It was a long, lovely afternoon at the Baltimore Convention Center yesterday, when Baltimore Comic-Con opened it’s doors for their first Friday. I did (almost) all the things, and didn’t buy anything from the merch room yet. Success! Yay?
Herewith, my streaming-thoughts of doom, destruction and stuff. Today brings the Archie panel (hooray for Afterlife With Archie!), along with the DC, Marvel, Boom and Dynamite panels. Which of course all seem to be at the same time, so I may skip the first two and go with the smaller panels. Because fun. Fun! (And also seating.) Since I’m in dire need of a coffee, let’s get this Friday recap party started!
* Got in early — an hour to go before the Thrillbent panel. What to do? MERCH FLOOR! So much to want. So little time/cash/space in the pad. But as this was the first Friday the ‘Con has ever had, things were easy. And the place was pretty empty, compared to the usual glomping throngs. Time to nerd out!
* Thrillbent: Hard to believe it’s been 3 years with this online comics site/phenom/thang. I’m a huge fan of their The Eighth Seal, and after this panel there’s so much more I’d like to read. Especially The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood by Christy Blanch, Insufferable: Home Field Advantage, City of the Dead, and newbie The House in the Wall. Opening their site to an all-you-can-read subscription service for the cost of one comic for a month of access will make that easy.
No sound, no animation, just scroll and let the panels unfold. I liked the roundtable that discussed this style as a more immersive experience, allowing you to become more invested as your own brainparts create sound/story flow right along with the artists. Very cool. And it was also very cool to see see Kitson and Randall get excited about this new medium; as someone with zero artistic talent, I was in awe of their willingness to dive into this form of storytelling, and how they took it to a new level. Yeah, it’s easy to just make things jump out at you at the next swipe, but to create panoramic views, and stories that unfold at the speed of the reader? Brilliant.
BTW, sounds like they’ll be opening the floor to pitches at the end of the year; apparently they allowed fans to make 15 second pitches at SDCC, and the bulk of those pitches? Were kinda amazing. I’m anxious to see where that leads.
* “Sexy or Sexualized?”: I was chomping at the bit for this panel, which took a look at the difference between being appealing and being flat-out inappropriate. (HINT: for folks saying that this is simply a “hyper-sexy ain’t anatomically correct” argument? A character can be anatomically correct and sexist. Thank you, panel.)
Paul Levitz and guests Marguerite Bennett (Batgirl), Christina Blanch (The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood), Dave Gibbons (The Secret Service), Adam Hughes (Fairest), Gail Simone (Red Sonja), and Thom Zahler (Love & Capes) all put in their two cents and more, and I’m loving Gail Simone more than ever right now.
It was especially interesting to hear Adam Hughes’ thoughts, as his work is absolutely gorgeous and downright sexy. He shared he goes on instinct with his art, and that after his work on Penthouse comics, “my barometer has been ba-roken.” Best thought came from Dave Gibbons, who said that in the UK, boys comics have no girls in ’em, and girls comics don’t deal with boys, so he saw them simply as characters. So when Watchmen came around, he played with the ideas of sexuality because it was supposed to be a throwback to the Golden Age of comics.
Take away Personhood Is Power y’all. You can say that over-sexualized characters are “inviting the gaze”, “deflecting”, or whatever you like. But if 90% of female characters have that same exact description? Time to change up their motives/desires/thoughts and create beyond the cliche.
* SuperMOOC!: “Social Issues Through Comic Books SuperMOOC with Christina Blanch” only served to remind me that I really need to get my feelers out and learn about all the cool things comic book fandom has created. Sounds like it was an amazing class, and Blanch has a way with teaming comic books up with social issues. This past MOOC focused on Addiction, Environment, Social Inequality, Immigration, and Media/Government Intervention/Information. And the class reading list was a cornucopia of the really good stuff: Lazarus, Buzzkill, Swamp Thing, Transmetropolitan, Superman Unchained…. Thank goodness all of her interviews for the class are still available on her YouTube channel. All this, and it was free? Please let her do another one. Soon.
Wellp, time to head out for a new day.