Pipeline, Issue #411


FILLER is the new thriller (oh, how I love the rhymes) from AiT/PlanetLar. It's a deceptively simple and gripping story centered on a man who considers himself nothing more than the big city's "filler" material. He melts into the background. He gives blood and stands in police lineups to earn an honest buck. But his mysterious past has given him a couple of weak spots. When he falls into another trap, it's going to take some quick thinking and helpful friends to get out of a very very bad situation.

Rick Spear's script is sparse, but packed with punches. My favorite is from the internal monologue, as our protagonist looks way down upon the city denizens scurrying below: "They say there are a million stories in the naked city… Go ants go." The rest of the dialogue is as self-consciously styled to be hard boiled, but it really fits the story.

Rob G's art relies much less on the action-packed manga-oriented style that he usually uses. It's much more subdued here, closer to Frank Miller's style. It's a crime tale set in New York City, rather than the over the top guns-'n-splosions style that we've seen in the past on books like COURIERS. It's also adorned with spotted red areas of color, again simulating Miller's SIN CITY technique. It works to break up the monotony, to add shadows, and to define shapes. It's not a single trick pony. It is, simply put, Rob G's finest artistic moment.

FILLER is a relatively quick read, but still a solid tale worth your time. The book is only $13 and should be available in stores any day now.


A couple of things mentioned and not mentioned in recent podcasts that I'd like to follow up on today:

I made mention of the bonus-sized issue of BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL celebrating its 100th issue a couple of weeks ago. I've seen the issue now. It's a nice whopper. It chimes in at 64 pages, but comes with a nice cardboard cover and an embossed logo. Inside, there are additional pin-ups from the series creator and others, plus an extra long letters column. It's tough to point out a Jumping On point in the series since I'm so far behind on reading it, but I'd still heartily recommend starting with the first trade in the series, BLOOD OF A THOUSAND, and working your way up from there. The trades are printed at a smaller size, and the art looks sharpest that way.

Something I cut out of a podcast for time recently was a look at Penny Farthing's CAPTAIN GRAVITY AND THE POWER OF THE VRIL. With all due respect to the publisher, it's probably not a book you've heard of before. That's a shame, because it effectively hides brilliant art from the old BLACK PANTHER team of Sal Velluto and Bob Almond. It grates on me that these two established and talented professionals aren't working on a book that sells at least 40,000 copies a month. Their art is strong enough to carry any book, and yet they get overlooked and dumped on by "mainstream" publishers. The art is reminiscent of Phil Winslade's, last seen on THE MONOLITH. It's complete with strong background and architectural detail, but not flashy. It's not making the covers of WIZARD Magazine, but it's better pure art than 80% of the stuff on store shelves today. It's beautiful. I'd recommend picking up CAPTAIN GRAVITY solely on the strength of the art alone.

Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree, though. Maybe there's more here than meets the eye. Maybe they can't meet a deadline. I don't recall that happening on BLACK PANTHER, though. And it sure hasn't stopped Marvel from publishing NEW AVENGERS and a whole raft of mini-series that are interminably delayed.

Meanwhile, Norm Breyfogle has problems getting work, and DC ignores him completely when it comes time to reprint Batman work of his time period. To my mind, he's still the definitive Batman artist. When I first started reading BATMAN comics regularly, he was on DETECTIVE. Those were the issues I gravitated towards. I'd love to see more of his work over there. It might even get me to pick up one of those titles regularly again.

And if you missed last week's podcast, you can listen directly to it through the MP3 file (4 minutes, 1.8 MB)

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There won't be a Pipeline Podcast this week. It will return next week, though, cross your fingers.

Over at Various and Sundry: The Wendys fingertip lady is deservedly thrown in jail. To tuck or not to tuck? Stephenie is the toughest SURVIVOR. Full AMERICAN IDOL coverage. And more.

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All political discussions have been pushed off to one neat side at VandS Politics.

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 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 also still available at the Original Pipeline page. I haven't had that account in years, but they've yet to delete the page space. Go fig.

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