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Rich Johnston

For other people of the same name, see Richard Johnston (disambiguation).
Rich Johnston
Rich Johnston at the 2007
New York Comic Con
Born (1972-11-21) 21 November 1972 (age 43)
Gloucester, England
Area(s) Cartoonist, Writer
Notable works
Lying in the Gutters
Bleeding Cool

Rich Johnston (born 21 November 1972 in Gloucester, England) is a writer who writes about and within the comic book industry.

Early life

Johnston grew up in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, in direct view of the Ilkley television transmitter. He subsequently moved to London.[1] He studied politics at University of Newcastle upon Tyne.[citation needed]


Johnston was an advertising copywriter until 2009.[citation needed]

Gossip columnist

Johnston began writing as a gossip columnist for the USENETnewsgroups in 1994 as Rich's Ramblings.[2] The Comics Journal declared Johnston as having claim to being "the oldest extant comics news reporter on the Internet."[3]

He then took the column onto the burgeoning World Wide Web, with Rich's Revelations on the now-defunct Twist And Shout Comics website. After a few years, he was headhunted by Marvel Comics's David Bogart to write for NextPlanetOver as The Gutter Press. However, when DC Comics threatened to withdraw advertising, the column was dropped.[citation needed]

Instead, Johnston started a new comics gossip column, All The Rage for Silver Bullet Comic Books, now Comics Bulletin.[4]

Lying in the Gutters

Johnston was then headhunted by Jonah Weiland to write a new column Lying in the Gutters at the Comic Book Resources website,[5] posting rumours and gossip, with a traffic light icon imparting advisory caution as to the possible credibility of each rumour: a red light denoting the least likelihood of accuracy, a green light for the most credible reports, and a yellow light for those that fall somewhere in between.

Scoops included the first visual of Two-Face from The Dark Knight movie, Alan Moore's decision to pull The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from DC Comics to Top Shelf Comics as well as his engagement to Melinda Gebbie, and the existence of DC Comics titles 52 and its various spinoffs, Countdown, Final Crisis, "One Year Later",and "Batman RIP". He also first publicly revealed payment problems from the now defunct CrossGen, Dreamwave, and Dream Engine. The column ultimately came to an end after 211 instalments.[6]

Bleeding Cool

On 27 March 2009, Johnston announced his launch of the website, which he described as "Lying in the Gutters, four times a day, seven days a week." It is funded by Avatar Press. He recruited the likes of Warren Ellis, Si Spurrier, Adi Tantimedh, Josh Adams, Alex De Campi and Denny O'Neil to provide regular content for the site.[citation needed]

Johnston's writing does not often impart sources. Johnston notes, "I often obfuscate sources to hide their identity—even deny that a story has sources on many occasions." However, his column reported first on many topics of note regarding the comic book industry, something The Comics Journal attributes in part to "Johnston's discerning intelligence and an attitude that sometimes approaches iconoclasm." Johnston sees himself as part of a tradition established by the "British tabloid press, one that seeks to entertain rather than inform..."[3]

Bleeding Cool was nominated for the "Favourite Comics Related Website" Eagle Award in 2010[7] and 2011 and won in 2012. It was named as one of PC Magazine's top blogs of 2010.[8] and Technorati gave it a perfect 1000 score for influence in the comics category.[9] Rich Johnston was awarded the Shel Dorf Award for Best Comics Blogger for his work on Bleeding Cool in 2012.[10]

Comics creator

Johnston has written a number of comics, mainly consisting of one-shots and graphic novella. The first consists of parodies, such as Watchmensch[11] and Civil Wardrobe (alluding to Marvel's 2006 story Civil War).[12] The second include his original work, both creator-owned and those based on licensed properties, like Doctor Who: A Room With A Deja View,[13] The Flying Friar (based on the life of Joseph of Cupertino)[14] and Chase Variant which started life at Mam Tor's Event Horizon.[15]

In 2007, he wrote the IDW trading card set "George W. Bush and the Weapons of Mass Distraction."[16][17]

He wrote and drew a number of pages for the Popbitch book and curated the Harrods Comic Timing exhibition of original comic book artwork.[18]

For 2009, he has a story scheduled for the Spearmint anthology from Image Comics with Sleaze Castle writer/artist Terry Wiley.[19] He wrote a short story 'Rustlin Up Business' for the second volume of Outlaw Territory, published in February 2011.

He has also written Kate and William: A Very Public Love Story a comic to commemorate wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, published by Markosia.[20]

In 2012, he wrote a comic serialised in Dark Horse Presents, entitled The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne, with art from Simon Rohrmüller. He also wrote a series of parody comics for Boom! Studios, taking on Marvel Studios films, reinterpreted at Iron Muslim, Scienthorlogy, Captain American Idol and The Avengefuls.

Johnston writes and draws weekly cartoons for the UK blogger Guido Fawkes, appearing each Monday and collected at[21]

Performance work

Johnston contributed to the British Channel 4 sketch show Smack the Pony as well as for BBC Radio 4's satirical sketch show Week Ending and the stage/TV show The Sitcom Trials.

