Pipeline, Issue #487


  • I snuck in a second Pipeline Podcast last week. In case you missed it, it covered the December PREVIEWS catalog, and ran nearly a full hour. I was joined by Pipeline Message Board regular Jamie Tarquini for a free-ranging discussion. We talked about some of the highlights for the month, as well as posters, statues, overlooked artists, DVDs, and more. If you liked it, please drop me an e-mail and let me know. Your response to this type of show will determine if I do more of them in the future.
  • You might have heard that Stephen Wacker left DC to sign on with Marvel. This being the internet, an immediate firestorm of negativity occurred from some irate DC fans who felt their father had just abandoned them at the door of an abusive next door neighbor running a crack den from his living room. Or something like that.

    There's one point that I've made once or twice in this whole kerfuffle that I haven't seen raised anywhere else, so I thought I'd repeat it here this week.

    Wacker is not leaving DC in a huge hole with his departure. Yes, his loss will be felt by all involved, but his hardest work was already done. The worst part about getting 52 on the tracks was in getting the train built and running. After the framework is in place for something like that, the train can run down the tracks. That's not to say that there's not a whole lot of work left to be done on the series. Brainstorming, fact-checking, continuity research, and some scheduling snafus will no doubt still occur. But Wacker was there at the beginning to create the schedule, work with the talent to get the book rolling, and show the people around him how to best carry off a weekly comic lasting for a full year with tight continuity integration. That's his most admirable accomplishment, I think. 20-some-odd weeks in, it's looking very successful.

    He's left behind two assistant editors who've seen this process through from the start, as well, and can pick up where he left off. DC assigned a new editor, and the train keeps on rolling with nary a bump being felt.

    Wacker should be congratulated for the work that he did, and not demonized for -- well, all sorts of horrible things that aren't true.

    If you want to demonize him, though, please leave your mailing address. I want to be there to capture the moment when Mark Waid arrives at your door to beat you up.

  • Congrats to Stan Sakai and Dark Horse on the occasion of USAGI YOJIMBO's 100th issue coming up in January. The solicitation for that is up now. We'll talk more about all of that in next month's look at PREVIEWS, including my cameo appearance in the PERHAPANAUTS solicitation.
  • If I were Ed Brubaker, I'd start gargling olive oil to save my voice. All of those interviews he's given in the past three months to support CRIMINAL #1 must have left him parched. You can't swing a dead cat around the comics blogosphere right now without hitting three links to three entirely different interviews. I just hope it all pays off for him.

    I read CRIMINAL #1 and enjoyed it, though, particularly for the way you can see Brubaker laying in the pieces of the puzzle that explain the lead character's behaviors and outlook on life. It's a very slick book with some very cool moments.

  • I think Tom Brevoort's blog is a daily must-read, if you want some glimpses into Marvel's future and some tough love-style truth into the editing process.
  • I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me a week before I realized what "Clor" meant.
  • Am I the only one who thought Mike McKone's art in FANTASTIC FOUR #540 last week seemed just a little bit off? I'm not sure what it is, though. Can't put my finger on it.
  • Check out this early example of Steve Dillon's art. Well, what do you know? He used to play with more varied camera angles, shadows, and depth of field.
  • You have to see the 1987 Marvel float from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Kung Fu Rodeo has the video, and it's worth a laugh or two. I was fine with it until Captain America hugged the Hulk into submission.

  • Happy birthday today to both TELLOS and PERHAPANAUTS co-creator/writer Todd Dezago and CBR's own Arune Singh.


This week, I'm taking a look at the back half of the PREVIEWS catalog for December 2006.

BUT FIRST -- !!! I did mention the special podcast that we posted over the weekend, right? Check out ThePipelinePodcast.com for the show.

Antarctic Press clearly wins the month for the high concept behind DINO WARS. Check out the ad on page 221. It's a full page color drawing of an astronaut on the moon, standing in front of a dinosaur's footprint. What more do you need to know? It's a three part mini-series from Rod Espinoza.

Archaia Studios Press is soliciting for MOUSE GUARD #6 in December, which means the hardcover collection will likely be out by March, if I had to guess. I don't think they'd want to delay taking advantage of the buzz the series has had this year.

Avatar Press is collecting Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows' 303 mini-series into a 144-page full-color trade paperback. It's $20.

Bad Press is the publishing label that Daniel Way will be publishing his creator-owned work through. It starts in December with BYE BYE HARVEY: A GUN THEORY SHORT STORY. This is the prequel to the short-lived and incomplete Marvel Epic series from its original creators, Way and Jon Proctor. The complete and unedited GUN THEORY mini-series will see publication soon through this label, so it's something to keep an eye out for. This book is 24 black and white pages for just $2.

