Jamie Coville has done his usually top notch job of recording some of the best panels from this tear’s Emerald City con. Here’s his line-up:
Emerald City Comic Con 2015 (March 27 – 29) 48 Photos
Making Money with Creator Owned Comics (50:41, 46.4mb)
This panel was Jason Brubaker talking about the various ways of making money with creator owned comics. Among the topics discussed are: Giving away your work, Kickstarter unexpected expenses and depression,
1,000 true fans, focus on building a career, having a day job, publishing in print and in digital, doing exclusives in various forms of publishing, conventions, the various ways
of making passive income, print on demand, licensing & merchadising, patreon, deviant art & tumbler vs your own website, monthly comics vs graphic novels, website ads & advertising, fanslaters translating
his work and international publishing deals.
The Ins and Outs of Self Publishing with Kickstarter (54:08, 49.5mb)
On the panel was Paul Roman Martinez, Daniel Davis, Travis Hanson and Craig Engler (Kickstarter employee and also successful Kickstarter). They spoke about the following topics: E-mailing Kickstarter and getting advice before
starting your campaign, creating an e-mail lists of fans, how much to ask for, what your biggest expenses are, how much to pad out your time and money requests due to unforeseen problems, how much are kickstarter and
credit card processing fee’s, paying an artist, the design and layout of the Kickstarter page, putting images and videos on your page, getting background music for your video, when you should start your
campaign, for how long you campaigns should be and what to avoid, what awards to offer, the emotional rollercoaster that comes with a kickstarter campaign, social media advertising, the logistics of mailing out all the books and more.
How To Run a Comics Anthology and Not Screw It Up (52:33, 48.1mb)
Moderated by Kel McDonald, the panelists were Taneka Stotts, Sfe Monster and Spike Trotman. The group talked about how they got started doing anthologies, their successes, creating
the types of anthologies that people want to buy, various ways of paying contributors, doing a mix of inviting friends to submit work and open call submissions, how to prepare for when people don’t submit
their work, rejecting submissions – including your friends and how some people handle that, the importance of a contract, exclusive and reprint rights for the stories, editing the work that was submitted were
among the topics covered.
World Building in Comics (51:00, 46.7mb)
Panelists were Evan Dahm, Carla Speed McNeil and Greg Rucka. The moderator was Professor Ben Saunders. The group talked about the advantages that the comics medium has over prose and film with world building
and they used a page of Carla’s Finder to demonstrate this point. Rucka explained the difficulty of doing this in prose. Rucka also linked cosplay to people wanting to live in other worlds for a while. The
group talked a bit about the world building in the original Star Wars. They agreed that establishing a mood is important to world building. Rucka said as an author you can get lost in your word building
and you need to know when to stop building the world and move on with the story. Carla gave an example how in Finder a character ended up shaping the world in the series. They discussed other people reading
into the world they created and gave what their worlds say about their real world view. They also discussed very wordy fantasy prose novels and the group recommended books for people to read.
Being Non-Compliant (46:24, 42.4mb)
Moderator was Patrick Reed from ComicsAlliance. On the panel were Noelle Stevenson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Erika Moen, Kate Leth
and eventually Spike Trotman. The group was asked what was Non Complaint and Kelly Sue gave a strong answer. Kate Leth talked about introducing queer characters to her all ages comic work, Erika Moen talked
about teaching and dropping it of her own accord and just focusing on adult comics, Spike talked about how artists can do adult and kids material at the same time – something those that do kids material are
afraid of doing. She said some artists do the adult material under a pseudonym so that it doesn’t show up when a kid googles their name. The group spoke about diversity and men feeling threatened by it. They all
talked about a twitter asshole who sends them all rape threats, but Noelle had a funny story of messing with the guy. They say it’s weird how guys will love superhero ideas espoused by Captain America, then
be mean towards women. They started talking about their heroes and the women going through gamergate hell are among them. Spike talked about how Dave Sim was her hero until issue 186 where she went into a
tailspin going from loving and hating him at the same time. They spoke about the criticism of how women’s stories are all about feelings which lead into about men’s work having feelings too, but somehow that
doesn’t count. Spike talked about the success of her Smut Peddler anthology. The group also said what is uplifting to them. Note: There is swearing during this panel. I also spliced out my asking people
permission for recording during the introduction.
