So my goal today, after a scant five hours of sleep, was to stroll Artist Alley and find some cool stuff.
Oh, and attend Jimmy Palmiotti’s panel. More on that below…
As soon as I hit Aisle V (the closest to front of the hall), two things hit me:
- IDW and Boom have ruined MoCCA Fest and other small press shows. Indie cartoonists now have huge fan followings after producing licensed titles. Katie Cook, had a nice line of fans waiting for a My Little Pony sketch. There are others using that cred to make a living and sell merchandise at their tables. That quiet little show you used to enjoy might soon be overrun by mainstream fans.
- The Aw Yeah Comics group has a nice roster of cartoonists drawing lots of stuff for their comics. Art and Franco continue to produce lots of stuff in their signature style (including a new Tiny Titans series), as well as retail comics in Skokie.
Early on the show floor, I heard a rumor that ticket pre-sales were 68,000. That’s a huge number for C2E2, which reported 53K and 40K attendance the previous two years. Was the floor crowded? Yes. Was it difficult to move around? No. I was able to crowd surf with ease, except for a few aisles in Artist Alley.
In addition to the show choir competition in the Lakeside building, there is a medical convention in the West Hall for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Yes, I will refrain from any witty remarks.
Just a sec… gotta empty the totes bag and refresh my memory…
- Alaxis Press has published their first volume in The Obscure Cities series, continuing on from the volumes published and translated by NBM. The book is eclectic… there are traditional BD pages, and then there are fumetti. The edition is translated by Stephen D. Smith, and he described the publishing strategy, which includes numerous supplemental works, including an actual map! Think “Sunderland”, but even more ambitious!
- Janet Lee had a limited number of “Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome“. It started as a Twitter serial, was illustrated before “Dapper Men”.
- Alex Saviuk, artist on the Spider-Man comic strip, had a pile of original art. One page was from a Captain America asthma comic, but the price was outside my budget.
And then, at 2:45, I attended the inaugural “Listen to Jimmy” panel! Jimmy Palmiotti moderated, and was joined by Amanda Conner, Cully Hamner, Nicola Scott, and Jill Thompson. Jimmy threw out crazy oddball questions, and it was a fun panel, quickly going off the rails and involving the audience, like a good cocktail party conversation. Highlights:
- Stan Lee’s brief career as a pin-up model. (Yes, nude. Covered, so I’ve been told, by a copy of the Batman/Hulk treasury edition.) Bow ckicka WOW.
- The worst comics that each worked on? Jill Thompson could not handle the detailed scripts for Black Orchid. She also had problems with the X-File characters. Fox didn’t like how well she drew Mulder and Scully, not realizing that Fox did not want to pay the actors for using their likenesses in the comic. Conner hated Barbie, as Mattel would not allow her a greater range of expression. Scott mentioned Lion King, particularly a troublesome cover where she finally traced Simba from a model sheet, only to have Disney reject it as not good enough. Palmiotti mentioned Strange Days, a book due in 48 hours, which led into a discussion about Jack Kirby’s speed.
- Jack Kirby used a rocking chair in front of his drawing desk. Better egonomics?
- Nicola Scott was asked about the differences between Australia and the U.S. Her reply: coffee here sucks. Coffee culture in Australia was suffused with Greek and Italian immigrants post-war, while American coffee is watered down. She mentioned two good examples of coffee: a boutique hotel near the Museum of Sex in NYC, and the Mud Truck usually found in Astor Place.
- Jill Thompson described her worst airplane experience, best described as “crop dusting in an airplane”. There was further discussion as to why people become flatulent as a plane makes its final approach to landing.
- Jill Thompson also described a Mystique cosplayer who left some body/booty paint on her table at one convention. Thompson saw more than she cared to…
- If you are going to get an artist’s work tattooed on your body, let the artist know. There are a few tattoos in fandom which were quick sketches…
Afterwords, I suggested future professionals Jimmy could invite into this “meeting of the minds”. If convention organizers are crazy enough to let him hold another panel, do attend!
The rest of the show…
I stopped by the First Comics booth, and met the Fillbach Brothers again. I had briefly met them at a library show in DC many years ago, and they showed me four of their titles (one not yet published). Their style is very abstract, yet cinematographic and stark.
As we got to chatting, I discovered that they, too, are Omaha expatriots, leaving about the same time I did! We even shopped at the same comics shop back in the day! We even knew the same people!
They now reside in Las Vegas, so we’ll meet up again at the library show at the end of June!
The rest of the day was spent wandering a few more aisles, mostly retailers. When I attend conventions, retailers usually have the latest hot titles on sale. Could I find a copy of Ms. Marvel #1? Not yet. Didn’t it go to a second printing? I found other recent “New Now” titles, but not that one…
Okay. That’s done! I’ve got my second wind, and I’m headed back to Bar-Con. It’s 11 PM. Tomorrow is Sunday. Life is good.
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!