar's Spider-Man, Astonishing X-Men and more, DC are going to insert Michael Turner variant covers into the third part of the Jim Lee "Superman" run and Jim Lee variant covers into the previously solicited "Superman/Batman" #10.

Which should nicely spike reorder numbers in time for the new Diamond chart.

NIX ON DIXON

[Green Light]Chuck Dixon has been talking another controversial project, but this one from a few years ago.

He posted, "I was to be the original writer on Liefeld's Cap. But I quit the book when I learned that Liefeld was working without a plotline and that I was merely there to provide dialogue for whatever he drew. The final straw was seeing the finished artwork. As much as I wanted to script a Captain America comic it wasn't THIS Captain America comic.

"And though I specifically asked that my name not appear anywhere in the comic, I was credited with 'plot assistance' or 'special thanks" or some such. This wasn't necessary as I was not paid one cent for anything having to do with the series."

Liefeld told me, "um, slightly true, except for the part where Chuck provided an outline that veered off in a direction I didn't care for. I decided to stay the course, God bless him, he stuck to his guns, resigned as scripter and 2 minutes later Jeph Loeb was hired and the beginning of a beautiful friendship was born...

"talk about old news. i was very much looking forward to his American Power book. Hopefully that will still see the light of day...."

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ART

[Yellow Light]Talking of Rob Liefeld, Rick Veitch recently mentioned that he still hasn't received art returns from Rob Liefeld, though in the same thread, a poster replied that Liefeld had told him everyone had their art returned. And that it was the Jack Kirby tribute issue of "Supreme" seemed particularly galling.

Rob's version of the story, however, is one that seems to come straight out of "Indiana Jones" and should leave everyone wincing. Liefeld told me:

"For the past several months, during what little down time I have of late, between 3 kids and running my various businesses, I have been diligently searching for past artwork and films throughout a warehouse roughly the size of the one depicted at the end of Raider's Of The Lost Ark.

"The back story to all this is that in Febuary 2001, while transporting the last batch of boxes, all work and art related from my previous residence to my new home, I stopped briefly at a Blockbuster video store to return a few movies. A female carjacker then hopped into my SUV and as she attempted to drive away, she panicked and gunned the car forward driving over the curb hitting me and pushing me through the glass storefront. Another man lept, Dukes of Hazard style over the hood of my car and ripped the girl out of the cab and after one of the longest moments of my life, he pulled the car back and prevented the inevitable crushing of my legs. (I know, some are thinking, 'Why not his hands?') After Medics and police treated me and my numerous cuts and bruises, a police officer buddy of mine drove me home and they generously distributed the contents of not only my car but our moving van throughout my storage facility without the benefit of my direction. The result was that I was not aware of the location of much of my artwork and the comics that I would normally have no problem reaching. None of the art envelopes were specifically marked.

"In subsequent visits to storage, I have been knocked unconcious by falling comic boxes, and as a result of the incident I don't aggressively search the unit without another person in tow.

"A point failed to be mentioned in the discussion specifically pertaining to Rick's art for the Kirby issue of Supreme is that my artwork is also featured on nearly every page as I pencilled and inked over Rick's rough sketch placements of Supreme in each panel. I also painted the cover, the art is valuable to me as much as it is to Rick. Finding it is important to me and I am 100% confident that one of the gagillion envelopes I haven't opened yet will reveal the misplaced artwork. I'm hoping to hand deliver Rick's pages, sans the 3 pages I'm entitled to keep, per our previous agreement, at either San Diego or Chicago, if not earlier."

Developing, I'm sure.

MORE SINNED AGAINST

[Green Light]Gutterati Nate Southand emails me with a "Sin City" location report from the upcoming Rodriguez/Millar movie.

"A friend of mine worked as an extra on 'Sin City' yesterday, and he had some exciting news.

"They were filming the strip club scene. Apparently, this will be the most faithful adaptation of a comic in history, because their shooting script was xeroxed copies of Sin City. They line up the camera to look like the panel, and they shoot.

"They're filming 'Sin City, That Yellow Bastard' and 'The Big Fat Kill.' The stories will be cut together 'Pulp Fiction' style. An intro starring Josh Hartnett is from 'Booze, Broads, and Bullets.'

"Mickey Rourke as Marv. They used prosthetics to make him true to the comic: square jaw, flat nose, everything.

"Nancy hasn't been cast yet. They used a stand in.

"Frank Miller is on set."

WILL THIS COMPGATE NEVER END?

[Yellow Light]One poster recalled, "I don't recall who it was that I received it from, but at some point last year not only did I win an auction for a DC HC that turned out to be an auction run by someone at DC, but it also arrived in a DC envelope, with the DC Offices return address on it, and the information about the auction had been printed out on DC letterhead."

