Tagged: Cosplay

Mike Gold: Screw The Zombies!

Gold Art 130508OK, folks. It’s official. The zombie thing has gone on way too long. Time to stomp them back into the ground and move on.

Truth be told, and with all due respect to George Romero and Robert Kirkman, I was never much of a zombie fan. There’s not a lot you can do with the buggers, and even by stretching the rules and applying our contemporary wussification of the monster legends… there’s still not that much you can do with them.

There have been zombie stories that I’ve enjoyed, particularly Stan Lee and Bill Everett’s classic “Zombie!” from Menace #5, July 1953. Twenty years later this inspired something of a revival with Marvel’s black-and-white magazine Tales of the Zombie. Or, in other words, it took two decades and the combined talents of Roy Thomas, Steve Gerber, John Buscema and Tom Palmer to finally come up with a worthy sequel.

This is not to say that all subsequent zombie stories sucked. Not in the least. But the massive proliferation of zombies throughout our mass media has, you’ll forgive the expression, choked the life out of the concept. By definition, zombies have no personality and not all that much to say. Their diet is really boring: only in St. Louis can the population stomach so much brain meat.

(I’ve eaten brains… once. Once. Believe me, it sounds better than it tastes. To quote musician Steve Goodman, “Even the cockroaches moved next door.” However, it is more palatable than goat’s head soup.)

As we continue to sashay through the 2013 convention season, it is tedious to see that so many cosplayers have chosen this motif as the subject of their craft. It doesn’t take long to glaze over the horde; if you’ve seen one hundred zombies, you’ve seen them all. And by the time my second show of this year’s convention season concluded, believe me, I have seen them all.

It’s time for something new.

Maybe something that’s actually… alive!

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

 

Cosplay Cleavage Tutorial

Cosplay-cleavage-tutorial

We’re getting to convention season, and it seems like there’s a demand for finding out how to get the sort of… proportions that superhero costumes can require. In other words, how can a woman with normal breasts look like she was drawn by J. Scott Campbell?

We’re happy to help. Go take a look at this cosplay cleavage tutorial, and with the help of bras, wires, and socks, you too can be spathic.*

* Yes, spathic is a real word. Look it up. Who said comics never taught you anything?

Emily S. Whitten: This $#!% Makes Me So Mad

Cosplay1When I started writing this column, I was also in the midst of excitedly making plans for Awesome Con, which took place this weekend in Washington, DC. Plans for seeing friends I hadn’t seen in months; plans for meeting up with people I’d only talked to on the Internets; plans for dinner with awesomesauce con guests; plans for what panels I wanted to try to see; and plans for what costume(s) I was going to wear. My head was full of happiness and excitement and anticipation for a local convention that focuses on so many of the things I love.

And then as I was catching up on general geeky news, I read this. It’s something everyone should go read in full, along with this second account of the incident, and with this account of an earlier incident that’s even worse. Seriously, go read it. I’ll wait.

•     •     •     •     •

Now that you’re back (and just in case you didn’t follow my instructions to go read those posts) what is recounted in the most recent links is yet another account of female cosplayers (a group of Tomb Raider cosplayers in this instance, ranging in age from fifteen to thirty-one) being treated inappropriately at a con, which is the short-hand or mild way of saying that they were, with a single question from some random male “reporter,” embarrassed, dehumanized, harassed, discomfited, unwillingly sexualized, and disrespected (at the very least) because they chose to wear costumes at a convention.

The best part of this (and by “best” I mean absolute worst. Worst!) is that when this asshole was confronted by Meagan Marie, Community & Communication Manager at Crystal Dynamics (developers of Tomb Raider) about his inappropriate behavior, he had the gall to call her an “oversensitive feminist” (forget the fact that she was there as a professional, representing the actual, official product; she’s a giiirrrrrl so it’s okay to dismiss her words and actions) and then to say that “the girls were dressing sexy, so they were asking for it.” (Otherwise known as the “cosplay is consent” argument.)

