NY COMIC CON Day 1 – The Day I Got To Breathe

After a very long (but fun!) weekend at the NY Comic Con I’m back to present you with Day One’s events. Last year I only made it to one day. This year I was only planning on attending two, but figured what the hell, I’ll go for all three. I would have tried live blogging from the event but I was having too much fun to bother. However, I did use a digital voice recorder and took notes. So here we go.
I arrived early before the general public was let in. All I can say is thank god for that because I was able to scoot around the show floor without being walked into. It gave me the chance to buy myself a stuffed Weighted Companion Cube and this Wonder Woman action figure that I’ve wanted for a while but kept missing in stores. The con had a bigger space to work with this time around. That meant wider isles and artists alley being on the same floor this year.
I had five panels I intended on going to. The first was “Choosing the News: The Changing Face of Online Journalism.” Moderated by Heidi MacDonald from Publishers Weekly’s The Beat, panelists were, Matt Brady from Newsarama, Rick Marshall from ComicMix, Richard George from IGN Comics, Brian Heater from The Daily Cross Hatch, Jonah Weiland from Comic Book Resources. Beside the moderator, Matt Brady and Johan Weiland were the most talkative of the bunch. The consensus about getting your blog to be popular was hard work and regular posting.
The topic that garnered a lot of discussion from the panel was viral marketing and whether it should be considered news or advertising. “Personally I find viral marketing just distasteful,” said Brady, “that it’s taking advantage of the gullible audience and tricking them even more so than regular advertising.” Jonah Weiland thinks viral marketing can be fun if it’s done respectfully, “Viral marketing can be very successful, can be very exciting. I don’t know that the comic companies have it totally figured out yet and by the time I think they figure it out viral marketing will probably be dead.” Weiland thinks Warner Brothers has done a great job viral marketing The Dark Knight but he also warned, “As a journalist you have to take a step back and you have to be skeptical of pretty much everything now. Brady agreed, “You have to be very careful, especially when it does come to viral marketing because, I mean, it’s always been we’ve kind of regulated it to the blog section to do any kind of reporting on it. Because if you’re reporting on a viral marketing stunt, a cake showing up at your door from the Joker with a cell phone, that’s cool. Is it news or then you actually marketing or using your outlet then to advertise and that’s, that’s a huge gray area to go into.”
Next up was the first Vertigo panel of the weekend. Sr. VP/Executive Editor Karen Berger was the moderator for this one. Grant Morrison was the biggest name at this panel and therefore introduced first as one of the founding foursome fathers of Vertigo. This was my first time seeing and hearing him and saying I was enormously entertained by him is a gross understatement. Also there were Amy Hadley who is the artist on Madame Xanadu, G. Willow Wilson who wrote Cairo and is now in the midst of a new comic called Air, writer of the upcoming Unknown Soldier Josh Dysart, Jason Aaron the writer of Scalped, writer of DMZ and Northlanders Brian Wood, Brian Azzarello the writer of 100 Bullets and Loveless, Bite Club writer David Tischman, and artist Russ Braun from Jack of Fables. Berger’s fellow Editor Shelly Bond also sat in to talk about her new project MINX which are graphic novels aimed at teenage girls. Editors Will Dennis and Jonathan Vankin attended as well. I was very happy to see Mark Buckingham, artist of one of my favorite comics Fables, slip in just as the introductions were finishing up.
The panel mostly consisted of slides of upcoming Vertigo titles with each artist or writer talking about their own and then questions directly mostly at Grant Morrison. There were a lot shown and I don’t read a lot of Vertigo titles so I’ll just talk about the few that I already know or that peaked my interest. Air is the new title from the creative team behind Cairo which I did not read. G. Willow Wilson said the idea came about after she got stopped by a stewardess in Amsterdam who thought visa’s for Iran and Egypt made her a suspicious person. She said Air is, “a really weird surreal look at sort of the way flight has remained sort of magical to us.” Wilson also said, “The thing that we’ve been telling people that they’ve liked is if Umberto Eco and Hayao Miyazaki had sort of, you know, been in on Alias the TV show it might be something like this,” which is what sold me on trying this one out.
I was very excited to find out Vertigo is going to sell a coffee table book of Fables covers come October. If you haven’t seen any you’re really missing out because James Jean’s art is gorgeous. Mark Buckingham talked briefly about issue #75 of Fables called “War Pieces,” which will be double sized. “Lots of dramatic things happen, um, you know, nobody’s safe. I know they say that a lot in comics, but no, this is one of those moments we will make big changes,” he said.
Finally, Grant Morrison spoke about continuing and finishing up Seaguy, three books of three each. He told part of the story which I could never accurately describe how funny it was, I really wish I had video. It involves Seaguy in Spain in a new identity as a professional Matador As a result of mad-cow disease they can no longer kill any cows or bulls therefore they are now known as “Bull Dressers.” Morrison explained what that meant exactly, “The Matador buys all these really sexy clothes and stuff and he has a hat and the bull charges up and he just goes whoosh and the bulls like wearing a hat. And then it charges again and he’s got a pair of stockings and whoosh and the bull’s suddenly dressed in stockings. And the idea is eventually if you’re a really good Matador you’ve got this thing going around in high heels and you win.” Hearing him tell that story almost made me pee my pants. He was convinced to tell it again during his spotlight panel the next day.
Finishing up my Friday panels was “Women In Comics” moderated by Abby Denson. Panelists included Karen Green, a librarian at Columbia University who started a collection of graphic novels for them, she also writes for Comixology, Heidi MacDonald once again, artist of American Virgin Becky Cloonan, Shelly Bond also again, collections editor at Marvel Jennifer Grunwald and newly appointed writer of Wonder Woman, Gail Simone who outshined everyone on the panel with her bright red hair. If only I hadn’t dyed my hair recently that would have been the perfect open to a conversation.
The ladies discussed how being a women affects their individual work, but did not touch on if they were ever hindered in the comic industry because of their sex, which I found odd. Denson asked them each if they considered their work feminist. Green replied, “I find that a really fascinating question. I think because ‘feminism’ has become this kind of dirty word and people all over the world want to say, ‘oh I believe in equal rights for women but I’m no feminist.’ I think that feminism needs to be redefined as basically the right for any woman to have the same opportunities as any man and I can’t imagine that anybody wouldn’t believe in that.” She continued. “I would hope that everyone in this room is a feminist and it’s not something that you have to be it’s just something that is.” Gail Simone felt a little differently. She thinks she has good reason to call herself a feminist, “I grew up in a family that was mostly strong women, there wasn’t any really strong father figures to speak of that stuck around for any length of time.” She added, “My great-grandmother was a Suffragette and she was in jail many times for, you know, women’s right to vote, handing out birth control to women, I mean, it’s always been women’s issues in my family.”
I hopped into the screening of the trailer for X-Files: I Want to Believe before I left. It was about a minute of pure awesome. Fans went wild when the familiar theme tune was played. Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz were brought out for a Q&A session directly afterwards. I stayed for a few minutes then beat it when I realized it was going to be a lot of questions involving the movies plot and a lot of “watch the movie” answers.
I attended the “DC Nation” panel that day also but there’s a lot to talk about there so I’m going to do a separate post and include the “DC: Countdown to Crisis” panel I went to on Saturday afternoon as well. All in all it was a fun-filled day but it was time to head home. I needed to rest up for my day in costume. Speaking of costumes, here’s a shot of three awesome Indiana Jones cosplayers. Unfortunately for me my camera didn’t take pictures very well on the show floor with or without flash but you get the idea.

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