Pipeline: Pipeline, Issue #69

Sun, September 27th, 1998 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

SIDE NOTE

So is DEAD-POOL'S "Dead Reckoning" ever going to happen? Or are they just going to promo it every month until the book's eventual cancellation?

CHRIS ELIOPOULOS' DESPERATE TIMES

I had a great time today getting to meet and talk with ace

letterer Chris Eliopoulos at a local comic book show. He was there

(with his wife and some big guy named "Buddy" ;-) promoting his

creator-owned comic book DESPERATE TIMES, published bi-monthly by

Erik Larsen's wing of Image Comics. It's the charming story of two

20-something friends, Marty and Toad, who are trying to get along in

the world and pick up a chick or two. They're rather unsuccessful,

but therein lies the tale. The ad for this convention running in

the back of WIZARD calls Chris "artist/writer of the hot new image

title..." So, of course, I asked him to sign my copy of

BATTLECHASERS. =)

DESPERATE TIMES has been running as a two-page backup feature

in THE SAVAGE DRAGON (issue #53 due out this Wednesday) for a few

months now. All of those strips will eventually be collected in a

TPB format with the first three issues of the comic. This will

hopefully find its way to the shelves of regular bookstores as well

as comic book stores. The book deserves a bigger audience, and if

this is how it does so, more power to it.

I got a chance to read the first 8 pages of the third issue

(due out in October) today and have to tell you -- the book gets

funnier with each issue. The third issue picks up directly from the

events at the end of the second issue.

The first issue was done more in a standardized modern

comic-book format. (That is to say there is no grid approach to

the storytelling.) But with the second issue, it's gone to the look

of a compilation of strips. Three panels across, three gags per

page. As much as I didn't want to admit it, this format works out

MUCH better. It reads better, it feels more complete, and it seems

like a better value for your money.

The introduction in the second issue of Kennedy, a friendly

drunken womanizing three-toed sloth, provides for some great comic

moments, too. Talking animals are the staple of any good comic

strip after all, right? FOX TROT'S Quincy doesn't say anything.

GARFIELD and SNOOPY are left with their thoughts. POGO is filled

with talking charming characters. And DESPERATE TIMES features a

friggin' sloth. And he's cute. If this strip takes off, I'll be

first in line to buy my plush Kennedy.

I laughed out loud while reading the first batch of pages to

the next issue. Nobody's safe - not the Internet, not the strip

clubs (yes, Chris, your wife told me you did visit LACE for visual

reference), not Disney employees, and not Grateful Dead fans. No

one leaves unscathed. This isn't to say the book is a series of pop

culture references. Far from it. It's the story of two guys trying

to find The Perfect Woman. (Ah, heck, I imagine they'd settle for

any woman. . .)

Chris' cartooning is getting better, too. The characters are

getting better defined, more animated, and more interesting to look

at. There's even some Tex Avery-like eye effects coming up in the

third issue.

Please, folks, trust me on this. Humor comics generally don't

sell well anymore. But this is a good one. There's a lot of good

stuff packed in here, particularly if you're in the 15 - 40 age

range, I'd suppose. Give issue #2 - now on the stands - a try.

It's the best taste you can get of the series so far. This would

also help ensure the continuation of the series. And that would be

a Very Good Thing.

The covers are quite eye-catching. Erik Larsen draws the

scantily clad female, with Chris drawing Marty and Toad over that,

commenting on, well, the women. The covers are just as funny,

although a bit misleading. (No, this isn't pseudo-porno. It's just

good humor, albeit not for the kiddies.) But they're also necessary

to sell the comics to a comics world filled with the top-selling

likes of FATHOM and WITHCBLADE and DANGER GIRL, et. al. It's a

cheap gimmick that works well, I think.

If you'd like to hear more about this comic, send Chris an

e-mail and tell him you want to be put on his new mailing list for

announcements regarding DT: ELIOPOULOS@AOL.COM.

My apologies if any of this seems redundant. I know I've

written about DT in the past. But I felt the need this week to push

it even harder and to thank Chris and Audra and Buddy for a great

time this afternoon at the show.

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