(Above photo taken during the trade only part of theshow…it got WAY more crowed very soon.)
Well, we’re just about all paneled out after today. Our day started at 11 am with the “mid sized publishers” panel. Brave Eric Lieb (our boss at Fox Atomic) and heroic James Lucas Jones from ONi made it to the panel, and since both are loquacious gents, they just took the ball and ran with it. The conversation perhaps veered too far into the comics-to-Hollywood connection, there was much interesting talk on screenwriters moving into comics, the continued viability of the pamphlet, and Scott Pitgrim. Asked what trends he saw, Jones mentioned that “post apocalyptic stories are the new zombies” in terms of the submissions he sees.
(Photo by Jody Culkin.)
After an hour spent taping a video for future broadcast on the Publishers Weekly channel, along with plucky Laura Hudson, and a brief episode of losing our cel phone, we were back downstairs for the McCloud/Rushkoff summit. Honestly, this could have gone on much longer; it was lively, thought provoking stuff. (We hear someone recorded it for later podcast.) The two talked about not only comics as a medium but the strengths and failings of the internet. Rushkoff mentioned that “comics are the pill Hollywood should not swallow,” claiming that their guerilla energy is too much for the media machine to digest. He also pointed out that back in 1984-1994 when he first got on the internet he felt energized and part of a community after going online; now after a few hours he just feels exhausted.
Which is exactly how we felt at the subsequent “online comics journalism panel” which included all-stars Matt Brady, Johan Weiland, Brian Heater, Rick Marshall and Richard George of IGN. We don’t know if this was as interesting for the audience as it was for the panelists but it was another lively, frank discussion of reporting the news and the constraints therein. Brady mentioned that it is very difficult to get loose from the constraints of major media companies who want their news packaged exactly the same from everyone; protests are met with the reaction “You’re the only one who is complaining” — a statement which may not even be true. The importance of blogs was also mentioned, and a strange viral marketing letter from DC which everyone has received was also dissected. Reportedly the payoff is at the show, in which case irt should have been sent out this week.
We had a two hour panel break and wandered the floor, greeting people and seeing the sights. At one point someone asked “Do you want to meet Milo Ventimiglia?” to which we could only say…no. We’re sure Mr. Ventimiglia is a wonderful fellow, but it just wasn’t the proper moment. We did however spot Larry Hama at the Devil’s Due booth and blabbed with him for a while. He mentioned that while he was on staff at Marvel he could never get a job writing comics there; it took Louise Simonson at another company to give him a writing job. He was then given GI JOE to write, but only as an afterthought. “It’s okay though,” he said. “I got to have a great life,” he added, referring to his exploits in music, acting, comics and raising a family. Once again, Larry Hama shows today’s comics crossover people how it’s done!
After the schmooze hour it was off to the “Women in Comics” panel with Abby Denson, Gail Simone, Becky Cloonan, Karen Green, Shelly Bond and Jen Grunwald. While we didn’t like the “Comics c. 1987” title, this was an awesome panel with awesome people on it, and we were proud to be speaking with them.
BTW, an aside about Jen Grunwald. It was brought to our attention that one of the reasons she is widely suspected of being rogue blogger Marvel Boy is that the supposed Marvel traitor mentioned that “Jen Grunwald is the cutest girl in comics,” to which we can just say…Jen would not say that but someone else would! Come on now, people.
By then it was time to hit the cocktail hour. We ended up at a nearby watering hole where all the Brits and freelancers who didn’t go to the DC Party at the Empire State Building were hanging out. It was loud and boistrous…like the show.
News? You want news? Nothing earth shattering hit our ears, but THIS from Chris Butcher may be the big big news leak:
The con was really interesting today. I had a good conversation with Marc Weidenbaum, editor of Shonen Jump and Shoujo Beat. Viz has just started a new original content line, graphic novels etc. More to come on this. Don’t send pitches, just approach him with printed work.
Viz’s formidable marketing and publishing chops behind original materials could be VERY interesting.
Overall…the place is jammed. Panels were all well attended — there was a HUGE line to get into the Neil Gaiman speech, while an equally huge crowd was filing out from a Marvel panel. In fact the corridor outside the panel rooms was the most consistently jammed part of the show, which people filing in and out past clumps of folks meeting and greeting.
Oh here’s our weird photo of the day: while Bryan Hitch signed, Orson Scott Card read Jane Austen. Go figure.