Pipeline: Pipeline, Issue #475 - Part Two

Tue, July 18th, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

EARLY REVIEW: CIVIL WAR #3

CIVIL WAR is starting to spiral out of control, a plot that's gotten out of the hands of its creators. The first two issues promised outstanding action and twists a'plenty. The third issue is no exception to that, but it isn't fulfilling the promises that the first two issues made. Suddenly, the emperor is showing an alarming lack of clothing.

Obviously, a story like this is just too big to contain in one simple mini-series. To that end, a whole slew of mini-series and tie-in issues of other series are attempting to plug the holes that CIVIL WAR just can't fill, for time and space reasons. It's left to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN to explain why the huge twist at the end of the second issue happened. And it's up to all the Spider-Man books and CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE to show us the aftermath. By the third issue of CIVIL WAR, it's a done issue. It's left in the past so the plot can barrel forward to the next point. And I hope you bought the reasoning, too, because we don't have time to cover it any more.

That was OK for me for the first couple of issues. I figured that events in the following books or in the tie-in issues of other comics would help to flesh out the concept. The writers spoke a great game for months about how they were going to cover both sides of the central question to this series, "Whose side are you on?" Unfortunately, I'm not seeing that. I'm seeing writers who have failed to make the government's case look believable or sympathetic, and then followed that up by making jerks out of any superhero who takes that side. I'm seeing characters on the other side who fail to listen to any arguments and just ride their testosterone into battle.

If anything, this book has just turned the Marvel Universe into the container for dozens of unlikeable and nasty characters, whose innate nobility and heroic stature has been handed in for the sake of forcing a plot to move in the creator's chosen direction.

This whole thing could be very cool, indeed, if there was anything behind the actions to back it up. That Captain America scene against SHIELD in the first issue was spectacular. The opening chase scene across the rooftops of New York City was a visual feast. Even in this issue, there's a major fight that long time Marvel fanboys are going to gasp over. The problem is, it's tough to believe any of this is really happening. There's no meat to it. There's no logic behind it to convince me that these characters would really act this way. I can accept bits and pieces, but the extent to which they're willing to go is a little far-fetched for me just yet. I wish they could find space in the mini-series, itself, to explain the two sides a little better.

The strongest parts of this third issue are the smaller character moments. Tony Stark visits the X-Mansion to chat with Emma Frost. It's wonderfully in-character, beautifully rendered by Steve McNiven/Dexter Vines/Morry Hollowell, and is respectful of Marvel continuity. Mark Millar did not forget the recent past when he constructed that scene, and I appreciate that. There's an opening bit with Mister Fantastic that rings true. And Captain America's underground group continues to move ahead with their plans in a scene that provides some much needed comic relief. I want to like all these characters. I just wish the main plot was better explained and reasoned.

Part of me wants to just swallow everything I'm being fed in this mini-series so I can enjoy the roller coaster ride. I can't do it yet. I need more than just the highlights of the plot. I need more believable character determination. I understand that there are going to be two sides with major differences of opinion here, but I wish so many of them didn't act like thugs and punks in service to the script. I haven't given up on the series, but I do hope for better in the months ahead. I'd hate for something this big to run off the rails this quickly.

CIVIL WAR #3 is out this week, along with the spin-off CIVIL WAR: X-MEN mini-series and a few other tie-in issues.

SAN DIEGO PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE, PART TWO

I know what you're thinking: "Hey, where's part one?" It went up yesterday.

As it turns out, this week's look at the Comic-Con panel schedule grew so outrageously large that (the royal) we had to split it out across two days. And, due to the timely nature of the information, we ran part one yesterday. Today, in our second and concluding part, we'll look at the panels scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

At the end of this column, I'll give you another update on Pipeline's publishing plans for the convention this weekend.

SATURDAY

The problem with Saturday's panel schedule is that I could just highlight all the appearances of Hollywood stars and starlets and fill this entire column. But this is a comic book website and I'm a comic book columnist. I like to focus on the comics as much as possible, although the brief diversions into quirky bits of Hollywood or animation will sometimes occur.

Yes, I'll be skipping over some pretty major Hollywood appearances in this writeup. Yes, Hilary Swank is back and she's single this time. That doesn't matter. You can click on the link above and search through for all those people. In order to simplify this column and keep it manageable, I'm sticking mostly to comics.