What I can’t: even.

Seriously, this stuff makes me so mad it takes away my coherency, leaving me spluttering things like, “What the – Where do these guys come from? Were they raised by wolves?? Lecherous wolves???” Or, slightly more coherently: What goes through a man’s mind that makes him think it’s acceptable to treat a total stranger as an object, and make her uncomfortable like this? And to think that it’s actually funny, or clever, or…whatever? And do these men want to be perceived as terrible, sexist jerkwads? Because that’s how it works out, though I can’t imagine that’s the goal. What is the goal? I don’t know.

I’ve actually seen some of these guys post online in response to women speaking out about such behavior, saying, “But how can we knowwwwwww what someone will take offense to? It’s like all the ruuuuuules have changed since yesterday when it was the fifties. And nobody told me!!”

Well, I can’t speak to every situation, but I can provide a set of general guidelines. Everyone has their own level of comfort with sexual behavior, but when you don’t know someone, you can’t assume their level of comfort. Therefore, if you want to be “safe” and not harass strangers (a fairly simple-seeming proposition to me, but apparently many people don’t know how not to harass strangers), then here’s a basic flow-chart style guide you can use to ensure you’re not being a harassing jerk to strangers, and more particularly women, you don’t know:

(1) Do you know the woman you’re about to speak to or interact with?

(a) No.

(b) Yes.

Cosplay2(2) If answer is (a):

–> Behavior you should not engage in:

(i) Do not touch the woman. No, not there. Not there, either! And not there!! Don’t. Just don’t. (Addendum: if the woman touches you, e.g. for a photo they’ve consented to where they put an arm around you or something, do not touch the woman anywhere that they are not touching you, or in any way that they are not touching you.)

(ii) Do not make specific comments about (or stare lecherously at) the woman’s body, body shape, body parts, etc. (e.g. “You have such a great ass!” *leer*)

(iii) Do not comment on the woman’s looks in a general sexual way. (E.g. “Daaaamn, you’re hot.”)

(iv) Do not make sexually explicit or suggestive comments about you and the woman or what you want to do to or with the woman. (e.g., “All I can think about right now is fucking you.”)

(v) Do not take inappropriate photos of the woman. (e.g. “upskirt” photos or other things that are voyeuristic and often actually illegal.)

(vi) Do not act like something is “all in good fun” or pretend it’s okay when the woman is clearly uncomfortable or unhappy about it or has asked you to stop whatever you’re doing. Stop what you are doing, and apologize if you can see or have been told that you’ve made the woman uncomfortable.

(vii) Do not put a woman on the spot while doing any of the other things listed here, e.g. by doing any of these things while recording the woman on camera or voice recorder or while talking to her in front of a crowd of other men who you know and/or who are paying attention to the conversation.

(viii) When in doubt, pretend your grandmother and/or mother and/or someone with actual manners is standing next to you. Adjust your behavior to what it would be in the presence of your female family members or someone with respect and consideration for other people. Stay in that zone.

–> Behavior you may engage in:

(i) Compliment the costume itself! (e.g. “That is a fantastic Spider Woman costume! It looks so authentic! Where did you get it? / Did you make it?” and similar.)

(ii) Talk further with the woman about your mutual love of the character/comic/show/etc. if they initiate further conversation or show interest in it.

(3) If answer is (b):

(i) If you know the woman slightly (have just run into them at a con before, or exchanged a few sentences, or chatted briefly about generic topics), see (2).

(ii) If you know them fairly well and/or are actually friends, stick with (2) until you’ve gauged their comfort level with comments or compliments that have a sexual component, based on their actual interactions and conversation and statements. When in doubt, see (2), and bear in mind that not only do women have different comfort levels, but that these levels also vary based on the person they’re interacting with, factoring in things like how well they feel they know the other person, whether they trust them, whether they are comfortable with them, etc. (e.g. a woman may feel comfortable joking around about sexual topics with, or receiving a physical compliment from, one person and not another.)