Boom! Studios is trying its hand at publishing a comic book aimed at the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of people who've never set foot in a comic shop and won't now, even for a comic book based on a property they really really like. WARHAMMER 40K: DAMNATION CRUSADE #2 is out in December. Please pardon my cynicism -- I'll be more optimistic next week again.

MR. STUFFINS looks cool, though. It's a three-issue mini-series from Andrew Cosby and Lee Carter about a teddy bear who's a secret agent. If it weren't for DINO WARS, this book would take the High Concept Cake for the month. It's $4 in full color for the 24 page comic. If this were IDW, no doubt I'd be railing against such a high price.

Digital Manga Publishing gives us EDU-MANGA: ALBERT EINSTEIN. It's just as you suspect: a 184 page manga about the wild-haired German physicist. Bonus: Astro Boy narrates the book. It's $10.

IDW is collecting Chuck Dixon's TRANSFORMERS: EVOLUTIONS: HEARTS OF STEEL into a trade paperback. With art from Guido Guidi, Antonio Vasquez, and Luis Czerniawski (an international affair if ever there was), this book re-imagines the Transformers into a world of steam-powered engines a century ago. It's another great high concept for the month, and Dixon's writing is enough to sell it to me. The book will run you $20 for 120 pages.

Page 297 holds an interesting visual trick for those who look too quick and have a dirty mind. In the upper right corner is a photo of CSI hottie, Jorja Fox, to illustrate the solicitation for CSI: DYING IN THE GUTTERS #5. Just below that is an Ashley Wood piece of a woman spread-legged, hand down her shorts, staring up. For a second, you're almost inclined to think that's a second image of Jorja Fox, until you realize it's the cover to LORE TPB, Volume 2, as drawn by Wood.

NBM returns to publishing Euro-album translations in December with GLACIAL PERIOD. This new graphic novel from Nicolas De Crecy tells the story of a group of archaeologists in a post-glacial age who chance upon the Louvre and relearn human history. Of course, if you're learning human history from a single museum, you're bound to screw a few things up. The book promises to be nonsensical, absurd, and farcical. I like it! Of course, I also remember a book with a very similar plot from grade school, where the archaeologists came to strange conclusions about what things like toilets were really for. OK, so the idea isn't new, but the art is pretty in a very loose and sketchy way. I even sense moments of Bill Plympton-like artistry in there.

Oni leads off the month with MAINTENANCE #1, a new series about a pair of janitors at an evil scientists' think tank. Many laughs are promised by Jim Massey and Robbi Rodriguez on this one. I have a copy of this first issue and will be reviewing it next week. Stay tuned. . .

Titan Publishing is still printing STAR TREK comics with nearly reckless abandon. This time around, you can get STAR TREK Volume 4: RETURN OF THE WORTHY, from Peter David, Bill Mumy, J. Michael Straczynski, and more. It's the start of the second year of DC's series from 15 years ago, and has some pretty nifty stories. I only hope the covers are included somewhere in the book, because Jerome K. Moore did some amazing work on those at the time. As I recall, he snuck in a couple of LOST IN SPACE references on the covers of the issues Mumy co-wrote.

Seriously, if you have a fondness for the original series and haven't much liked what Trek became over the last decade, give these comics a shot. They're a lot of fun. They had moments of controversy, to be sure, but they were inventive and entertaining.

TokyoPop leads with MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND, the new OEL book from Eric Wight, best know as the artist behind THE O.C. and the work he did on the failed BUFFY animated series. It's a romantic fantasy set around a boy and his ghost of a girlfriend. Scheduled to be a three volume series, this first one is just ten bucks for 192 brand new pages.

TwoMorrows lets loose with MODERN MASTERS: KEVIN MAGUIRE, whose name is wonderfully misspelled as "McGuire" in the solicitation text, just below the cover image that has it spelled right. Whoops. In any case, these MM volumes never disappoint with interesting long-form interviews and substantial art galleries in the back. It's $15 for 128 pages.

Finally, ALTER EGO Magazine devotes its 63rd issue to the work of Alex Toth.

Next week: I have high hopes for a new series of reviews. I have a few high end hardcover books sitting on my desk that really deserve a review or two. We'll start next week with a sample from Gemstone's EC ARCHIVES series, and I have a few more lined up after that. Let's see how fast I can read them. . .

The Pipeline Podcast will update this evening, with any luck, for new comics shipping 11 October 2006.

Visit both my MySpace page and the new Pipeline Podcast URL.

My blog, Various and Sundry is still updating daily, and may even see a new design eventually. I just scrapped the first one I worked on. You learn by doing, and then Internet Explorer kills you with its incompatibilities. I mean, seriously, it even renders colors wrong!

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 700 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

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