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Pipeline, Issue #427

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Pipeline, Issue #427

LEFTOVER ROSEMONT BITS

Some final thoughts after last week’s trips to Rosemont, Illinois for a comic convention held annually there:

Yes, there were more useless pillows on the bed at the hotel.

In case you missed it, here’s the “King Bendis” screen Marvel used in its slide shows. Fellow typography nuts will note the crossbar-“I” used in his name. It could be worse, though.

The display of props from the Batman movie had double quotes used instead of apostrophes. This is the only pic that came out clearly of it, but the problem was seen in all the signs.

Franchesco is still the happiest guy in Artist’s Alley.

A group of us hopped the train and visited Chicago on Saturday night for dinner. We walked over the “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge.” No, that’s not my opinion. That’s the American Institute of Steel Constructions’ plaque at the end of the bridge.

Finally, what kind of convention would it be without another picture of Steve Lieber in his corner of Artist’s Alley? Here we see him hiding from the hordes of fans, hoping a rather large piece of luggage would hide his svelte figure. No such luck, Steve.

Thus endeth the mini-photo parade.

I can’t help it. After conventions like this, I want to sit down and start writing my own comic. Lettering it. Coloring it. Hell, even drawing it.

Thankfully, the feeling passes fairly quickly.

As I sort through the scads of comics gathered up on the convention floors over the course of the last month, there’s a small part of me that gets terribly annoyed over the variant comic sizes. I want everything to be roughly the same size and shape. That just makes it easier to bag and board them, hoard them in short boxes, and scan them in for this comic.

That’s a completely backwards attitude to have. To ask everyone to conform to an arbitrary size for the sake of a reader’s expediency is the ultimate act of hubris. I apologize to all of you now.

That doesn’t make it any less annoying. It just puts me in my place, is all. I know some retailers have the same concern, but for different reason. If you feel the need to conform to the majority’s format for any reason, it should be for the sake of sell-through, and not me.

I had a ton of responses to last week’s column, in which I mentioned my displeasure with the organizers of last week’s convention. It seems I struck a real nerve, but there’s not much we can do about it aside from not going to the conventions and not buying the magazine the promoters’ parent company is responsible for. I listed some alternate conventions, and still missed a few.

The two biggest recommendations I received were for Toronto and Mid-Ohio Con. The problem with the Mid-Ohio Con, though, is that it’s held every year over the Thanksgiving holiday. Family obligations make it difficult, but my utter lack of desire to fly around the country on the busiest travel weekend of the year completely precludes me from attending.

The Toronto Comicon, however, offers up a lot of enticing opportunities for April. I have friends who have visited the city and come back raving about it. If nothing else, I’d like to see if the city is as clean as everyone claims it is. I grew up outside of New York City – I believe “clean city” is an oxymoron. Prove me wrong, Canada.

Don’t know if I’ll be able to make it in 2006, but I’m definitely penciling it in for 2007.

Apropos of nothing: Best Buy has a special deal this week. If you buy the bare bones release of SIN CITY on DVD, they’ll give you a free SIN CITY comic book to go along with it. The cover image in their circular this week shows the cover with a warning label for “explicit content.” What would Frank Miller think of that?

WHAT’S COMING NEXT?

Every month, I look at the latest edition of Diamond’s PREVIEWS catalog for what’s interesting, what’s funny, and what’s worth buying. As usual, I’ll be focusing on the trade paperbacks and graphic novels. As always, consult the catalog for a full listing, and be sure to pre-order what interests you. It might be the only way to guarantee yourself a copy.

Marvel resolicits the first volume POWERS hardcover this month. It’s still $30, but is now due out in October.

That Roy Thomas/Dick Giordano STOKER’S DRACULA mini-series that slipped under most radars will make it to a Marvel Premiere Edition hardcover for $25. I flipped through a couple of issues on the stands. It looked nice enough, but I didn’t feel the need to read it. I might pick it up this way, though, because I’m too much of a hardcover junkie. It’s 192 pages total.

In the same format comes YOUNG AVENGERS Volume 1. It collects the first four issues, featuring art from Jimmy Cheung.

If that’s not enough for you, MARVEL VISIONARIES: JOHN ROMITA JR. is in the oversized hardcover formar at $30. It collects issues of PUNISHER WAR ZONE, DAREDEVIL, STAR BRAND (!), DAREDEVIL, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN, and more. It’s a nice sampler of his art through the years, although you shouldn’t expect too many complete stories. The book also includes the first two issues of DAREDEVIL: MAN WITHOUT FEAR. Now that’s a book whose entire mini-series deserves a separate hardcover.

