Pipeline: PCR EXTRA, Issue #22

Mon, June 10th, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

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[Five Years of Pipeline]
Click to enlarge.

Chris Eliopoulos probably made his first appearance in Pipeline in the pre-CBR days. Don't quote me on that. It's been a while. A fellow New Jerseyan, he's best known for his lettering in such titles as THE SAVAGE DRAGON and THE ULTIMATES. When he's not making his living by putting the words next to the mouths of Marvel characters, he's working on his own comic strips. DESPERATE TIMES ran for four issues through Image Comics, and spawned a trade paperback, which also included all the two page strips Eliopoulos had done for the back pages of SAVAGE DRAGON at the time. (While Eliopoulos isn't there regularly anymore, the tradition continues with the comic stylings of one-time Marvel Bullpen regular Chris Giarrusso.) Four more issues of DT later followed through After Hours Press, but the comic is currently on hold while Eliopoulos teaches Marvel how to letter in lowercase and pursues some other cartooning opportunities.

Part of the wide cast of DESPERATE TIMES is seen above in Eliopoulos' contribution to the nuttiness that is Pipeline's 5th Anniversary. For what it's worth, the sock puppet has it right. On the bright side, this means that the day I quit Pipeline is the day I have a life, so it'll be an occasion well worth celebrating.

Thanks, Chris!

(It should also be noted that Chris holds the honor of being the only fill-in writer in Pipeline's history.)

THE PIPELINE FAQ

What is Pipeline?

It's a column I write twice a week about comic books. Sometimes it's a review column. Sometimes it's a look at PREVIEWS for material due out in a couple of months. Sometimes it's a long dissertation on what is right or wrong in the industry, or what it would take to make a perfect magazine or the perfect anthology or how I would fix Gen13 or what makes a widescreen comic or sideways comic work. It can be a convention report or a look at the direct market.

It can be anything. That's why it's called "Pipeline Commentary and Review." I have all my bases covered and can write about whatever I want to write about when I want to write about it. Sweet deal, eh?

What's the difference between Tuesday's column and Friday's?

They are technically two different columns. Tuesday is "Pipeline Commentary and Review" and Friday is "Pipeline2". I've gotten away from that a little bit in the three years that I've been doing them both. Originally, Friday's column was meant to be a single-themed item. It would be a long review of a series, or a commentary on a news item of the day, or reviews of several titles that had something in common. (The very first Pipeline2 was a comparison of a SUPERMAN ADVENTURES and a BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES comic.)

Over time, that distinction has faded a bit. I refer to both columns as "Pipeline" for simplicity's sake. The goal each week, however, is to throw together the miscellaneous reviews and tangents on Tuesdays and offer a more focused column on Fridays.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

How did Pipeline get started?

See Pipeline #100. Long story short: It started as a way to organize my thoughts on a variety of threads floating through USENET and put them into one place. It evolved from there. After two years of doing it on my own and posting it on my personal web site, USENET, CBEM, and anywhere that would have me, I was offered the chance to move Pipeline to CBR. And here I've been for more than three years.

Do you have a day job?

Yes, I do. I'm a computer consultant. I do database programming for pharmaceutical companies. That's the only way I can afford the insane number of comics I buy.

I write Pipeline in my "spare time," mostly at night after prime time television is over and before my head collapses on the keyboard. I've been doing this for five years now. I have a routine. I know what I can handle. And then I write just one more review and an additional 500 words.

Since my boss does occasionally read this column, I have to add this: I write this column at home in my own time every week.

Why doesn't Pipeline come out more frequently? Why not Pipeline Daily every week?

See previous question. I value my health care plan too much to quit work to write this every day.

How do I get my own column?

You write one. It's a free world and nobody's going to stop you. My column started out on USENET and slowly progressed here, but not until after I had stuck with it for two years. If you want to write a column, stick to it. On the good weeks, write it. On the bad weeks, write it. If you don't have something to give your readers when you promised it to them, they're not going to care to read it for too long.

Proofread the column. Spell check the column. Grammar check the column. We all make stupid mistakes. We all miss typos that seem blindingly obvious as soon as the column goes live on the page. It will happen to you. Do your best to minimize it, though.

There are a ton of comic web sites out there, several of which feature multitudes of columnists. Go ahead and submit to their editors or webmasters. Like in the real world of publishing, though, know your audience and know your market. Don't submit a superhero-related column to a web 'zine that deals in alternative press comics.

