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Welcome to the ninety-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.

SUGGESTED FOR INCENSED READERS

[Yellow Light]The FCC (the Federal Communications Commission) is a US governmental agency that regulates broadcast transmissions. Recently it's had a burst of puritanism brought on by Janet Jackson's Borg-nipple flash, and has been cracking down on both current and past infractions of standards (crude language, nudity, sexual content or discussion) across the board. Recently, I understand that FCC representatives have been in discussion with a number of media bodies, including Warner Bros. As a result, certain thoughts, ideas and tones have been trickling down through the company and have recently reached DC Comics.

Now, as I understand it, no one should expect a government-sponsored smackdown on Vertigo titles. But it's possible their SUGGESTED FOR MATURE READERS label may be reworded to remove the ambuigity of 'suggestion,' and the font moved up a couple of sizes.

Start measuring your covers of "Losers"... now!

WORLD PEACE, TOLERANCE AND ULTIMATES VOLUME TWO

[Green Light]Currently residing on a Marvel editor's door is a most amusing collage. Featuring a beauty contest ripped from a newspaper, with Bryan Hitch and Adam Kubert's heads posted on a couple of stunners, it asks the viewer to decide which of these stunning beauties will be the latest with their current work?

Apparently Bryan won.

LAND LOCKED

[Green Light]Greg Land on a sabbatical from "Soujourn?" Don't you believe it.

I hear Land wanted to work on a new startup project at CG, intrigued by the attention being given to the likes of "El Cazador" and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," and wanted a higher profile. So, although "Soujourn" was CrossGen's best selling title (at 84, it's the only book in Diamond's Top 100) he was placed on "American Power." See later for more on that title.

"Soujourn" was then announced internally as being cancelled at issue 41. Writer Ian Edginton then immediately quit the book, so it may come to an even earlier conclusion.

When asked for comment, Ian Edginton declined, but agreed to be interviewed at length for an upcoming Waiting For Tommy about his departure from CrossGen.

CORRUPTS, ABSOLUTELY

[Green Light]"American Power," by Chuck Dixon and Greg Land, also looks like the kind of book that may raise a few eyebrows. From the Free Comic Book Day solicitation for American Power: Prequel... "America's new living weapons in the war against terror! They bomb civilians, hurt innocents, and spread fear. But those that have chosen to inflict pain will reap what they've sown! Now, the world's modern monsters will face a new, devastating and living arsenal! Supported by the technology, muscle and brainpower of the U.S. Armed Forces, the next stage in human evolution will scour the globe and deliver justice! Lock and load for high-stakes, high-explosive military action as the enhanced soldiers code-named Ivictus and Scapel"

I've heard comparisions made to that monstrosity of bad taste and bad thinking, "Civilian Justice" and there are some internally at CrossGen who aren't best pleased. Even artist Greg Land has been heard to voice displeasure at the work he's now been given to write. CrossGen are going for controversy on this one, this isn't intended as an ironic piece of comment. The content of this book is intended to be read as-is, and more in line with Chuck Dixon's political thinking.

The first issue of the ongoing series was to have been given a publicity push by coming out very close to the Free Comic Book Day prequel, but its schedule has slipped.

HAWK DOWN

[Yellow Light]I hear that Lysa Hawkins, editor of amongst other things, "Birds Of Prey," has been suspended by DC Comics, as of last Friday. And that it relates to the Compgate 'scandals' of a few months ago.

One version has DC accusing Lysa's partner of selling her comp copies of DC product on eBay. This she denies, saying he acquired them elsewhere from others at DC, but he won't name names. But another individual in production has already been dropped and Lysa's books have already been passed to other editors.

DC seem to have a habit of firing/suspending with people on Fridays. It seems to give them a little bit of a breather.

MARVEL LEGENDS

[Yellow Light]Look forward to a bunch of old school and very-old-school creators coming to Marvel. Apparently the company are currently burrowing through contractual problems and conjectural problems at the company - remember that comment Joe Quesada once made about Dave Cockrum's art being the kind that the company weren't currently interested in? Consider a 180-degree reversion of that, and a bunch of very familiar comics names (if you're over thirty) making a comeback...

