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Pipeline2, Issue #45

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Pipeline2, Issue #45

MY BIGGEST FAN

I get mail. Quite honestly, most of it is positive. This week I got some of the opposite from die-hard Frank Miller supporters, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic. This week I wanted to show you all two e-mails I received from the same gentleman a couple of weeks back.

Sometimes, the negative mail is so laughably missing the point of the original articles the writer is attempting to savage, that I feel the need to share. Plus, I couldn’t help but enjoy the irony that I’d be letting him write half a column for me while I cashed the check.

I love my job.

Anyway, here I give you e-mail from Pipeline’s Biggest Fan, complete and unedited. (OK, I took his name out. Don’t want any of my more vocal supporters to harass him. I appreciate your thoughts, though. =)

“I feel bad about holding my tongue now. When you wrote that ridiculous column touting Erik Larsen (???) as the best writer-creator over people like Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Will Eisner (how can you have never read Will Eisner and have the gall to write a column about comic books? I bet you’ve read goddamn thing Jack Kirby ever wrote), etc., I was quiet, figuring you were entitled to your opinion (how you can think Erik Larsen is better than ANYONE is beyond me–unless you think of comics as means to masturbation). But to state that Sins of Youth is the best crossover that DC has done in years is the epitomy of asinine. It is truly ridiculous and genuinely stupid to suggest that Sins of Youth, a ridiculous Freaky Friday rip-off that is so self-consciously cute and smirky as to be painful, is better than the Tangent or Amalgam crossovers which promoted creativity and genuine re-evaluation of old ideas. Of course, maybe your memory only extends to the similarly cutesy JLApe annual crossover of last year which was quite worse that Sins of Youth. If so, then you’re stupid for different reasons. And the thing is, I’m not even a superfan of Amalgam and Tangent, I just couldn’t let you blither on spouting your idiotic opinions like some fourteen-year-old who thinks that the end-all be-all of comics is John Byrne’s run on X-Men and can’t wait for the new Iron Man and Wolverine to come out. How old are you? I can only hope you’re under 20 because that’s what you sound like. If you are of drinking age or older than you should be genuinely ashamed of yourself if the crap you spout in your column are your actual opinons and not some promotional pap so you get new comics free.”

And three days later:

“You are everything that is wrong with the comics industry today.

“You are part of the problem.

“Just quit now, you’re never going to understand or be able to change.”

Ignore the nonsensical portions of the above e-mails, which I assume are due to missing words. Ignore the factual inaccuracies. Ignore the self-important pompous tripe he also felt the need to include. What you’ve got left is – not much.

And for what it’s worth – I’m 24, but don’t drink.

EISNERS COMMENTARY

Don’t expect a thorough or comprehensive review of the Eisner nominations here. If you want to see all the award nominations, go check out Beau Yarbrough’s COMIC WIRE from last week. There are a couple of categories, for example, for which I’ve read none of the nominated titles. This is completely subjective, and I’m not going to second-guess the nomination committee, either. This is a pretty good list overall, and there’s no way to boil down the thousands of comics published last year to just 5 per category without missing somebody somewhere…

Best Short Story

“Bye-Bye, Muffy” by Roberta Gregory, Naughty Bits #28 (Fantagraphics)

“Cluttered Like My Head” by Evan Dorkin, Dork #7 (Slave Labor)

“How Things Work Out” (Greyshirt) by Alan Moore and Rick Veitch, Tomorrow Stories #2 (ABC)

“Letitia Lerner, Superman’s Baby Sitter” by Elizabeth Glass and Kyle Baker, Elseworlds 80-Page Giant (DC)

“Margolis” by Etgar Keret and Yirmi Pinkus, Jetlag (Actus Tragicus)

“Orange Glow” (Concrete) by Paul Chadwick, DHP Annual ’99 (DHP Jr.) (Dark Horse)

“The Unbearableness of Being Light”(Jack B. Quick) by Alan Moore and Kevin Nowlan, Tomorrow Stories #2 (ABC)

This is tough. It reminds me of the Oscars, actually, and the nominations for best song. You really really want to see the controversial one (“Blame Canada”) win just to stir up some excitement. But there is another song or two that could really win without causing too much disappointment. So here you have the infamous, scrapped “Letitia Lerner” story as the cause celebre. It’s a great and funny story that deserves some sort of award, and it might as well be this one. On the other hand, “How Things Work Out” floored me. It’s an amazingly well done comic, brilliantly laid out and confounding in its timeline. Given Rick Veitch’s issues with DC, you could also make a case for this one being a slap in the face to DC. He said he’s off the book after the first year, citing previous issues with DC. Also, the Jack B. Quick story mentioned is entertaining, enlightened, and firmly grounding in fantastic uses of science.

