Welcome to the ninety-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.


[Green Light]I understand that both Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's "Powers," and David Mack's "Kabuki" will leave Image to be published by Marvel.

That's a given.

And while the light now says GREEN, let's AMBER the following. I'm told that Powers will restart from Marvel as "Powers Volume 2" as will Kabuki with "Kabuki: The Alchemy".

Marvel have relaxed their recently imposed no-creator-owned comics role forthese titles. Whether this is an exception for these two books, or whetherit will be offered to others, I do not yet know. Is this a new perk forcreators who go exclusive? Those who already have movie deals sewn up? Couldit even be an arrangement between Marvel and Image as some have suggested?

I'm sure we'll find out soon...


Get down to the Osama Boogie! Strike a pose!

Chuck Dixon has been talking about Ian Edginton's outburst about working for CrossGen, then his interpretation of "American Power," the Civilian-Justice-lookalike headed for Free Comic Book Day.

"'Scion's' run ended. Ian's only assignment with us was 'Sojourn.' It saddens me that he's left. I like Ian a lot and think he's very talented. A pure comics craftsman in a field where they're pretty rare. But I'm not certain where he's coming from on AP. His violent reaction surprised me. I guess we touched a nerve there."


[Green Light]John Romita Jr was kind enough to just about confirm last week's LITG rumour about him joining the new "Black Panther" series.

As to the writer, "I'm not at liberty to say. Really...I can't say! But oh man it's great!"

He did comment about the lengths Joe Michael Straczynski was putting him through on his final "Amazing Spider-Man" arc, "He's got me drawing a trillion spiders....the city is covered in them!!"


[Green Light]So, on top of the world with the "Hellboy" movie, you'd expect Mike Mignola back scribbling more Hellboys down onto the Bristol board, right?

Wrong. Mignola is taking a three-year break from drawing "Hellboy"... oh he may do the odd short story, but he has a replacement artist in mind for the next three mini-series. He plans to return to the much-larger fourth series however.

So what will Mike Mignola be drawing? I hear there's a Lobster Johnson series in the works. Good thing too, considering the rumours about his involvement in "Hellboy 2."


[Green Light]Today the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright/Frazer Irving 2000AD "Shaun Of The Dead" story is published in the UK, Diamond US will get it some time in the next month. The movie comes out on Thursday (but I'll see it tomorrow) and it'll come out in the US, well, if "28 Days Later" was anything to go by, in 2006. No distributor yet, apparently.

But I was able to score a few "Shaun Of The Dead" preview pages by Frazer Irving (I also promised I'd give his Web site a plug in the process.

And here's another 2000AD-related treat. Dave Gibbons drawing Classic Judge Dredd and Bill Savage for an upcoming 2000AD at the end of the month. Feast them thar eyes.

And as a favour for an old story, I've been asked to plug "A.H.A.B." by Nigel Kitching and Richard Elson from the same issue...

What am I, some kind of delivery service?


[Green Light]Some advance art from Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray's "Cloudburst" coming from Image.



Muscle-bound gimp vs old bloke on a dialysis machine - Who'll win?


[Yellow Light]Ex-CrossGen Art director Andy Smith's recent decision to sue CrossGen for $2000 owed has caused quite a tizzy with certain freelancers. A number blame Andy for putting them in the situation they're in now, pressuring them to deliver work when they weren't getting paid, are now owed well into five figures, and not in a position to reclaim their money as Andy is.

He was then seen as a defender of Mark Alessi and CrossGen, a position that has now been reversed.

And in Comicon Pulse's report of Andy's actions, it can be seen that there's not a lot of solidarity for his case.

However, this is not the case with everyone. I've spoken to CrossGen and ex-CrossGen creators who do exonerate Andy from blame. They just aren't so publicly vocal about it.


[Green Light]What's Antony Johnston best known for? Ninth Art? "Three Days In Europe?" "Rosemary's Backpack?" "Spooked?" "Julius?" Being bald occasionally?

Don't be silly.

It's taking on Alan Moore projects, adapting them for Avatar and then spinning off into new territory with Moore's blessing. Not content with his continuing "Nightjar" series, he's now doing the same to "Yuggoth Cultures," the Alan Moore Avatar comic that printed a number of classic and unseen Alan Moore horror stories, and adapted others from different media.

Yuggoth Creatures, inspired by Moore's "Lovecraftian," will continue with new work from Antony following the memoirs of Professor Anders Ericsson with a variety of other artists such as Juan Jose Ryp, Mike Wolfer, Matt Martin, Jacen Burrows and Andres Guinaldo in each issue. Covers by Ryp.

