Pipeline: Pipeline Issue #565

Tue, April 8th, 2008 at 1:55pm PDT | Updated: April 9th, 2008 at 3:46am

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

CBR, PIPELINE, PODCASTING, ETC.: THE META STUFF

So, CBR looks all new and shiny and blue, doesn't it? It may not be as drastic a change as our last redesign was, but I think everything looks new and spiffy. There are always little wrinkles that will be ironed out over the course of time, but the team behind this did a very good job. I like the way PIPELINE looks.

The big addition to the PIPELINE arsenal is a new PIPELINE-only RSS feed. If you go to the new PIPELINE Archives page, you'll notice an RSS bug in the header above the archives. Subscribe to that and you'll get a feed containing links to PIPELINE as the columns go up.

One question I've gotten a couple of times now is about the new CBR Reviews section that I'm editing and how it might affect PIPELINE. To make a long story short, it won't change anything. I'm still free to write reviews in PIPELINE, and that's the plan. CBR Reviews is a bonus, not a replacement. In fact, once we get CBR Reviews running like a well-oiled machine, I plan on contributing a review a week or so. Watching all the reviews come in and being the first to read them is nice, but it makes me want to join in. That'll be happening soon enough.

PIPELINE has never been a static creature. It changes at my whim. I made some plans at the beginning of this year to change some things around, and nothing's changed there. While I haven't been able to increase audience participation in this column just yet, I think I've done well in cutting back on the length of each column and in adding a graphical element to the column with the original art scans. (Ironically, there's no original art in this week's column. It'll be back next week.)

If the number of reviews increases or decreases in PIPELINE, it has nothing to do with CBR Reviews. It's just coincidence. PIPELINE always comes first.

Back to the website now: The one casualty of the big CBR redesign is that THE PIPELINE PODCAST is temporarily unavailable. We never thought to test it as we developed the new site. Whoops. There are a couple of known issues we're working around behind the scenes to get everything back up and running. By the time you read this, in fact, it might be working for you again. We're sorry for the delay, but please do go back and listen to last week's show when it appears. It's entertaining on many levels.

You can see the full archives for the podcast over here.

I'm pleased that THE COMMENTARY TRACK is getting back to a normal schedule now, though. We'll see a new Track from Ron Marz about "Witchblade" #116 on CBR today, with another one coming up at the end of this week from the creative team of Image's new OGN, "Aqua Leung." I have another one lined up for next week, but the schedule is clear after that. If you're a creator interesting in sharing a little behind the scenes information on your upcoming late April or May book, please make contact. I'll put you right on the schedule.

Looking at this month's "Previews," I'm a bit overwhelmed. There's so much good stuff to talk about in there that I don't know how we're going to limit it at all down to an hour PIPELINE PREVIEWS PODCAST. It's scary.

Even scarier: If I had the time and the equipment, I think a video PIPELINE podcast would be fun to do. I know I long ago vowed never to subject you to my face like that, but I have some ideas. Just no time. Ah, well.

THE REVIEW

I read Lewis Trondheim's "Little Nothings: The Curse of the Umbrella" this week and loved every page of it. Trondheim is a French cartoonist, famous for an overwhelming number of titles that we see only a small percentage of here in the States. You've seen NBM's editions of "Dungeon" and "A.L.I.E.E.E.N", for two examples. I've reviewed other books of his, including "Li'l Santa" and "Mr. O."

Trondheim also has a blog. Like many French artists, he draws in it a lot. In his case, he tells little stories -- vignettes, really -- from his life. "Little Nothings" is a compilation of those blog entries, translated into English and presented in full color on nice heavy white paper. The book is beautiful. Trondheim water colored these entries, giving the book its own look.