I have to admit that I haven’t seen the other nominated stories. For me, though, it’s a battle between Kyle Baker and Alan Moore/Rick Veitch. I’d probably give it to the Greyshirt story, and give Baker another award in another category. (Should Baker win, though, I can’t wait to see the acceptance speech and the standing ovation. 😉

Best Single Issue

I Die at Midnight by Kyle Baker (Vertigo/DC)

Promethea #3: “Misty Magicland” by Alan Moore, J. H. Williams III, and Mick Gray (ABC)

Stray Bullets #19: “Live Nude Girls!” by David Lapham (El Capitán)

Tom Strong #1: “How Tom Strong Got Started” by Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, and Al Gordon (ABC)

Transmetropolitan #27: “Monstering” by Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, and Rodney Ramos (Vertigo/DC)

I’ve read all but the STRAY BULLETS story. I think TOM STRONG is the weakest in this category. PROMETHEA has been a wonderful metatextual exploration of the genres, not to mention a rollicking good time. I DIE AT MIDNIGHT was another wonderful outing from Baker, although certainly not his strongest work to date. I think I’ve give this one to TRANSMETROPOLITAN. “Monstering” was a very strong issue and TRANSMET at its finest.

Best Serialized Story

Eightball #19-21: “David Boring” by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics)

Evil Eye #1-4: “Reflection in a Glass Scorpion” by Richard Sala (Fantagraphics)

100 Bullets #1-3: “100 Bullets” by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (Vertigo/DC)

Tom Strong #4-7 (Saveen/Ingrid Weiss time travel arc) by Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, Al Gordon, and guest artists (ABC)

Usagi Yojimbo #28-29: “The Courtesan” by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse Maverick)

I’ve only read 100 BULLETS and TOM STRONG, but I’m definitely rooting for 100 BULLETS here. It’s the best new series of last year. Oh, but that’s another category. This first story arc was rather strong, though. Ah, hell, give it to the rabbit for all I care.

Best Continuing Series

The Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware (Fantagraphics)

Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday (Wildstorm/DC)

Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (Vertigo/DC)

Promethea by Alan Moore, J. H. Williams III, and Mick Gray (ABC)

Top Ten by Alan Moore, Gene Ha, and Zander Cannon (ABC)

Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, and Rodney Ramos (Vertigo/DC)

Ellis and Moore both run the risk of splitting their own votes. I, however, would unflinchingly give this one to TOP TEN. The book still amazes me. No, it’s not winning any awards for timeliness, but when it comes out, it is golden.

Best Limited Series

Clan Apis by Jay Hosler (Active Synapse)

Heart of Empire by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse)

Heavy Liquid by Paul Pope (Vertigo/DC)

Scene of the Crime by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, and Sean Phillips (Vertigo/DC)

Whiteout: Melt by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber (Oni)

CLAN APIS. Hands down. I enjoyed WHITEOUT: MELT a lot, too. And I really hope Steve Lieber and Greg Rucka don’t get shut out at the ceremony again this year.

Best New Series

Louis Riel by Chester Brown (Drawn & Quarterly)

100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (Vertigo/DC)

Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday (Wildstorm/DC)

Promethea by Alan Moore, J. H. Williams III, and Mick Gray (ABC)

Top Ten by Alan Moore, Gene Ha, and Zander Cannon (ABC)

I’m going to go with 100 BULLETS here over TOP TEN. They’re both really great High Concept books, and I’m not sure why I’m choosing BULLETS over TOP TEN, given what I said above… I think I’ll reward timeliness here and let that put 100 BULLETS over the threshold.

