Welcome to Lying In The Gutters number 70. Gee, those numbers really do stack up don't they? This is the long-running gossip and rumour column for the comic book industry. Written by British commentator Rich Johnston, it's read by professional and reader 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.

The traffic lights are there for your own protection. The red light indicates that the content of the piece is most likely a mixture of agenda and confusion. Amber means at least the agenda is tempered by facts this time. Possibly. And Green means that all it takes is one more confirmation and it's ready for Newsarama. But Comicon Pulse will have it right now, thank you very much.

On with the show.


[Green Light]This Monday morning, across the comics industry, there will be some bleary eyes. For the latest Dude Ranch kicked off over the weekend, and quite frankly I'll be surprised if the likes of Amanda Conner, Heidi MacDonald, Jimmy Palmiotti, Garth Ennis, Nelson, William Christensen or others are currently conscious.

Thankfully there's still at least one other photo of the mysterious 9.5 fingered Dan Buckley from the Dude Ranch two years ago, while others have even more mysteriously disappeared….

And then there's these fine pieces of Photoshopping from Joseph Italian

I must confess, it does seem an odd pattern, skills, talent and aptitude aside, to see Marvel executives demote one of their Fleer drinking buddies to Chief Marketing Manager, while giving his job to a different Fleer drinking buddy.


[Yellow Light]The new "Alpha Flight" series will be written by Scott "-- I AM GAY!" Lobdell, possibly drawn by Clayton Henry. With Fabian Nicieza and Liefeld doing covers over at "Deadpool/Cable," it's like Bob Harras never left!

Days after Bill Jemas moves, CNN are suddenly promoting "JSA," a DC superhero comic. Has the polarity totally flipped?


[Yellow Light]I understand that the prime book in Jemas' promoted Tsunami line, "Sentinel," has been cancelled. And it's also possible that "Inhumans" and Jemas-penned "Namor" will follow right behind. If you want to do something about that (especially considering "Sentinel's" tie-into the new "New X-Men" story) do something about it now.


[Yellow Light]DC may also be going through some serious employment moves as they move offices. On the way, they may take a look through their art drawers. There's that full "Lobo" comic pencilled by Frank Quitely somewhere, possibly sitting in a drawer next to the movie adaptation of "Kalifornia" completed by Duncan Fegredo.

Apparently Levitz likes to over assign work and projects, hence such abandoned, yet finished work lingering.

Maybe they'll find the letter from Robert DeNiro's production company concerning their desire to option "Hellblazer," "Green Lantern" and "Hawkman" - with DeNiro playing the lead for whichever got made, that got frittered away..

DC's film relations haven't always been great as they seem to be right now. Quentin Tarantino offered Andy Helfer to adapt "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" into comics, but Helfer was only interested in original material. Could it be a similar reason Vertigo turned down the chance to adapt Tony Kushner's "Angels In America?"

DC also didn't follow up "Road Warrior" comics, nor both "The Matrix" and "The Lord Of The Rings" comics licenses. I understand Levitz did offer to buy "The Matrix" comics license outright, but that didn't go down well.


[Yellow Light]I understand that Image comic, "The Pro" is currently in development for MTV. Amanda Conner, Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti are all involved in process


[Green Light]Some not-too-happy people at CrossGen. They are a fair few weeks behind on paying even their staff members, let alone freelance and other creditors. Some people are okay to wait, or take partial payments for now - but not everyone.

Still, with a whole bunch of books cancelled, they may not get a choice.


[Red Light]I've heard rumours that Dreamwave may be going down a similar path over payments that companies such as Fantagraphics and CrossGen have recently. The TMNT colourist Ruffulo has left the book, as well as the "Megaman" artist Mic Fong, over due payments. There are reported problems of tiles perhaps not reaching their sales expectations, with reductions being offered as a result to creators. Not all of them take the new terms.

No wonder they're looking for students.

I hear the Capcom titles are also being trimmed. Expect "Darkstalkers" and "Rival Schools" to be published as one shots now rather than the expected series or mini-series and not until well into next year.

One project still heavily on the cards however is the "Witchblade Darkminds II" series.


