1. SUPERMAN ADVENTURES
It was an issue I had been looking forward to since Mark Millar mentioned it in an interview some months back. SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #41 came out on January 12th, composed of 22 separate one-page stories, allowing a variety of artists to illustrate the stories. Some worked better than others, as expected. Some were funny, some were merely informative, and a couple were clever. All in all, it was a nice mix.
I'm stealing that format for this column.
2. DEDICATED TO YOU FETISHISTS AND ROCK STARS
In response to PCR #136's rant against the use of spandex in comic book movies, Bret Taylor chimes in with this scary thought:
"Couldn't agree with you more on the spandex vs. leather issue. And for all the bedwetting fanboy geeks who write in to disagree, I've got one thing to say: ever seen a Scorpions video? THAT'S what guys look like in Spandex. Nuff said?"
I think so.
3. SUPERBOWL SUNDAY
Everyone watch the Superbowl this Sunday and root for the Rams! Why? Because Nightcrawler is their quarterback!
Oh, wait, the QB's name is Kurt Warner, not Wagner. Nevermind.
4. CORRECTIONS IN A FLASH
Vincent Murphy does the honor on this correction:
"I know you'll get a ton of letters on this, but in [PCR #136] you incorrectly identify the TV Flash as being Wally West. On the series, Barry Allen was indeed the Flash, though they deftly mixed some of the Wally West era idiosyncrasies into the mix."
Yes, I'm an idiot. I loved that show, too. Thanks for pointing that out.
5. RISING STARS, SHIFTING BACKGROUNDS
Here's something else I missed! Justin Banks writes in after my complaints on the RISING STARS #4 art team:
"The actions on page 7 did seem physically impossible, but I'm surprised you didn't mention the biggest continuity error: the characters are first seen sitting in chairs at a round table but eventually they're in a booth with a rectangular table! We never see them move, nor is there dialogue to explain the change."
I'll have to double check, but I don't remember seeing Rob Liefeld's name listed as layout artist…
6. DREAM TEAMS?
Why is it so hard to put together a team consisting of a good writer and a good artist? Why do we usually get trash put together with brilliance, to take it to an extreme? Why is it that J. Michael Straczynski's magnum opus - which Top Cow is spending plenty of money on in production values and promotion - gets such crap art? Why can't we get a good artist on there, as well? Or did Top Cow blow the budget on the writer?
In an upcoming Pipeline column, I'll be taking a look at the few select times when the fates and planets aligned to gave us a perfect blending of writing and art in the past ten or twelve years. I've got a list of a half-dozen right now. E-mail me now with your suggestions.
7. WATCH YOUR WALLETS!
Marvel just announced that their base comic price is moving up from $1.99 to $2.25. I remember when I first began collecting comics more than ten years ago thinking that we'd never reach the $2 mark. That sterling analysis was made just after comics hit the $1 per mark. The market truly is sunk when you can't buy a comic for under $2 anymore, aside from the ARCHIEs. The direct market is not saving us, folks.
Don't let DC fans gloat, though. They'll follow suit just as soon as they can. They've been working towards it for a while as it is. They've got titles going for $2.25 already. The rest will follow within the next three months, just to give them the competitive advantage and good press for a couple of months inbetween.
8. LOOK MA! A REVIEW (SORTA)
THUNDERBOLTS #36 is, as usual, written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Mark Bagley and Scott Hanna. This one does nothing but bring up questions. There is one bright gleaming step in the right direction, though. If I'm reading into the events of the issue right, there's a chance Jolt isn't dead after all.
At this point, T-BOLTS has to stand up as being one of the most consistently good titles out there today. It's three years old and going strong, without too big a drop in quality ever. Most series go into lulls at one point or another. T-BOLTS may have had an off issue or two scattered across the three years, but it's never sagged. The consistency of the creative team is amazing in this day and age. Busiek, Bagley, and Nicieza have all proven themselves to be workhorses in the past.
9. COMICS AND GAME SHOWS
I'm a huge fan of game shows, so the current game show craze is right up my alley. Yet I'm forced to flinch when I watch a professed comic book collector on TWENTY-ONE last week not know that "Odin is the god of thunder" is false. I mean, wasn't that the copy on the cover at one point: "Thor, God of Thunder"?!?
At least he knew that Hi and Lois and Beetle Bailey were both creations of Mort Walker.
10 . SUPERMAN SNORES
I read SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #98 this week, part four of the 5-part Y2K storyline. I nearly didn't make it through. It's just plot plot plot. It's a problem the SUPERMAN books had going before the new teams took over. The great thing about the new styles is that the books have personality. This one reads like another cookie-cutter Superman story. There's not much flair for this book. I hope this is a momentary lapse of a title caught up in the middle of a larger story arc and that next month something a little more "quirky" happens.
