Pipeline, Issue #176


There are weeks when nothing grabs my attention so hard that it becomes the centerpiece of that column. That problem is so large this week that this column is a series of links, short reviews, random thoughts, and observations.

Look at the bright side - you can probably breeze through it so quickly that you'll get to Gail's "You'll All Be Sorry" column this week in record time!

THE COMICS JOURNAL#227 is must-reading this week for anyone interested in Carl Barks or the world of Ducks. This is the ultimate tribute to the man, including words from Don Rosa, Jeff Smith, Bruce Hamilton, Mike Allred, Steve Geppi, and more names that would make your mind boggle. It's an amazing lineup. There's also interviews with Barks from throughout his career, letters he wrote, videotaped interview transcripts -- the whole nine yards.

There's also a lot in there about Comic-Con International: San Diego and WizardWorld. But the Barks stuff, printed inbetween a glorious Barks oil painting reproduction on the wraparound cover, is good stuff.

Next month will see the now-delayed 100 BULLETS feature interview, for all those of you who were waiting for that.

Chuck Dixon has a little rant on DC marketing, which you can read off the "Rant" link in the upper left-hand corner of the front page of Dixonverse.com. (The site uses frames, so a direct link is impossible.)

[Generation X #70]GENERATION X #70, from the word processor of Brian Wood and drafting board of Steve Pugh, is still my favorite of the Counter X books. Even with the sometimes sub-par Pugh artwork, it's the most interesting group of characters with the easiest to understand concepts of the line. There's no mind-numbing mystical voodoo going on here. No real super-powers being thrown about. No high science fiction. Just a good book with interesting characters. Art Adams is doing the covers, which should be a nice bonus, too.

Pugh seems to be enjoying adding an extra element of campiness/cattiness to the books. The White Queen and her sister enjoy kicking each other silly while wearing mini-skirts. Each kick is shown from a different angle that obscures the nether regions. The students run around in the Catholic schoolgirl uniforms without regard to appearances. (Yes, it's understandable in the storyline - finding the bomb is more important than retaining dignity.)

Oh, and I don't think any of the main characters have worn spandex in quite a few issues now. It's quite remarkable for a Marvel comic.

For those of you art lovers, William Michael Kaluta's web page has some wonderful images up to look at. Of course, this only makes me doubly sorry that I missed his panel in San Diego this year.

(Thanks to Ben Herman for pointing this site out.)

NIGHTWING #50's high concept can be boiled down pretty easily to "In a pinch, which uniform does Dick Grayson wear? Nightwing's? Or his policeman uniform?" Chuck Dixon throws that all at you over the course of a double-sized issue that's not without its sstartling moments, character death, and high action. Oh, and Greg Land draws the whole double-sized issue, so you know it's worth looking at, if nothing else.

Barry Kitson has an interesting article on the next step of penciller/inker interaction: Inking computer scans. I'm fairly certain it was being done before Gorilla, but they may be the most high-profile example of it on a mass scale. (For example, Whilce Portacio has been working this way with his inker on X-FORCE. That was mentioned in the ROUGH CUT: X-FORCE book a few months ago.)

[Sidekicks #2]You might want to take the time to reread SIDEKICKS #1 to refresh your memory and to give yourself a running start on the second issue. That will help. Otherwise, it's a pretty nice piece of work. If you like manga, I think you'll like this. If you like teenage deconstructionist super-heroics, I think you'll like this. It really is entertaining, and even with all the little character bits, there is an overall arc to the story.

I just wish that this book, like MONSTER FIGHTERS INC, would come out more quickly so that it could capitalize on some momentum.

If I had to play the handicapper, I'd guess that this one has a greater chance of long-term success, based on its subject matter and creator involvement. Takeshi Miyazawa is an excellent draftsman, who's not afraid to draw all the background detail in.

Morrison writes INVISIBLES. THE MATRIX comes out not too much later and proves wildly popular. Morrison complains that the movie ripped off his comic.

The X-MEN movie comes out. Everyone compares it to THE MATRIX, and it's wildly popular, grossing over $150 million. The comic book doesn't relate to the movie and the movie audience doesn't come into the comics shops.

So Morrison is hired to write X-MEN, to help bring it up to date with the movie audience, who expect something MATRIX-like.

Anyone else see a thread of irony here?

Speaking of MATRIX comparisons - they're almost as overused as X-FILES references were a couple of years ago. For a time there, it seemed like every comic book and every television show with the slightest genre edge was being called a cross between THE X-FILES and --insert another show's name here--.

Nowadays, that first title is THE MATRIX.

Has anyone else watched DARK ANGEL on FOX recently? I finally caught up on it this past weekend. It's a nice show, and I'll give it a couple of more weeks to develop. I read a number of reviews that reported on the fight scenes in this series being "MATRIX-esque."

I don't see it. For starters, they don't show any of the really cool stuff because of the limitations of a television budget. When Max is running along the wall or moving real fast, they just use a couple of quick edits to hide it. There's been one large jump that was shown slowed up a little in the pilot movie. That's about as close to THE MATRIX as it comes.

I suppose it's easier for the television critics to put any show today with a fight scene in this new category.

In case you weren't aware, every Pipeline that's ever been written for CBR is archived here on the site. You can click on the "Archive" link at the top of each column to go to a year-by-year, month-by-month breakdown of the columns. I've written over 140 of them since I got here. There's a smattering of ones I wrote before that on this site, as well, but it's far from complete. For those, you'd still have to drop on by the original Pipeline web site.

Friday will be here before you know it. You can see me walking this tightrope again, as I ramble on about some interesting problems that plague the comics industry that relate to distribution. Stop by again for the alternative look at some of last week's news.

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