COSMIC CODE

[Green Light]"Cosmic Guard" is a new series by Jim Starlin coming out from Devil's Due. That is all.

OH STAZ, STAZ, STAZ...

[Green Light]Want to know what artist Staz Johnson's latest gig is? Click here.

Zero To Hero indeed...

And you can *win* a splash page of his work here as well!

I'M NOT A LETTER, I'M A FREE MAN!

[Green Light]A number of people commented on the remarkable similarity between the Chris Eliopoulos' computer-generated lettering for upcoming "Uncanny X-Men" and the penwork of legendary X-Men letterer Tom Orzechowski.

Turns out a deal has been done between the men, and now Tom is a regular, available font.

MIRROR IMAGE

[Green Light]We all know that Brian Wood was the original writer of "NYX" before the relationship between Marvel went tits up and David Choe managed to throw a permanent wedge between the two.

And we also know that Brain Wood took a number of his concepts and used them in his series from AiT/Planet Lar, "Demo."

And it appears that the similarity between the covers of issue 5 of "Demo" (which came out in January) and issue 5 of "NYX" (which has just been solicited in Previews) is a coincidence.

But still...

ANAL OBSESSION STRIKES!

[Green Light]When a bunch of X-Force art pieces were posted onto Millarworld, apparently there was a joker in the back...

Liefeld explained, "Only problem, and it's my mistake, is that the Shatterstar fighting monks page has been dropped from issue #1, in favor of a different updated one. I thought I was actually giving you another Shatterstar page but obviously I burned the wrong one instead. My bad."

Good thing too, as the nitpickers had already noted that Shatterstar's sword studs disappeared from one sword between panels 1 and 2. By panel 3 the other sword had lost its studs and the ninja on the left has lost his left arm. On panel 4 the ninja on the left had got his arm back, but the ninja on the right has dissappeared as had one of Shatterstar's swords and his sideburn ponytails. The sword studs did make a reapperance however, although all the leaves seemed to have fallen off the trees...

But surely people have got better things to do with their lives? Hmm?

CLAWS CLAUSE ONE

[Yellow Light]I understand that the new "Black Panther" series will be drawn by John Romita Jr, before he takes over "Wolverine."

CLAWS CAUSE TWO

[Green Light]A sequel to "Hellboy" has picked up steam as one production house has been asked to create rubber models and designs for Lobster Johnson.

SECOND SHAUN

[Yellow Light]I understand there's a sequel to the much-anticipated "Shaun Of The Dead" movie, starring Simon Pegg. It is to be called "From Dusk Till Shaun."

Vamromcom instead of Romzomcom?

I don't make this kind of thing up, you know.

Here's the new "Shaun Of The Dead" trailer. Excellent opening gag.

WHAT'S IN A NAME...

[Green Light]So, what's the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? The low-budget comic with a cool name making a splash on the small press scene?

See, now, you'd buy that, wouldn't you?

CALLING ALL RETAILERS...

[Green Light]Rich Johnston's "Holed Up" 2 is in this month's Previews, from Avatar. Order it, damn your eyes. And a call to all retailers - if you're carrying any copies of Holed Up for the shelf, tell me, and I'll give your shop a mention the week "Holed Up" 1 ships. After all, with the general orders likely for such a comic, many readers may be hard pressed to find a copy... until they see that you are carrying it! And readers, why not mention this to your retailer! Then e-mail me here with your shop details...

WAITING FOR WAITING FOR TOMMY

[Green Light]It was a skip week on Waiting For Tommy last Wednesday, but the Jay Faerber piece (still with exclusive project news) is still up. This Wednesday, expect an interview with Ian Edginton about CrossGen and a hard-hitting, no-punches-pulled heavy interrogation of Joe Quesada into why exactly Marvel Kicks Arse.

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.

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