Strip Tease: Adult Comics and the Perverts who draw them (1:31:17, 83.5mb)
On the panel was Blue Delliquanti, Leia Weathington, Spike Trotman and the panel was moderated by Erika Moen. Spike started off telling a story about how a former co-worker of hers stole somebody’s credit
card and used it to buy a bunch of stuff and they got arrested. The group introduced themselves and explained why they do porn. Blue talked about being Hetro on paper until she submitted a lesbian porn comic
for the Smut Peddler anthology. The group talked about their sex education, their parents reactions to sex and how it affected them. There was talk about how, in general, men write porn and how video porn
affected them. The group also discussion around Erotic Fan Fiction and how the pressure for Men to be “Men” is very limiting when it comes to exploring sexuality. They all revealed the
weirdest porn they’ve ever seen. People wanted to know what Erika does with her sex toys that she reviews. The group discussed tumbler as a good place to get realistic body types. The audience had asked
about long form Erotica stories and Spike revealed she is doing one and it’s successful, she will be publishing more under the name Smut Peddler Presents. The group talked about accepting their own bodies.
This panel was able to on longer than normal as it was the last panel for that room that day. Note: This panel has swearing.
Comics in the Real World: The Non-Fiction Revolution (50:13, 45.9mb)
Meryl Jaffe moderated this panel with Otis Frampton, Mike Maihack, Royden Lepp, Eric Kallenborn, Nick Dragotta and Kazu Kibuishi. Meryl asked who was a big influence on them growing up and almost all of
them spoke about a teacher who gave them encouragement at an early age. The group talked about the growth of comics and combating skepticism about the medium. Eric talked about how he wished publishers
would put a “teachers edition” of some books that covered up nudity because he’s certain they could sell hundreds of those books easily to the teacher market. He gave Blankets and The Sculptor (new Scott
McCloud book) as examples of books he and other teachers would love to teach from but because of the nudity, a teacher could lose their career if they used it. One thing comic creators wanted to
combat was that comics were only a gateway to reading prose. Comics is a different and valid form of literature all on it’s own. The group talked about the many lessons that having kids made comics teaches
them. They spoke of how visual literacy is becoming more important skill for people to have. They talked about doing comics digitally vs print and also plugged what they have that either just came out or is
about to be released.
Celebrating Will Eisner’s The Spirit at 75 (46:44, 42.7mb)
Professor Ben Saunders and panelists Kurt Busiek, Carla Speed McNeil & Tim Sale talked about the Spirit and Eisner’s work while looking at slides. Among the things discussed were: How much work Eisner did
when running a studio as he had multiple artists involved, Eisner’s designs on his splash pages, his stories and use of silent panels, the Spirit story 10 minutes, the Ebony character, they also said what
quality from Eisner they took away and apply to their own work.
Convention Horror Stories (46:14, 42.3mb)
This is an ECCC tradition of where Jim Zub and another guests tell convention stories, both good and bad about themselves and their fans. This year Katie Cook was on the panel. Jim started off with his story
of being weird around Neil Gaiman when he first met him and Katie spoke about a similar experience with Stan Sakai. They said even though they are pro’s, they are still fans and their awkwardness around
some of them never goes away. Both of them talked about strange sketch requests that they either did or turned down, including from people at ECCC. They also both spoke about a good fan encounter. Then
ended the panel by saying they do love comic fans and that the bad ones are a tiny fraction of their fan encounters. Note: There is Swearing on this panel.
Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created MAD (48:54, 44.7mb)
Author Bill Schelly and publisher Gary Groth go through some slides showing work throughout Kurtzman’s career and talk about the various points of his career. Among these are:
His early work in comics, his work while in the Army, his Hey Look 1 pagers at Marvel Comics, his EC work, starting with his
horror and sci-fi work and then his Anti-War War Comics, MAD, the Mad paperbacks, the other MAD cartoonists and how Kurtzman knew them, Harvey as an
editor, the Superduper Man story that set the course for MAD that lasts until today, Alfred E. Newman, MAD becoming a magazine, Harvey’s dislike of the comics
industry, why Harvey left MAD, his work for Trump, Humbug and Help! magazines, who some of the staff that worked there that went on to do great things (including Terry Gilliam
from Monty Python fame who wrote the introduction), the Goodman Beaver story, Little Annie Fannie and Harvey being the grandfather of underground comics and the numerous
people whom he influenced.
In Brief: Writing Short Comics (52:33, 48.1mb)
Moderated by Jody Houser, on the panel was Marta Tanrikulu, Amy Chu, James Tynion IV, and James Asmus. They all gave an
introduction to themselves and what they do. They talked about how they started doing comics and if short stories were their way into the comics industry.