(4) In all situations, remember to treat women as people, not objects.

Well, there you go! This may not be a perfect guide, but for anyone out there who desperately needs a clue about this stuff, it is a good place to start.

On a personal note, the stories shared by cosplayers who have been harassed resonate with me, because I have been harassed, too. I have had experience with examples (i) through (iii) of my guidelines for things not to say or do to total strangers/women you’ve just met at a con, and I was actually the recipient of the exact example statement I used in (iv). Years later, I still remember how dehumanized and uncomfortable I felt at that moment, and I doubt I’ll ever forget it.

I also identify with the point Meagan made in her post regarding how differently she reacted when harassment was aimed at her versus at another woman, and how when she was the recipient of harassment, she often laughed it off or let it pass. For my own part, while I have told people off for acting inappropriately towards me, sometimes I am so shocked at what’s just been said to me, completely without justification or permission, that my brain literally doesn’t process it until it’s too late to react as I should. I’d imagine I’m not the only one this happens to. This is when it’s good for others to step in if they witness the situation, and when it helps to be “prepared” (sadly) for things like this by thinking ahead as to how you would want to react.

And now, on to something slightly “positive” regarding this topic; which is that the unfortunate incidents linked above, and others like them, have spurred a neat idea, the Cosplay =/= Consent (“Cosplay does not equal consent”) photo project, as outlined here. Essentially, the blogger is collecting photos of people in costume at cons holding a whiteboard that says, “Cosplay =/= Consent” and then posting them as part of a photo . I think images like that and comics like this one are a great way to distill the points that I’ve made above regarding the treatment of cosplayers at cons down to a simple rule that everyone can remember. And the idea is already catching on! While at Awesome Con (which was, indeed, awesome) I actually ran into someone who had one of these signs (yay!) and took some pictures to share here. I encourage people to continue enforcing these ideas about behavior through the signs or any other means they find effective.

Maybe if enough people do that, we won’t even have to talk about this anymore, and can instead just focus on awesome convention things, like, e.g., the fantaaaaastic interviews with Phil LaMarr, Billy West, and Nick Galifianakis that I did at Awesome Con and will be sharing with you over the next few weeks.

Until then, keep promoting the idea that cosplay does not equal consent, and Servo Lectio!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold

 

Martha Thomases’ Japan

Our columnist Martha Thomases has spent the past two weeks in Japan with her son, Arthur Tebbel. By all reports, they’ve had a swell time. Here’s some of it, in her own words and pictures:

m1Kyoto is a city I have always wanted to visit.  The traditional Capitol of Japan is known for its beauty and history, its cultural importance. Naturally, the first place I went when we arrived was the Kyoto International Manga museum. The building, a former elementary school, has a collection of more than 300,000 volumes, as well as a great deal of original art.  In addition to the permanent collection, there are special shows as well. This is the current show.  Not really graphic story, but an assortment of panels by international artists.  I am embarrassed to say that the only name I recognized was Mike Mignola.m2

 

Everywhere you look, there are books.  The shelves on the walls are higher than you could possibly reach.

 

m3The permanent exhibition shows the history and techniques of the form.  This, I believe, is the “Biff! Bam! Pow! Comics Aren’t Just for Kids!” of Japan.

 

Here is some original art, I think.  Really pretty stuff.m4

 

They consider cosplay to be part of manga.  This is a current exhibit linking these two powerful cultural exports.

m5

 

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

 

Monday Mix-Up: Superhero Hockey!

Monday Mix-Up: Superhero Hockey!

Now that the NHL strike is over and hockey is back, who saved the season? Superheroes!

Playing for the heroes: Batman, Spider-Man, Rogue, Gambit, and Iron Man. Playing for the villains: Bane, Joker, Mystique, Catwoman, and Deadpool… and Commissioner Gordon as the referee!

