Pipeline, Issue #556


Short one this week, folks. Lots of little thoughts:

  • First, the big news: Neither Marvel nor DC has put in a bid on Yahoo. Just Microsoft. But imagine the corporate synergy if they did! If DC can survive the AOL/Time Warner fiasco, imagine how'd they'd fare as Yahoo Publishing! If you thought Joe Quesada referring to DC as "AOL Comics" back in the day was fun, imagine how "Yahoo Comics" would sound!
  • That said, I'd have to think that Diamond would be a target for a hostile takeover from Microsoft. One good monopoly deserves another, right? (Please note: "Monopoly" is not being used by its most legal definition here.)
  • The Lightsource Podcast covers photography, specifically that done with studio lighting. The latest episode features an interview with photographer Dan Couto, and the topic of Scott McCloud's UNDERSTANDING COMICS comes up once or twice.
  • When you look at his portfolio, you can see the comic book influence in his work.
  • In other photography news, the November 2007 issue of PDN (Photo District News) had a two page feature detailing the making of the new opening to the PUNISHER movie on the most recent DVD. It talks about the process of photographing the actors and then having Tim Bradstreet select certain shots to illustrate. They also created a Photoshop filter to mimic the Bradstreet look. Interesting stuff, if you can find it in a library or something.
  • You can see photographer Scott Harben's PUNISHER movie posters on his website.
  • It sounds like the punchline to a bad joke, but the San Diego Comic Con folks have started a blog to help you find a hotel room/beach-blanket/unfolded-cardboard-box-under-the-bridge for the show this year. Wednesday is the gold rush to reserve rooms. Good luck to one and all!
  • Tom De Falco and Ron Lim's short-lived RANDY O'DONNELL IS THE MAN comic series is now a free download! Wowio picked up the rights to the three issues, which are family friendly and fun for all. (Thanks to Pipeline reader, Luke H., for pointing out this out to me.)
  • Johanna Draper-Carlson interviewed Lone Star publisher Bill Williams last week to talk specifically about how Wowio.com's on-line free distribution works for him.
  • Blogger Dick Hyacinth is compiling a meta-list of the Top 10 Comics of 2007, as ranked from everyone else's list. The first draft is now available.
  • This week's THE COMMENTARY TRACK featured the two writers of Boom! Studios' SALEM: QUEEN OF THORNS #0 previewing the first 9 pages of the issue. It's a funny conversation-style read.
  • Must Reading for Process Junkies: Todd Klein discusses how comics were colored back in the day, with little jars of paint and a printing process that so often muddied them up. Today, of course, computer colorists can use just about every color visible to the human eye before the printing process muddies them up.
  • Scott Kurtz discusses his bad habits in making his webcomics. It's a very funny three minute video that must have taken forever to put together. Lots of clip art, stock photos, screen grabs, etc. Well done, though, particularly where it focuses on lettering.
  • The Angouleme Festival is over now in France. Total attendance is guessed to be about a quarter of a million people. Total number of prize winning titles originally published in Europe but now destined to be translated into English and printed at full size in North America: Zero, give or take one.
  • From France: Watch Jose Munoz draw. It's almost bizarre, but I'm jealous. They should do stuff like this in San Diego. Look at the crowds that show up for the Quick Draw.
  • The news is a couple of weeks old now, but still: Good luck to Richard Moore as he takes a break from BONEYARD for a little while to work on other projects. Thankfully, there's a healthy backlist of trades to enjoy if you're so moved. I always enjoyed the series.
  • My people! One Belgian artist is starting trouble with cartoons of Pooh Bear slicing up Piglet.
  • Of special note this month is the latest issue of TwoMorrow's BACK ISSUE magazine. Issue #26 features a wonderful 20 page retrospective on John Ostrander's original SUICIDE SQUAD series. There's a healthy helping of art samples from Karl Kesel, Luke McDonnell, and John K. Snyder from the time. It makes me want to go back and read those 66 issues all over again.
  • AMBUSH BUG is back! Can THE HECKLER be far behind? Heck, could VEXT?
  • Sean McKeever is leaving BIRDS OF PREY. Paging Chuck Dixon. . . This is the first time I'm disappointed that Butch Guice is so busily working at Marvel.

  • The new PREVIEWS catalog is out, which means it's only a matter of time before Jamie Tarquini and I get together to make another podcast. This month, we plan on turning things upside-down and talking only about the items in the catalog with price tags under $5. This ought to be interesting. . .


Given the massive celebration for the title last week, I thought I'd reprint my first review of Y: THE LAST MAN right here this week. The only sad part about reading it now is that I didn't follow through on it. Somewhere around the end of the book's third year, I lost track of it and stopped reading. I do want to go back and correct that now. Maybe I'll start picking up the trades and backtracking. . .

Also, I originally referred to artist Pia Guerra as a "he." Whoops. Sorry about that, again.

Anyway, here's that review from Pipeline #266 on July 16th, 2002:

The surprise hit of the week for me is Y -- THE LAST MAN #1. I don't know why, but I just wasn't expecting much from the book. I haven't read all that much of Brian K. Vaughan's writing in the past, the artwork isn't flashy, and the concept is like something out of a bad B movie. However, the execution in the first issue is a blast and I'm now firmly on board for the book.

For those of you who are coming in late, this new Vertigo series is about an earth whose population is cut in half one day when every man and organism with a Y chromosome in it is killed. All of them, except one. That man, Yorick, is an unemployed street magician who lives alone and is training a 'pet' monkey while his girlfriend is in Australia on an extended study project. This is his story.

Vaughan structures the first issue like a Robert Altman or Paul Thomas Anderson film. It's got a sprawling cast, at least six individual plots, and one major event which links them all together but that isn't seen until the end. Vaughan does a great job in flipping back and forth between all the separate plots. He ends them in such a way that makes you continue reading on in the hopes that the next page picks up where that story you're so desperately looking forward to left off. You don't get bored, so it doesn't bug you when two or three other characters are handled first, such as the Congresswoman, the E.M.T., the spy, or the scientist.

Much of the first issue is set-up. You can see where Vaughan picked a fairly representative sampling for what you'd be most curious about from a book like this. In a world without men, how does the species survive? Well, there's a subplot in here with a pregnant woman that might have the answer. Who fills the power vacuum? There's another plot set on Capital Hill. What caused the apocalyptic event that started the chain of events? That's what the spy in the Middle East of handling. How does the common man/woman react to the situation? Who's taking care of them? These are all questions that Vaughan looks ready to explore.

That also puts Vaughan in a very tricky position. The first issue easily captures your interest and makes you want to read more. The trick now is to pull it off in a convincing way. While it would be easy to play the whole concept up as a joke, this is a dramatic Vertigo series. The events have to be taken seriously, and that's tricky ground on which to tread.

The artist for the project is Pia Guerra, with inks by Jose Marzan. He draws every day people well. Their clothing and backgrounds and environments feel real enough. He has some problems with certain characters looking alike, but it's easily recognized and doesn't ruin the appreciation for the story.

Coloring and lettering are non-obtrusive.

Y-- THE LAST MAN is a promising new Vertigo series, with plenty of fascinating material to work with, and an author just bold enough to tackle it all. Give this one a shot next time you're in the comics shop. As an added bonus, you get a full 32 pages of story for your $2.95.

Next week, reviews return!

The Various and Sundry blog is booming lately, with lots of long entries, including 7 Tips of Saving Money, the slow decline of eBay, the latest from American Idol, answers to your latest batch of questions, DVD releases, Twitters, Super Bowl thoughts, and more.

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More than 800 columns -- ten and a half years' worth -- are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

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