11. CRICHTON COMICS?
FARSCAPE: THE COMIC. I think it would work. After all, Rigel is a puppet already. Might as well make him a comic book character.
I'm a frustrated Farscape fan. I've only seen the first six. SciFi doesn't seem able to put together a marathon after that with episodes in order. I wouldn't be opposed to a DVD boxed set of the first season though.
But it would make for a quirky comic, and draw from a varied pool of fans. Besides, it's straight science-fantasy. It's not just more super-heroes.
12. SUPERMAN: THE DVDs
(UGH, another Superman reference!)
There are two DVDs out there right now which collect the entire output of classic Fleischer cartoons. The cartoons are good and their presentation here is great. If you've only ever seen these things on public domain VHS tapes, do yourself a favor and grab these DVDs. They've digitally cleaned up the originals and they look fabulous. The second DVD even includes some of the racier material, as the Superman cartoons became war propaganda. You won't see them on TV. You should be able to get them each in the $15-$20 price range. And there's even a boxed set with both of them included.
13. SKIP IT
It's bad luck.
14. CATCH THE CAMEO
Did you see Darick Robertson's latest cover on THE NEW WARRIORS #6? Check out the little guy walking away in the background. It's a certain journalist from Robertson's regular gig!
15. FRANK MILLER ASKING FOR IT?
I wonder if lots of people are upset with SIN CITY: HELL AND BLACK after the latest issue, #7. My first thought after reading it was that people were going to give him hell. It's not bad enough that this storyline so far has not been one that reads well month-to-month. But then this issue is in color and is a 20-page dream sequence, containing cameos from just about every mainstream character Miller has ever worked on, and then some! It just seems a little self-absorbed.
16. MY SECOND THOUGHT
Then my "process junkie" side kicked in and wondered how Dark Horse would handle the eventual collection of this story, with one color section. Then I realized they could probably print one color signature and bind it in with the rest of the story. Might increase the price by a buck and create additional production issues.
Maybe I should just read comics and enjoy them for what they are. ::sigh::
17. GET THEE TO A MALL
As of today, only 11 shopping months left 'til Christmas.
18. X-MEN COSTUMES
In case you haven't seen it yet, Harry Knowles has posted images of most of the X-Men cast in their suits over on Ain't It Cool News. Given that they're not properly lit and they're posed photos, they don't look bad at all. But you can see why Mystique's costume required the addition of scales. From afar you can't tell that she's wearing anything at all. Looks like just body paint.
19. ASTRONAUTS' PUBLISHER NOT IN TROUBLE
I've written about the direct market and its faults before, so I freely give writer Larry Young the floor for a second to promote his new stuff:
"Hitting stores this Wednesday, January 26th, the first issue of the next story arc [ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE: SPACE 1959 #1] is notable not only for its flip cover (one by series artist Charlie Adlard and the other by Kieron Dwyer, both colored by John Heebink), thereby providing the excitement of a variant cover for the reader and none of the headache to the retailer, but also for the fact that it was free overshipped to retailers by 50%. I'm pretty sure this is the first time a publisher other than Marvel or DC has free shipped a comic book to retailers... and I've done 'em one better by paying the freight charges the retailers incur on such an overship. It's free, baby! If a retailer ordered AiT: SPACE 1959, he received another 50% of his initial order, that he can use to give away to interested readers, to sample the book... he can sell 'em and keep the money as my little thank you, and hopefully he'll increase his orders when he sees there's 50% more market for the book than he thought... heck, he can do whatever he wants with them because they showed up in his store at no cost to him.
"It's actually quite an innovative program, and one that's pretty much unheard of for a non-mainstream publisher. Like the script collection, I did it to get attention to the book, without that silly gimmick crap, and hopefully the retailers will respond to it..."
I hope so, too. We've managed to trap ourselves into the direct market in more ways than I care to count, to the point where Marvel is now pricing its comics over $2. Every little bit to help undermine it, or to use it in new ways, is welcomed here at Pipeline Central.
20. OPEN SOURCE SPIDEY
For those of you who, like me, are Linux fans, take a look for the Spider-Man theme available for the K Desktop Environment. It's rather garish, but nice to see there, and comes with the standard Linux-Mandrake distribution.
21. STARRING IN THE DAREDEVIL MOVIE...
Joe Quesada's DAREDEVIL has been in the news a lot this week with its scheduling difficulties. Leave it to Pipeline to ignore it all and ask if Gina Gershon will be portraying Echo in a Daredevil movie? Take a look at the cover to DAREDEVIL #10.
Pipeline2 returns on the 28th with another column dissecting and opining on some segment of current comics culture. Join me then, won't you?