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gwalla
12 February 2006 @ 01:26 am
Today was a rich full day.

After watching some of the Olympics while eating breakfast, I took off for San Francisco and Wondercon. It was in Moscone West (the above-ground part of Moscone Center), and the line was pretty long this year. Not San Diego long, but definitely longer than last year's WonderCon. It went around the corner and stretched about to the next corner.

Most of the day I spent in panels. I got in in time to catch the end of the DCU post-Infinite Crisis panel with Dan Didio, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid et al. 52 actually sounds kind of interesting now. The idea is that it'll establish what's up with the DC Universe after the ∞C shenanigans, and as such will feature stories about all sorts of characters. And the discussions of who will appear are still ongoing. So Mark Waid called for audience members to suggest their favorites that they would want to see. Ambush Bug was one of the suggestions, and he said that since Giffen is doing the breakdowns, Ambush Bug will most likely make an appearance whether he's written in or not. There were several other suggestons, both serious and goofy (like Ultra the Multi-Alien). Some woman suggested Aztek, to which Morrison (his creator) replied "He was destroyed and his atoms were spread throughout the galaxy. So he's a little busy right now." Apparently there are plans related to Dial H for Hero. After the panel, I suggested Space Cabby to Mark Waid, and he said that with all the stuff going on in space right now he was kind of surprised that Space Cabby hadn't been thrown into the mix yet.

After that, I caught the end of Scott Saavedra's Comic Book Heaven panel. It was amusing, but not that great. I considered going to the TV Horror Hosts panel (John Stanley!) but passed it up in favor of the Dark Horse Q&A. The turnout for DH was surprisingly small. They introduced a guy who's doing a new comic for them about a superhero and supervillain who are roommates in their secret identities, which sounded okay. It was a pretty interesting panel, even though they didn't come in with anything specific to say and it took a bit for the audience to work up the nerve to start asking questions. They fielded questions about how working with bookstores is different from working with comic shops (the short answer seemed to be: "It's not that different. They both like swag."). One interesting thing: they're coming out with a new line of horror manga translations. Horror manga is big in Japan, and they're figuring that with manga having taken off in a big way, taking cues from Japanese trends could pay off big. It certainly sounds interesting, because it's not something the other US manga companies have really been pursuing. Also, Hellboy will be getting new collected editions, the Conan comics (which are adaptations of the original Robert E. Howard novels) are selling well, and Sin City made them a ton of money.

I met Shaenon Garrity and her hubby Andrew Farago outside the room. Andrew was going to be moderating the next panel, put on by the Cartoon Art Museum (where he's curator), about their current show Gross, Gruesome, and Gothic. Shaenon admired my It's Walky! t-shirt, and we caught up on things. I was conflicted about whether to see this panel, or the Spotlight on Grant Morrison. It was a tough call, because Morrison is the king of all awesome, but then I'd already seen him at the DC panel and he was slated for the Wildstorm panel tomorrow. I went to check out his panel, but it hadn't started yet, so I went back to the room for the CAM panel and ended up staying for the whole thing. They had Chris Bachalo (Sandman, Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life, Witching Hour, Generation X, currently X-Men) , Eric Powell (The Goon for Dark Horse), Bill Morrison (in charge of Bongo Comics' Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror), Batton Lash (Supernatural Law neé Wolff & Byrd: Counselors of the Macabre), and the legendary Gahan Wilson (the glory days of National Lampoon, Playboy). Andrew is kind of an awkward public speaker, but he kept things going and the panel was a lot of fun. At the end, Morrison asked Wilson if he'd like to do something in Treehouse of Horror, to which Wilson replied "Fuckin' right!" So, that was news in the making.

Wandered over to the big room to catch a bit of the Silent Hill preview and see if it might be any good, but the Pixar 20th Anniversary Tribute was running way over time and they hadn't even shown clips from Cars yet. Cars doesn't really interest me at all (a rarity for Pixar, but the trailer just didn't grab me at all). I took the opportunity to grab a late lunch at a little before 4pm.

I came back to catch the second half of the Spotlight on Peter David. He was reading from his script for the next as-yet-unpublished issue of X-Factor, and it sounds pretty awesome. I won't spoil any of it (he swore us all to Interweb secrecy), but will only say that at one point he thumped the mic against the table repeatedly for a sound effect. I wish I'd thought to take a picture when he was doing it, because it was hilarious. Anyway, apparently Fallen Angel is selling much better as a creator-owned indie than through DC, even though the price is a dollar higher. Crazy. Also, he's got more Trek novels coming out—including a TNG novel, the purpose of which is to, as he put it, "make the Borg not suck"—and a Battlestar Galactica novel. He says he resisted watching the new series for a long time because he's friends with Richard Hatch and he felt that they'd screwed him over, until somebody pointed out that Hatch has a recurring role on the new show. So he watched and got hooked. A book entitled "Writing Comics With Peter David"—a title which he hates, but makes his mom happy because his name takes up about 2⁄3 of the cover— is also in the works.