10:30-11:30 Spotlight on Scott Williams -- One of the hottest inkers in comics is a Comic-Con special guest for the first time. Known best for his longtime collaboration with Jim Lee... Room 1A

Jim Lee's artwork is not the same without Williams' ink line. It's always less. Aside from experimental self-inking techniques, Lee's artwork is defined by Williams' inks. When anyone else handles the job, it doesn't look right. Given the number of lines Lee draws per page, Williams has a tough day job. I don't envy him it. I believe he switched to a brush from pens for the Superman series. It'd be interesting to hear him talking about the differences in tools and what it's like to be the main inking choice of one of the most popular and successful comics artists of the last twenty years.

10:30-12:00 What Is Mainstream? -- Batton Lash (Supernatural Law), Andy Runton (Owly), Linda Medley (Castle Waiting), Eric Jones and Landry Walker (Kid Gravity/Super Scary Monster Show), Brian Fies (Mom's Cancer), Bryce P. Coleman (TOKYOPOP), and Charlie Kochman (senior editor of HNA Books) offer a lively discussion on the state of mainstream comics, the emergence of the "new mainstream," and the current rapid expansion of comics into mainstream culture and entertainment. Moderated by Chris Brandt (IFC's Comic-Con Chronicles). Room 2

If I have to read one more blog that corrects anyone who refers to Marvel and DC as "the mainstream," I might have to wretch. To my mind, it's a simple distinction: There's mainstream for comics, and mainstream for a general audience. When you're talking "inside baseball," it's Marvel and DC. When you're talking a more general readership, it's crime and romance and biography and all the rest.

10:30-11:30 Comic Arts Conference Session #7: Toon Town -- Kent Worcester (Marymount Manhattan College) presents an illustrated lecture on New York City and comic books, focusing on a handful of iconic characters whose carefully staged performances make skillful use of NYC's streets, architecture, and larger-than-life personalities. While it is widely recognized that NYC has played a unique role in the development of the comic book as an industry, as a creative medium, and as a resource for artists and writers, it is also worth noting that the familiar conventions of comic book page composition offer a hidden visual echo of the grid system of Manhattan. Native New Yorker Danny Fingeroth (New York University, The New School) responds to and dialogues with Worcester. Room 7B

Setting comics in New York City is a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, it gives you lots of material to work with. On the other hand, millions of people live and work there on a daily basis. They're bound to notice any little thing that you do wrong. If you live in Los Angeles and watch '24' religiously, you probably notice many of the same things. As someone who lives in the NYC area, I don't notice it when '24' has Jack Bauer racing across town on two roads in ten minutes when it should take at least twenty, assuming no traffic. Well, the same thing often happens with NYC and its landmarks, streets, and neighborhoods. Even with all the photo ref available on Google these days, weird stuff can happen.

The Travel Channel had a special last year talking about major comic book happenings and the areas of NYC they happened in. This panel seems like the next logical step.

10:30-11:30 Oni Press Spotlight -- Ande Parks (Capote in Kansas), Cameron Stewart (Apocalypstix), Ray Fawkes (Apocalypstix), Corey Lewis (Sharknife), Antony Johnston (Wasteland), Hunter Covington (TV's My Name is Earl), and others join Oni Press editor-in-chief James Lucas Jones for a look at what's coming up from the mischief makers at Oni Press in 2007 and beyond! Plus Q&A! Room 8

Oni is never lacking interesting projects, and their wealth of comic formats is definitely worth looking into. I'm sure they'll have something to announce at this panel, too.

10:30-12:00 Lost: Season 3 -- You won't want to miss this panel with Jorge Garcia (Hugo "Hurley" Reyes) and Daniel Dae Kim (Jin-Soo Kwon) from the cast of ABC's hit show Lost as they are joined by co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producers Bryan Burk and Carlton Cuse to discuss the new season of Lost. They'll preview excerpts from the Lost Season 2 DVD box set, take questions from the audience, and perhaps even offer some surprises! Room 20

I know I said I'd ignore most of the Hollywood stuff, but I still think of LOST as the little show that debuted at Comic Con a couple of years ago and then spread out to the general populace. In that first year, the show had Paul Dini for a comics connection. Nowadays, it has Jeph Loeb. It's easy to get lost in Room 20, but it might be worth a visit.

But if you think they're going to spill any secrets, then you're dreaming.