The internet will groan, but someone must be buying it: NYX/X-23 collects six issues of her own series, as well as the entire cursed seven issues of Joe Quesada’s mini-series. It’s $35 for 352 pages.

Two mini-series I was waiting for the trade on are popping up in October: Adam Warren and Rick Mays’ LIVEWIRES: CLOCKWORK THUGS, YO and Mike Carey and Mike Perkins’ SPELLBINDERS. Sadly, they’re showing up in the $8 digest format. It’s not that my eyes can’t handle the smaller page sizes. I loved LONE WOLF AND CUB, after all. I just don’t like the way the color reproduces on that paper at that size. It always looks muddier.

SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN Volume 6 is called “The Final Curtain,” and collects a random assortment of uncollected Paul Jenkins scripts from the series and beyond. It features art from Mark Buckingham and Talent Caldwell, including the final Jenkins/Bucky collaboration, and even that poker game story that garnered some nice reviews. It’s $15 for six collected issues.

Dark Horse is after your wallet with two new releases.

Fans of NEXUS get their wallets tested with NEXUS ARCHIVES VOLUME 1. This new hardcover compiles the first three issue black and white series, as well as the first four issues of the full color series from Capital Comics. The book is described as black and white, but I hope that I wouldn’t be paying $50 for a black and white rendition of color material. Even in hardcover and at the 7 x 10 page size, that’s enough to kill the book to me. Otherwise, I’ll consider it.

Speaking of wallet-testers, FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY LIBRARY II is due out on November 30th. That one will run you $150, and includes the ART OF book, as well as the last three stories in the series.

DC brings up a number of odd thoughts this month.

* There’s nothing more disturbing than misreading solicitations. Seeing an image of Batman doing the Bat-Toosie next to text advertising a new mini from “horror master Steve Niles” is just wrong.

* Many comics have regular schedules. They can be described as weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Can’t we come up with a decent descriptive phrase for series like ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER, which maintains a six weekly schedule? Write in with your best suggestions. I don’t think “sesquimonthly” is a word.

* DC confuses me. So many of their INFINITE CRISIS tie-ins are not “must reads,” but merely add “emotional resonance” to the stories. Ergo, I don’t need to read them. But everything is a tie-in to the crossover, so I don’t need to read any DC titles to get the crossover? So confusing.

I have an easy way around it: I’m not going to talk about any of those tie-ins this month. There are other things we can cherry pick around there to get some decent reading.

For example, we’re getting the hardcover edition of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s CATWOMAN: WHEN IN ROME. It’ll look nice on the bookshelf with THE LONG HALLOWEEN and DARK VICTORY. The six issue mini-series joins those volumes on November 2nd, for just $20.

SOLO #7 is by Mike Allred, featuring lots of DC superheroes in, no doubt, silly positions. $5 gets you 48 color pages.

Most everything else ties into INFINITE CRISIS or a Grant Morrison side project. I only wish I were kidding. Well, SON OF VULCAN is still clean. If you want to read a DC Universe superhero book, there are plenty of trades of old stories I could recommend, I’m sure. I might just do that one of these weeks.

TOMORROW STORIES SPECIAL #1 might be the highlight of the solicitations catalog. It features a brand new 16 page Jack B. Quick story, complete with Kevin Nowlan on art. Cobweb’s origin is also told, and a new Greyshirt story is rightfully dedicated to Will Eisner. It’s $7 for 64 pages.

Dave Gibbons’ Eisner-nominated original graphic novel, THE ORIGINALS, is released in softcover on October 26th. It will be $18.

Image Comics will have their anniversary hardcover coming up next month, but we have another interesting hardcover to look at here first: THE SPAWN COLLECTION, Volume 1. It collects SPAWN #1-8 and 11-12. Yes, this means it does skip over the best-written issues of the series to date. Ah, well. It does, however, contain 240 pages of glorious Todd McFarlane art. It’s the kind you only see second and third generation knockoffs of on SPAWN today. The book is $40, due out in time for Halloween.

HEROES AND VILLAINS: THE WORLD AND ART OF MICHAEL GOLDEN is a new 64 page black and white art book. This is particularly good timing since, to be nice about it, McFarlane’s art is so heavily influenced by Golden’s. It’ll run you $17, but is signed and numbered by the artist.

THE WALKING DEAD SCRIPT BOOK #1 is the first new script book we’ve had in a while, now that I think about it. It’s different from the others, though. This one is a simple 40 page black and white comic book for $4. It will reprint the scripts to the first six issues of Robert Kirkman’s beloved series.

