Welcome to Lying In The Gutters number sixty-nine and you know what? I'm not even going to bother with the gags. 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]Well that was an odd week.

Make sure you catch last Thursday's Lying In The Gutters Update, amassing a stack of details that let up to Bill Jemas' replacement at Marvel, as well as details of Ben Templesmith's new solo project.

In Brazil in 1964, the then President Jango, sympathetic to socialist causes, was on a diplomatic trip to China. In his absence, he was deposed by the military, who then ruled for two decades with foreign support.

Then there was this strip, released the week all these Bill stories fell together - Kill Bill Jemas

Bill Jemas, if you're out there, you'll have to let me buy you a pint sometime. Comics will be duller without you.


[Green Light]Newsarama named Dan Buckley, ex of Marvel marketing, and better known for his work at Fleer as the mysterious choice for President of Publishing for fandom. But, as this photo shows, clearly he's always been angling for the job of King.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Especially when it's made of feathers.

It transpires that Mr Buckley is a regular member of what is known as the "Dude's Ranch," a gathering of like-minded souls linked somewhat by the comic book industry who go to some isolated part of the country and drink till they drop. Regulars include Jimmy Palmiotti, Heidi Macdonald, Garth Ennis, Nelson, Amanda Conner and many others.

You can find details of their exploits at Jimmy Palmiotti and Buddy Scalera Web site Brooklyn Bizarro - including the never-miss-a-chance-to-mention-it, Garth Ennis in a massive green leprechaun hat photo.

Buckley is expected to be a far less media-facing figure than Bill Jemas was. Well, with that kind of taste in head gear, I don't blame him, do you? I hear funny, professional, keen to make money, but not keen to grab headlines personally, Dan was however involved in "Heroes Reborn"… so…

This is the thing. How will the new appointment affect Marvel? Most of the policies will remain, as will creative approaches. This is a change made by the same people who've been in the top spots for over a decade. Isaac Perlmutter is still reluctant to expand the publishing budget. The sales and marketing department is still suffering, it will still be business as usual.

As for creative freedom in the books, despite complaints about editorial interference, expect it to get a lot worse with mandates from the likes of Ike Perlmutter and Avid Arad coming down thick and fast with less of a filter.

Still, at least he's got a "wacky" sense of humour.


[Green Light]The reception the No.1 movie "Underworld" received was mixed, to be fair, but the comic seems to have gone down a lot better. Adapted by IDW, it's done enough business that the company will be publishing a number of "Underworld" spin-off comics. The only details I have is that one will be set in the Medieval era.


[Green Light]I understand VP Special Projects Brandon Peterson is leaving CrossGen to pursue a creator-owned series, as well as what other opportunities present themselves. He is considering a number of offers and is looking for a serious publisher. Image is one that has been mentioned a number of times.

Maybe he should try Marvel?

Maybe not.


[Green Light]Those of you summarily dismissed by Epic might consider looking to another publisher currently desperate for talent, to the extent that they're going after students.

Certainly, taking on students for experience rather than for full professional pay will help out any cashflow problems common in the industry of late.


[Green Light]After Lying In The Gutters reported Saul Colt's search for a professional artist for his new project, he received a "flood of email from professional artists."

In the end, he plumped for none other than Bill Maus.

All sorts of people read this column, you know. Maybe even this man…


[Yellow Light]The new writer on "New X-Men" after Grant Morrison? Chuck Austen of course.

Okay, okay, apparently Chuck Austen may well be doing a two-issue fill-in after Grant Morrison on "New X-Men."

After that… well, we'll have to see. Say, Bill Jemas is free now isn't he?


[Yellow Light]It's not often that an in-joke gets packaged as a premium hardcover volume in comics. Aside from that Bill and Joe Year-In-Review a while back I suppose.

But last week, Wildstorm published "Life Eaters" by David Brin and Scott Hampton. It's an adaptation of a prose fiction story called "Thor Meets Captain America," where the Nazis ally with the Norse Gods. A name-change, little DC legal jiggery pokery and suddenly DC are publishing a book starring two of Marvel's leading characters.

It is, naturally, a very different book. But no wonder DC are unwilling to publicise the story's original title.


[Green Light]Some readers are still concerned that their current issue of Flash looks too much like a New Marvel title and fear their red-costumed speedster will not return.

Well, someone felt sorry for them. Here is the first Mike Turner cover for "Flash," issue 207, after the current "Ignition" arc finishes. That should do you, yes?


[Yellow Light]One of Bill Jemas' more significant achievements was his role in getting Marvel product into Wal-Mart, with various levels of success.

As he departs, however, Lying In The Gutters receives word that the company have pulled all the Daredevil Marvel Legends action figures due to "questionable language" in the reprint of the comic that accompanies the figure.

There were complaints made through the Christian Merchant Association that seem to have taken hold. Still, at least they've still got guns. So that's okay.

What the mothers of Wal-Mart would make of this man shopping in their store, I hate to think.


[Yellow Light]Tony Bedard's new book for CrossGen, mentioned in Lying In The Gutters last year, is provisionally entitled "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and it's a spy book, set on Earth, rather that some Sigil-inspired location.

Talking of which, and on the basis that when others zig, it's time for you to zag, I feel like pitching a series to Sigil about a man who tries to be taken seriously, but finds he is haunted by a three year old photo depicting him as a loon, sporting bright feathers and grinning like a man on… well, whatever they're on at those Dude Ranches. I feel like calling it "Peacock" and maybe I could even get Alex Ross on art… only thing is I'd need to give Alex some photo reference… anyone got any suggestions?


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.

Captain America Budget Action Figures
The Best Captain America Toys You Can Buy Without Breaking the Bank

More in CBR Exclusives