Phew — Saturday was the usual crazy-crowded, walk-stop-walk Con that I’d remembered! Luckily, there were some awesome panels that took me away from the merch floor, and the hallways. Purchases so far?
* My Little Pony TPB “Pony Tales, signed by Thom Zahler! He told me he’d love to be invited to BronyCon, so maybe next year I can get him to sign something else….
* S.H.I.E.L.D. “Staff” badge. Because I’m not Coulson. Hello, Halloween! (Bonus points to the folks at that booth for printing Castiel’s FBI badge upside-down. Because that’s exactly how Cas would roll.)
* 2014 BCC keychain, with Carnage logo on one side & BCC logo on the other. Because I’m a sucker for dogtags.
* String Aquaman! Someone had left a boatload of DC superhero string figurines at the “dump table” in front of the merch room. Free! Of course I snagged Aquaman. Because he rocks.
Best of Cosplay for Saturday: I did manage a few pics, but the real throwdown will be at today’s costume contest.
And so onward, to the panels!
Archie Forever: Life, Afterlife and Beyond: I’ve been a so-so Archie fan for years. The art is spectacular, Afterlife with Archie is one of the best horror titles out right now, and hello Sabrina teenage witch! On the other hand, Archie’s flip-flopping between Betty and Veronica got tired as soon as I hit puberty. Worst boyfriend ever! But Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie), Dan Parent (Kevin Keller), Michael Uslan (Farewell, Betty & Veronica), Andrew Pepoy (Katy Keene), and Mark Waid and Dean Haspiel (The Fox) were all awesome. Tidbits? Let me show you them….
- As a longtime Sabrina the Teenage Witch fan, I was psyched to hear that there’s a new Sabrina series coming in October! And for fans of Katy Keene? If you love her, let Archie Comics know; there’s plenty of stuff that can come out if there’s a market for it. So get to e-mailin’, y’all.
- “Farwell, Betty & Veronica” will look at what it means to be “A Betty” or “A Veronica”. Especially when B&V study abroad and realize they can switch up their personas. Meanwhile, Riverdale turns into a dull, drab place without them, until they get their own exchange students…. (Issue #1 hitting stands this Wednesday!)
- “Death of Archie” was a celebration of the history of Archie comics, and there’s no current plans to continue the series. Which makes perfect sense, given the title, though a few folks were bummed because the second-tier adult characters were compelling. Note to self: read this series.
- With the changing of the guard at Archie, it’s now “a place that never really says no” to it’s creative staff. So expect a ton of really cool stuff coming your way. Oh, and peep the covers for Afterlife with Archie if you don’t believe me. Whoa! (John Goldwater gets all the credit for the change in environment, and the creators seem happy with the “what would you like to do?” viewpoint of the new guard. Who wouldn’t be?)
- The Archie Marries Veronica/Archie Marries Betty thing was done with Veronica first on purpose. If they’d started with Betty, everyone would say “aww, isn’t that sweet….Just like I always thought.” With Veronica first, “the you-know-what hit the fan”. As a diehard Betty fan, I agree!
- Francesco Francavilla, the awesome artist from Afterlife With Archie, found himself asking “Can we do that?” and then “let’s push a little more…”. About his process, he feels “like I’m shooting a movie”, and that “I have the gift of making everything look cool” (said tongue-in-cheek of course. Afterwards, he laughed at himself.) I can’t wait to get my hands on Issues #7 & #8, but what variant? Okay, yeah. Both.
- Meanwhile, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was given a simple directive with Afterlife With Archie; “cheesecake and horror”. Done and done. Gorgeous!
- Waid & Haspiel described their new Red Circle/Dark Circle comic The Fox as “stories that aren’t being told anymore”. The Fox is a reaction to the everyday apocalypse stories that seem to be trotted out weekly by the Big Two. Gotta agree with them there; “how to make the apocalypse boring” is by “constantly bringing up the same issue over and over again”. Couldn’t agree more. Who else is tired of Emo Man every freakin’ issue? Just me? Of course not.