11:30-12:30 Spotlight on Kazuo Koike -- Kazuo Koike, author of some of the greatest graphic fiction ever created (Lone Wolf and Cub, Crying Freeman), has attained legendary status not only in his native Japan but in all parts of the world. Within the comics industry, Mr. Koike is unusual in having achieved the pinnacle of fame and admiration as an author alone. SDCC 2006 marks the first-ever time that Mr. Koike has visited an American convention, here to help celebrate the 20th anniversary his English language publisher, Dark Horse Comics. July marks the release of Koike's Path of the Assassin, which will also see the end of the ten-part Samurai Executioner and the four-part Lady Snowblood. Room 6A

LONE WOLF AND CUB is on the short list of greatest comic books of all time. It's not without its slow parts or faults, but they're minor and easily overlooked for the overall greatness that is the series. I haven't kept up with all the other Koike-penned books that Dark Horse has been releasing since then, but they're sitting on a shelf for a lazy day sometime. . .

Koike is also doing a signing at the Dark Horse booth on Saturday from 1:30 - 2:30. It's a ticketed event, but you can get one of those lucky tickets from a DH person at their booth earlier. I'm bringing a couple LW&Cs with me, including the one with my quote on the back cover (volume 14). I think that would be cool to have an autograph in.

11:30-1:00 Marvel: Cup o' Joe -- It's no-holds-barred, rapid-fire news and Q&A, shooting from the hip with the Q himself: Marvel editor-in-chief, Joe Quesada. . . Room 6B

Since this is so early on a Saturday, there's a chance that not all of Marvel's news cycle will have been blown by this point. There might be interesting news slipping out of here.

Now, a quick warning for Seth Green:

11:30-12:30 Greg the Bunny -- Greg the Bunny is an adult-themed puppet show that began on New York public access and has since had life as a series on IFC and a Fox sitcom. IFC and Shout Factory are releasing the Greg The Bunny: The Best of the Film Parodies DVD in October. Creators Sean Baker, Spencer Chinoy, and Dan Milano bring their puppet pals along for a Q&A session and an appearance by friend and collaborator Seth Green (Robot Chicken). Room 6CDEF

11:30-12:30 Top Cow: Freshmen -- Top Cow president/COO Matt Hawkins, the Freshmen crew with Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Austin Powers) and Hugh Sterbakov, and the rest of the herd will showcase next year's big launches and projects! Room 8

Dude, you're double-booked.

12:30-2:00 Quick Draw -- The awesome powers of three top cartoonists face their ultimate challenge: Can they think as fast as they can sketch? Can they sketch as fast as they can think? See whether Sergio Aragons, Scott Shaw!, and Kyle Baker are able to break the cartooning sound barrier! Mark Evanier, as usual, puts them through their paces. Room 6CDEF

I haven't missed one of these yet, and I don't plan on it this year. It's the funniest comics panel of the year, every year. I might have to miss the last half hour to catch Koike at his signing this year, though.

As an added bonus, you get to play the Where's Mark Evanier? game. Now that he's lost 50 pounds, you might not see him anymore when he turns to the side. . .

2:00-3:30 Cartoon Voices I -- A demonstration of the fine art of talking for cartoons. With Maurice La Marche (Pinky and the Brain), Katie Leigh (Dungeons & Dragons), Greg Berg (Muppet Babies), Gregg Berger (Transformers), Michael Bell (G.I. Joe) and Alan Oppenheimer (Masters of the Universe). Mark Evanier plays the guy in charge. Room 6CDEF

After the Quick Draw, it's time for the first of two panels with Evanier putting voice actors through their paces for a live crowd.

Thanks, Mark, for giving me three hours away from the con floor on Saturday. Much appreciated.

2:30-4:00 National Cartoonists Society: Producing A Daily Comic Strip - How Hard Can That Be? -- Nationally syndicated comic strip creators pull back the curtain on their "glamorous" profession. Hear behind-the-scenes confessions from Brian Walker (Beetle Bailey), Dan Piraro (Bizarro), Jeff Keane (Family Circus), Michael Jantze (The Norm), and Andrew Feinstein (Girls and Sports). Room 1A

If you're interesting in the webcomics track, this one might be a worthy addition to your schedule. As much as I respect comic book creators, I think comic strip creators have it tougher. Their job must be done 365 times a year, with a new gag every day. It's impressive. Someone like Jeff Keane, I would think, has it harder. He's on a strip that's been around for decades already. How do you make new jokes for the same characters after all this time?