"Possibly part of the problem DC had with this was that, for all intents and purposes, it looked like I'd officially bought a comic straight from the publisher. I knew better, of course, but it still looked pretty darn suspicious, and it wouldn't surprise me to find out that the postage was paid for by DC as well."

ICONIC NAME

[Green Light]Apropo last week's article on Icon Comics in Australia, has anyone given thought to Dwayne McDuffie and his Milestone trademarked character and comic property, "Icon?"

Oh, and here's the Icon Comics logo from Australia. A similarity?

WHAT, ME WILD?

[Yellow Light]Last week, my favourite current superhero comics, "Wildcats 3.0" was cancelled. Shit.

And on Millarworld, a lot kicked off. Private e-mail from Paul Levitz pointed the decision firmly at Jim Lee, John Nee and Scott Dunbier, while Mark Millar went to town over how DC neuterered Wildstorm at a time when, according to Millar, "it was the coolest company around, beating out even Marvel Knights in fan buzz".

Millar states, "Three VPs in NYC told me personally that they just didn't understand why people bought these books and they did everything they could to kill them." and "They just don't dig the book and are not supporting Joe in any way because, as a VP said to me two years ago, 'the Wildstorm superhero books do nothing to improve the human condition.'"

Ed Brubaker took a similar but more sedate version, "I think the biggest difference between WS the year you were on 'Authority' (and I remember that summer, sitting at the DC table and looking at the enormous crowds around the WS tables) is that WS used to do it's own promotion and publicity. Then it got pulled inhouse. And inhouse is 3000 miles away, so they don't have quite as much time to push WS books, it seems."

But DC haven't had that much of a grasp on "Wildcats," especially since its 3.0 Eye of The Storm relaunch.

When Eye of the Storm was underway, DC bods read Joe Casey's script and were a tad flummoxed by it - all this corporate stuff, guys in suits talking. They came back and said "this does not say to us 'mature reader superheroes'." So they asked Joe Casey to sex and violence it up a bit, and paid Casey and Nguyen for additional work. Which is why there are extra pages in the first issue, presented as a bonus to the reader. It's the scene with Grifter killing a naked hooker. Cut and paste.

So even though DC were saying "Eye Of The Storm means sophistication, not just sex and violence," DC were telling the creators the opposite.

TOMMY GUNNED

[Green Light]This week's Waiting For Tommy features an interview with Erik Larsen (where he pointedly refused to discuss "Powers" or "Kabuki," damn him) and a review of "Shaun Of The Dead." And I am in it, I am.

It'll be the last one for a couple of weeks, but expect an explosive Tommy return with some top names!

And the next two week's LITG columns may be a little slight as the first I'll be writing from Prague, and the second from either Budapest or Vienna. If you live in any of those fair cities, give me a shout!

See you soon..

RETAILERS WHO SUPPORT HOLED UP

[Green Light]USA

Dr. No's Comics

3428 Canton Road

Marietta GA 30066

770.422.4642

www.drnos.com

Comix Experience

305 Divisadero St.

San Francisco, CA, 94117

415-863-9258

www.comixexperience.com

Comic Relief: THE Comic Bookstore

2138 University Ave.

Berkeley, Ca. 94704-1026

510/843-5002 V 510/843-3137 F

rory@comicrelief.net

Silver Bullet Comics

1571 Hanes Mall Blvd

Winston Salem, NC 27103

PH: 336-794-3692

Fax: 336-794-3695

www.silverbulletcomics.com

Big Brain Comics

81 South Tenth Street

Minneapolis, MN 55403

612.338.4390

bigbrain@visi.com

Jim Hanley's Universe

4 West 33rd St

New York, NY 10001

212-268-7988

Jim Hanley's Universe

325 New Dorp Lane

Staten Island, NY 10306

718-351-6299

Speeding Bullet Comics and Ricochet Cafe

614 N Porter Ave

Norman, OK 73071

(405) 360-6866

sbcomics@aol.com

www.speedingbulletcomics.com

Comicopia

464 Commonwealth Av #13

Boston, MA 02215

(617) 266-4266

Titan Comics

3701 W Northwest Hwy #125

Dallas Texas 75220

214-350-4420

www.titancomics.com

York Comics & Cards

7390 York Road

Parma, Ohio 44130

440-842-4466

The Laughing Ogre

4258 North High Street

Columbus, Ohio 43214

614-267-6473

614-267-2855(fax)

www.thelaughingogre.com

The Record Store

6299 Route 9 North

Howell, NJ 07731 USA

(732) 905-9056

Heroes and Dragons

1563-B Broad River Road

Columbia, SC 29210 USA

telephone: (803) 772-9198

fax number: (803) 772-5010

store telephone: (803) 731-HERO (4376)