Best Title for a Younger Audience

Akiko by Mark Crilley (Sirius)

Batman: Gotham Adventures by Scott Peterson, Tim Levins, Craig Rousseau, and Terry Beatty, and others (DC)

Clan Apis by Jay Hosler (Active Synapse)

Herobear and the Kid by Mike Kunkel (Astonish Comics)

Simpsons Comics by various (Bongo)

Superman Adventures by Mark Millar, Aluir Amancio, Terry Austin, and others (DC)

This one is tough. Heck, it’s probably the most difficult category to judge. I’d be inclined to give it to BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES because I think Tim Levins is doing such an amazing job, and Peterson had some wonderful stories last year. HEROBEAR AND THE KID is potentially The Next Big Thing, but with only one issue out, I’m not going with it.

Best Graphic Album-Reprint

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (Eddie Campbell Comics)

Geisha by Andi Watson (Oni)

Land of Nod Rockabye Book by Jay Stephens (Dark Horse)

300 by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley (Dark Horse)

Whiteout by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber (Oni)

I have four of the five here and all are great stories. I’m still miffed that WHITEOUT got shut out last year, so maybe I’ll root for it this year here. 300 deserves another award, but I think it deserves an award in a later category. (See below for more.) If WHITEOUT doesn’t get it, give it to FROM HELL.

Best Writer

Ed Brubaker, Scene of the Crime (Vertigo/DC)

Warren Ellis, The Authority, Planetary (Wildstorm/DC); Transmetropolitan (Vertigo/DC)

Mark Millar, Superman Adventures (DC)

Alan Moore, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Promethea, Tom Strong, Tomorrow Stories, Top Ten (ABC)

Greg Rucka, Whiteout: Melt (Oni)

It’s a toss-up between Ellis and Moore. They write such completely different things, it’s tough to compare. Rucka and Millar have done some excellent work, too, but not at the same level as Ellis and Moore. I haven’t read any of Brubaker’s stuff. If you throw in STRANGE KISS to Ellis’ list of nominated books, then I’d easily give the award to Alan Moore. =) On the other hand, Moore’s LoEG does nothing for me. So they each get a strike, but given ABC’s rank in my mind as the single finest line of comics, I’d give Alan Moore the award here.

Best Writer/Artist

Dan Clowes, Eightball (Fantagraphics)

Andre Juillard, After the Rain (NBM)

David Lapham, Stray Bullets, Amy Racecar Special #2 (El Capitán)

Brian Talbot, Heart of Empire (Dark Horse)

Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library (Fantagraphics)

Erik Larsen. Next! =)

Best Writer/Artist-Humor

Sergio Aragones, “Xt’Tapalatakettle’s Day” in Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #5 (Bongo); Sergio Aragones’ Groo & Rufferto (Dark Horse Maverick); MAD magazine

Kyle Baker, I Die at Midnight (Vertigo/DC); “Letitia Lerner, Superbaby’s Babysitter” in Elseworlds 80-Page Giant (DC)

Mark Crilley, Akiko (Sirius)

Jay Hosler, Clan Apis (Active Synapse)

Lewis Trondheim, The Nimrod; “The Beach,” Measles #3 (Fantagraphics)

This one is Sergio versus Kyle, with Jay Hosler just a half-step behind. Whoever wins, I’ll be happy.

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team

Travis Charest/Richard Friend, Wildcats (Wildstorm/DC)

Ricardo Delgado, Hieroglyph (Dark Horse Maverick)

Gary Gianni, Gary Gianni’s Monstermen (Dark Horse Maverick)

Gene Ha, Top Ten (ABC)

Kevin Nowlan, “Jack B. Quick,” Tomorrow Stories (ABC)

J. H. Williams III/Mick Gray, Promethea (ABC)

When the pixelation from the computer scanning isn’t obvious, I’d go with Kevin Nowlan. Charest and Friend can put together some beautiful stuff, but I don’t think they did so in Wildcats last year. Gene Ha deserves a nomination, too, although I wonder why Zander Cannon’s contribution wasn’t acknowledged in that nomination. Williams and Gray do wonderful and creative work on PROMETHEA every month, but I think the draw there is more the layout that the art itself, so I’ll pass on them. (Hey, I’ve got to cut these choices down from 5 to 1 somehow!)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)

Kyle Baker, I Die at Midnight (Vertigo/DC); “Letitia Lerner, Superbaby’s Babysitter” in Elseworlds 80-Page Giant (DC)

John Bolton, Gifts of the Night (Vertigo/DC)

Alex Ross, Batman: War on Crime (DC)

Jill Thompson, Scary Godmother: The Mystery Date (Sirius)

Kyle Baker is my man here.