The big news of that panel, though, was that Peter David is now Marvel exclusive. He says the decision was pretty simple: being exclusive means they pay medical benefits, and he's got a wife and 4 kids. He says that any time you hear someone explaining that they went exclusive because they love the characters and really treasured the chance to blah blah blah, they're full of crap, and took it for the medical. He was concerned that he wouldn't be able to do his other projects (like Fallen Angel, his current Spike miniseries, and Soulsearchers & Co) anymore, but Marvel got back to him and said that they'd write an exception into the contract for his current projects. Which is really cool. Apparently they offered him the contract because they're really happy with his work on X-Factor and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, which bodes well for X-Factor (probably the best X-book right now).

After that panel let out, I went down to the dealer's room and wandered around. Didn't buy anything. Met the guys who do Alpha Shade, and they were really cool. Websnark came up, and the guy sounded disappointed that the discussion had mainly been about the interface (I didn't mention that it was one major reason why I'd never seriously checked it out). Chuck Whelon of Pewfell Porfingles had a table, but he was out & about so I didn't see him. Took a few pictures here and there. Saw Mark Waid again at the DC booth, where he was doing Batman sketches (?!) on the backs of flyers for new DC action figures. Got a sketch, and asked if there were any 52 plans for the Green Team. He said he didn't know what they'd would be up to during 52, but he'd bring it up in the meetings. I also asked about the original Outsiders, to which he said "Oh, you mean the Joe Simon ones? I'll definitely bring that up." Finally, I asked more seriously about Linda Danvers, and asked how that would even work. He thought a bit, and said that he didn't really know. There'd been some discussion, but nothing had materialized.

After that, back home just in time for the Olympics to come back on as I ate dinner. Then this, and now to bed. Crap, it's after 1am.

I'll be going back tomorrow today.

PS: Pictures eventually. I use film, so no instant digital gratification, sorry.
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gwalla
12 February 2006 @ 11:58 pm
Couldn't convince my friend Armando to come along, since he was alrady headed to his mom's place.

Got there too late to catch the DC Crisis Counseling panel. Oh well.

Caught the end of the "Secret Origin of Good Readers" panel, which was about using comics to promote literacy, comics in libraries, comics in the classroom, etc. It was interesting, although the brief history of comics didn't tell me anything I didn't know (and it overstated the seriousness of comics pre-CCA). For those who are interested, they have a site here with lesson plans and other resources for educators.

Came into the DC Wildstorm/CMX panel expecting it to already be underway, but it turned out to have been pushed back to 2. So I got in at the beginning. And was subjected to the vocal stylings of Alé Garza singing "Sister Christian". The guy working the soundboard went with the flow and actually cued up the song for him to sing over. Anyway, Grant Morrison and Jim Lee showed up but could only stay briefly due to the change in times causing them to be double-booked. They talked about their upcoming collaboration on WildC.A.T.S., which sounds pretty interesting (although I'll admit to being a sucker for Morrison). The premise of the new series is going to be pretty different from previous runs, but will star the usual suspects for the most part and will build on the older stories. They're going for a pop art feel, which could be fun. After Morrison and Lee left, Garza and his writer (can't recall his name—couldn't remember Garza's either but it's in the program) talked about their new project Skye Runner. It sounds like your basic fantasy action story, nothing that new. They seemed enthusiastic though. And Wildstorm executive editor Scott Dunbier went over the titles that will be coming out through them and CMX (DC's manga line). A question about whether there will be an uncut edition of Tenjo Tenge (a sore point with manga fans, as CMX had billed itself as being uncut but had cut some mild nudity) got a vague, uninformative, and slightly defensive answer.

After that was the Comic Book Writers panel in the same room, with Peter David, Terry Moore, and Mark Waid. For some reason Mark Evanier, who was supposed to moderate, was not there, and Mark Waid was late. So it started out with Moore and David just taking questions from the audience. Fortunately, David loves to talk, and they could riff on things for a while. The lack of a moderator turned out to not be such a setback. After David said that Moore had it easy because he was both writer and artist, and could therefore make sure that what he wrote came through exactly as he intended on the page, Moore said that in fact he frequently finds when drawing that he needs to scrap or change things he'd written. He said that his comics are still made by committee, but they're a committee in his head—and they don't get along very well. Waid appeared about halfway through. They talked about the differences between writing limited series and ongoings. David claimed that "the only difference is that on an ongoing you stop when you quit or get fired", but Waid brought up the fact that with ongoings you can't always plan out your story arcs completely ahead of time and can usually drop a story seed in and just see where it leads, but with limited series you need to tighten things up. None of them use index cards when writing (David said the only time he used index cards to keep track of things was when he wrote choose-your-own-adventure books, since it's basically impossible to do otherwise). It was a very fun panel.

After that, I wandered the dealer room. Met Jason Martin of Super Real. It's available in pamphlet form now. Also finally caught up with Chuck Whelon, who did a sketch for me that turned out to be my only sketch of the Con. I'm really kicking myself for not bringing more money, and also for not trying to get a sketch from Phil Foglio earlier because he was gone by the time I got to his table. Ah well.

Con ended at 5. I got a couple more costume photos and went home. I had a good time.
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