Sat in the departure lounge of JFK Airport, the sun rising, the clouds scurrying, my mind was filled with a mixture of trivia, delight and judgment. So, as I waited for the airplane to come sniffing up to the terminal, I started jotting down thoughts about the show.
It took me until I got to London to get them all down.
1. Ten year olds grow old fast these days. At one Marvel panel, one asked who Jean Grey’s real lover was. Another asked about the political affiliations of the individual X-Men. The lesson? If you want free swag, bring your kid to a show then prep them to ask questions eerily beyond their age.
Chris Claremont got the same question from the “lover” kid at his booth. He told him that he just didn’t know anymore.
2. This was the show for Image comics announcements. While many companies had many new books and projects to show or announce, Image ruled the roost here, with new, different, diverse and frankly rather exciting books from a whole bunch of comic book creators. And they’re not even based in New York and so were without home advantage.
3. Asking Dan Slott to hug members of the audience is a running joke that looks like it will well continue into the next year. It starts to come over as almost office bullying. But Dan doesn’t seem to mind… too much.
4. It looks like Marjorie Lui may be writing a new Gambit series if the teasing was anything to go by. The squeee-ness over Gambit and Rogue is getting worse and worse as the generation that grew up on the X-Men carton of the nineties continue to get work in comics. The non-consummation of their relationship is by far the closest thing Marvel has to Twilight and there’s a large and willing audience waiting to snap it up.
5. There is some left hand/right hand confusion at DC right now over the death or not death of Krypto in the DC relaunch. Things got mentioned in panels that may have been contradicted in person. Consider it Schroedinger’s Hound until there is some clarification.
6. Doop is on the side of Wolverine.
7. DC’s VP President Sales, Bob Wayne’s real first name is Bertram. And as a result, and under the instigation of Dan DiDio, Sherrif Bertram of Wayne Country, Texas, appears in O.M.A.C. #2. Slightly thinner, slightly less hair.
8. The buttery popcorn smell of certain parts of the hall, does not mix well with the sweaty ballsack smell, especially when piped through the two corridors joining the bigger comics publishers to the smaller ones. The Corridors Of Funk were rather oppressive at times.
9. In New York, it is not a crime for women to be topless outdoors. Which led to greater crowds than usual outside the convention centre, when certain cosplayers took advantage of this bylaw and wore less costumes than usual. No, I don’t have photos although I believe one was The Topless Paparazzo.
10. The digital copy of Spaceman #1 from Vertigo will cost less than the print by one cent. Digital sales will accept 99c but not $1. And to count on Diamond’s print charts, a comic must cost $1 or more. A rather peculiar twist on the usual situation.
11. I walked with Heart writer Blair Butler from the Image Comics panel to her signing at the booth. As we got closer, so the crowd got heavier and Blair got more frustrated, asking what all these people were crowding for. She was slightly embarrassed to discover they were queuing for her.
12. Jim Lee has redesigned Spy Vs Spy.
15. Ben McCool and Mario Guevara are to adapt the 1938 movie Alexander Nevsky into a full colour graphic novel, Nevsky, in a collaboration with Mosfilm, Trident Media Group and IDW Publishing. And I can’t imagine the paperwork and minutes when three corporate companies get involved in something like that.
16. Christos Gage is taking over from Mike Carey on X-Men Legacy, with David Baldeon on art. Chris Claremont however, right now, is out of work. It feels like there’s a disconnect here.
17. The teriyaki salmon at the DC Party on Friday was delicious.
18. MTV Geek seemed to take some lessons from San Diego’s Tr!ckster’s success, taking somewhere dark, filling with opportunities for pros to show o their skills to each other, let very select people in, but also show leeway, give an open bar, and then slowly close down parts of the venue, so everyone congregates together in a critical mass.
19. British people all end up in the pub with the same people they do every week back at home.
20. Brian Wood, Mark Brooks and Roland Boschi’s five issue series Wolverine And The X-Men Omega sees Logan fighting Quentin Quire for the school Wolverine just set up five minutes ago. Looks like those chains didn’t take. It seems that since DC no longer seem to care much about Brian Wood, that everyone else does. With prominent books at Marvel and Dark Horse, did DC let this one get away?
21. The expensive Javits wifi sucks. The 3G sucks. The only way I can cover this show properly in the future is with carrier pigeons, I think.
22. Steve Ellis (High Moon, Box 13) has just completed art for the The Walking Dead: Dead Reckoning comic/game/thing, out in January.
23. The Runaways are coming to Avengers Academy. The movie is still on the cards, and its success will likely be what brings the team of supervillain’s children back to the fold.
24. I already knew that David Hine was taking over Darkness. I didn’t know Top Cow had launched a Darkness app with the first six issues of the comic to download for free. Until the end of Monday.
25. Not only is the American writer Joshua Hale Fialkov writing Doctor Who comics for IDW but he’ll get a go on John Constantine in I, Vampire. It’s time to send the gun boats, chaps. I discovered that the change in Chas’ identity in Brightest Day: Aftermath was down to the artist not having reference for Chas. And the changing covers reflected the changing accepted pitch for the comic.