Also: BATTLE HYMN gets its first trade, collecting the initial five issues of the new B. Clay Moore/Jeremy Haun/Ande Parks series. The one-time Beckett series, RUULE: GANGLORDS OF CHINATOWN gets a trade for $20. That one collects 224 pages worth of comics goodness, featuring art from Mike Hawthorne and Rick Remender. (You can’t swing a dead cat inside a comic shop without hitting six books he’s working on these days.) And SAVAGE DRAGON,VOLUME 12: LAST RITES is the latest trade, telling the story of Dragon’s near-marriage.

Be sure to check out the promo image for AGE OF BRONZE #1 on page 144 this month. I laughed out loud, but I’m a geek like that.

About Comics has Yet Another 24 Hour Comics Day book. This one highlights 2005’s gems, including work by Zander Cannon, Lea Hernandez, Ben Avery, and more. It’s $25 for nearly 500 pages. If you’re wondering how they make the book that cheaply, it’s easy: It measures 5 x 7 inches.

The latest from AiT/PlanetLar is SUNSET CITY. This is Rob Osborne’s look at a retirement community and one man’s rebellion against it. $10 gets you the whole 80 page graphic novel. You can also still order Osborne’s 1000 STEPS TO WORLD DOMINATION, which I once recommended.

From Devil’s Due comes THE ART OF JOSH BLAYLOCK, a new $10 black and white book. It’s only 48 pages, but I mention it here because I love the subtitle, “Punk Rock Girls, Rayguns, & Pissed Off Penguins.” Sold!

Gemstone gives us Don Rosa’s latest sequel to a Carl Barks story. In UNCLE SCROOGE #347, we get “Return to Forbidden Valley.” It’s Scrooge versus the dinosaurs, and it’s all yours for just $7. And have I mentioned yet how happy I am that DuckTales is coming to DVD in November?

iBooks has a new graphic novel from Joe Kubert, called JEW GANGSTER: A FATHER’S ADMONITION. This 128 page hardcover book is about, well, a Jewish gangster. It’s black and white, $23. Between this and YOSSEL, I wonder if Kubert is becoming the new Will Eisner: Real life stories set in Jewish communities, told in self contained graphic novels. All the while, he’s busy with a school to teach the next generation of comic artist. Good work.

IDW is up to the fourth volume of GRIMJACK reprints from John Ostrander and Tim Truman. It’s another $25 for 184 pages.

Oni Press brings us John Layman’s latest creation, ARMAGEDDON & SON, a 96 page graphic novel set in a world of spies, nuclear apocalypse, mirth, and mayhem. It’s ten bucks for that one, drawn by Dave Dumeer.

From Speakeasy Press — the small publisher that just keeps gobbling up books from other small self-publishers — comes ELK’S RUN COLLECTED EDITION, Volume 1. It’s $8 for the first three issues of the series, with a new cover from Darwyn Cooke.

What does Joe Chiodo do when he’s not painting comic covers? Check out page 400. THE ADVENTURES OF WONDERBABY: FROM A TO Z is a new children’s book with illustrations from Chiodo.

On page 406 comes the solicitation for ASTERIX “YET TO BE TITLED” HC. It’s the first new album in four years, the text says, but it won’t be unveiled until October 14th. So, for now, we know only that it’s going to be a $13 hardcover.

That doesn’t beat the solicitation on page 552 for SUMMER SCI-FI BLOCKBUSTER SEQUEL DVD, which is clearly meant to be STAR WARS III. When PREVIEWS went to press, LucasArts hadn’t officially announced the disc yet. Diamond had to be subtle about it, even though everyone knew what they were talking about. Ah, the games we all play. Credit where credit is due: Mike blogged it first.

Randy Bowen is soliciting a 15 inch tall Thanos statue, complete with Infinity Gauntlet. Looks impressive. It’s $200. See page 471 for a large pic of it.

There is a lot of SAMURAI CHAMPLOO merchandise and references in this month’s PREVIEWS. I really need to finish watching that DVD I have around here, just so I can move on to the next one. And the one after that.

Pipeline returns next Tuesday with More Stuff.

Check the Pipeline message board for updates on the Pipeline Comic Book Podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes now, too! You can still hear last week’s podcast through the MP3 file. I apologize, but this week’s podcast will likely run a day or two later than usual.

Don’t forget about the VandS DVD podcast.

Various and Sundry continues its link dumps, and all political discussions are at VandS Politics.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 600 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They’re sorted chronologically.

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