In which our intrepid protagonist attended two panels and bought enough stuff to make both Achilles and Agamemnon sulk in their tents.
What I neglected to mention yesterday was a rather significant fact. I apologize for getting your hopes up in yesterday’s post if the following bit of information depresses you.
Neither Marvel nor DC have a noticeable presence at the convention. Let me repeat: there is no Marvel booth, nor is there a DC booth. For me this is a mixed bit of news. On the one hand, the big two don’t see this convention as big EVENT…which is nice… As their booths are behemoths that take away from the shops while offering minimal exposure to talent in return. On the other hand, the big two publishing companies do not see this convention as a BIG event. The difference is subtle, but it boils down to the panels and the coverage.
Starting this month fanboys and fangirls around the world will be checking in religiously to the larger comics news sites (my personal favorites are comicbookresources and newsarama). Eagerly they’ll refresh the pages frequently to see what new announcements have been made. Generally at cons like Wizard World and San Diego, you don’t have to attend the BIG panels because the transcript is uploaded within an hour or two of the event.
Check anytime this weekend or next and you will see little or nothing coming out of Charlotte. It was with this in mind that I attended the DC Nation panel today. The presiding Ian Sattler did not seem at ease despite trying to convince us that he was. While he was joined by Franco of Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! and Bill Tucci lately of several Sgt. Rock pieces, the atmosphere was subdued and fairly reluctant. The powers that be at DC did not see fit to allow for any thing to “leak” at this weekend’s convention so it was an inordinate amount of, “wait and see.” It turned into more of a rehash of information fans could find on the DC website and a bit of thanks for buying our stuff/ what characters do you like? I can get that talking to the guys at the comic shop that I visit on a weekly basis complete with snarky “repartee.”
DC’s not alone in this. Marvel had it’s Mondo panel today also with a significantly greater number of creators in attendance, but it was more of the same. The ladies and gentlemen on the dais are muzzled by editorial heavies to keep mum. Yes, it’s always a joy to hear Jeff Parker talk about anything. Yes, Jonathan Hickman, currently on Fantastic Four, is a delightful fellow. It’s just that the word MONDO implies something more than pleasant conversation and sound bites for interviews.
What neither company sees is that there is a subtle message being sent. The implication of waiting to leak stories (until August in Chicago or late July in San Diego) is that there simply isn’t enough exciting new news to spread around. Spread it around guys. While no PRESS is bad press, NO press is BAD press.
If that put a damper on your interest in this convention, let me tell you something that should raise it again. You get some really nice almost boutique panels that are a ton of fun. Yesterday there was an in depth interview/ Q&A session with Brian Bolland. Did you know he hasn’t done any hand drawing (outside of sketches for conventions) since 1997? ‘Strue! Mr. Bolland does everything in Photoshop.
Today, there was a similar session with Mike Mignola. There was also a panel with Evan Dorkin, Jeff Parker, Colleen Coover, and Chris Pitzer. The title was Defective Comics: A Celebration of Superhero Oddness. With Dorkin, it quickly took a turn down other paths. It ranged from the lameness of Archie Andrews as a character to a condemnation of the Big Two for not making all-ages books while ramping up the violence and sex in their flagship titles to a truly awesome summary of the events of The Rise and Fall of Arsenal. After hearing Dorkin and Parker compare reading it to the pain of watching an Ed Wood movie, I cannot wait to find this “gem” in a fifty-cent bin in the not too distant future. In this same panel, a clip from a movie called “Ratfink a[nd] Boo-boo” was shown. Words fail me except to say that if Ed Wood had made a superhero movie it would have been this one.
So what did we come away with today? The (lack) of presence by the Big Two does not break a convention. A more varied and intimate panel experience can be had.
If you care, you’ll find a list of things I picked up today.
1. I found the remainder of the Simonson books I was looking for.
2. Took a flying leap on Fallen Angels a 1980′s New Mutants mini.
3. Three silver age Superman gems, two of which involve battling a pauchy Lex Luthor.
4. Pak and Van Lente’s entire Incredible Hercules run… as per Jesse’s strong recommendation.
5. Two posters by a fellow named David Malki ! He does interesting collage work with a victorian/ Steam Punkish bend to it. Check him out. He’s good.
6. Nice display cases for my 3.75 inch scale action figures.
That’s a wrap on today’s events. How are things going in the real world?