2:30-3:30 Todd McFarlane: The Devil's in the Details -- Todd McFarlane and associates will talk about the current projects of the McFarlane companies, including McFarlane Toys' current toy lines, upcoming licenses and the future of Todd's cutting-edge toy company. […] Panel participants include Todd McFarlane (Spawn), TME president Terry Fitzgerald, Brian Haberlin (Spawn), David Hine (Strange Embrace, Spawn), Philip Tan (Uncanny X-Men, Spawn), and Brian Holguin (Spawn). Room 5AB

When The Todd comes to Comic Con, it's always worth mentioning. They're showing his "Land of Confusion" video at the panel, too. I like the original version of the song and the video better. Kids today will love the new version, so who am I to judge? I had a headache from the quick cuts, and I failed to find a single new visual in the thing. It was every clich in the book thrown together to illustrate a three minute song.

2:45-3:30 The Spirit Movie -- Including a major announcement regarding the new movie featuring the beloved comics action hero! [...] Participating panelists include Branded Entertainment's Michael Uslan (Batman Begins, Constantine), Odd Lot Entertainment's Deborah Del Prete, and Denis Kitchen, Will Eisner's longtime agent. Hall H

I'll probably wait for the web reporting on this panel.

3:00-4:00 Comic Book Writers Talk About Writing -- From creative issues to business matters, from breaking in to breaking out, top comics writers Tom DeFalco (Spider-Girl), Kurt Busiek (Astro City), Robert Kirkman (Invincible), Steven Grant (The Punisher), and a couple of surprise guests talk about their art, their craft, and whatever else may come up. […] Moderated by longtime Spider-Man group editor Danny Fingeroth (editor-in-chief, Write Now Magazine). Room 8

That's an interesting and diverse lineup of comics writers on that panel. Plus, it's not the same batch of names you've seen on a dozen panels every year for the past five years.

3:30-4:30 Image Comics -- This is your chance to get a first look at what red hot books Image Comics has in store for the rest of the year and into 2007! Join publisher Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon) along with creators Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead, Invincible), Joe Casey (Gdland), Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Sea of Red), Steve Niles (The Cryptics), C. B. Cebulski (Drain), and more as they discuss both current and upcoming projects from Image Comics! Room 2

Poor Kirkman gets double-booked here.

4:00-5:00 Adventures of Brisco County Jr. -- The cult-favorite TV show returns with a screening of a special feature from the Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: The Complete Series DVD. Featuring a panel discussion and Q&A with the show's star Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness), Carlton Cuse (Lost), John McNamara (Fastlane), and Julius Carrey (The Last Dragon). Room 6B

I loved that show. Didn't realize until just now that one of the producers of LOST was behind it, too. I have my DVDs pre-ordered at Amazon already. Sadly, this panel overlaps with another annual favorite, but only by a half hour:

4:30-6:00 Scott Shaw! Presents Oddball Comics -- Direct from his live stage show at Hollywood's ACME Comedy Theater, award-winning cartoonist Scott Shaw! (Simpsons Comics; Weird Tales Of The Ramones; Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew!; The Flintstones, etc.) presents the wildest version yet of Oddball Comics (www.oddballcomics.com)-"the craziest comic books ever published"-as seen over the past four decades! [...] Room 5AB

Go see this. If you've never been to one of Scott's presentations, treat yourself. Everyone who's ever taken me up on that piece of advice has thanked me afterwards. It might sound crazy or cornball, but it's just a lot of good-natured fun at the expense of mostly-old comics.

5:00-6:00 The 2nd Annual Fanboy Radio Panel -- "The Voice of Comics" returns to San Diego with an even bigger, better panel than last year! Host of the comic book radio talk show Oliver Tull will moderate "A Civil Conversation" with panelists Scott Hinze (other host of FbR) and guests including Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief, Marvel Comics), Heidi MacDonald (comics blogger of The Beat), Robert Kirkman (Invincible, Marvel Team Up), David Hopkins (Emily Edison), Scott Kurtz (PvP) and more! Join the rambunctious hour filled with special announcements, prizes, and tons of fun! Room 4

I'll wait for the podcast.

5:00-6:00 Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski -- Room 6B

Crap. It's a big backup at the end of the day here. Crap crap crap.

6:00-7:00 Webcomics 103: Making Money -- Can you really make a living posting comics to the web? Bill Barnes (Unshelved) leads fellow webcomic businessfolk Robert Khoo (Penny Arcade), Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary), Phillip Karlsson (Dumbrella Hosting), and Jennie Breeden (The Devil's Panties) in a discussion on how they turn bits into bucks. Room 3

Bloggers: The lessons here will likely apply to you here, too, minus the t-shirt merchandising and plushies.

