Pipeline, Issue #350


Welcome to the 350th issue of Pipeline Commentary and Review. As this issue is evenly divisible by 50, it's time for some sort of special column, don't you think? 350 straight weeks has to be worth something right?

Sadly, Real Life issues got in the way, and instead you'll be getting a half-column consisting of oddball thoughts and links I've collected in the past week. Think of this as the return of the Pipeline Blog, if it makes you feel any better. If you're an old school Pipeline reader, you'll recognize parts of this as the "one-liner" format.

I had promised a couple of reviews for this column that will sadly need to be pushed back again to next week. Don't forget that next week, also, has the return of Pipeline Previews, looking at all the releases for the month of May 2004.

In the meantime, onward to the links and random thoughts:

The comics blogosphere contains a number of accounts lately of people losing interest in comic books for various reasons. It's not limited to the comics world, though, as this Slashdot story proves. Video gamers are finding themselves in the same boat, for many of the same reasons: real life getting in the way, the growing sense that there's nothing new under the sun, and the high costs of keeping up with one's chosen hobby.

Jamie S. Rich started up a new monthly DVD column at the Oni Press website this past week. It reminds me why I don't dip my toes back into those waters anymore. While I have done a couple of DVD review columns in my lifetime, I couldn't elevate it to the level Rich does here. Not without a couple of years of film school, at least.

There's a funny LiveJournal entry to be found here from a reporter looking to interview CEREBUS creator Dave Sim for The Onion. On one hand, I can't blame Sim for going to extremes to be taken seriously with his thoughts and not wanting everything whittled down to the equivalent of a three second sound bite. Distrust for the media is not an unhealthy thing, after all. On the other hand, this is overshooting that mark.

Speaking of favorite comic creator whipping boys, where has Scott Lobdell been lately? Hollywood, of course. His name is attached in the "Story By" credit to an upcoming Tommy Lee Jones movie named CHEER UP. Jones is set to play a Texas Ranger again, this time to protect a group of cheerleaders who witnessed a murder. Needless to say, hilarity will ensue.

Exercise In Style is the web site of an artist looking to do as many variations on one theme as possible. He's taken a simple one-page story idea, and he's recreating it over and over. It's inventive and clever stuff. My favorite so far is the "horizontal line" entry, just for its subtlety.

I wanted to say something about Bill Oakley's death this week, but I think the thread at The Pulse sums it all up. It's a Who's Who assortment of letterers over there remembering one of their own, plus fans and even family chiming in. Nice to see. I was surprised at how young Oakley was. For some reason, I always pictured him as having been around lettering comics for twice as long as he probably was.

If you're missing Dirk Deppey's Journalista (with its titular punctuation too tedious to type), then I suggest The Hurting as the best replacement candidate thus far.

A couple of interesting news bits concerning comic strips this week:

The new PRINCE VALIANT artist is Dark Horse favorite Gary Gianni. He replaces John Cullen Murphy, who now can retire at the age of 85. Murphy's son will continue to write the strip.

The people behind the Mandrake distribution of Linux have been warned about their distribution's name, citing it as being too close to Mandrake the Magician, a comic strip nobody gives a damn about anymore, and that even fewer have ever read. But since the comic strip was around first and the Linux company uses magical elements in its icons and logo, the syndicate might have a legal case against the French company. The comments thread at the link to the story linked above is particularly hilarious if you keep up with any of the current open source software stories going on these days.

Two quick reviews:

DAREDEVIL #57 is my choice for the best of last week's releases. Brian Bendis does a spectacular job with pacing and narration on this one, and then goes silent when it matters the most.

That said, DC: NEW FRONTIER #2 continues Darwyn Cooke's beautiful narrative looking at the early years of the DCU. I'm not all that familiar with the inner workings of the JSA, so some of this issue was lost on me. However, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. It's an amazing book to look at, with some of the best storytelling in comics today. Plus, the paper stock is perfect for the book, and holds the colors well.

A couple of e-mail-related thoughts:

My spam filter is particularly good. I'm better. If you care to write me an e-mail and choose to use "hey" or "Re:" as your subject header, I'm going to spamfile that e-mail. I make no apologies for that. Odds are good that your e-mail will jump out at me if it includes the word "pipeline" or "comics." Those don't often show up in a sea of ads for nubile Asian teens or dysfunctional male member stimulators.

Also, if you responded to an e-mail from me in the past 3 or 4 months and I never replied, it might be my fault. I discovered a goof-up in the way my e-mail accounts are set up that prevented me from seeing about 150 e-mails in that span of time. It's all fixed now and I'm back up and running. I think I've made all the apologies I needed to, but I swear I wasn't ignoring you. I just made a stupid set-up oversight. Thankfully, this only resulted in catastrophically embarrassing situations for me in a couple of spots.

Pipeline Commentary and Review returns next week, as always. However, I'll actually have reviews done for it this time. ;-)

Following hot on those heels comes the return of Pipeline Previews on Friday, March 5th for comics to be released in May 2004.

Various and Sundry is still running, now with twice-weekly AMERICAN IDOL commentary to bring in all the hits. This week also included two new movie trailers, the death of another classic web site, rumors of Pixar buying Disney, MicroSoft's leaked code, Apple Tunes selling silence, and a review of MI-5. (I mentioned that in last week's column, but I enjoy the show so much I thought I'd give the review of it another chance. Look to last Monday's entries for it.)

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.

Nearly 500 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically. The first 100 columns or so are still available at the Original Pipeline page.

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