Category: News

Convention Intimacy

Convention Intimacy

I just got back from WonderCon in San Francisco, the week before that I was at the New York City Comic Con (NYCC).

These cons were fun and, for the most part, well run. I say for the most part because the NYCC people still have some work to do with regards to how they treat professionals and, more important, the fans. WonderCon ran smooth that’s because no one runs a convention better than Fae Desmond and the staff at Comic Con International. They treat each fan like they were the only fan there. The NYCC people have a good heart and I think any problems they had came from the staff at the Javis Center and not the convention people.

I had a good time at both but there is something missing from these cons and for my money something missing from all the really big cons. That something is intimacy. Now I can hear you asking the question: what does intimacy has to do with a comic book convention?


My answer is… everything.

Comics is an intimate medium, or it was once upon a time. Comic book fans will wait on a movie line for hours and consider it part of the experience. Comic book fans think that Star Trek marathons are cool, even if they were born decades after the show first aired. Comic book fans don’t just go to conventions seeking the issue of Spider-Man they need to complete their collection. Comic book fans go to conventions to be with like-minded people. They go there because if they want to they can dress up like a superhero and not be afraid. They can talk about a battle between the Hulk and Superman with the seriousness it deserves. Comic fans go to conventions because they are safe. Safe to be who they are, safe to say what they want.

These are important things.

Think not? Well let’s just say you are a comic book fan and you live in South Central L.A. You think you can stroll the street with your Captain Kirk outfit on without taking some flack?

You are walking down a South Central street a group of young men are walking towards you; they are members of a street gang. They approach and the leader stops and talks to you:


Maggie Gyllenhaal playing Rachel Dawes in ‘The Dark Knight’

Cinematical wouldn’t lie to us, and they tell us that Variety says that Maggie Gyllenhaal is in final talks to play Rachel Dawes in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (which, of course, is the sequel to Batman Begins.) Gyllenhaal will replace Katie Holmes as the love interest of Christian Bale.

Me, I’m thrilled. I’ve loved her in everything I’ve seen her in, and I think that she’ll add an edge to the film that Holmes couldn’t. I’m looking forward to it.

ShoWest, young woman!

Next week the most prestigious and longest-running cinema exhibition and distribution trade show kicks off again in Las Vegas, and what would ShoWest be without the beautiful people?  Just another trade show, very likely.

So they wasted no time in naming Kirsten Dunst their Female Star of the Year and will bestow the honor upon her next Thursday at the show’s closing ceremony.  Whether she will have to kiss anybody hanging upside down is unknown at this point.

Getting personally graphic

Getting personally graphic

Via BoingBoing, the Seattle weekly alternative paper The Stranger features two personals sections – one called Lovelab and the other Lustlab (the latter probably Not Safe For Work). Graphic artist Ellen Forney has been choosing one Lustbalb personal ad each week and illustrating it on her website, and as of today she’s expanded the concept and doing the same for Lovelab.  A terrific exercise in translating and interpreting often haphazard and rambling personals into cogent and meaningful single visuals.

All the news that’s fit to hear

All the news that’s fit to hear

Mega media news, including the JLA #7 jam cover with about 40 million characters and the seven-and-one-half minute Spider-Man 3 trailer. Wendy Pini gives us the lowdown on her newest project and her brand-new webcast comics, Timeline visits 1974, and once again we dip into our ComicMix mailbag.

All this courtesy of ComicMix’s very own Podcast Master Mike Raub, available by pressing this magic button:

Because you demanded it, True Believer!

The fan mentality is often a wonder to behold. It’s a constant double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have a passion for the subject matter that often knows no bounds. On the other, you often find a complete disregard for the minds behind the creation of that subject matter.

Never is this more apparent than with comic book readers, and particularly those readers who decide to review the books. With other forms of entertainment, it’s all but impossible to ignore the performers. You couldn’t discuss Buffy without mentioning the actors or Joss Whedon. It’s difficult to review a Harry Potter book without acknowledging that it’s all from the mind of JK Rowling (or a Harry Potter movie that doesn’t talk about Daniel Radcliffe & co.). So why do so many comic book reviewers have no compunction whatsoever about going on at length about the storylines and characters while completely ignoring that these fictional entities have no independent existence outside of the writers and artists who create them?


Political cartoonists at WAM!

What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than by announcing that political cartoonists Stephanie McMillan, Mikhaela Reid and Jen Sorensen will be the panelists on a session about women’s comics to be held on Day 2 of the Women, Action & the Media conference in Cambridge, MA on April 1? 

No foolin’, the panel is called Resistance Through Ridicule even though I can’t actually find details about it on the conference session site.  Considering all these cartoonists have very active blogs as well, I suspect that’ll be a secondary topic…

Keep your eye on the body

Keep your eye on the body

I got a note from a long time comic book reader on Wednesday. He was incensed that Marvel disgraced themselves by killing Captain America. Worse, they did it sneakily, without telling the retailers this was the issue so it sold out to the fan boys before the general public could see the bloody body for themselves.

Marvel certainly got a nice boost from the coast-to-coast coverage Captain America’s death received.

But, is Captain America – Steve Rogers – really dead?

It used to be that a death to a major character was a major event. Writers would find themselves running out of interesting stories to tell with a character and decided to shake up the title character’s life by killing off a familiar face. Spider-Man writer Gerry Conway has always said that’s why Gwen Stacy had to go.

That happened time and again, at both DC and Marvel and it made the fans uneasy, since you never knew what would happen next. That certainly helped sell comics for a while. Then, killing the title character seemed the next logical step. Jim Shooter and Jim Starlin helped pioneer that with the Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel and then there was the phone in stunt that saw Jason Todd, the second Robin bite the big one.

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Yes, I know it’s offline, as is I’ve got my webmaster hat on and I’m trying to resolve the problem ASAP.

UPDATE: Servers restored.