6:00-7:30 Remembering Alex Toth -- This unique artist was one of the true innovators in both the comic book and animation worlds. Alex died this May. To celebrate his life and career, his friends and colleagues share memories of his work and life. Join Golden Age legend and Toth mentor Irwin Hasen (Green Lantern, Wildcat), inker and Disney artist Mike Royer (Winnie the Pooh), internationally renowned sculptor and animator Ruben Procopio (The Little Mermaid, The Lion King), Disney animator Tom de Rosier (Mulan, Tarzan), author/publisher of the Toth book Dear John, John Hitchcock, and two of Alex's four children: son Eric Toth (international automotive designer) and daughter Dana Palmer (photographer). The panel will be moderated by Toth's long-time friend and AACC president, David Armstrong. There will be a display of original artwork commemorating Toth's distinctive artistic vision on Sunday at the Omni San Diego Hotel Room 5, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Room 4

Glad to hear Mike Royer is at the con this year. I picked up a couple of his Winnie the Pooh drawings at the con last year and have one proudly on display to this day. It's Pooh playing poker. Very cute.

But I'm also glad to see more love for Toth. I'm waiting for the next issue of THE COMICS JOURNAL, which should be on sale during the convention at Fantagraphics' booth. It promises more Toth love. Hopefully, we'll see some intrepid publisher get the rights to publish more of Toth's comics work in the near future. I know I need to see more of it. The little bits of it I've seen in Steven Grant's column over the years have certainly introduced me to the quality of Toth's work.

SUNDAY

10:30-11:30 Spotlight on Walter Koenig -- What's a Star Trek 40th anniversary celebration without a member from the original crew that boldly went where no man had gone before? Walter Koenig, Chekov on the original Star Trek series, joins Comic-Con as a special guest and shares his memories and tells what's up next for this talented writer/actor. Room 6B

I don't think I've ever seen an original STAR TREK series cast member in person. They're dropping like flies, so maybe this is my chance.

10:30-11:30 Comic-Con Film School 104: Podcasting -- The final day of our comprehensive course on micro-budget moviemaking will revolve around Podcasting. We will discuss this new form of exhibition as it relates to the future of moviemaking, as well as how to make your own podcasts. Our all-star panel includes Kent Nichols, Douglas Sarine, and David Peck of Ask a Ninja; Tim Street of French Maid TV; and Jack Conway and Brian Stevenson of Geek-Week.net. Valerie Perez and Sean Rourke will be moderating. Room 26AB

Wow, two podcasting panels on the same day. It was only a year ago that Apple added podcasting to iTunes, and now look at how successful it's become. Sure, it's become a corporate wonderland, but there are still lots of Small Guy success stories. ASK A NINJA is one of the biggest.

Don't forget that the comics podcasting panel I'll be a part of will be directly after this:

11:30-1:00 Comics Podcasting -- Meet the faces behind the names of some of the web's most popular comic book podcasts. Find out what it takes to do a podcast and why they do it. Moderated by comics writer B. Clay Moore (Battle Hymn, Hawaiian Dick), the panel will feature podcasters Josh Flanagan (iFanboy.com), Bryan Deemer (Comic Geek Speak), Scott Hinze (Fanboy Radio), Lene Taylor (I Read Comics), Joe Gonzalez (Comic News Insider), John Siuntres (Word Balloon), Chris Marshall (Collected Comics Library), Charly La Greca (Indie Spinner Rack), Jose Brito (Los Comic Geekos), and Augie de Blieck Jr. (Comic Book Resources Pipeline). Room 8

I just noticed that I host something called "Comic Book Resources Pipeline." What an awkward name for a podcast.

11:30-1:00 Cover Story: The Art of the Cover -- What does it take to make a great comic book cover? Find out by listening to some folks who've done them, including Neal Adams, Adam Hughes, Mark Chiarello, and Comic-Con special guests Brian Bolland, Basil Gogos, and George Prez, all being quizzed by your host, Mark Evanier. Room 5AB

That's an insanely solid panel lineup. I can't think of too many more people I'd need to hear from on that topic. Alan Davis would be nice, but I don't think he attends too many SDCCs, if any. I can't recall ever seeing him at one.

11:30-12:30 Mondo Marvel -- Get the scoop on all things Marvel, from Avengers to X-Men and everything in between. Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, Jeph Loeb (Ultimates 3), Charlie Huston (Moon Knight), Greg Pak (Incredible Hulk), and more gather in one room to share secrets from the House of Ideas. Room 6B

You have to attend one or two of these general interest Big Two panels at every convention, don't you? Jeph Loeb is usually good for a one-liner or ten.