26. There will be a followup Rocketeer Adventures Anthology from IDW in the spring with new creators working on this volume. Should be a big year for The Rocketeer, and I’m hearing of more, larger scale announcements to come early next year.
27. There will be an all-ages Green Lantern comic tied in to the animated series. And there wil be a Super Best Friends Forever comic to tie in with the DC Nation short.
28. Rick Remender will start writing Secret Avengers next year with Gabriel Hardman on art and with Hawkeye leading the team, will deal with the Captain Britain realm of Otherworld, playing off Alan Moore’s portrayal of that realm. What fun!
29. Frank Quitely at the MTV Geek Party was holding a small portfolio. Making him look like a jobbing wannabe artist. Rather sweet. And it was fun to see the ultra cool, ultra laid back Jacen Burrows go into a minor gibbering wreck when being introduced to him, and discovered Frank knew his work.
30. Executive Assistant will now be an ongoing series from Aspen. Sex still sells, apparently.
31. Peter David doesn’t mind if anyone spoils the issue of X-Factor in which Havok returns, as it’s only the last page and much more interesting stuff happens in the rest of the comic… to the scanners everyone!
32. Eric Canete lost a portfolio of his artwork at the show. I say “lost”, I mean “had it stolen”. Also reporting missing art were Mindy Lee and Peter Nguyen.
33. Joe Quesada and Dan DiDio remain the true showmen of comics. While the panels were full of staff members entertaining the crowd, these two are the Barnums. It is truly impressive to see how they work the crowd, but of slight concern that there is no one, from Bob Wayne, to CB Cebulski to Arune Singh, who can compare. Comics conventions need this showmanship, it’s possible they may have to hire people just for this job.
34. The most surprising out-of-the-blue-from-nowhere book of the show was Dark Ages by design workers Mada Shave and Vin Shave. Picking it up, it feels like it’s a mini-copy of Edge magazine, squarebound with slight embossing and fifth-inking of text, but contains something closer to Heavy Metal, a dark, intense but not sodden or offputting take n sci-fi corporate greed. Hadn’t heard a thing about it before, now I want to tell everyone.
35. Although the Buffalo Speedway books from Yehudi Mercado are also of note. Allegedly subtitled “A Slice In The Life Of A Pizza Boy”, the comics are kinetic, energy fuelled and violently slapstick. Three digest volumes so far. Very much worth tracking down.
36. The queues for gaming panels were outstripping comics panels by significant margins. The queue for the a Bioware panel was around the show floor before the preceding Cup Of Joe panel had started and the two queues fought somewhat.
37. Dark Horse’s Aub Driver makes a mean DJ. And also played Aha’s Take On Me at just the right moment. There have probably only been three such moments in history to play that track and he found one of them.
38. Teen Titans continuity is a little messed up. On DC’s Young Justice panel, we were told that the Teen Titans comic is the first apearance of the Teen Titans, but previous iterations were alluded to in Red Hood and blatantly mentioned in Batwoman – that title was created pre-Relaunch and already had some art amends made to it. Looks like they may have missed a speech balloon. I’m also told that the very nature of whether or not Teen Titans was a relaunch or a reboot wasn’t decided until after the first issue was finished, so that can’t have exactly helped.
40. When San Diego Comic Con is on, the whole town turns comic con and people arrive just to hang outside the show, to watch the cosplayers, to go to the comic-themed parties, to even be tangentially part of the experience New Yorkers, not so much. They’ve seen it all before. And anyway, the Wall Street protestors have more outrageous costumes right now.
41. I was told there may have been a Deadpool/Rob Liefeld announcement at the show. There wasn’t. But if something is announced, he’ll have concurrent comics at Marvel, DC and Image…
42. Dan Buckley stated that Marvel would have the Marvelman situation sorted out with announcements in the next twelve months. I mentioned someone else involved in the negotiations and they just laughed.
43. The biggest bar gossip concerned the rumoured departure of Gail Simone from Firestorm and the wider implications for other professionals and the company. I was told that the new writer was selected, someone who has worked at both Marvel and DC, but not for a while. And it’s not Brian Clevinger.
44. I spent a good twenty minutes at the Marvel booth with their employees discussing our favourite books from the DC Relaunch. Batgirl, All Star Western and Swamp Thing seem to be favourites.
45. Books-A-Million also sells the Bares & Noble Nook. Hence there boycott of DC over Amazon Kindle rights. So this shouldn’t spread further.
46. More Sin City comics from Frank Miller.
47. One fan saw Luther Strode writer Justin Jordan and, without irony, marvelled at the weight Harry Knowles had lost.
48. One of my favourite comics writers is turning to Kickstarter this week.
49. People still get photos of their kids with cosplayers dressed as Pedobear.
50. Some people say New Yorkers are not a friendly bunch. Well that can’t be said for New York Comic Conners. On the show floor, in nearby bars and restaurants, Bleeding Cool readers, comic professionals and pros went out of their way to introduce themselves and give thanks for Bleeding Cool. And I only got punched in the face once. On balance, that’s a pretty good ratio.