[Green Light]Ben Templesmith confirmed last LITG's naming of his new solo project, Singularity 7 and released this rather snazzy bit of art…


[Green Light]New Mexico is the location for a new breed of comic publisher. Look for something called Mojo Pop Comics, featuring the likes of Dave Cockrum, Ron Randall, Kevin J West, Ron Frenz, Joe Rubinstein, and Freddie E Williams II.

Their first release will be Dave Cockrum's "T.H.U.G.S."- Tough Huge Ugly Goons, solely for New Mexico. Created, written and drawn by ex-X-men artist, "THUGS" will see wider distribution later next year as part of a Mojo Pop anthology - creator owned concepts in a shared universe of continuity.

Ron Randall will be working on a Native-American based story with publisher, Carlton J Donaghe. Kevin J West tells the story of a normal young Hispanic girl in extraordinary circumstances. Carlton J Donaghe and Ron Frenz have an American West concept, inked by Joe Rubenstein - who also brought Freddie Williams aboard for colouring and inking duties as well as creating a series of his own.

The book will be published in English and Spanish versions.


[Green Light]Hank Kanalz, formerly of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is going to be the new General Manager at Wildstorm. Kanalz is also known for his writing and production work for Image in their glory days.


[Green Light]Fancy some preview pages for the upcoming Image title, "Round Table of America"...?


Oh, okay then.


[Green Light]Jay Faerber has a new original graphic novel coming out from Image called "Dodge's Bullets" with art from James Francis. Here's a sneak peek.


[Green Light]Red Bird is a new project from Ed Brubaker and Jason Pearson. Here's a preview.

On Jason Pearson's Yahoo Group (rapidly becoming the new Delphi Forum as far as proprietary creator message boards goes), he had a few things to say about a disappearing fill-in issue of "Teen Titans" and the new title.

You can also find at the boards, "an upcoming 'Amazing Spider-man' cover issue, a Robin cover for issue 122, a couple of interior pages from 'Global Frequency', my final cover for 'Galactic' #3, also from the initial sketch to the final colors- my first 'StormWatch' cover for issue 17, and finally - a proposal piece for my next upcoming mini-series,' Red Bird'"

"After 'Global Frequency', I was to do 'Teen Titans' #7. Geoff Johns was writing a terrific Starfire story that would cater to my strengths and I was very excited. Everything looked like a go but then the editor Eddie Berganza pulled me off. He said he wanted to avoid 'scheduling conflicts' even though the script hadn't even been finished at the time. I can't tell if my rep as a slow artist played into this decision or not. Probably did. Oh well, easy come, easy go. If you want, go to Geoff's Web site or DC's email and yell your disapproval. On the other hand, Wildstorm has approved a four to five issue mini-series, with the working title for now called 'Redbird'. The character originated from the '96 Dan Norton book 'Black Ops.' I will be plotting and drawing the book, Ed Brubaker (Catwoman, Sleeper) is scheduled to script and Dave Stewart (Hellboy, World's Finest, Conan) is down for the colors."

Ed Brubaker also stars in the most recent Waiting For Tommy, talking with me in an overarcing way about his position in the comics industry. Good reading. Next Wednesday, Bob Morales.


[Green Light]As predicted in this column, Devil's Due has made a significant move to acquiring all of Roaring Studios books, by signing up all the author-based books such as "Hedge Knight." Roaring Studios recently announced they were leaving Image for Devil's Due.

It appears that Devil's Due is also looking to acquire some A-list writing talent for their "GI Joe" line, and indicate that their licensing deal from Hasbro may have quite a bit of unexpected wiggle room as far as content guidelines may go.


[Green Light]At Chris Bachalo's Yahoo Group (see?), Bachalo posted two new covers for "New Mutants" 10 and 11


[Green Light]Bill Willingham ("Fables," "Robin") posted on his blog that next week DC's having all the bat-writers sequestered away without food or water for days. He writes:

"I'll be out of town all of next week, for my first Batman Summit, where the Bat editors lock all of the Bat writers into a hotel room, and don't let us leave or piss for three days, until we all become mentally suggestible enough to agree to cooperate on that big Batman/Sponge Bob crossover they've been setting up for the past six months."