Don't overlook that, either; there are a lot of comic panels helmed by shy creators who spend so much time alone in their basement behind a drawing table or a word processing program that they tend to mumble when they speak, have nothing interesting to say, and just generally suck the life out of a room.

11:30-12:30 Spotlight on Gail Simone -- Meet Gail Simone, writer of Birds of Prey, Secret Six, The All-New Atom, and the upcoming Gen13! Gail sits down with her fans to discuss her sterling reputation as a comedy-action writer and her take on empowering the female hero/villain in this not-to-be-missed Q&A. Room 9

Don't forget -- she was also one of CBR's earliest columnists. Being locked into the DC Universe for the most part, though, I'm not reading any of her output right now. I'm happy to see her get her own panel, but I'm not sure I need to be there for it.

1:00-2:15 WORLD PREMIERE! Brother Bear 2- The moose are loose in Disney's all-new motion picture Brother Bear 2. The wisecracking moose Rutt and Tuke return, along with your favorite characters and some new friends, in a hilarious adventure of destiny turned upside down. On DVD August 29. Room 6A

The first movie was so bad that I nearly walked out on it. I still haven't walked out of a movie in my life, but I came close there. I didn't stick around for the closing credit gags, so maybe it does count. It was a horribly boring little movie. SO THEY MADE A SEQUEL?

John Lasseter can't straighten things back out quickly enough.

1:00-2:30 Cartoon Voices II -- So nice, we decided to do it twice! A mainstay of Comic-Con's Saturday programming slate, here's an all-new Sunday edition of Cartoon Voices, hosted, as always, by Mark Evanier. Mark is joined by vocal impressarios Billy West (Futurama), April Stewart (South Park), Bob Bergen (Porky Pig), Kimberly Brooks (Mucha Lucha), and Wally Wingert (Family Guy). Room 6CDEF

OK, that's it! Enough of the Hollywood! Besides, after the ANIMANIACS DVD panel and the first Cartoon Voices panel, I think I'll have had enough of the topic.

3:00-4:30 24-Hour Comics Cartoonists' Readings -- Successful international 24-Hour Comics Day Challengers narrate PowerPoint presentations of their stories and share tips and challenges of creating with time constraints. Participating panelists include Nat Gertler (2005 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights), Stan Yan (The Wang), Ethan Wenberg (Mr. Flingpoo), Jenny Colaleo (Beanskin and the Internal Insanity), and Tod Parkhill (Young American Comics). Room 8

24 Hour Comics are always a curious item. When deadlines are such a crucial element to the creation of a comic, the limits imposed affect artists in different ways. Some look for clever ways to limit their work (scenes in the dark with just word balloons), some modify their style, and some plow through to hope for the best. Nat Gertler is the organizing force behind the annual 24 Hour Comic Day and publisher of the annual book of highlights. Scott McCloud is the spiritual father to the concept, but he's not scheduled to be on this panel. Shame.

Hearing some of the crazy behind-the-scenes stories and seeing the creators showcasing their work piques my curiosity.

The one thing that really works against the panel is that it's so late in the day on the last day of the con. That's usually the best time to scurry around the convention floor to say good-bye to people, pick up the last of the things you held off on all weekend, and soak in the last dying embers of the show.

And that's a wrap for this year's preview. I hope to see some of you at the podcasting panel on Sunday, and throughout the whole weekend. I'll be dressed (most days) in my usual assortment of CBR polo shirts. Feel free to say hello at any time.

Here's the schedule for Pipeline this weekend:

Thursday - Day Zero coverage, mostly a travelogue


Friday - Highlights from Thursday


Saturday - Highlights from Friday


Sunday - Saturday in review


Monday - I plan on napping.


Tuesday - Sunday stories and more.

We're hoping to sneak in a couple of podcasts from the con floor, as well, but there's no hard and fast schedule on those. We'll see how it develops. From what I hear, there's going to be a small army of podcasters thrusting microphones in people's faces this year.

Stay tuned to CBR.cc for full news coverage all weekend long, plus the usual fun freak assortment of Photo Parades.

The Pipeline Podcast has its own homepage now. The latest podcast is up right now.

My blog, Various and Sundry, is now covering ROCK STAR: SUPERNOVA. If you liked the AMERICAN IDOL coverage, I think you'll like this stuff. Due to San Diego, I'll be skipping this week's writeup, but there will still be an open comment thread for the regular viewers.

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 700 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

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