 

John Ostrander: Pros At Cons

Once again I didn’t make it to the NYCC but I’ve been to umpty-bum comic book conventions over the years, both as a fan and a professional, and I’ve learned one or two things along the way. Being a pro (especially if you’re a guest at the con) and being a fan are two very different experiences. I always regard being a guest at a con as a working weekend and it can, in fact, be more tiring for me than going as a fan.

My first job is giving any fan that comes up to my table a good experience. These are people who buy my books and that fact keeps me employed. I may be tired, I may be stressed, there may be any number of things bothering me but none of that matters. The Con promoter has paid my way with the expectations that my name may help draw more paying customers and that the paying customers will enjoy themselves well enough at the Con to want to come again next year. I’m part of that equation. It’s part of my job as a professional.

I also want to create more fans. I greet people who pass by, try to engage them in conversation, try to interest them in what I do. If I have something to sell, I have a quick spiel to give passers-by an idea of what’s there. Folks at neighboring tables soon learn to tune me out because it can get repetitive. My Mary has noted that I have developed a “Con persona” – an aspect of myself that I trot out at Cons. I call upon my theater and acting background to “play” a version of myself. It’s an authentic version of me but it’s meant to give those I meet a good experience of me, no matter how I may be feeling. That’s important. They deserve it. It also creates positive word of mouth.

That’s not to say I’m above goofing around. At one Star Wars Convention, there were lots of people in costume, some playing characters I created. That’s always interesting – meeting real life versions of characters that had existed only in my head. I have to admit I pay closer attention to those cosplaying Darth Talon. For those who don’t know the character, suffice it to say that it’s sexy female in a brief costume and lots of body paint. One such young lady was posing in front of the Dark Horse booth and she sure could wear that body paint. I sidled up to her during a pause in the snapshots, smiled, and told her, “I’m your Daddy.”

She gave me a look and said, “Excuse me?” I then hastily explained that I was one of the two creators of the character she was cosplaying. Then she smiled and said, “Oh, you’re so cute!” Which, translated, means, “Look at you! Old enough to be my grandfather and you’re flirting with me! That’s so cute!”

Yeah. Cute. Swell.

On the other hand, I can’t complain too much. I met the two big loves of my life – Kimbery Yale and Mary Mitchell – at conventions. Kim was at a big combined Doctor Who/Comic Convention in Chicago during one sweltering summer. I was trying to get the rights to do a Doctor Who live action play and was talking with the show’s producer, John Nathan Turner, and Terry Nation, one of the legendary writers for the show and creator of the Daleks. This young woman accompanied Mr. Nation. She had a slight accent and I assumed she was his secretary or some such. Turns out she was working security for Mr. Nation, she was local, and her name was Kim Yale.

The other woman was, of course, My Mary – Mary Mitchell. I’ve told the story elsewhere of how we met; she came down to Chicago and the Con to show her portfolio and chose to show it to me. The reason she chose me was that she saw me playing with some young, shy kids at my table, trying to draw them out, and she thought if I was kind to them I might be kind to her. I wasn’t kind; I was enthusiastic. Before she knew it, this madman had her portfolio and was dragging her around to all sorts of people insisting she get work. The funny thing is that she didn’t really know who I was when she approached me; she just knew I was nice to children.

I was and I am. Those kids may be readers some day and they might become my readers. Also, the parents who are towing them around the Convention floor are appreciative if you’re nice to their kids. I even discouraged some children from reading some of my work, like GrimJack, if I feel they’re a little young for the material. I’d prefer to steer them towards good comics for their age group even if I had nothing to do with them. Parents appreciate that and some have even written me thank you letters. All part of that good Con experience.

I’ve also learned to be careful naming favorites or least faves of my work before fans. I once, on a panel, named my least fave book in a given series, going so far as to state that, if I could, I’d buy all the copies of it and destroy them. I thought I was being clever. One fan in the front row had a wounded expression and said, “But that was my favorite issue!” So I don’t do that anymore.