Dunno about you, but I'd prefer the Dude Ranch. Look at the wacky antics they get up to…

What, you thought we weren't going to use it again?


[Green Light]A certain bald headed tattooed future journalist made a return to Warren Ellis' blog DiePunyHumans this week. Go on, see the man in action.


[Green Light]So, with Travis Charest leaving the bosom of Humanoids, could his return to mainstream US comics be by way of a certain biting bikini'd favourite?

Go to Travis Charest's MSN Group for more discussion.


[Green Light]Cully Hamner is Garth Ennis' new "Punisher" artist for a six issue stint, starting with issue 7 of the new MAX series.

Where did we hear about this? Cully Hamner's Yahoo Group of course.


[Green Light]While over on Millarworld, (Mark Millar does not have a Yahoo Group because turning on the computer is a plus for him) Hitch gave bigger and better details about the upcoming issues of "The Ultimates."

"Issue 13: 40 pages, issue 12: 28 pages; a total of 70 pages of non-stop action since issue 11 ended and more than sixty additional story pages since issue one. Just in case anybody hadn't noticed!"

Hitch, back at his at his recently-LITG-plugged Yahoo Group posted concerning the appearance of Brian Braddock (Captain Britain) and possibly his sister Betsy Braddock (Psylocke) in the title.

"As we explore the world wide effects of Super-Heroes-as-Nukes in Volume two (titled 'People of mass Destruction') we will see other nations likewise arming themselves with their own answer to the Ultimates, including Britain. My own preference would be to not use Betsy, but then again I said that about Widow and Hawkeye and they turned out well. I guess if we can find our own distinctive Ultimates-flavour for her, then she will be in, but only if she serves a story purpose.


[Green Light]Look, I've still got some preview pages for the upcoming Image title, Round Table of America, could I just…?

Still no?

Please yourselves.


[Green Light]And just why is Micah Wright asking about the appearances of certain cars in Dukes Of Hazzard? What is he planning - and for whom? Film, television or video game?


[Yellow Light]There's a piece in the new Register available for download here, called "Exit Sandman." It covers Neil Gaiman's appearance at the recent New York Book Fair and the attempts of a credited journalist to battle through DC's PR people to get an interview with the man. Looks like, as reported, DC staff really were acting as bodyguards.


[Yellow Light]Writer Brad Mick has stepped online to announce a host of typos in recent issues of the "Transformers" comic that he's taking no responsibility for whatsoever.

The message at TransFandom goes:

"I was wondering if you could do me a favor? Issue #6 of G1 acutally (sic) has several huge typos one of which is located on page 2. The time should read 3.9 million years ago not 7.9. Can you please announce that to your readers. Also, I've noticed that several postproduction mistakes have lead to a lot of questions about my story, so if your fanbase has any concerns about G1, I would be more than willing to answer all of them. I put a lot of effort to ensure that their are no holes or inconsistencies in my plots and I really want the fans to know that."

And is it true that Brad Mick also goes by the name James McDonough? Enquiring minds enquire!


[Green Light]Right, dammit, it's either these preview pages for the upcoming Image title, "Round Table of America," on Dan Buckley's face superimposed on the naked Spider-Man photos going round the net again right now.

Oh, right, so now you want to see them.

Well, if you're sure…


[Green Light]On November the 1st, it's the London Mini-Con, a one day spinoff from the regular Bristol Convention. I'll be there, probably running a Live-Ing In The Gutters in a nearby pub. Viz Comic will be there in force, as will a number of foreign publishers and creators. Go see the whole list at their Web site. I've just heard that Manual Garcia will be making a rather rare appearance as well. See you there…

And fresh from the success of the comICA exhibition and panels at the Institute Of Comics Art in London, there's a fresh batch of comics inspired shows. Bestselling author, adult-prize-award-winner-for-children's-books, Rowling rival, athiest Lewis Carroll and comics geek Philip Pullman is interviewing Art Speilgelman on Tuesday. For his take on Maus see Saturday's Guardian and on the 28th of October, Man At The CrossRoads and comICA frontman Paul Gravett will present a show called Three Very Big Comic Artists with Steven Appleby, Tom Gauld and Simone Lia.

See you there!


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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