Pipeline: Pipeline 2, Issue #9

Fri, August 6th, 1999 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

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PRELUDE TO SAN DIEGO

We here at Pipeline Headquarters - a

small wing off of the towering CBR

Worldwide HQ - are getting extremely

excited about the impending arrival of

the San Diego Comic-Con. (I don't

care what they call it officially. I will

always refer to it as the "SDCC" until they move it elsewhere.)

With this, my tenth anniversary of comics

collecting and San Diego's 30th Anniversary of

convention-dom, the two are finally colliding.

For the first time in my life, I will be in a

different time zone. For only the second time in

my life, I will be on an airplane. For four days,

I'll be surrounded by nothing but comics geeks.

The SDCC web site has recently been updated with the preliminary con schedule.

Imagine my thrill when I saw three different panels I'd like to attend all

happening at the same time in the first hour of programming at the

convention. Yup, this is going to be fun. Or tragic. Take your pick.

The fun starts at noon when Dark Horse hosts a Frank Miller Q&A

opposite a Kurt Busiek Q&A opposite (at 12:30) Tom Brevoort hosting

a Marvel Heroes Q&A. I'm also curious about Mark Texeira's

"Watercolor Workshop" going on at the same time, but that's easily

outdone by the other panels. The irony is I might not go to any of these.

Thursday's a prime day for shopping, from what I'm told. Do that before

the weekend crowds come and all.

Rather than go through this whole thing hour-by-hour, here are some

highlights to next week.

PANELS THAT ARE MUST-SEES

THURSDAY

3:00 Does Comics Journalism Still Matter?-What

happened to comics journalism in the nineties? In the

eighties passionate discussions raged in the letters pages of

the comics press. In the late nineties those forums host

whimpers. What is the state of comics journalism as we

approach the next century? Is it still vital? Will the comics

magazine of yesterday become the web site of the future?

Gary Groth, Michael Doran, Steve Darnall, Beau

Yarborough, Jim McLauchlin Room 16A

I would also suggest they add the

disintegration of good magazines like

AMAZING HEROES and, to a

certain extent, COMICS SCENE,

only to be replaced by the utter tripe

that WIZARD has turned into lately.

Another lesson for the Wizard people:

Comics Scene had glossy pages and

lots of colorful images, but it was also

filled with actual text. Text. You

know? That stuff you read? And the

interviews had more to do with comics than breakfast cereals and fast

food joints.

[Patented Pipeline Cheap Shot Alert] Come to think of it - what does

Wizard have to do with journalism?!? [End Alert]

In the meantime, I'll be there to cheer Beau on. Hope to see you all

there!

FRIDAY

2:00 J. Michael Straczynski-Straczynski has been one the

strongest contributors to science-fiction television in the

nineties with his smash series Babylon 5 and its follow-up

Crusade. Find out what he's been working on since B5 in

this discussion session. Room 6AB

I doubt this will include any of the usual JMS fare like the B5 trailers

and music videos and the like, but he's still the man who brought

television to the fans unlike any other. I was lucky enough to see him at

I-CON in Long Island a couple of years ago. He does fantastic

presentations.

The good news about this is that it seems a convention has finally

realized that "Joe's people" come en masse. Room 6AB must be the

largest room in the convention center. The same room hosts Heather

Donoghue and her BLAIR WITCH PROJECT presentation directly

afterwards. I'm sure that's expected to be the Big Thing at this

convention.

SATURDAY

10:30 Continuity in the Nineties: Revising, Recycling, or

Regurgitating?-Is continuity still vital in today's superhero

comics? Does maintaining decades of continuity lead to

creative solutions or inhibit the creative process? Kurt

Busiek, Joe Kelly, Erik Larsen, Grant Morrison, Mark

Waid. Room 2

In my mind, you've got 5 of comics' best writers in one room together.

Throw Warren Ellis, Don Rosa, and Peter David into that mix and I

could die a happy man twenty minutes later. =)

A Pipeline reader recently asked for my opinions on continuity. I have

some. (Don't I always?) But I think I'll take notes at this panel and write

that column afterwards.

12:00 Storytelling Workshop Learn the fundamentals of

good storytelling when Steve Leiber and another artist to

be named lead this informative workshop. Room 12

If you want to be a comics artist, do us all a favor and go to this one. I

have no art aspirations, yet I'll most likely be in attendance.

2:00 Pro/Am Trivia Challenge Content pending. Room 16B

2:00 Joe Casey: Writing for Comics Room 13

2:00 Futurama-O-Rama Now, for the first time ever you

can join the creators of Matt Groening's mega-hit

primetime animated series Futurama for a rare glimpse

behind the scenes! This is your chance to find out

everything you've been dying to know about Fry, Leela,

Bender, Dr. Zoidberg, Zap Brannigan, and the rest of

your favorite New New Yorkers. An episode of the show

will be screened, followed by a Q&A session with the

people who made it happen, including writers Eric Kaplan

and Eric Horsted, voice talents Phil Lamarr, Billy West,

and John Dimaggio, and animation producers Rich Moore

and Claudia Katz. Moderated by Bill Morrison. Room

6DE

Whoever did this bit of timing deserves to be

shot! Sheesh. I think I'd be able to skip

Futurama, but the Trivia Challenge is

something I've always heard about from

USENET year-after-year and I'd like to

experience it now. This year's match of the

Black Ink Irregulars versus the Purple Pros

includes Len Wein, Mark Waid, and Kurt

Busiek. The fan team boasts Tom Galloway, David Goldfarb, and Jim

Drew. But I'm also a sucker for a comics writing session.

SUNDAY

2:00 Fandom on the Internet How has the internet

impacted fandom? Tom Galloway, Sadie O McFarlane,

Kim McFarland. Room 13

I don't know much about pre-Internet fandom. It's only what I've read

that I know. Heck, even when I first started with comics in 1989, my

fandom was on-line with local networked BBS's. But this is an

interesting panel.

ODDITIES

There are also a number of panels that sound like a rip-roaring hilarious

good time. My favorite in this category goes to Gary Groth and his gang

of malcontents:

FRIDAY:

4:30 The Comics Journal Performs A Public Service-In

the wake of the kind of crippling disaster that has befallen

the recent comics market, there comes a time of mourning,

a time of recover and healing, but most of all a time of

recriminatory finger-pointing. Someone must take the

blame, and the Journal has bravely appointed itself to cast

the first several stones. Methodically and objectively sifting

through the many backstabbers and opportunists who

have set the tone for the nineties comics industry the

Journal has formed its own Nuremburg-style tribunal to

bring to light the most deserving criminals. Gather the

mob. Light the torches. Sharpen the guillotine. Let the

cleansing begin. Only after we have gnawed the bones of

our enemies can we wipe the blood from our hands and

face the dawn of a new day. Room 16A

...and slightly earlier on Friday:

3:00 Create an issue of Wizard: The Comics Magazine

Do you think you have what it takes to work at Wizard?

Prove it! Join Wizard Senior Staff Writer Jim McLauchlin

along with Editor-in-chief Pat McCallum and learn how

they create columns and features by working with them.

Help plan regular columns like "Character Profile,"

"Casting Call," the ever important "Wizard News" and

much more. The work done at this panel will be

incorporated into a future issue of Wizard, so be there!

Room 7A

I'd like to go there and suggest a feature in the magazine that includes

both text and something about comics. Not just big bright glossy photos

and 'articles' on wrestling or movies.

All I have to do right now is make it through the next 5 or 6 days. =)

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