The Making of The Fifth Beatle: The Beatles in Comics: Rather misleading title, as The Fifth Beatle is Brian Epstein’s story. But writer/creator Vivek J. Tiwary was an engaging speaker. It’s easy to see how he got the Broadway musicals American Idiot and A Raisin in the Sun (with P. Diddy no less) green-lit. His enthusiasm for his subject is infectious, and makes me want to grab a copy and dive right in. (Which I probably will be doing later today.)
- Tiwary went by Epstein’s old adage when adapting Epstein’s life story, “if the legend is better than the truth, print the legend”. Tiwary was going for truth, not facts. In other words, there’s plenty of historically accurate stuff here, but The Fifth Beatle is more about getting how it was to be gay, jewish and from Liverpool out there over exactitudes. Tiwary was more interested in “the poetry of Epstein’s story”.
- The color palette is a big part of the story; the black/white/grey of Liverpool is brought into color when Epstein hears The Beatles for the first time. As his world changes, he tries to help change the world. Andrew C. Robinson nailed it.
- “This is not a Beatles story. This is a story of what Brian achieved”
- This book is now in the process of becoming a movie. But according to Tiwary, his idea was to have both a graphic novel and a film, as they’d be much better suited to tell Epstein’s story than a novel would. (A biographical novel would appeal to Beatles fans, but Tiwary wanted to get the story out to everyone.)
- About the freewheeling 60s: “It was the Summer of The Right Kind of Love. If you had the wrong kind of love, better stay inside. In the closet”.
- Getting the okay from “The Four Quadrants” (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the Lennon & Harrison estates) took three and a half years. But as Epstein had taken care of them for years, it seems these folks now want to make sure Epstein’s story is taken care of too. “Brian shielded the Beatles…they wanted to see him get his due.”
- Paul McCartney is a fan of comic books! Who knew?
Dynamite 10th Anniversary Celebration: Aaaaand stick a fork in me, I’m done. The best, craziest, coolest panel was definitely the folks over at Dynamite. Sure, I could have been at one of the Big Two panels. Yawn. I can catch up on that 411 anytime. But the Dynamite folks (Duane Swierczynski, Gail Simone, Mark Waid, Christy Blanch, Frank Tieri, Garth Ennis, John Cassaday) were a hoot, and if you missed it, that’s a damn shame.
- “Balls!” According to his fellow Dynamite-ers, Frank Tieri can’t help but say that word at least 273 times an hour. There were shouts of “Ding!”, “7! 8! 9!” “Again!” every time the exclamation popped out, from panelists and attendees alike. Even the PR moderator ended the presentation with “balls.” Awesome!
- Another running gag was at publisher Nick Barrucci’s expense. Seems he bought everyone shots the night before, and while most everyone else made it relatively unscathed (Ennis did mention it was “too damn early” at 2pm), Barrucci was nowhere to be seen. So of course, they all said he died. Cue the “Rest In Peace” and of course the “we’re assholes if he’s really dead” bits!
- John Cassaday looks like a crazy/cool badass. Like the kind of artist you’d find hole’d up in the bar in a Robert Rodriguez film. That’s a high compliment coming from me y’all.
- Gail nailed the Are You A Writer test: “if you read a history book and don’t get ideas firing off in your head? You’re probably not wired to be a writer.” This should probably be in every English prof’s creative writing syllabus. Right now.
- Ellis: Dynamite “got me out of the mainstream and into the indies”, which is something he loves. He also mentioned that he enjoys working with any genre, and hopes to get through ’em all before he’s done.
- The lack of continuity in the Dynamite Universe is “totally freeing”. “Not having a continuity is glorious!”
I’d have stayed for more, but my bony butt was not made for sitting in those steel death traps known as convention chairs. Today brings a costume contest, and a Lois Lane panel that I’m really interested in hitting. Why? With the title “The Witch of Metropolis”? I’m all in.