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2015’s Year in Review

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2015: THE PIPELINE YEAR IN REVIEW

As is tradition around these parts, we take the last week of the year (roughly) to look back at everything we’ve covered here at Pipeline World Headquarters over the previous 12 months.

I looked back at every column from 2015, surprising myself at (A) how much stuff I’ve written, (B) how much of it that felt like it was 2 months ago was really January, and (C) all the stuff I forgot I had read, let alone written about.

In addition to that, a couple of reviews I looked up to include in this column turned out to have been published in 2014. Yup, time flies quickly in comics land.

With no further ado, let’s get to the Year in Review.

LOTS OF RE-READING

In 2014, I started two different “Epic Re-Reads” of series past: the Todd McFarlane issues of “Amazing Spider-Man” (see the full list here) and the Frank Miller/Jim Lee “All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder” series (see the full list here). In 2015, I finished them both off. I even had a brief return to “The McSpidey Chronicles” with a look at a penciled version of “Amazing Spider-Man” #298 and how it compared to the printed version. Here’s part one and part two of that.

A mini-reread came in the form of “Mister Majestic,” (part 1, part 2) centering on the great run of issues by Joe Casey and Ed McGuinness, but also covering the classic “Wildstorm Spotlight” story that preceded it by Alan Moore. One of these days, I’ll have to finish the series off completely with a look at the final issues of that series and perhaps even the later DC miniseries that attempted a “re-boot” the character.

I REVIEWED SOME NEWER STUFF, TOO!


Eric Canete’s series at Image Comics, “Run Love Kill,” got two write-ups this year. The first part centered on his use of music on the comics page. The second part was a more general appreciation for the art and coloring on the second half the series.

Another Image series, “Alex + Ada” wrapped up. I enjoyed the whole run, though I didn’t talk about it much. I did make sure to cover that last issue, though.

Skottie Young (with Jake Parker) did an awesome job on the first “Rocket Raccoon” collection.

Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen joined art styles in “Spawn” to initial mixed reactions from me.

Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s “The Private Eye” leapt from the web to a gorgeous printed edition earlier this month.

I also had what I think was the internet’s first review of “Paper Girls” #1 last month. Speaking of which, the next issue of that series is out next week.

MULTIMEDIA

I watched some movies and TV shows this year. Sadly, I haven’t gotten to “Jessica Jones” yet. But I did see these:

And, finally, Disney is bringing DuckTales back. I’m still not sure whether to be excited or scared by that, but I better figure it out soon because I know they’re staffing up now.

THE ON-GOING WORLD OF FRANCO-BELGIAN COMICS

I didn’t do too much with the world of Franco-Belgian comics this year, but a couple of major developments sure made that world more interesting to me.

First, Comixology began translating French comics on its site. Delcourt’s stable of titles is diverse and deep, and Comixology has been bringing fresh weekly batches of titles to market for the last few months. (There was a follow-up to that column.)

Second, I discovered Izneo.com, which is basically the Comixology of French comics. They even accept PayPal and American accounts. With frequent sales, an easy web interface, and loads of interesting titles, I’ve spent more on digital comics there than on Comixology this year.

I DREW SOME STUFF


I really got back into my art this year. I’ve always been a drawer, but never taken it too seriously. Over the course of this year, I focused on it a bit more and had several breakthroughs on drawing things. It doesn’t mean I’m a good artist yet, but it does mean I feel more comfortable with some of the things I’m drawing, and newly uncomfortable about the things I can’t. Knowledge is both a blessing and a curse.

It started back in January with a proposal for “The All New All Different Avengers” that would live up to that name.

I practiced drawing hands a lot.

I found some old anthropomorphic drawings I had done twenty years ago.

I went digital. I talked first about the Huion tablet I bought back in the spring, and then the Yiynova monitor I picked up a couple of months ago that’s my main drawing tool of choice these days. (It was a decision made after a lot of thought. And I still wonder if the iPad Pro will change the game for anyone. I still see software being the issue there.)

Software-wise, nothing beats Manga Studio 5. Nothing.

I participated in Inktober for a second time this year, and covered the highlights of that effort in five parts. I was between the tablet and the monitor, so all the inking was with a real world brush pen.

I picked up inking tips from Jake Parker’s on-line inking class.

And, almost randomly, I posted some of my fan art for “Wayward” and “Reed Gunther.”

Here’s some “Star Wars” fan art I did for Sketch Dailies that got retweeted and seen more than just about anything I’ve ever drawn:

ET CETERA


Other highlights and thought pieces that don’t fit into neat categories:

2016: THE YEAR AHEAD

I don’t know what’s coming up. That’s half the fun of it, isn’t it?

Wait, I do know one thing: In July, I’ll write Pipeline #1000. That blows my mind.

I think there will be more art to share. Some more animation stuff will leak in, just because I see such a strong kin-ship between the two industries these days, with plenty for the comics world to learn from the animation world. I have another idea for an “Epic Re-Read” that would have a completely new format. I believe I’ll be reading more Franco-Belgian comics, some of them in actual French. I have a half-written column I found in my archives while putting this column together that I forgot I hadn’t finished, so I have that up my sleeve…

I believe Pipeline is one of the most art-friendly columns on the net. Coming from a time when so many columnists were frustrated comics writer wannabes looking to make a name for themselves (not me) to a time when the common complaint seems to be that internet reviewers ignore the artists, I’m proud to focus strongly on the art, coloring, and lettering in comics. That’s not going to stop anytime soon.

I used to aim for reviewing the most number of collected editions I could in a year. That’s not my thing anymore, though I still enjoy reviewing interesting comics. It does often feel like the superhero comics world is moving away from me, but I’m not an anti-superhero snob.

If doing a podcast again was at all feasible from a time perspective, I’d jump all over that. I have a couple ideas there that are killing me not to run with.

It does feel like Pipeline is in a bit of transition again, though. Where it ends up, I don’t know.

I can’t wait to write this column next year to see where it went, though!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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