Pipeline2, Issue #101


OK, class. Listen up. After this one, I'm taking the weekend off. You may, too. Go out and grab some fresh air. Socialize. Catch up on those DVDs that are piling up.

I plan on doing all of the above. (Well, maybe not the fresh air. It's going to rain again all weekend here.)


It's the return of Pipeline One-Liners. What once started as an attempt to cover as many different topics as quickly as possible has morphed into a slightly more bloated attempt to cover as many different topics as quickly as possible. "One-Liner" is, thus, a bit of a misnomer, but the concept behind it is the same. So sit back and get ready to be bombarded:

BIRDS OF PREY #31's guest art (by Mike McDonnell) is not "gorgeous", as stated in the solicitations. The cover by J.G. Jones, however, is.

JUST A PILGRIM #3 is the latest comic to be plagued by printing too terribly dark to make out any of the art.

GEN13 #65 introduced me to the world of "ferretlegging." It gets my vote as the most bizarrely surreal plot point of the year.

JMS is the master of the bait and switch school of storytelling. How much you want to bet that MIDNIGHT NATION is more the story of Laurel than the story of David Grey that we've all been led to believe? Heck, the grand murder mystery of RISING STARS was done in six issues.

CGC Graded Comics have been known to go for ludicrously high prices, with the promise that their condition will always be the same and that over time, the value of the comic will rise, if only by inflation. Hmmm, people spending vast amounts of money on a new service in the hopes that it nets them huge profits somewhere down the line? Sound like the Dot.Com crash of 2000, anyone?

It's going to be a bitch finding a CGC Grade 10.0 POWERS #11 comics in a few years. That all-white cover is going to attract fingerprints like you wouldn't believe. Hey, kids – go get some rubber gloves, go to your local shop, pick up some copies from the back of the stack, and set them aside for college!

You've just got to love spam e-mail that begins with, "Would you like to buy fertilizer?" It's right up there with potentates of small anonymous Middle Eastern countries asking to borrow a few million until their coup is over. Those are my favorites.

Rick Leonardi is a great choice for new regular artist on BIRDS OF PREY, especially since I just wrote in to NIGHTWING to suggest that he was too good an artist not to have a regular gig. =)

Check out Christopher Priest's web site. Go to Comics/Style Guide. The style guide for lettering he has there should be an industry standard. We'd have much better looking comics with it.

Yet Another Problem with computer lettering: I wish there wouldn't be so many problems with the lettering layer being off-kilter to the art. How many word balloons have we seen in comics since the advent of computer lettering where the straight line at the edge of a balloon that's meant to line up with the panel border just doesn't?!?

I find it funny that Superboy, Supergirl, and Robin all came out in the same week last week. It's like DC's little legion of World's Finest Children or something...

I see DC has taken to calling Superboy, Supergirl, Steel, and Superman the "Strike Force Superman." I don't know if I'm reminded more of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Scooby Gang or Cyberforce's Strike Force.

First Alternate Explanation for Xavier having no earlobes in NEW X-MEN: The tools Beast concocted for him burned them off.

I'm almost embarrassed for Will Eisner. He finally has a website, and a nifty thing it should be. I just can't get past the idea that it's a friggin' Tripod page and has those annoying pop up ads.

If Marvel's Silent Month in December is merely an effort to save money in hiring letterers for a month, why are they putting it off till the end of the year?

Why not just do comics in a direct-to-magazine format, in the way Marvel is packaging its ULTIMATE and MARVEL KNIGHT books? I think it's a nicer looking format, especially with the slightly larger reproduction size. Might cost more, but it's beautiful stuff. Distribute it everywhere. One format, all distributors. Simple. No cardboard cover is needed. It might cost an extra buck, but the two books in there would make it worth it.

Heck, I wish Marvel would print a collection of one of their titles in the same over-sized format that RED STAR recently used. ULTIMATE X-MEN has such a grand look to it that I would nominate it first.

I never understood the thrill of seeing a new suit of armor for Iron Man. They all look alike to me. But I'm never been a Mech guy, so who am I to judge?

The UNBREAKABLE DVD is available for pre-order from a finer DVD-selling store near you. I pre-ordered mine this week and saved $10 off the regular price. DVDs: Yet Another Industry where pre-ordering pays!

What's with Wonder Woman's chunky boots on Adam Hughes' covers?!? I'm a bit unsure yet as to the new style that Hughes seems to be working in, but the boots sure are odd.

I see the makers of CORN NUTS have a new advertisement. This time, the corncobs take the form of motorcyclists. I like the previous two ads more, but the little jackrabbit hopping out of their way is cute.

Second Alternate Explanation for Xavier having no earlobes in NEW X-MEN: It's an allusion to the James Bond villain, Blofeld, who likewise had an earlobe issue.

