This August, Rich Johnston is going to be murdered. Stone cold dead.
At least - though not necessarily only - in the pages of IDW's spin-off comic from the CSI TV series.
Rich is a good friend, and the genuine number one crap-stirrer in the comics industry. I've boasted a link to Lying in the Gutters since this blog started, and am proud of any association to the most intelligent, readable, provocative comics column on the web.
LiTG started in 2002, but Rich was already a well known voice online by then. His more recent comics - The Flying Friar and Chase Variant, for example - might be better known, but I will always have a soft spot for his sci-fi sitcom Dirtbag, which he really should revive, and The X-Flies, which was partly a sweetener for other, more esoteric strips published in the same book, but generally funnier and more adventurous than any of them.
These days Rich strikes me as something like Armando Iannucci spliced to Army Archerd. Something as sharp as Rich's writing shouldn't be so on-the-pulse - sticky accidents are inevitable. He is reputedly hated in the comics industry, but he's much loved in the real world.
It has been announced that the CSI: Dying in the Gutters comic will be written by Steven Grant and illustrated by Stephen Mooney, and run for five issues. Seems that Rich is going to get his just desserts at a comics convention, and that the murderer is going to be a famous name in the comics industry. Suspects include Joe Quesada, Robert Kirkman, Jim Mahfood, Peter David and Ed Brubaker. Personally, I think Brian Michael Bendis will be the man to pull the trigger in real-life, but I guess he didn't even want his likeness appearing on the same pages as a cartoon Rich.
Right then. Rich has been fictionalised in Jodi Picoult's novel The Tenth Circle and now a CSI comics mini-series. This time tomorrow I'll have my pitch together for a Rich Johnston short film. I've had an idea for a few years, but now, I better move quickly before somebody beats me to it.