Pipeline: Pipeline, Issue #92

Sun, March 7th, 1999 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

PIPELINE IDIOT OF THE WEEK

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you J. Scott Campbell. Artist. Gen13

co-creator. Danger Girl "artiste." Professional excuse-maker.

He posted a long message to the board over on Dangergirl.com to explain some things. And while some of it rings true, other parts of it just make me cringe. So I'll hit you with both the good and the bad, with a helpful helping of quotations here:

It has been a very long time since I have posted on this website. A long time ago I decided that I would no longer involve myself personally in any more online discussions. As a matter of fact, it's very rare for me to visit this site any more at all for two reasons: #1 because it's hard to find the time and more importantly #2 because of all the constant venom and abuse so regularly spewed out on this board. A lot of you guys sure know how to make a guy feel UNwelcome.

This part is probably true. I marvel at how some creators stick it out on the fan boards and on USENET. I'm really glad when they do and very appreciative, and can understand it now when they choose not to.

So we're starting off well.

The following points go to the question about when the fifth issue of DANGER GIRL might come out:

Partly to blame for the additional wait is due to a month long D.C. production schedule that all of us at Wildstorm now have to contend with rather then the old Image turnaround of just two weeks.

Granted. However, this is the one and only time he can use this excuse. If he tries to pull it out when the next issue is late, don't trust him.

Also, lets not forget that #4 came out just barely two months ago.

Uh-huh. Which means that right now the book is "just barely" LATE.

I am currently finishing up the last half of issue #5 now

Shouldn't the second half of the issue already be in DC's hands?

Particularly if you're going to cite DC's turn-around policy as a delaying influence on this issue. It's been two months. If you're producing a book on a bi-monthly schedule, you should be done with a book every other month, don'tcha think?!?

I would hope that you would all understand that we were all just starting #5 around the holidays when a lot of us, just like you, were enjoying some much needed vacation time with our families.

I can give him that, but why wasn't there ever any warning about this prior to now? When Erik Larsen was getting married, he told us in the second issue of the original SAVAGE DRAGON mini-series that the third issue would probably be delayed due to this. I think fans can be reasonable to Real World demands, so long as they're planned for in advance and not as an after-thought.

end, only D.C. can officially tell you the correct release date of a particular issue. Once I've finished penciling it, it is out of my hands.

Mayhaps, but you haven't even finished it, Jeff!

I understand it is difficult but please, be patient. #5 is definitely on the way and it will be well worth the wait I assure you.

Immaterial. It reminds me of the hypocrisy of Peter David. He lambasted Image in its early years -- and rightfully so -- for blowing deadlines and being chronically late on their books. But when his own SACHS & VIOLENS mini-series was chronically delayed due to its creators (PAD and artist George Perez), he offered up that it would at least the extra time would be visible on the page. (I'm sorry; I can't find the original BUT I DIGRESS column on that to get you the exact qoute.) That's not the point. The point is that the book was solicited for a given date and did not arrive within 30 days of that date. (Back then, I think Diamond was even more lenient with 60 or 90 days, to boot. It was still late.)

I take a lot of pride in DangerGirl which is why it was increasingly difficult for me not to take an active role in the development of both the DG toy line from Todd McFarlane and the continued involvement with the DG videogame, not to mention the other high quality line of products baring the DG name.

You think there's a problem here? You think part of the reason the book is chronically late might be because he's doing busy working on things NOT related to the book? YA THINK?!? Hey, Jeff! Draw the damned book first. THEN you can worry about licensing it. Nobody licenses characters who aren't in a comic book. And usually people don't buy comics that rarely come out.

I want as many people as possible to know about DangerGirl,

I thought you wanted to produce a high-quality comic book, which is the reason you were never going to do a monthly comic again? If your book ain't monthly, you're going to lose people. If your book is bi-monthly, you'll probably keep most of your base, but you sure as hell had better produce the book every other month!

And, despite the overwhelming negativity overflowing from this board, my excitement for the DangerGirl comic is as high as ever.

Too bad that tide has already washed out for all but the most hard-core fans. We've given up on the book and spend our money elsewhere.

Ask yourself, if you were me would you continue to embarrass yourself by regularly putting in the standard "Issue _____ was late because of ____" column in the back of every issue.

heh. Hey, Jeff, I've got an easy solution to this one: Don't put the book out late. We can understand medical emergencies. We can even understand the Christmas holiday. I'll grant you that. But being too busy doing toy and movie deals is not going to satisfy the comic book fans.

All that said, I like DANGER GIRL. When it comes out I think it's a great comic book. And I'll pick up the issues as they come out, but it's tough for me to get excited about the book anymore. It's become something of a treat when the comic comes out, instead of an highly-anticipated event. It's a nice surprise instead of a regular part of my comic book routine.

While I'm picking apart J. Scott, I think this would be a nice time to revisit the editorial he wrote in the letters column of fourth issue of the original Gen13 mini-series, in which he disparaged WIZARD for declaring that all top-selling books are a combination of the following four points:

  • Fill the cast with teenagers; kids relate to this.

  • Clad the babes in the groups as scantily as possible, to capture the pervert market.

  • Get a guy who draws like Jim Lee to pencil it.

  • Hype it up almost a year in advance, do a #1/2 issue, and preview several pages in Wizard.

If this were updated today, number #3 would probably say "guys who draw like a manga artist." Aside from that, it looks like J. Scott Campbell has an unqualified hit on his hand. The Danger Girls are scantily clad and revel in this. There's really only one teenager in the cast and she's made out to be the nerdy dweeby one, so I suppose he gets around that. Campbell started as an Art Adams clone and has evolved his style to something with more of a manga influence. And as for #4 -- it sounds just about right to me. There's an Art Adams-drawn special coming up, and the #1/2 issue was packaged with WIZARD, if I'm not mistaken. The book was hyped up for a few months ahead of time, if not a year. And there's been generally more hype than product since then.

Campbell then points out his winning formula for putting together a winning comic book magazine:

"1. Put a bunch of limited-edition trading cards and other collectibles in the magazine."

While there haven't been any trading cards bagged with DANGER GIRL, there have been alternate covers galore. (But those were only to excite the fans, not to get them to buy extra copies or start a feeding frenzy. Campbell was "giving back" to the fans with alternate covers. Puh-leeze.)

#2 has to do with ridiculous price guides.

"3. Get the hottest artists in comics to contribute covers..."

At last count, Campbell has recently contributed covers to DAREDEVIL, WIZARD, BATMAN, and WILDCATS, but has had not enough time to draw an actual issue of DANGER GIRL. (I'm sure he's done more covers, but those are the only ones I could name off-hand.)

Hmmmm...

He signs his editorial, BTW, "Jeff Scott Campbell, who will never, ever be on the Wizard top ten list. Ever."

He's #4 in the most recent issue. Ironically, Jim Lee is #8 and Art Adams is nowhere to be seen.

NEXT WEEK: Maybe I'll actually review a real comic book!

And issue #100 is just around the corner. Any ideas on what I should do in honor of the occasion?

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