LICENSING SHOW: Day One
The Licensing Show in New York City is a three-day orgy of consumerism. I don’t mean like Las Vegas is an orgy of consumerism, or like Christmas has been debased into an orgy of consumerism. No, the Licensing Show is an entire Javitz Convention Center full of companies large and small, looking to expand their properties onto more properties.
Of course, Marvel and DC are there. So are MGM, Paramount, Disney, Nickelodeon and NASCAR. If you want to make a toy, a lunchbox, a videogame, a paper plate or a cell phone, and you don’t quite trust yourself with your own ideas, you can buy yourself some help from a brand with a proven track record. I can understand why you want a license for Batman: The Dark Knight if you make toys or Halloween costumes. I don’t understand why you want a license for Pledge or Crisco.
As with most conventions, the most interesting stuff is not always the biggest. Yarto Licensing, for example, is a British company there to promote Hackman: A Dog in a Bucket, a comic strip created by Bill Houston (recently collected into a book by Harper Collins). Hackman is a spaniel who is so anxious, so paranoid, so stressed out that he scratches himself into one of those over-sized collars. Naturally, he lives in Manhattan.
There were lots and lots of Asian companies trying to be the next Sanrio (there was also Sanrio, for that matter). I was especially pleased to discover Aska Studio, a Taiwanese company with lots of properties. The best, IMO, was the Mouchoir Club, about a box of tissues and a roll of toilet paper that have adventures. As the handout says, "They bring hapapiness to people; heal them of broken heart. Moreover, at the same time, they found the meaning of life." I’d buy a pillowcase that could do that for me.
In addition to Marvel, DC and Viz, there were a few smaller comics publishers. I was pleased to see Love and Capes, a romantic comedy about superheroes. Also there was Praxis Comics, giving out a handbook to their Universe, which seems to be mostly sword and sorcery/dark fantasy stuff.
There were lots and lots of movie pushers insisting on their great tie-in possibilities to enhance your bottom line. You saw what you’d expect — Batman: The Dark Knight, Transformers, The Incredible Hulk (a.k.a. Hulk 2), Iron Man, Highlander — but, in addition to the usual suspects is my own most-anticipated film of Holiday 2007.
The Golden Compass probably won’t interest ComicMix critic Matt Raub much, since it’s about a girl. However, it also has a knock-out cast, including Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Sam Elliott, as well as gorgeous sets and an armoured bear.
And when was the last time you saw a really convincing armoured bear?