I'm fast running out of superlatives for BATGIRL. The sixteenth issue is just as strong as all the recent ones I've raved about here. Kelley Puckett is turning the standard three-act plot structure on its head here, creating a method of storytelling in comics that's both uncomfortable (in a good way) and wildly successful.

The MR. RIGHT back-up story in RANDY O'DONNELL IS THE M@N is also written by Tom DeFalco, but drawn by Ron Frenz. It's a very complementary story, with a slightly younger bent, perhaps, about a boy who can control a videogame character come to life. He puts him to use in fighting crime. Yes, another videogame-themed story. DeFalco had better pray that the X-Box hits big this fall so he can get another console gaming station frenzy. Then the comic will look very timely. (Sorry, but PlayStation 2 hasn't taken off all that well.)

All the people CrossGen has signed have cited personal reasons for their move. In addition, Frank Quitely's much-ballyhooed move to Marvel in mid-AUTHORITY arc was done for "personal reasons." Who's the big financial winner here? The photographer who's getting paid to get all those compromising photos that Joe Quesada and Mark Alessi are using to get their talent…

WONDER WOMAN: GODS OF GOTHAM reprints the first four issues of Phil Jimenez's run, which were written with the help of J.M. DeMatteis. I haven't read it yet, but it is a wonderful format. You get four issues of a comic underneath one cover, with a square binding and solid paper to print it on. For $5.95, it's comparable to the prestige format pricing with much more story inside.

In preparation for the forthcoming BLINK AND THE EXILES series, I finally sat down to read the four-issue BLINK mini-series from last year. Scott Lobdell plotted it, Judd Winick scripted the last three issues, and Trevor McCarthy drew it. The story is crap. Incomprehensible. Tedious. Boring. Yawn-worthy. Maybe if I were an Age of Apocalypse fan it would mean something to me. Not even an attempt by Comicraft to replicate Tom Orzechowski's lettering in their computer works here.

Besides, Orz is capable of swiping himself through a computer. He's doing X-TREME X-MEN with a computer program and his own lettering style.

It's easy to see why McCarthy will be assuming the NIGHTWING title soon. His art has a lot in common with Scott McDaniels'. He does lots of panels with multiple images of the same character in action.

Quick grammar lesson: Earlier this week, I wrote, "MERIDIAN is entitled 'Flying Solo.'" This is exceedingly stupid, as the book MERIDIAN was not granted the high honor of "Flying Solo," nor had it been given the rights that those of the "Flying Solo" rank traditionally receive. No, instead, the book has a title on its cover of "Flying Solo." It was titled, and not entitled. Thanks to fellow CBR writer, Michael David Thomas, for calling me on that.

Third Alternate Explanation for Xavier having no earlobes in NEW X-MEN: It's meant to point out some sort of familial relation between Xavier and the villainess of the issue, who also appears to lack the earlobes.

The LAST KISS #2 book previewed here on Tuesday is solicited in this week's PREVIEWS on page 287. And the ad next to it takes a quote from Pipeline.

Finally, check out the "Get Buzzy" comic strip on comics.com from 29 May 2001 for the best Douglas Adams tribute I've seen so far.


Did you get here late? Have you missed the previous four editions of Pipeline Daily? Don't worry. It's not too late. You can make it up to yourself by reading them at the links I'm so handily providing you here.

  • Day One: Pipeline Daily began by reviewing two stories Joe Kelly is credited with writing or co-writing: this week's WONDER WOMAN and the backup story in this week's BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS.

  • Day Two: More Pipeline Previews as I looked at THE BROTHERHOOD, and gave you your first chance to see pages from the upcoming LAST KISS #2.

  • Day Three: A look at CROSSGEN CHRONICLES #3 and the CrossGen trade paperback line, not to mention CODENAME: KNOCKOUT #1 and HELLBLAZER 162.
  • Day Four: Reviews of USAGENT #1, ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP #4, ACTION COMICS #779; and the classic Image $5 bill story.


…to Michael Thomas, Eric Chown, Kurt Onstad, and Dani O'Brien for their contributions to this column.

Thanks to Jonah Weiland for going through the extra all-too-often-unsung work of putting the graphics together for this column and going above and beyond the call this week for getting cover graphics for books which neither of us yet owned.

Finally, thanks to all of you who came back day after day after day to read Pipeline. I hope it wasn't a study in excess. Reaction to it so far has been completely positive. I don't think you've seen the end of Pipeline Daily.

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 200 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 are still available at the Original Pipeline page, a horrifically coded piece of HTML.

This year, you can still catch me at the Chicago Comicon (i.e. WizardWorld) and -- if I ever get a plane ticket -- the San Diego Comicon (i.e. the Comic Con International: San Diego). Things are looking good for the Small Press Expo in Maryland later this year, too.

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