Best Coloring

Laura Allred, Madman Comics (Dark Horse Maverick); Happydale: Devils in the Desert (Vertigo/DC)

Laura Depuy, The Authority; Planetary (Wildstorm/DC)

Angus McKie, Heart of Empire (Dark Horse)

Kevin Nowlan, “Jack B. Quick,” Tomorrow Stories (ABC)

Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library (Fantagraphics)

I’m rooting for Laura Depuy, who really does contribute a whole lot to the books she colors. But if Chris Ware wins I wouldn’t be terribly upset. As nice as I think the “Jack B. Quick” stories look, it’s not for the coloring that it stands out. It’s the writing and art. The coloring works and all, but it’s nothing spectacular. This is not so with ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY or THE AUTHORITY and PLANETARY.

Best Lettering

Dan Clowes, Eightball (Fantagraphics)

Todd Klein, Promethea, Tom Strong, Tomorrow Stories, Top Ten (ABC);The Dreaming, Gifts of the Night, The Invisibles, Sandman Presents: Lucifer (Vertigo/DC)

John Roshell, Kurt Busiek’s Astro City (Homage/Wildstorm/DC)

Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo; Sergio Aragones’ Groo and Rufferto (Dark Horse Maverick)

Richard Starkings/Comicraft, Avengers; Avengers Forever; Avengers 1 1/2; Daredevil; Inhumans (Marvel); Witching Hour (DC)

Todd Klein. I’m sick of Starkings and his gang. Stan Sakai does nice stuff, too, but Klein does it all.

Best Cover Artist

John Cassaday, Planetary (Wildstorm/DC)

Frank Cho, Liberty Meadows (Insight Studios)

Glenn Fabry, Preacher (Vertigo/DC)

Dave McKean, The Dreaming (Vertigo/DC)

Alex Ross, Batman: No Man’s Land, Batman: Harley Quinn, Batman: War on Crime; Kurt Busiek’s Astro City (Homage/Wildstorm/DC); ABC alternate #1 covers

I’m sick of Alex Ross’ covers by now. Or maybe I’m just annoyed that he’s become one of those cover artists like Art Adams who’s too important to draw sequential stories anymore. I’m going with Frank Cho. Not only is he a terrific artist, but those are really nice covers.

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Publication

Comic Book Artist (TwoMorrows)

The Comics Journal (Fantagraphics)

The Imp #3 (Chris Ware issue) (Dan Raeburn)

When do the Eisners for best web sites get announced? (Yup, that’s a joke, son.)

Best Publication Design

Cave-In, designed by Jordan Crane, Tom Devlin, and Brian Ralph (Highwater Books)

Opus, vol. 1, designed by Barry Windsor-Smith (Fantagraphics)

Sandman: The Dream Hunters, Georg Brewer, design director, Amie Brockway, art director (Vertigo/DC)

300, designed by Mark Cox (Dark Horse)

Veils hardcover, Georg Brewer, design director, Amie Brockway, art director (Vertigo/DC)

300 wins, hands-down. OPUS is a very nice looking package. Don’t get me wrong. But the 300 hardcover design adds so much more to the story. Seeing the pages doublewide like that really works. Plus, it’s a hardcover without an annoying dust jacket!

IN THE PIPELINE FOR NEXT WEEK

Your guess is as good as mine, but expect a lot of reviews. I’ve got some left over from last week’s books still, too!

In the meantime, go discuss the Eisner nominations at the Pipeline message board. Let me know what you think of the nominations. Who are you rooting for? Who do you think deserves to win? Who do you think will win? (Those three can sometimes be mutually exclusive.)

See you back here on Tuesday!

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