Metropolis Comics

105 Pickwick Ave.

Colonial Heights, VA 23834

804-526-8750

Comics Conspiracy

115-A E. Fremont Ave

Sunnyvale, CA 94087

(408) 245-6275

comicscon@comcast.net

Green Brain Comics

13210 Michigan Avenue

Dearborn, Michigan

48126

www.greenbrain.biz

RVD's 5 Star Comics

5starcomics.com

131 Lakewood Center Mall

Lakewood, Ca 90712

Amazing Fantasy

15948 South Harlem

Tinley Park, IL 60477

(708) 633-0837

www.afbooks.com

Amazing Fantasy

582 Torrence Avenue

Calumet City, IL 60409

(708) 891-2260

www.afbooks.com

Amazing Fantasy

1211 East 9th Street

Lockport, IL 60441

(815) 834-1658

www.afbooks.com

Amazing Fantasy

47 East Lincoln Highway

Frankfort, IL 60423

(815) 469-5092

www.afbooks.com

Comickaze

5525 Clairemont Mesa Blvd

San Diego CA 92117-2342

(858)278-0371

(800)869-5275

Hi De Ho Comics & Books with Pictures

525 Santa Monica Blvd

Santa Monica CA 90401-2409

(310) 394-2820

Clark's

Santa Rosa

CA.

Brad Bankston

Austin Books and Comics

5002 N. Lamar

Austin, TX 78751-2318

512-454-4197

brad@austinbooks.com

Waterfront Comics

609 Main St

Suisun, CA 94585

(707)425-6308

CANADA

Astro Books/Librairie Astro

1844 Ste.Catherine St.W.

Montreal, Que. Canada

H3H 1M1

(514) 932-1139

astro@autoroute.net

Another Dimension

130-10th Street NW

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

T2N 1V3

(403)283-7078

fx: (403)283-7080

www.another-dimension.com

Grey Region

550 Yonge St.

Toronto, Ontario

M4Y 1Y8

(416) 975-1718

The Beguiling

601 Markham Street

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

M6G 2L7

416-533-9168

www.beguiling.com

Dragon Lady Comics

609 College St.

Toronto, ON

M6G 1B5

(416) 536-7460

Strange Adventures

5262 Sackville Street,

Halifax,

NS B3J 1K8

1-866-6-COMICS

calum@strangeadventures.com

www.strangeadventures.com

Strange Adventures

366 Queen Street,

Fredericton,

NB E3B 1B2

1-866-6-COMICS

calum@strangeadventures.com

www.strangeadventures.com

UK

Amazing Fantasy

Unit 1, 13 Anlaby Road

Hull

HU1 2PJ

United Kingdom

(01482) 210530

www.amazing-fantasy.co.uk

Time Trek

46 High St,

Bromley,

Kent

BR1 1EA

020 83130677

RED HOT COMICS

Block D Units 7/8

Glenwood Business Park

Glenwood Place

Glasgow

G45 9UH

0141 630 0049

07780 958169(text orders)

www.redhotcomics.demon.co.uk

Comics Showcase

63 Charing Cross Road,

London,

WC2H 0NE

Orbital Comics

9 Old Compton Street

Soho

London, W1

Whatevercomics

5 Middle Row

High St

Maidstone

Kent

ME14 1TF

England

Comix-Shop

7a High Street,

Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1JN

01628 777 998

Comix-Shop.co.uk

Comics 24-7 Limited

www.comics24-7.co.uk

01296 424676

Fax: 01296 424676

sales@comics24-7 .co.uk

Paradox Comics

17 High Street

Poole

Dorset BH15 1AB

01202 661346

paradox@paradoxcomics.co.uk

Page 45

9 Market Street

Nottingham

NG1 6HY

0115 9508045

page45@page45.com

www.page45.com

OK Comics

19 Thorntons Arcade, Briggate,

Leeds, LS1 6LQ

United Kingdom

Nostalgia & Comics

14-16 Smallbrook Queensway

Birmingham

B5 4EN

01216430143

fax - 01216312684

noscomic@noscomic.plus.com

Forbidden Planet

168 Buchanan st.

Glasgow

G1 2LW

0141 331 1215

Automattic Comics

17 Pickwick Road

Corsham

Wiltshire

SN13 9BQ

01249 701647

The Great Nothing Comic Book Store

Peterborough Market

Peterborough

UK

www.thegreatnothing.co.uk

The Flash Loses a Major Character in Season 5 Finale

More in CBR Exclusives