I've completed the process of moving my comics from one storage facility to another. It's not my entire collection, but it is most of it. I discovered some more things during the process:
- CrossGen had some serious production values in their books. I spent most of my trips last week lugging around long boxes. None was heavier than the long box devoted strictly to CrossGen books. The paper stock they used in their books was so heavy that I nearly sprang a hernia. I expected the older (well, "older" by my young standards) boxes to be lighter in weight, just due to all the newsprint. The last decade's worth of books have all been glossy pages. CrossGen, though, was using some seriously heavy glossy paper stock, and it shows.
- DrawerBoxes are wonderful things. I stacked them four across and five high. They're slightly shorter than the traditional long box, so each long box spills over to a second DrawerBox, but you gain real estate in that little bit of length, and a lot from stacking boxes higher than three. Thanks to them, I will be able to store just as many comics -- if not more -- in a smaller space. I might even order some more to store comic-sized trade paperbacks in next.
- The only bad part of transferring comics from long boxes to DrawerBoxes is that I lost track of many comics. "Box 7" suddenly got split across two new DrawerBoxes, while "Box 8" shared space with comics from "Box 7" while spilling out to another of its own. I used to have highly detailed pages with what comics were where. Now, I've lost some of that.
- Looking through the comics while transferring them, I realized something: I forgot that there had been an ASTONISHING X-MEN mini-series in the 90s, well before Joss Whedon's book. And then I wanted to go reread all of Fabian Nicieza's NEW WARRIORS run with Mark Bagley and Darick Robertson. Each box was a trip down memory lane.
- I'm sick of people who are looking to get ticked off over something. I can understand the ill feelings towards that HEROES FOR HIRE cover, and I can understand the initial reaction to that Mary Jane statue, though I don't necessarily share it. (Cheesecake is what it is. Why are we reading political statements into it? Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.)
But when I read FANTASTIC FOUR #547 this week, I enjoyed every page of it. Dwayne McDuffie is a great writer, deft with both the hard science and the lighter character moments between people who are supposed to act like a family. The early scenes between Black Panther and Johnny Storm, as well as the Thing and Storm, made me chuckle. They were nice little character moments of light hearted fun. Nothing wrong with that.
Nope, I was wrong about that. Some were offended that Ororo was obsessing over her hair, and was thus being written like some sort of, I don't know, Paris Hilton character. She's too regal, they gripe, to be bothered by something so small.
Oh, get over it.
The fact that McDuffie based the story page on a real life incident he was part of was just icing on the cake.
- I haven't seen any reaction yet to DAREDEVIL #98, which featured the resolution to the cliffhanger in which Daredevil's underwear-clad wife was being held at, er, spinning circular blade point by a bad guy. At first blush, the entire issue is one big action scene, as Daredevil desperately fights to save his wife. But there's more there than that. It is a little more than a woman-in-danger moment, as Milla helps turn the tide in a different direction.
Now, as a self-contained issue, it doesn't do a lot for me. I can appreciate the craft of developing an "action comic," but it seems like a lot of running and punching, this issue. I'm sure in the context of the larger story line, it'll work well as a pivotal chapter. The book ends on a new cliffhanger, after all, and with enough hints along the way to a wider scope that we'll just have to wait another month to see where Brubaker is going with all this.
But why do I get the feeling that there's discontent over this anyway?
- Warren Ellis was smart enough to do all the serious psychological and emotion damage to the male characters in THUNDERBOLTS #115. He gets to skip this particular brand of outrage, though I'm sure there's a "I'm The Biggest Spider Slayer Fan Out There" web site whose owner is seriously ticked off over certain events of the issue.
- Now, if you want to scream bloody murder at the tipped-in postcard advertisement for the WITCHBLADE anime that's in the newest PREVIEWS, I wouldn't stop you. It's just, well, degrading. Disgusting. It's a prime example of laughably over-the-top wankery. In so many ways, it's also representative of what so much of WITCHBLADE has always been about, too.
- Speaking of FANTASTIC FOUR, it was the first book I read this week. In a week with new issues for both CRIMINAL and DAREDEVIL, that's saying something. I really like the current creative team; Paul Pelletier has been too overlooked throughout most of his career. I love his stuff.
