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Pipeline 2, Issue #9

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment

PRELUDE TO SAN DIEGO

We here at Pipeline Headquarters – a
small wing off of the towering CBR
Worldwide HQ – are getting extremely
excited about the impending arrival of
the San Diego Comic-Con. (I don’t
care what they call it officially. I will
always refer to it as the “SDCC” until they move it elsewhere.)

With this, my tenth anniversary of comics
collecting and San Diego’s 30th Anniversary of
convention-dom, the two are finally colliding.
For the first time in my life, I will be in a
different time zone. For only the second time in
my life, I will be on an airplane. For four days,
I’ll be surrounded by nothing but comics geeks.

The SDCC web site has recently been updated with the preliminary con schedule.

Imagine my thrill when I saw three different panels I’d like to attend all
happening at the same time in the first hour of programming at the
convention. Yup, this is going to be fun. Or tragic. Take your pick.

The fun starts at noon when Dark Horse hosts a Frank Miller Q&A
opposite a Kurt Busiek Q&A opposite (at 12:30) Tom Brevoort hosting
a Marvel Heroes Q&A. I’m also curious about Mark Texeira’s
“Watercolor Workshop” going on at the same time, but that’s easily
outdone by the other panels. The irony is I might not go to any of these.
Thursday’s a prime day for shopping, from what I’m told. Do that before
the weekend crowds come and all.

Rather than go through this whole thing hour-by-hour, here are some
highlights to next week.

PANELS THAT ARE MUST-SEES

THURSDAY

3:00 Does Comics Journalism Still Matter?-What
happened to comics journalism in the nineties? In the
eighties passionate discussions raged in the letters pages of
the comics press. In the late nineties those forums host
whimpers. What is the state of comics journalism as we
approach the next century? Is it still vital? Will the comics
magazine of yesterday become the web site of the future?
Gary Groth, Michael Doran, Steve Darnall, Beau
Yarborough, Jim McLauchlin Room 16A

I would also suggest they add the
disintegration of good magazines like
AMAZING HEROES and, to a
certain extent, COMICS SCENE,
only to be replaced by the utter tripe
that WIZARD has turned into lately.
Another lesson for the Wizard people:
Comics Scene had glossy pages and
lots of colorful images, but it was also
filled with actual text. Text. You
know? That stuff you read? And the
interviews had more to do with comics than breakfast cereals and fast
food joints.

[Patented Pipeline Cheap Shot Alert] Come to think of it – what does
Wizard have to do with journalism?!? [End Alert]

In the meantime, I’ll be there to cheer Beau on. Hope to see you all
there!

FRIDAY

2:00 J. Michael Straczynski-Straczynski has been one the
strongest contributors to science-fiction television in the
nineties with his smash series Babylon 5 and its follow-up
Crusade. Find out what he’s been working on since B5 in
this discussion session. Room 6AB

I doubt this will include any of the usual JMS fare like the B5 trailers
and music videos and the like, but he’s still the man who brought
television to the fans unlike any other. I was lucky enough to see him at
I-CON in Long Island a couple of years ago. He does fantastic
presentations.

The good news about this is that it seems a convention has finally
realized that “Joe’s people” come en masse. Room 6AB must be the
largest room in the convention center. The same room hosts Heather
Donoghue and her BLAIR WITCH PROJECT presentation directly
afterwards. I’m sure that’s expected to be the Big Thing at this
convention.

SATURDAY

10:30 Continuity in the Nineties: Revising, Recycling, or
Regurgitating?-Is continuity still vital in today’s superhero
comics? Does maintaining decades of continuity lead to
creative solutions or inhibit the creative process? Kurt
Busiek, Joe Kelly, Erik Larsen, Grant Morrison, Mark
Waid. Room 2

In my mind, you’ve got 5 of comics’ best writers in one room together.
Throw Warren Ellis, Don Rosa, and Peter David into that mix and I
could die a happy man twenty minutes later. =)

A Pipeline reader recently asked for my opinions on continuity. I have
some. (Don’t I always?) But I think I’ll take notes at this panel and write
that column afterwards.

12:00 Storytelling Workshop Learn the fundamentals of
good storytelling when Steve Leiber and another artist to
be named lead this informative workshop. Room 12

If you want to be a comics artist, do us all a favor and go to this one. I
have no art aspirations, yet I’ll most likely be in attendance.

2:00 Pro/Am Trivia Challenge Content pending. Room 16B

2:00 Joe Casey: Writing for Comics Room 13

2:00 Futurama-O-Rama Now, for the first time ever you
can join the creators of Matt Groening’s mega-hit
primetime animated series Futurama for a rare glimpse
behind the scenes! This is your chance to find out
everything you’ve been dying to know about Fry, Leela,
Bender, Dr. Zoidberg, Zap Brannigan, and the rest of
your favorite New New Yorkers. An episode of the show
will be screened, followed by a Q&A session with the
people who made it happen, including writers Eric Kaplan
and Eric Horsted, voice talents Phil Lamarr, Billy West,
and John Dimaggio, and animation producers Rich Moore
and Claudia Katz. Moderated by Bill Morrison. Room
6DE

Whoever did this bit of timing deserves to be
shot! Sheesh. I think I’d be able to skip
Futurama, but the Trivia Challenge is
something I’ve always heard about from
USENET year-after-year and I’d like to
experience it now. This year’s match of the
Black Ink Irregulars versus the Purple Pros
includes Len Wein, Mark Waid, and Kurt
Busiek. The fan team boasts Tom Galloway, David Goldfarb, and Jim
Drew. But I’m also a sucker for a comics writing session.

SUNDAY

2:00 Fandom on the Internet How has the internet
impacted fandom? Tom Galloway, Sadie O McFarlane,
Kim McFarland. Room 13

I don’t know much about pre-Internet fandom. It’s only what I’ve read
that I know. Heck, even when I first started with comics in 1989, my
fandom was on-line with local networked BBS’s. But this is an
interesting panel.

ODDITIES

There are also a number of panels that sound like a rip-roaring hilarious
good time. My favorite in this category goes to Gary Groth and his gang
of malcontents:

FRIDAY:

4:30 The Comics Journal Performs A Public Service-In
the wake of the kind of crippling disaster that has befallen
the recent comics market, there comes a time of mourning,
a time of recover and healing, but most of all a time of
recriminatory finger-pointing. Someone must take the
blame, and the Journal has bravely appointed itself to cast
the first several stones. Methodically and objectively sifting
through the many backstabbers and opportunists who
have set the tone for the nineties comics industry the
Journal has formed its own Nuremburg-style tribunal to
bring to light the most deserving criminals. Gather the
mob. Light the torches. Sharpen the guillotine. Let the
cleansing begin. Only after we have gnawed the bones of
our enemies can we wipe the blood from our hands and
face the dawn of a new day. Room 16A

…and slightly earlier on Friday:

3:00 Create an issue of Wizard: The Comics Magazine
Do you think you have what it takes to work at Wizard?
Prove it! Join Wizard Senior Staff Writer Jim McLauchlin
along with Editor-in-chief Pat McCallum and learn how
they create columns and features by working with them.
Help plan regular columns like “Character Profile,”
“Casting Call,” the ever important “Wizard News” and
much more. The work done at this panel will be
incorporated into a future issue of Wizard, so be there!
Room 7A

I’d like to go there and suggest a feature in the magazine that includes
both text and something about comics. Not just big bright glossy photos
and ‘articles’ on wrestling or movies.

All I have to do right now is make it through the next 5 or 6 days. =)