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Waiting For Tommy
Hello, I'm Rich Johnston. I write a rumour and gossip column for the comics industry. This isn't it, Lying In The Gutters appears, here. Been doing it for about ten years for a variety of different people and even this week someone threatened me by saying they'd blacklist my name across the comics community. Like that hasn't happened fifteen times over. Nice to get the threat though, haven't been threatened like that for a good three months. As to what this column is - well it will likely morph into something very different. But for now it's a place for me to ramble, review, profile, basically get to know you all better.

But first lets talk about me. Clearly, as the most prominent rumour monger in the industry, I clearly deserve a comic book or my own. Naturally, I don't think anyone would argue with that. And from one of the top two (and no, Barnes and Noble, I don't mean Viz or Tokyo Pop). So I submitted a few pitches to Joe Quesada, to see what he's make of them. Joe swiftly responded to each and every proposals, offering constructive criticism and general praise.

Proposal 1:

Punisher: The Maternity Hospital Where I Was Born

Straight out of the womb, Frank Castle takes no shit. No sooner has the cry gone out "It's a boy, Mrs Castle", than Frank is scuppering a hospital drugs ring, throttling an incompetent surgeon with a still-uncut umbilical and exposing a scam involving a very large bedpan. And they're still looking for bits of the doctor who dared to give little Frankie a smack on the ass as he took his first breath.

Joe Quesada's Response: This is without a doubt an Ultimate title although we may have to cut the umbilical scene (get it!) to make it palpable for Walmart.

My Response: How dare you try and stifle my creativity? The umbilical cord is totally symbolic. Of what I'm not sure, but give me a few hours and a bunch of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and I'll come up with something.

Proposal 2:

Spider-Man: Chapter Zero

Uncle Ben is revealed to have been abusing Peter Parker as part of a paedophile ring including Jarvis and Willie Lumpkin. Parker jacks in his Spider-Man identity, writes an tell-all autobiography implicating Aunbt May in the whole sordid affair and goes on Oprah, where he cries for lots of money.

Joe Quesada's Response: Take out the paedophile stuff and just insert "Written And Drawn By John Byrne" and Peter will have plenty to talk to Oprah about.

My Response: I don't know, Joe. I think people would twig straight away - you don't think my work could match up to the wonder and glory of the likes of Lab Rats, do you?

Proposal 3:

Little Logan: The Origin Of Wolverine's Penis

Trapped with Jean Grey on a bleak desert, Wolverine resorts to chopping his own penis off, repeatedly, to give Jean Grey something to eat. Each time it heals back, he chops it off again. After Cyclops rescues them, one of Wolverine's penises is left behind. His healing factor kicks, creating a new Wolverine out of his own severed member. Eventually they meet up and have a big fight. One is incinerated but no one is really sure which survived. With hilarious consequences. And Jean had a packet of Reese's Pieces in her back pocket all the time, anyway.

Joe Quesada's Response: So in the end both combatants survive and one ends up being the new Cyclops?

My Response: I've got my one-eye on you, Mr Quesada... only I get to make the bad puns around here.

Proposal 4:

Captain America: Polka Dot

The history of Steve Rogers, pre-super solider seru,m as an unfashionable fashion designer with unspeakable bespoke tastes. His life changes when he gets a feeling that stripes and stars may be the in thing in his industry, as Mr Hitler goes about his business in Germany. But will those stripes make Roger's customers look fat?

Joe Quesada's Response: This new version of Steve Rogers seems interesting and could become a beautifully conflicted character when he realizes how much better the Nazi's dress.

My Response: Adolf Hitler's tailor by day, America's number one super soldier by night! Conflict! Creates! Character! I'll send you a fifty page bible for this character by lunchtime.

Well, folks, it looks like comic book stardom awaits. What's that? Don't quit my day job? Too late, I did a month ago.

But this week I started a new job, writing radio advertising for an agency that works with some very big names. This is a story about just one of them.

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