VARIOUS AND SUNDRY
This is without a doubt a buyer's market. Do you want to read the latest story that's just been collected into trade format, but don't want to pay full price? Buy the individual issues as a set off of some guy on eBay who's hoping to make some money back for the trade! You can get them for a fraction of the cost. He'll be happy. You'll be happy. He'll have less space on his bookshelf. You'll half less space in a long box.
Good to have Colonel Fury back to being a suave 60s type spy in ULTIMATE X-MEN. Too bad he ends up coming off like Snow from PLANETARY. As for his change in race – well, once they stopped him from chomping on cigars, nothing else mattered. At least they kept the eye patch.
Dynamic Forces is soliciting in the latest catalog for specially autographed copies of SPIDER-MAN #16. The autographs are from Stan Lee and Joe Quesada, neither of whom had a thing to do with the series directly. But, hey, if you've got a few dozen spare copies of an overprinted comic lying around, give it to a couple of editors-in-chief from that company and make a few bucks. I have no problem with that.
I just wonder if they realize that it's a story in which Black Tom and the Juggernaut destroy the World Trade Center? After you've seen the real thing, fiction pales. The story is almost laughable these days.
With this week's solicitation for an ALIEN LEGION trade, the question is brought back up: Where's Larry Stroman these days?
Am I the only one who knows how to spell "definitely"?!? There is no 'a' in the word.
I don't think that THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN is going to be the massive multimedia blitz that everyone seems to think it is. I don't think you're going to pull that many readers from the mainstream into comic shops with this. I don't think there are that many people who don't read comics who would even remember THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.
It'll be a huge event inside the comics world, sure. There's nothing wrong with that, either. I just don't see this as being the book to bring everyone back to the comics shop.
I think the X-MEN revamps are pretty spiffy so far, but I don't think they're going to bring anyone back into the comic shop, either. MAYBE in combination with the next movie, something might happen. For now, they're just pushing existing fans around the chessboard into new spots.
In the meantime, the most entertaining Marvel revamp seems to be getting lost. The three core SPIDER-MAN titles have never been more enjoyable. I started off reading comics with Spider-Man comics 12 years ago. This is the best stuff I've read with the character. PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN has been a real treat. Paul Jenkins has crafted some incredible stories with Mark Buckingham. His endings are worth reading the entire book for. It's not the by-the-numbers endings you read in other superhero comics.
Bob Gale's current DAREDEVIL storyline could have been an instant classic, but the artistic blip of the last two issues will keep it from getting there. Not having Phil Winslade drawing all the chapters in the story hurt it. I asked editor Stuart Moore about the situation and he said that Winslade would be drawing the concluding chapter, but missed the other two due to the bi-weekly scheduling.
I'm torn now. The story really reads well on a bi-weekly pace. On a monthly pace, it might have dragged on for too long. The overall story would have worked better with Winslade on all the issues, though, and since it's the trade paperbacks that everything is geared for these days, shouldn't they have gone monthly with the series to buy him the time?
It's good to have those ratings systems firmly in place at Marvel now. Those little blank white boxes on the covers were distracting.
Ah, the age-old comics question rears its head again. Page 243 of the latest PREVIEWS. Check out Nat Jones' cover art to THE HAUNTED #1, the new Peter David-written series from Chaos! Comics. Then ask yourself, where are all the characters' feet?!? My goodness, there's even a scrap of paper blowing across the smoke to make sure a foot gets obscured.
Speaking of the new PREVIEWS, check out page 285. If you miss seeing new Don Rosa Duck stories as much as I do, you have to give careful consideration to the new two volume DON ROSA ARCHIVES being offered there. They are a bit pricey at $30 each, but they contain all of his earliest work on "Captain Kentucky" and "The Pertwillaby Papers." Each book has 190 pages.
LIBERTY MEADOWS is moving off the comic strip pages of your local newspaper and directly into comic shops, instead. Standard comic strip contracts with syndicates that I've read of call for a seven-year exclusive deal, I thought. I wonder what kind of deal Frank Cho had with Creators Syndicate? I remember the original reason he didn't publish trade paperback collections of the strip was that the syndicate had the rights to it. The comic books fell under that radar somehow. Now he's yanking the strip out of the few newspapers it's in and (it seems) retaining all rights to the characters to the point where he now has a hardcover collection of the first few months' worth of strips and a monthly comic printing the all-new adventures of the characters. Curious.
DC has "indefinitely delayed" THE AUTHORITY, according to some reports. If so, I'm really confused. Using the same "city destroying" criteria, should this week's issue of THE FLASH have been published? In any case, I'm glad it was. It's another excellent issue.
I have no problem with Marvel promoting the HEROES book as long and as hard as they like. Who profits from any additional sales that such marketing might land it? It's the charities that get the roughly $3 per book that Marvel will be donating. Is that really a bad thing?
A quick Pipeline survey: When do you want your comic reviews? Is it mandatory that they come out the week the issue does? Does it have to be a review on the day of or the day before the release? Or is it OK that it takes a couple of weeks sometimes?
And if you have a question you'd like to ask me, e-mail away. I'm compiling some topics for future columns now, and your e-mail might be included.
More than 250 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 still available at the Original Pipeline page, a horrifically coded piece of HTML.
Next year's con schedule tentatively includes Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Diego, Chicago, Bethesda, and New York. I'm seeing the country, one con at a time.