I hate panels. I can imagine they are funny or thought provoking discussions about the industry and the process. I can even see them being more than just press releases I can get off Newsarama and CBR. Creators can use that space to discuss ideas and topics that can’t be done anywhere else. The hope is you get something like Eisner/Miller but the truth is you get something more mediocre. I don’t know if that’s the job of a good panel moderator or discussion panels at a convention don’t lend themselves to exciting fun conversation.
My first issue with the first panel I went to was the fact the moderator kind of let the two panelists, Douglas Rushkoff (Testament) and Scott McCloud (X Comics book Guru) engage in long winding monologues with each other that were peppered with comments about how awesome they were. It was still a lively and funny panel even if Rushkoff rambled about things I totally didn’t agree or found a bit outdated in its thinking. If we are lucky, one of the smarter gentleman on this website will go into detail. I guess it was the way the panel was sold I was hope more of something that work towards being a dialogue.
I then broke off and found creators. I got to tell you something upfront. I have no interest in working in comics at all. A lot of people kind of want to do writing on some level in some way for the industry professionally. I don’t think it’s a bad or good thing. It nice to know that the industry is full of fans who wish to be a part of it and add something about it. I just feel those people tend to approach those people in the industry from a viewpoint of asking a magician how they did a trick not because they want to know the story or how it works, but because they wish to replicate that trick. It’s a distinction that stands out to me as a person who loves the craft and the way that people go about things.
I trolled Artist Alley and ran into a bunch of awesome guys.
I spoke with Fred Van Lente (Incredible Herc) and got him to add to my writer sketch book. He told me of an upcoming Marvel Adventures Line starting Ant Man full of a supporting cast of ant characters. I wished I had followed up about his other MA work considering that even though I like the main line Marvel Universe work, I find the MA stuff to be a really cool alternative that fits that lovely spot of older Marvel books that didn’t dumb it down for kids. I was also happy to here Incredible Herc got some more issues. I hope people stay on the ride based on the strength of the story was told in this week’s issue.
I then ran into Sean Phillips (Sleeper), who reminded me of Kevin Eldon who played Sergeant Tony Fisher in Hot Fuzz. He was a blast to talk about. He told me about handling several of the scripts that he gets from Brubaker and how he enjoyed getting moments like that that let him excel as an artist. He’s got a floater Spidey project coming out with a classic Spidey writer and his son, even though he’s got the discipline of a teenager, is learning about the different tools of art. I can’t wait to follow his growth.
My other favorite english artist, Duncan Fegredo(Hellboy) was there and I got to speak to him shortly about his Ultimate Adventures book and the love/hate I have for Ron Zimmerman. He did two of my favorite stories and alot of other crap during that Jemas era. I didn’t realize he was on Hellboy and I’ve got to make serious attempts to read Hellboy.
I caught David Brothers on his rounds visiting every single Black Creator in Artist Alley, (I’m ducking Jamal Igle(Tangent’s Reign), I can’t keep buying his art. I don’t have the space and I’m so weak. ) We met up with Julian Lytle who was one of the funniest and creative guys at the show. He’s one of those guys with a level of energy and ideas that I love to hear. We also got catch Eisner-Nominated Ron Wimberly(Sentences) hanging out with the little people. We discuss plans to bum rush the stage if Sentences doesn’t win and how close his rant will be to ODB (3 out of 5 Big Baby Jesuses).
The next stop after that was the Women in Comics panel which was boring beyond all belief. The questions the moderator asked kind of sucked since the panel was made of people from such separate parts of the industry. Different people on the panel had very strong opinions about being women in comics and others had less so. Neither was bad as a stance but since the questions didn’t give good starting points for anyone on the panel to discuss how their gender effected the process of their job. I guess I was hoping for more life experiences. Granted there were a handful from Gail (Wonder Woman), Becky (East Coast Rising which needs to come out with the second volume), and Heidi (theBeat) but they really kind of had to push to get them out. It was weird to hear the journalist give the best response about what makes a well written female character, but she came at it with the viewpoint of a consumer of media who sought good portrayals of females in art. It almost made me want to see Anchorman again, even if I hated that movie.
The audience questions were mostly about pet projects and Joe wasted our question with a stupid one that Gail Simone kind of took as a personal attack. Gail, because of his horrible explanation, completely missed at what he was getting at. I luckily went after Heidi and asked her why Women could find such high level success outside of the Big 2 (Modan, Bechdel, and Satrapi) but Gail is the only female writer kicking it with the big boys (which even then is kind of not true since Wonder Woman is mid-tier). This was her opinion, and apologies to Heidi if I paraphrase this wrong, there seems to be room for only one. Devin kind of had that spot and when Devin was pushed out there became room for Gail. I also thought that Girls aren’t so interested in the hoops that are required to write or draw at the big two. Some people really want to write X character, so they only have one place to go. Becky has done her share of Big Two stuff but she made her name on stuff that was outside of that frame and the stuff she did on her own is what got her part of a Eisner Nod.
I also ran into Paul Cornell (Wisdom) who was dressed very nicely. I gave him love for Wisdom and he described positive feedback from his portrayal of Faisa in his new marvel ongoing. Please pick it up guys. Wisdom was one of the best trades out there last year and it did not get enough love.
I then hit up Art Balazar (Tiny Titans) who was doing dollar sketches of nearly any character you could thing of. They were amazing. He did the outlines in marker and then filled it in with crayon. They were high concept and done with the love and flair of a passionate creator. He chatted up the plans for Blue Beetle in Tiny Titans (who is the weird kid who talks to his backpack) and was a mile a minute with wacky lines. It’s like every time I hung out with Kyle Baker who I have to hit today.
I hit up the Black Panel which started okay and went on forever. I’ll have more pictures and a some writer sketchbook if anyone is interested.