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Pipeline2, Issue #141

POPLINE COMMENTARY AND REVIEW?

It dawned on me the other day that I never gave Matt Fraction the same "Welcome to CBR" promotional push at the end of Pipeline that all the other CBR columnists have gotten over the years. I hadn't done it in so long, I had forgotten.

So: Welcome aboard, Matt! Now everyone should go read Poplife. It's here every Thursday and is best described as a frenetic peak inside the mind of a comics writing machine that's just getting warmed up.

While you're there, pay attention to the Diamond codes for his three issues of DOUBLE TAKE. The Rex Mantooth stories in there are good examples of hyperkinetic humor with attitude taken to an extreme. That is to say, it's really funny.

I hope that plug is enough for him to forgive me for pinching a bit of his format this week…

For the first time I can remember, a correction came into this column written by a relative of the person whose info I need to correct. Last week, I gave an incorrect pronunciation key to penciller Mike Wieringo's name. His brother Matt wrote in to clear things up for me. It's properly pronounced /ware-ING-go/.

I expect an e-mail next week from Ron Zimmerman's second cousin to explain to me why THE PUNISHER #8 was actually a literary masterpiece.

What I'm working on:

About two columns a week. Really. That's it.

THE COPYBOOK TALES (Oni, by way of Fanboy) trade paperback will be out Any Week Now, with an introduction written by yours truly. I had the chance to tweak it a little bit a couple of weeks ago before it had to be indelibly laid out in a computer layout program somewhere in the great Northwest of Oni's offices.

I have this habit towards writing in chunks. I'll write the easy stuff first, and go back and expand on it. I'll link it together. I'll transition as best I can. Transitioning between paragraphs was always my worst quality in writing all those American History papers in college. My professor called me on it all the time. I just have to keep working on it. Being aware of it is the first step. I don't have any of those old papers anymore, so I can't tell you if I've improved. I think I have, though, since I recognized one or two rough spots in that introduction I originally wrote last year. They've been fixed.

I once very nearly wrote for two different print comics magazines. You saw a couple of the articles for one of those endeavors last week. It was probably a mercy kill. I don't know. The other magazine changed direction and didn't need my services, which were planned to be very slight anyway.

I did have a review printed in a dead wood publication a year or two ago. That periodical is still going, but since it took nearly a year for that article to see print and I never got paid for it, that's the last I plan on dealing with them. I'll renew my subscription every year, though.

Finally, I'm one of the few columnists left without a book pitch out there. Pipeline: The Print Edition remains ever elusive.

Really, I'm vexed for the world of print. I have no idea how I've managed to have so many letters in print.

I have one or two ideas for a series of Pipeline columns that I could get done ahead of time and spend a couple of months relaxing through. Might not be a bad idea to crank those back up for the con season. It can be a pain to write two or three full-blown columns in one sitting so I have enough material to cover for my con vacation. Then I end up writing daily updates from the conventions, anyway.

I'm glutton for this kind of punishment.

But I have a full time job and a DVD player that soaks up a lot of my time. Who has time to write?

We're back to semantics again: "Bi-monthly" means every two months. "Bi-weekly" means every two weeks. "Semi-monthly" means twice a month.

Marvel is not discussing the possibility of putting out a title 6 times a year, but up to 24 times a year. That would be "semi-monthly" or (less accurately, but forgivable) "bi-weekly."

Since we're all for comparing comics to other entertainment vehicles, might I suggest two other distribution possibilities?

1. Follow the movie model. Make a comic book a thick book. If it's a bomb, bury it and move on. If it's popular, the sequel comes out a year or two later. If you have one larger story in mind, take a couple of years to produce the whole work and serialize it in three thick trades, at a rate of one per year. (Think LORD OF THE RINGS here.)

2. Follow the television model. Television seasons are, usually, 22 episodes long for a weekly series. There are reruns scheduled for Christmas times, holidays, and other events such as The Olympics or The Oscars or whatnot. Why not have AMAZING SPIDER-MAN be a weekly comic for about 8 months a year, with built in weeks off around the times when people aren't normally buying comics? In the world of comics you want material out there in December, but not necessarily January, when college kids aren't around to engage in their usual buying patterns. Maybe you take off the week after Christmas, too, or Thanksgiving week. Don't bother with the occasional fifth week of the month - DC and Marvel don't seem to bother then, either.

What do you do for the rest of the year? Reruns! That's when you do reprints in the form of trade paperbacks. You could also schedule mini-series for those months and call them "mid-season replacements."

I would suggest beginning the comics season in the spring and carrying it through until Christmas. The winter seems to have the most "dead" months. The summer is the busiest time, particularly with all the large conventions at that time.

We had some rain last week.

Of course, we're in an emergency drought situation here in Northern New Jersey and the entire New York City area. So when it rained for about eight-tenths of an inch last week, people were seen scurrying up to their rooftops to avoid the puddles.

No trees fell. No electricity went out.

Well, the power probably went out in Long Island. It doesn't take much out there. One soft breeze and Stony Brook loses its television rights for the night.

Aren't these horizontal rules the best?

[St. Johns]The entire reason I'm writing this is because I need to put together a column quickly so I can concentrate tonight on watching The St. Johns Red Storm take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in the Big East tournament. (That's basketball, in case you're sports averse.)

I can't stand professional basketball. There's no awareness of the rules. It's a one-on-one game watched by 8 other tall men standing around with their hands on their hips. College basketball is a much more fundamental game. While it does get stretched a bit thin at times, it's vastly superior to any other basketball I've ever seen on TV.

On the other hand, I'm the kind of guy whose perfect afternoon of ESPN is professional bowling followed by the final round of a golf tournament, with maybe an hour of billiards thrown in to cleanse the palate.

In case you slept through last week's columns, the return of Pipeline Daily celebrated Image's 10th Anniversary in its own unique way. Five days, five columns:

  • Monday: An interview with Eric Stephenson, Director of Marketing
  • Tuesday: A look back at Chris Claremont's early Image involvement
  • Wednesday: A look at the first three or four years of Image solicitations
  • Thursday: Part Two of Wednesday's column
  • Friday: An interview with TELLOS creators Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo

St. Johns ended up losing tonight. That happens when you can't make shots and can't move the ball against a zone defense. The team of two or three years ago was the most amazing passing basketball team ever devised. It was magical.

Now it's gone in a small puff of smoke, replaced by a younger team that keeps bumping into each other while trying to set pics. ::sigh::

Pipeline returns to its usual mix of commentary and review on Tuesday. Special thanks in advance to Matt Fraction for not killing me. I only hope I'm not premature on that. ;-)

Really. Read his column. It's completely different from anything CBR has ever published.

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 350 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.

I will definitely be in attendance at the San Diego Comic-Con, WizardWorld: Philadelphia, and the Pittsburgh Comic-Con this year. WizardWorld: Chicago is still iffy.

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