The stories are great because so many of them are relatable. This is a comic that you can nod along to as you read it, recognizing your own insecurities, oddities, and habits in Trondheim. When nobody's looking, he plays with a lightsaber, but he also recognizes the silliness of it. He worries about getting sick and sprays himself with anti-bug spray more than he needs to -- and still feels ill-at-ease. A smiling guy passing by him on the street makes him think that his zipper is open. He instantly remembers the combination to an old forgotten combination lock. It's little moments in life blown up into one page narratives. This guy is just like me, and I imagine anyone who reads this will see a little of themselves in him, as well, even if it's as he's accepting awards at Angouleme or drawing tourist attractions in Asia. Trondheim is relatable - or I'm just equally as nutty as he is. Take your pick.

If it'll help you out, think of this as the kind of comic book Larry David would write if he were a cartoonist.

The book is out through NBM today in a handsome paperback edition. It's $14.95 and worth every penny. The good news is, NBM has plenty of sample pages that you can read now. They're not the strongest entries in the book, but I think they're enough to get you interested.

EVERYTHING ELSE

  • An update on Don Rosa's eye condition was not a good one. It seems he's had problems with his other eye, too, and had to have surgery on it. Thankfully, the problem was caught in time to prevent him from losing sight in both eyes for a period of time, but it's still a scary thing. We continue to wish Rosa a speedy recovery, even thought we're fairly sure he's not surfing the web much these days. . .
  • While researching some old X-MEN comics for something I'm hoping to put together in the near future here for PIPELINE, I ran across this fun ad in "X-Men" #138. I'm sure someone in the blogosphere has already showed it on their website, but I can't help myself. The Erudite-Hulk-As-Pitchman made me laugh. Reminds me a little of Bruce Campbell doing commercials for Old Spice. Oddly, the lettering reminds me of Kyle Baker's stuff from "Cowboy Wally" or "Why I Hate Saturn."
  • Here, have a YouTube video. This one looks at lost science fiction/fantasy television pilots that never made it to series. You'll see footage from "Doctor Strange" in there, as well as a host of wacky zaniness -- all hosted by Faith Ford, "Corky Sherwood Forrest" of "Murphy Brown" fame.
  • New York Comic Con is only a week and a half away! WHOO-HOO!
  • In my "Fantastic Four" review last month, I mentioned that Bryan Hitch's style of eliminating black panel borders might catch on in the months ahead. It happened sooner than I thought -- Chris Bachalo used the technique in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #555 last week. It might be coincidence, but it is interesting to see it happen again so quickly.
  • This week's issue of "The Fantastic Four" features a fight scene in the snow so chaotic that I couldn't tell what was going on half the time. Not good. Still, Johnny Storm steals the issue.
  • About the issue of who owns Superman: I support the Siegel family, and hope to see such issues raised again with more characters. Those who go on message boards to scream that the creators made their deal and that's that are just ignorant of the whole situation. It's sad to see.

    On the other hand, the truth is that this will get tied up in the legal system for years yet to come, and it will be business as usual at DC for a good long while yet.

Next week: I'll get back to original art, and perhaps a more detailed look ahead at the New York Comic Con schedule. (It's jam-packed on Saturday.) And how would you like a review? That all sounds like fun.

The Various and Sundry blog is still running, with all of the usual departments: new DVDs, Twitter recaps, "American Idol" write-ups. I also had a write-up of my hike to the ruins of a castle in Northern New Jersey (with pictures), and plan on having another later this week about the training class I took last week and what I'd do differently. It's played for laughs. Please don’t expect business management lectures on my blog or anything. . .

If you're really interested in what daily news bits grab my attention in the worlds of tech and comics and more, the best way to track is it at the Google Reader Shared Items. Several items are added to that page every day. I'm an RSS feed junkie.

The only social network I regularly appear on is Twitter. It's a very fun place with low overhead and the least number of annoyances of any Web 2.0 site, aside from an unstable infrastructure.

Everything else: The Pipeline Podcast, ComicSpace, and a Tumblr Blog.

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 800 columns -- ten and a half years' worth -- are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

TAGS:  little nothings, don rosa, hulk, fantastic four, new cbr

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