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Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
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2F2F DVD Contest
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The Fifth Column:
The Fifth Time's The Charm
By Dwayne McDuffie


If history is any indication, SLUSH FACTORY is doomed.

Hiring me to write a regular column will prove to be a fatal act of hubris for this oh-so-promising site. SLUSH FACTORY apparently believes that just because they have assembled a terrific roster of columnists, are offering exclusive interviews with industry bigwigs and are the home to an exciting roster of original webcomics, that they won't fall victim to the deadly Dwayne McCurse™ that strikes any publication daring to give me a regular byline.


Let's review. My first column, focusing on Science Fiction in the mass media, was called "Edgewise." I wrote it for the ambitious and well-funded media site, Fantasticon.com. They went under so early, pundits hadn't even yet coined the phrase "dot-bomb."

My second column was called "To Be Continued." This one I did for a comic book site called Psycomic. It was a terrific site, with the best reviews on the web. They never knew what hit them.

My third column was for a planned relaunch of the venerable fan publication, THE COMIC READER. It was supposed to be called "The Negative Zone." I tanked the new TCR before they managed to publish a single issue.

My Fourth Column, "Brought To You By," was yet another comic book column, this time for the relaunched Psycomic site. Stunningly, they asked me back to rotate my column with industry giants including filmmaker Kevin Smith and TV impresario J. Michael Straczynski. Predictably, this site also folded. That's right, I killed Psycomic twice.

Four columns, four kills. No one escapes the McCurse™.

Which brings us to this, my fifth column. Obviously, we don't have much time before SLUSH FACTORY joins the ever-growing pile of corpses left in McCurse's™ mighty wake, so I'd better get right to business. I've been described as the kind of guy who can find the silver lining in any dark cloud. I've also been described as the kind of guy who will then invariably explain exactly why it is that silver linings, all appearances to the contrary, are actually very bad for you. For as long as SLUSH FACTORY can continue to defy the McCurse™, I'll be reporting to you from my privileged position inside the dark cloud we call comics. Consider me your faithful insider, your spy and fifth columnist.

"The Fifth Column" is an opinion column on comic books and related topics. My opinion. Frankly, I'm biased as Hell. Hope you're okay with that. Every week, I'll ramble on about anything crossing my mind that I can remotely connect to comics. I'll gush over my favorite titles and creators. I'll discuss comic adaptations to other media. I'll regale you with inside stories on how comic books are created. I'll tell tales out of school about some of the people who make comics (for starters, I've seen some of the biggest names in the industry, very, very drunk). I'll talk about my personal experiences with comics, as plain old reader/fanboy, as writer, editor, publisher of my own comics and eventually, as a washed-up, broken and bitter old hack. I'll also bitch about the state of the industry. Probably a lot. And while whining isn't ever pretty, it can be pretty entertaining, at least when I'm doing it.

Next week, in the spirit of new opportunities, I make a belated New Year's resolution to develop a more positive attitude. I'll see you right here, if the site is still up. I mean, I'll definitely see you right here, after all, what are the odds that the site'll fold in under a week?

Listen, I'll probably have a better handle on the positive attitude thing by next time...

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John Byrne's IMO
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The Dead Zone
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Steve Niles Interview
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A Spidery Preview
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Viper Interview
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Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.

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