Watch for this three issue series to start shipping in July (along with the third issue of Rich Johnston's "Holed Up" of course.)


[Green Light]Joe Madueira's concept design work for the now-cancelled game ExArch can be seen here under the 3D section. Here are a few examples...

[Yellow Light]Lysa Hawkins' dismissal from DC, over allegations her partner was selling her DC complimentary copies and more on eBay, gets a little more background.

It transpires that Paul Levitz had defended the costs of giving comp copies, as well as a morale booster and ensuring staff were up to speed on the outpit of the company. That the perk wasn't down to monetary value, it was not a (taxable) payment, but necessary to keep the office running smoothly.

Unfortunately, I hear Lysa had e-mailed Human Resources stating that if she was unable to sell comp copies on eBay, she wouldn't be able to pay her rent. Which kinda defeated Levitz' argument.

Some staff, while sympathetic to Lysa's plight, have stated that if she had to have sold them, she should have done it after their street sale dale, and if it had to be eBay, use someone other than her partner... who had been accused of the same offence (if dismissed for another), kicking off the original "Compgate."

You can see his take on the whole situation at Comicon Pulse (go down to Hardline666...), the fashionable mesage board system where ex-DC employees with a grudge hang out (now with added CrossGen).


[Green Light]Looks like yes indeed, Udon Studios are doing "Thundercats" for DC, by Joe Vriens, Sacha Heilig and Scott Hepburn, the team behind Sentinel, with Roberto Campus, nicked from Dreamwave.

You know, give it a year or two, and it'll be time for a nostalgic Pokemon revival.

Oh and someone, somewhere is plotting a "Thundercats/Wildcats" crossover...


Shock Anticipate Plot Twist - under that leather, he's a Muslim!


[Green Light]Whatever Happened To Ex-CrossGen Marketing Guys... Part One.

Ian Feller made his announcement this week. He's starting 813 Services & Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in "editorial, writing, public and media relations, marketing, creator representation, custom comics packaging and more, aimed towards assisting new and existing publishers."

Later in his press release, he adds "publishing comics is not easy. Now there is someone available to help. And with rates that anyone can afford."

You know, maybe that Mark Alessi should give him a ring...


[Green Light]DC are changing the way they pay their freelancers. No, don't panic you lot, we're not talking CrossGen here, it's a new accounting system in line with Warner Bros - the only real change is that they can't process vouchers before work is delivered.

In some cases, DC would pay in advance of receiving work, but that appears to no longer be the case.

They've also consolidated all Vertigo, Wildstorm and DC systems together. Different working practices had led to different payments for different stages of work delivery. Now they're the same, and all cheques will be from DC, not Wildstorm.

Alan Moore's books however will be exempt from these changes.

Creators should hardly notice a change - the new system is going to be a bigger change for non-editorial and creative positions.


[Green Light]Remember when David Choe, author and artist of "Slow Jams" and others, went ballistic with Joe Quesada over the fall of his and Brian Wood's "NYX" series? Racial, sexual, gay, gynecological epithets were spewed forth as a bridge was not so much burnt as napalmed?

Well, after a three-month stint in a Japanese prison, David Choe had found God.

Go read. He ends up quoting from Depeche Mode.


[Green Light]LITG-spotted star-to-watch-out-for Tony Lee, when he's not working on his upcoming fragrant Marvel X-book, has a new story in "Warhammer Monthly" with Cam Smith, as well as developing an ongoing "Warhammer" fantasy battle strip for Games Workshop with the same fellow.


Apparently might does make right after all!

There is something to remember about CrossGen amidst all the allegations, recriminations, back biting and attacks, justified or otherwise. They tried. They tried to start a new kind of comics company, publishing a new kind of comic, and make a difference. Hell, they still might be able to. But they had odds stacked against them. The market turned towards old favourites rather than new ideas. And Marvel and DC management and staff took a personal dislike to the company, its ability to poach talent exclusively, and do away with editors. And they did everything they could to stop them. Whether that's stopping their admittance to the front section of Previews, banning finished comics by creators who moved to CrossGen or briefing against the company to the press.

You can see evidence of the latter clearly in this week's Waiting for Tommy. Firstly "Soujourn's" Ian Edginton's goes ballistic about CrossGen, then Joe Quesada gets the most kiss arse kick arse interview of his life. It's a testament to poor journalism, it really is.


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)
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Be seeing you.

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