Heroes Con Roundup: Capes Dominate, Wieringo Remembered, DC Dishes
As I’m writing this, Heroes Con 2008 hasn’t quite wrapped up. I had to shuttle back to Atlanta to get ready for the day job Monday morning, so I missed out on a handful of interesting-sounding Sunday panels.
Friday and Saturday held plenty of excitement, intrigue and interest, though, so let’s go through what went down:
In case you didn’t read the update in my coverage of Friday’s State of the Industry panel, Mark Waid and Erik Larsen were just joking about bringing John Byrne on for Boom! Studios’ Farscape book. I didn’t make that clear enough, as it started a short-lived rumor around the ‘Net.
That panel had a few other moments of interest, including Waid saying the comics delivery system "sucks" and is "catastrophic." Dan DiDio also admitted to "cannibalizing" current comics readers through variant covers and the like.
But the line of the day came when Erik Larsen said webcomics "look like crap." Waid responded: "You’re 45. I don’t care what you think. I care what a 12-year-old thinks." Still, no one offered any good ideas on making the jump to electronically delivered comics.
Saturday had a lot of good panels. Too many, in fact, as I missed out on Disney’s panel on The Kingdom, its new comics publishing venture. Anyone attend that?
A bit more upbeat was the noon DC Nation panel, moderated by DiDio and attended by Jann Jones, Jimmy Palmiotti and others. Not a lot of huge revelations, unless you’re an avid Aquaman fan (he’ll be in Final Crisis), but a packed audience brought a steady thunder of applause.
One room away, that thunder literally and metaphorically overshadowed the art comics panel, featuring Picturebox publisher Dan Nadel, Kramer’s Ergot editor Sammy Harkham and publisher Alvin Buenaventura. Most of the talk was about the struggle to find the readers of these books and to find shelf space in comics shops (both publishers do the majority of selling online).
They and other publishers lamented weak sales on the con floor, as the superhero-leaning crowd didn’t take advantage of an indie comics crowd that several publishers said was the best they’d ever seen at a con in the south.
Superheroes were again the focus later in the day at the Collaboration and Storytelling panel, which featured Palmiotti, Matt Fraction, Darwyn Cooke and others. Aside from Cooke’s dramatic story about how he quit an advertising career and took up comics, the most interesting moment came when Palmiotti reflected on the collaboration (or lack thereof) on DC’s Countdown, saying it was a group of alpha males butting heads.
At the Image panel a few pieces of news leaked out, including news that Cooke will contribute to an upcoming issue of Mike Allred’s Madman. They also unveiled some upcoming covers and an image (but no information) about a new superhero from Whilce Portacio.
The line of the panel (and many runners up) goes to Robert Kirkman: "I love killing babies." No context offered here.
The most touching moment of the con for me came at the hotel bar Saturday night. The whole weekend had been a celebration of Mike Wieringo, a Heroes Con staple whom I never had the fortune of meeting.
Mike’s longtime friend Paul Rogers saw that I didn’t have a Ringo button as we were milling around the bar, and he went clear out of his way to make sure I had one before leaving. Then he broke down for a moment, talking about how he and Mike had gone to Heroes for 22 years, and this was the first one since Mike’s death.