Pipeline, Issue #1


I think I've finally found a form in which I can return to reviewing comic books. Maybe it's a sign of the limited attention spans of our time, but I like this way better than long-form reviews. What am I talking about?

One of my favorite editorials to read is in the Friday newspaper. Thomas Sowell does a piece called "Musings on the Passing Scene" in which he notes random things, brings up assorted points, makes good points. That inspired me. That, and a desire not to have to go on at length with my opinions. Sometimes, I just have something short to say and feel guilty about having to construct a whole long boring review in order to say it.

So here goes nothing. The web page hosting all this fun and merriment, by the way, is located at the URL listed at the top of this page as always. This column will be available on it eventually.

One site I make sure to visit a couple of times a week for news and reviews is Charles Le Page's New Comics Release List site. http://www.comiclist.com

It's tough constructing an interesting web site about comic books without handy access to a scanner. All you're left doing is stealing images off of other sites. And that's not quite fair.

UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL '97 gets my pick of the week if only for the fact that it includes a pin-up by Don Rosa, Uncle $crooge artist extraordinaire, of J. Jonah Jameson as Uncle $crooge. (Rosa, it should be noted, got to keep the original piece of artwork, unlike what would happen with a Disney comic. He auctioned it off for a literacy charity.)

Rob Liefeld is back with JUDGMENT DAY ALPHA, in which Vogue's shoulder pads mysteriously appear on page 16, while she is not wearing them anywhere else in the issue. Even Rob Liefeld, though, can't completely ruin an Alan Moore script. But he comes close. I'm pretty sure that last page wasn't quite what Alan Moore had in mind when he wrote the script. However, Moore is asking some interesting questions about Youngblood and the media and the O.J.syndrome. Let's see how he answers them.

And in researching that last paragraph, I'm struck by the lack of page numbers on comics these days. Why is that? My first thought is that it looked better when later collected in TPB form. But since the comics are increasingly lettered by computer, wouldn't it be easy enough to add in page numbers, via the computer, which could then be taken out easily later on when collected?

Page numbering does in no way hurt my enjoyment of the classic Spider-Man tales brought us by ESSENTIAL SPIDER-MAN VOL. 1, which I've finally started to read this summer. Vol. 2 is due to ship soon.

And I've finally finished reading ESSENTIAL X-MEN Vol 1. (I note there are no page numbers here. Huh. Nor in ESSENTIAL WOLVERINE 1 or 2.) However, Marvel is quite up front with us when it shows us where one issue ends and the next begins. ESSENTIAL X-MEN VOL. 2 comes out in August and I couldn't be happier.

Is Terry Austin as close to perfection as inking gets?

Ditto Joe Rosas for coloring? Todd Klein for lettering?

Am I the last one left annoyed when a #1 issue is published with an ad in place of a letters column or text page? I like reading those blurbs writers or editors come up with in the first issue of a new series. Kudos to HEROES FOR HIRE for not forgetting this. They had a text page in the first issue. And a fine first issue it was, too, by the way. This one comes recommended to Marvel fans. It's steeped in continuity, but explains enough as it goes.

I remember reading NAMOR when John Byrne resurrected Iron Fist. That was always a fun series. Then Jae Lee took over the art, the story dragged, and the art got more and more confusing as time went by.

However, Jae Lee's HELLSHOCK is an excellent book, and a must-read. And if ever issue 3 comes out, I'll be here to tell you about it.

Speaking of lateness, what happened to Joe Quesada? Will Jerome K. Moore, currently scheduled as inker of Warren Ellis' TRANSMETROPOLITAN, last long on that title? His inking didn't last long on Sovereign 7. (Nor Tom Orzechowski's lettering, for that matter. What happened there?) His STAR TREK covers were masterpieces. But he's always been rather painstaking about his work.

Kevin Maguire's TRINITY ANGELS doesn't quite know what it wants to be yet - bad girl comic, funny comic, or slapstick comic. But in any way, I still like it.

And QUANTUM & WOODY is a must-read.

I wonder when the next one of these columns will get written?

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