- Apologies to one and all for missing the Pipeline PREVIEWS Podcast completely last month. The new catalog came out last week before I had the chance to seriously schedule another podcast. My apologies, also, to Jamie, who had tried to stick to the schedule. I'm the jerk who blew it. We'll make it up to you this month, hopefully, with a new podcast hour.
- A couple of weeks ago, I did an independent-themed Top Ten release list for the podcast, and managed to miss the biggest release of the week in that category: TwoMorrows' IMAGE COMICS: THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE, an oral history of sorts compiled by George Khoury. I hope you didn't miss it in the stores.
- I'm currently reading another TwoMorrows book: WORKING METHODS. This is the book which hands short scripts to different artists, asks them to draw them up, and then discuss the process. It's a fascinating look behind the scenes at just how scary a blank page can be even for a seasoned professional. After that, you'll see how the artists build the pages up in layers. It's fascinating stuff, and the kind of book any comic creator wannabe would do well to read.
- I read ASTERIX AND THE CHIEFTAN'S SHIELD. While it's another fine entry in the series, the plot lost me very early on. I saw the twist ending coming from the very start, so I couldn't help but feel all of the characters were acting dumb to miss the obvious. It's a completely unfair assessment, but I can't help it in this case.
- I picked up eight more ASTERIX books last week. This isn't the last you'll hear from me on the series. . .
- WORLD WAR HULK: FRONT LINE does not, thankfully, spend its last four pages explaining why the Hulk's return to earth is an historical parallel to General Douglas MacArthur's promise to the Phillippines in 1942. I was half-expecting to see Whilce Portacio draw that, too.
- Is it wrong that everytime I see an ad in PREVIEWS for something related to GUYVER, I half expect Richard Dean Anderson to be pictured in a mecha-suit next to it?
- I haven't looked through all of PREVIEWS yet, but I can't imagine that there's a more exciting book in there than what's on page 398: THE COMPLETELY MAD DON MARTIN, a slipcased, hardcover two volume collection of all of the classic artist's work. Yeah, it's $150, but Amazon is already discounting it to $100. More on that another week, though.
- Next week: I'll look at PREVIEWS.
FIVE YEARS AGO, IN PIPELINE
In Pipeline #264 of July 2nd, 2002, Pipeline welcomed aboard CBR's newest columnist: Rich Johnston. I'm happy to see he's still here, and a heck of a nice chap, to boot.
That was also the week that CrossGen bought up the publishing rights to RED STAR, and prepared to launch two new comic lines.
I've already seen messages from people who are excited about this and are preparing their pitches as we speak. I don't think CrossGen is aiming to be the clearinghouse for every small press comic wannabe, though. I think what you'll see from the two new divisions of the company are two types of books. The first is a book like RED STAR that's well established, has proven quality behind it, and a sizable following. The second kind of book will be a new property from a known creator. If Kurt Busiek wants to launch an independent title of his own, Code 6 might be a good place for him to go. If Humberto Ramos decides to do his next book away from Cliffhanger, I'm sure CGE would welcome him to the fold.
Ah, if only the whole thing hadn't gone down in flames. . . I don't regret giving CrossGen the benefit of the doubt. It's just a pity things didn't work out as well as they might have.
That was also the week that I lost the small store that sold me my first comic book back in 1989. You couldn't blame that one on the Direct Market, though. That was just another example of a Mom and Pop shop facing competition from the nationwide chain moving in next door and folding. Sad.
All of that made the column, plus a Thing sketch from Darick Robertson. Fun stuff!
In Pipeline2 #157, I looked at the latest PREVIEWS for comics scheduled to ship in September 2002. The cover of the catalog featured the new launches from WildStorm of Chris Claremont's GEN13, and 21 DOWN and THE RESISTANCE. Gun to my head, I couldn't tell you anything about that last book. 21 DOWN got some good reviews, but I don't think the second half of it ever saw a trade paperback treatment.
QUEEN & COUNTRY was getting its second hardcover collection at the time, too.
Finally, FADE FROM BLUE was up to issue three. Whatever happened to Myatt Murphy and Scott Dalrymple? They were regulars on the con circuit in support of the title, and then disappeared at the series' conclusion.
Next week: Less bullet points. More PREVIEWS. And whatever else strikes my fancy.
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