Where can I send my comic for review?

To the main Comic Book Resources mail drop, on the opposite end of the country from me. The address is elsewhere on the site.

I'll be honest with you: it's a crap shoot. About once a month, or whenever the material piles up, Jonah bundles all the stuff together and mails it out to me. I rip open the package, am unpleasantly bemused by the amount of crap that's in it, and go back to reading something from the huge unread stack of books that I wanted enough to pay money for.

Pipeline is more than just a review column, and I make no promises about what I may or may not ever review. So go ahead and send it in, just please recognize that you may be sending it into a black hole. Sorry.

Why haven't you answered the e-mail I sent you last year?

There was a time when I answered every last piece of e-mail that came down the shoot. I just can't do it anymore. That's due to a lack of time on my end as well as the volume of e-mail. I'm not getting flooded here, mind you, but it's enough that I can't always answer it all. I do read it all and take your suggestions to hear, however, so please keep sending your notes.

Where's Pipeline: The Book?

Locked up in my brain. Paper collections of on-line comics columns seem to be all the rage these days. I've bought them all and will probably buy more as they come out. In part, I'm supporting my fellow web writers in case my turn ever comes. But let's be honest: Pipeline is mostly a timely column. Most weeks, this isn't a column for the ages. Would you buy a book collecting columns of a given week's releases of X-MEN, BATMAN, and THE SAVAGE DRAGON? I know I wouldn't.

There are, however, enough columns that might be timeless enough to slap together a book. Add in some updates, grammar corrections, bridging material, and a thesis and I'd be done. I'm not ruling it out, but I wouldn't be holding my breath if I were you. I appreciate your support, though.

What about a dead wood version of Pipeline?

I've thought about it before. I've investigated it. In the end, though, this is all I can handle. There might be news in the near future about something in the dead wood arena, though. Stay tuned…

It's not entirely for lack of trying, by the way. I did have a review of the original animated SUPERMAN DVD printed in an issue of THE COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE. I was also slated to write for two different print magazines in the past, before the untimely death of one and a change in direction for the other.

I've written DVD reviews for no less than three different web sites, all of which have since folded. I can't even remember the name of two of them, anymore.

Aside from all of that, the only place you'll see me in print is in the introduction to the Oni edition of THE COMPLETE COPYBOOK TALES, and in more than 300 letters columns.

Where can I find that column you wrote about insert subject here?

If I wrote it after 02 May 1999, it's in the archives of this fine web site. Click on the archives link at the top of the page, or right here. If I write it before that, it's back at the old site on my local ISP.

If you only have a keyword you're searching for, the best I can offer you is CBR's search engine. Be warned: It has its good days and its bad days.

Later this week, I intend to do a column with loads of links to the highlight columns of the past 5 years. You might find what you're looking for in there.

Where can I discuss each new column, as well as other major comics news, books, and events?

Why, that sounds like the perfect set-up for a link to the Pipeline Message Board. There's very little off-topic over there. We end up talking about movies, DVDs, comics, and all sorts of miscellaneous things.

That's it? That's all the questions in the FAQ?

Yup. I'm sure I'll think of twenty others tomorrow after the deadline has passed. I'll consider using those in future Pipeline FAQ segments.

For now, though, we have other business to attend to.

THE GREAT PIPELINE COMICS GIVEAWAY

I have a large stack of comics to give away this week. They run the gamut from CrossGen to Marvel to Image and everything inbetween.

I'll start off with a package that includes G.I. JOE #3-6 of the current Image series, G.I. JOE BATTLE FILES #1, POWERS #18-20, and the first three issues of Image's latest series, DEFIANCE. Who knows? I might even throw something else in completely at random for you.

If you'd like a chance to take home this care package, send me an e-mail with a subject header of "Monday Giveaway". Include your mailing address in the body of the e-mail. I'll be picking one e-mail at random later this week at a random time. Goody bags will hit the post office in the next couple of weeks. One entry per person per giveaway, please. Entrants are not limited to North America. If you're overseas and would like a chance at this package, you're more than welcome to enter.

Good luck! Tomorrow: Comic book giveaways for the kiddies!

Pipeline's 5th Anniversary continues tomorrow (and every day through Friday) with another comics giveaway, more original art, and some comic reviews. I hope you'll join me.

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 400 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.

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