Regarding doing short stories for the purpose of breaking in, it was recommended people write 10 of them and get somebody else to pick out
the best ones and ask an artist to draw them. They all agreed it was easier to write long form comics. With short stories you can focus on 1
element of writing like dialogue, pacing, etc.. they warn against trying to compress too much into a short story, something they
see people who finally get a crack at doing comics do. One advantage to a short story is it’s easier to get an artist to squeeze it
into their schedule. The group talked about using short stories to branch into longer ones. They mentioned how writing a short
story can influence their choice on weather to pursue a large, creator owned story. They talked a lot about anthologies via
kickstarter and the opportunities there, as well as opportunities in regular publishing. They say using short stories is a good way
to develop your skills, particularly ones you are not naturally strong at. They said for artists, crisp clean storytelling is super important
and especially the ability to pack a lot of info into a panel, particularly with facial expressions and body language as it can save the writer
from having to explain things in dialogue. They talked about the differences of using licensed characters over original work.
How much direction they give an artist and how to find which anthologies are taking submissions.
Heartbreakers: Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen (48:34, 44.4mb)
On the panel was Matt Wilson, Jamie McKelvie, Kieron Gillen and Andrew Wheeler was the moderator. Topics covered were:
How they met both online and in person, their early work both with each other and other creative partners, how Phonogram was
pitched to Image, their collaboration process, them continuing to work together after all this time, what they thought the
best and worst qualities about each other were, Jamie talked about how he designs characters, Kieren talked about how he
writes characters, making them suffer and what he’s trying to say, Kieren also talked about Young Avengers and how he gets
mad at the suggestion he did it for the money, Jamie talked about fashion design and how he brings in the real world into
his work, Matt discussed the colouring and how they start with the cover and follow that into the interior of the book, they
then revealed when the new Phonogram comic is set and if they were to do more Young Avengers what would they do.
Science Fact in Comics (49:44, 45.5mb)
This panel consisted of Charles Soule, Patrick Meaney, Darick Robertson and moderator Matt Pizzolo. Each gave an introduction and then talked about the current trend of sci-fi stories when it comes to science fact.
Charles spoke about how he met a NASA Engineer who reached out to him and helped his Letter 44 book. Charles also told other NASA stories as he got access to their mission control and how they run projects. Darick talked
about future technology and how it’s amazing the level of technology that we have today. They talked about take downs by actual scientists like Neal Degrassi Tyson vs Gravity. Interstellar was a topic as well as how
far they go towards telling science fact vs telling a story. They discussed how much science research reading they do. Another topic was how their science fiction becomes science fact, with Darick giving Spider’s
glasses as an example towards google glasses. There was questions on if the science research comes before, during or after they do their world building. The group talked about the Mars Mission and traveling to Mars. They
talked about how some science fiction ideas they have thaat sound cool, but in real world would be very bad. They gave their favourite sci-fi authors, talked about climate change and about getting 2nd or 3rd level science in
their books correct. Darick and Charles talked about the science behind Wolverines bones and healing factor.
Image Comics: Something for Everyone (49:29, 45.3mb)
This was a large panel with Jay Faerber, Jeff Lemire, Ivan Brandon, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Megan Levens, Landry Walker, Kurt Busiek, Joe Keating. The panel was moderated by David Brothers. This panel was mainly Q&A with the
audience. Among the topics discussed are: Executing their ideas, the lack of editing at Image and the pitching processes, the level of control creators have – right down to the paper stock, how they stay on schedule between
work for hire and creator owned work, conflicts with work for hire in terms of editoral direction, if they self sensor and where they get their ideas from, how much detail the writer gives their artist, if they write for the
audience or not, would they turn over their creator owned work to other creators to continue with, how they avoid or use stereotypes within their work.
By Design: Fantagraphic Books (50:07, 45.8mb)
On the panel was Gary Groth, Keeli McCarthy and Jacob Covey. Gary went through some slides showing his early graphic design sense, from his earliest fanzines to books he published. He said their book designe improved in the
late 80s when he hired a designer for them. Jacob felt Fantagraphic book design took a real leap of improvement when Seth designed the Peanuts books and they also showed how influential it was by showing other books that
used extemely similar designs. Jacob and Keeli talked about the freedom they have to come up with designs and working with creators, whom are often artists and may have their own illustration based design ideas. They talked
about some of their recent books that the two designers worked on, including the Gahan Wilson 50 years of Playboy cartoons book, The Popeye book, Love and Rockets, Angry Youth Comics, Milton Caniff biography. They also talked
about the difficulty of book design with the Harvey Kurtzman biography, in terms of using the MAD logo to sell the book, the size of MAD vs Harvey’s name, getting approval from MAD lawyers. They also talked a bit about market
consideration on the design, mentioning they have to put the barcode on the cover somewhere.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.