Issue #521


This column turns ten years old on Friday. Whoa. The very first column was a different beast all together from what this column eventually became.

It all started with "Augie's Reviews," a precursor to Pipeline. It was a relatively short-lived affair, consisting of me doing some short reviews each week. (It lasted 38 columns between January 1996 and January 1997.) When I restarted the column after a hiatus, I decided I wanted a little more freedom to talk about more than just the week's comics. Thus, Pipeline was born with the idea of talking about a whole mess of stuff. Whatever interested me that week was what I'd talk about. That's how I've been able to do this for ten years straight.

In honor of that, this week's column is more in line with the first, with a series of short thoughts, mini-reviews, and random comments strung together.

Macenstein's "Mac Chick of the Month" has serious comic book credentials - it's Mandy Amano, David Mack's girlfriend and daughter of Beckett Comics writer, Jeff Amano.

Did you see THE SPIRIT #5 a couple of weeks ago? While it's another great exercise in storytelling from Darwyn Cooke, I was most happy to see another character named "Augie" in a comic book. Granted, this one preferred "August" and only his mother called him "Augie" once, but it's still another step in the right direction.

Did you see the solicitation text for DYNAMO 5 #6 in the latest PREVIEWS? Let me quote a bit for you: "Meanwhile, F.L.A.G. agent Augie Ford makes an offer to someone on the Dynamo 5 team. . . but can Augie be trusted?" I want to add that last part to my .sig file.

I should start an "Augie In Comics" website. Someone has to be tracking this new resurgence in popularity for my name.

Did nobody on the internet read DAREDEVIL #97 this week? It's got all the makings of a blog storm, featuring a woman in her underwear in danger from a man who slings blades. If she winds up hog-tied in the next issue, expect the worst.

Kidding aside, it was another great issue.

THE BOYS #7 is, well, more of THE BOYS. If you like that sort of thing, you'll enjoy the issue. If not, you'll be morally outraged. I laughed at a little more of it than I probably should have. I thought Darick Robertson's art was great, though. There might be a few panels where's there's too much ink and things start to blend together, but I like it when he errs on that side.

I found a job last week. I have begun catching up on the comics I missed in my month-long unemployment.

Picked up DETECTIVE COMICS #832 as part of that catchup, excited to see Paul Dini's latest story. Whoops, it's a fill-in team. Crap!

THUNDERBOLTS has been a roller coaster ride for me so far. I've had my doubts about it, but I really enjoyed the 114th issue, in which the team starts to take some hits. That, I liked.

Read ASTERIX IN BRITAIN this week, the eighth album in Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's fantastic series. I laughed out loud numerous times. It's the perfect blend of wit and vicious visual gags wrapped up into one comic. Some of the reproduction isn't perfect, but Uderzo's cartooning skills are never in doubt, nor Goscinny's talent for wordplay and picking on a country's customs. (He did a solid job on Belgium later in the series, in an album I previously reviewed.)

As always, the Asterix Annotations page for the volume is filled with background material to explain some of the gags.

I still marvel at Uderzo's art style. Too many cartoonists these days work in styles that seem tailor-made for quick adaptation to Flash animation on The Cartoon Network. Uderzo is old-school, with more life and energy in a single drawing than most comic book artists get on a page, or in an entire book. He doesn't take any shortcuts. Jeff Smith is the closest artist I can think of to that style today.

And isn't calling Uderzo's mid-1960s artwork "old school" a little redundant?

Mike Allred's MADMAN, on the other hand, has never done anything for me. I've read bits and pieces through the year, but it's just not my thing.

Frank Espinoza's ROCKETO is a beautiful book, but I've never been able to fully immerse myself into it. I can't explain it, but it always seems like a bit of a drag to get through.

Stopped at the post office recently. Their annual stamp guide book has a Batman (by Jim Lee) cover.

DC is doing a book of covers to 52, following up on their books of covers to PREACHER and, uhm, some other one. Was it SANDMAN? In any case, what other series can you think of that you'd love to have a covers book for? I want non-obvious choices. Give me a GROO covers collection, for example. Or maybe a Giffen-era JUSTICE LEAGUE covers collection. Norm Breyfogle Batman covers, too!

I'm still hoping that Marvel releases the unedited Frank Cho's SHANNA mini-series some day. Does that make me a perv?

Would it be too obvious for the Scarlet Witch to show up and mutter, "Lots More Mutants" in NEW AVENGERS #31?

Remember when UNCANNY X-MEN was the book Marvel featured their most bankable artist on? That was the title that set the bar, and only the biggest names and best talents worked their way up to that. When, exactly, did that cease to be? Was Joe Mad the last?

I want a trade paperback collection of William Van Horn's NERVOUS REX. 99% of you just said, "Who?" The other one percent muttered, "That sounds vaguely familiar."

There's some fun stuff to talk about in the latest PREVIEWS. I can't wait to get going on that podcast already. A hardcover compilation of HARBINGER?!? Who saw that one coming?

Something we talked about on the podcast recently: I have a grudge against P. Craig Russell. His art is beautiful, but his fans know him by his initials, which are the same as "Pipeline Commentary and Review." He was here first, so I'll deal. =)

No, really, why am I paying all this money every month to store my comics collection? Am I ever going to look at any of it ever again? What about the half that I've bought in reprinted format? Why not keep the collections and toss the original issues, which are harder to find and take up more room?

It's tough for me to sell or get rid of some runs of comics. I'm not ditching any comics I had a letter published in. That eliminates a lot of runs of comics from the 90s.

George Khoury's book detailing the history of Image Comics is now scheduled for a June 20th release.

That McFarlane-drawn ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #100 cover wound up selling for $6701. Nice chunk of change, though I thought it would go for higher.

SUPERPATRIOT: WAR ON TERROR #4 is released this week from Image Comics. Take that, ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE ULTIMATES, and any book written by Kevin Smith! This issue was supposed to be out two and a half years ago. OK, so maybe Smith still has Robert Kirkman beat, but this is still ugly.

I don't remember a thing about this mini-series anymore, though it might be interesting to see how E.J. Su's art style has developed between now and then. I'm guessing we'll see a trade paperback of this one eventually. I'll read it that way.

THE RIDE: DIE VALKYRIE #1 is also out from Image this week. It features Brian Stelfreeze's artwork and more of the hideously stiff lettering you've come to expect from this series.

Believe it or not, this would be considered a very long column from the original Pipeline format, which I capped at about 5000 characters back in the day.

I also had to include hard-returns at the end of each line, for the sake of the website, as I recall.

We celebrate ten years of Pipeline next week somehow. See ya then!

The Various and Sundry Tumblelog has the quickest blog entries a boy could make, except for the ones I now make at my new Twitter account.

The regular blog, Various and Sundry asks for your help now, as I shop around for a new HDTV. If you have experiences in this department, please stop by and help me out. Also, come find out why I think Bed Bath and Beyond is an evil chain of stores.

The Pipeline Podcast page will give you links to subscribe to the podcast in a variety of places. I even updated the shownotes with last week's show. Maybe I'll repeat that with this week's. Wouldn't that be exciting?

I still have a MySpace page and a ComicSpace page, though I don't hang out much on either of them at the moment. I check my messages at both places, so you won't be ignored.

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 700 columns -- maybe even 800 -- are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

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