He appeared as an interviewee in After the Chalk Dust Settled, a documentary included on the DVD release of Steven Moffat's sitcom Chalk.[22]

He was a zombie extra in Shaun of the Dead and a congregation member in the movie Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.[23]


Johnston wrote briefly for newspapers like The Guardian[24] and magazines like PlayStation World[25] The now-closed publication Punch Magazine named him Young Writer of the Year Award in 2001.[26]

In 2006, he appeared as a character in the comic book CSI: Dying in the Gutters as a source of "inside joke" humour by featuring him as the victim in a murder mystery set at a comic book convention and using other notable real-world comics creators as suspects in the crime.[27] He also appeared as a character in the Jodie Picoult novel, The Tenth Circle[28] and made a more major appearance in the Leverage novel The Con Job.[29]

His poster campaign for the Churches Advertising Network in December 2006 generated coverage,[30] including a leader in the Times Newspaper[31] and an appearance on BBC's The One Show.

His comics and gossip work has also been referenced in the media, as a comics commentator,[32] a gossip reporter,[33] and a comics creator.[34]

Personal life

Johnston's daughter Eve was born in April 2005.[35]



  1. ^ Johnston, Rich (4 July 2013). "Adi Granov: Man Of Ilkley, Yorkshire". Bleeding Cool.
  2. ^ "Lying in the Gutters". Lying in the Gutters. Comic Book Resources. 1 July 2002. 
  3. ^ a b Dean, Michael (2005). "Online Comics Journalism: Does It Exist? Part 3: Rich Johnston's Honest Lying". The Comics Journal (266): 21–23. Archived from the original on 5 May 2006. 
  4. ^ Johnston, Rich (31 July 2000). "It Lives!". All the Rage. Silver Bullet Comic Books. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  5. ^ CBR's Lying in the Gutters Archives. Accessed 18 January 2008
  6. ^ "Lying in the Gutters". Comic Book Resources. 26 May 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "2010 Eagle Awards nominations". The Beat. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  8. ^ Griffith, Eric (11 November 2010). "Our Favorite Blogs: 2010". PC Magazine. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Bleeding cool". 21 September 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Ekstrom, Steve (5 March 2009). "Who Skewers the Watchmen? Rich Johnston on Watchmensch". Newsarama,. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  12. ^ Singh, Arune (14 August 2006). "Rich Johnston Changes Minds In "Civil Wardrobe"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  13. ^ Marshall, Rick (17 April 2009). "EXCLUSIVE: 'Doctor Who: Room With A Deja View' Writer Rich Johnston Talks TARDIS And Time Lords". Splash Page. MTV. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  14. ^ Dowling, Tim (3 December 2007). "A saint with the powers of Superman". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  15. ^ Wigler, Josh (10 December 2009). "Johnston Pursues His "Chase Variant"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  16. ^ Weapons of Mass Distraction. Accessed 27 January 2008
  17. ^ Maev Kennedy (21 June 2007). "Report on George W Bush cards". London: Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  18. ^ Harrods Comic Timing Exhibition 2008. Accessed 17 October 2008
  19. ^ Image Comics Solicitations for January 2009. Accessed 17 October 2008
  20. ^ Good, Oliver (16 January 2011). "Wills'n'Kate: the comic book". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  21. ^ site. Accessed 27 January 2008
  22. ^ After the Chalk Dust Settled, featurette on Chalk Series 1 DVD,, prod. Craig Robins
  23. ^ Rich Johnston at the Internet Movie Database. Accessed 18 January 2008
  24. ^ The Guardian, Feb 28th, 2001 Accessed 27 January 2008
  25. ^ PlayStation World UK. Accessed 27 January 2008
  26. ^ Sequential Tart interview, November 2002. Accessed 27 January 2008
  27. ^ IDW's Dying In the Gutters' site. Accessed 27 January 2008
  28. ^ Film Ick. Accessed 2 April 2013.
  29. ^ Bleeding Cool. Accessed 2 April 2013.
  30. ^ Google News Cache. Accessed 27 January 2008
  31. ^ Times newspaper, September 15th 2006. Accessed 27 January 2008
  32. ^ Times newspaper, August 20th, 2007. Accessed 27 January 2008
  33. ^ The Village Voice, March 7th, 2006. Accessed 27 January 2008
  34. ^ G2, The Guardian, December 3rd, 2007. Accessed 27 January 2008
  35. ^ Johnston, Rich (7 June 2005). "Lying In The Gutters". Comic Book Resources.
  36. ^ Official Dirtbag site. Accessed 27 January 2008
  37. ^ Official X-Flies site. Accessed 27 January 2008
  38. ^ Official Holed Up site[dead link]
  39. ^ "Official Flying Friar site". Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  40. ^ Civil Wardrobe download. Accessed 27 January 2008


External links