I also try to be open. At one Con I was having a quick lunch from the food at the venue. I was sitting at a table by myself when a fan approached me. She and some other fans were sitting at another table and recognized me and wondered if I would care to join them. While I don’t mind eating by myself, I said “yes” and we all had a very good time.

I do have fun at Conventions and it gives me a chance go see old friends – mostly pros – and make some new ones. For me, however, they are working weekends. Writing is solitary work but there is that social aspect, the selling of yourself and your work, and for me being a professional means making sure the fans are happy.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

Martha Thomases: Attack of the Con Brain!

People with cancer describe a phenomenon they call “chemo brain,” a side effect of the tumor-killing drugs that also destroys their short-term memory. I would like to coin another term.

Con brain!

Con brain is what happens to an otherwise mature adult after several days spent in the company of a hundred thousand comic and pop culture fans enclosed in a relatively small space for a comic book convention.

My experience started out simply enough. My friend, Vivek Tiwary, was on a panel at Jim Hanley’s Universe on “A Celebration of Pop Music Comics”, and he wanted me there, since I helped him to get the deal for his graphic novel with Dark Horse. The panel included friendly faces like David Gallaher and Jamal Igle. To my surprise, it also included Punk Magazine editor John Holmstrom, whom I’ve known for decades and who, in my opinion, is the most ripped-off person in comics and graphic design (a bold statement, I know, and too long an explanation for this column. Ask me later). Both Vivek and John gave me shout-outs, proving that I am the most important person in the rock’n’roll/comics intersection.

The next day, I went to the Javits Center early for a meeting. As it turned out, the hall was closed to anyone but exhibitors until later in the afternoon, but I know how to stride in with a group like I belong, so that wasn’t an issue. Everything went swimmingly. Alas, I made the mistake of leaving the hall, and had to use my hard-won knowledge of the building’s labyrinthine tunnels and hallways to get back in.

By the time the show actually opened, things quickly got so crowded and noisy that I couldn’t hear any of the people with whom I was walking, nor could I see where I was going. I went home, put a cat on my lap, and chilled.

On Friday, I had the most surrealistic experience of the show. I attend a bereavement support group that meets near 34th Street. When it was over, I walked to the center, going past Herald Square and Macy’s, Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, and large swaths of Manhattan with office buildings. And, interspersed with tourists, people with jobs on their lunch hour, and the normal New York horde, were people in costumes heading west. If anybody but me thought it was odd to see anime characters and guys with capes and masks walking down the street, they kept it to themselves.

From then on, all is a fog. I saw more people I like (including Walter Simonson, whom I might have hugged a little bit too long). I got hit in the face with more backpacks. I ruined more pictures by walking between the photographer and the subjects, because, I’m sorry, but just because you are in costume doesn’t mean you get to take up an entire aisle.

Still, I noticed a few things. It seemed to me that almost half the attendees were female, a huge change since I started going to these things. I don’t know if shows like The Big Bang Theory have reassured girls that they can handle geek culture, or if there are simply more of us out of the closet, but it’s a much better feeling from my first shows, when women would confide in me that they were followed into the bathroom by guys who couldn’t believe they were really girls at such an event.

Perhaps as a result, there were fewer artists in Artists Alley promoting characters with gigantic breasts and other impossible tricks of anatomy. I only remember one, whose super heroine had breasts started just under her clavicle and ended at her armpit. I mean, I like a little uplift, but, you know, ouch.

By the end of the show I sounded like every character in every action movie ever made, muttering “I’m getting too old for this shit.” I’m starting to feel that, as a short older person, I need to be lifted up on a chair and taken around the rooms carried by four shirtless body-builders, like a sultan from a Bob Hope sketch.

Still, I was moved by this story on the Bleeding Cool website, comparing four days at a comics convention to a religious experience. I envy those of you who get to experience this for the first time.

It’s a treasure. Don’t bury it.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

 

Mike Gold: Little Ole New York Comic Con

ComicMix associate editor Adriane Nash and I knew we were in for it when, on Thursday morning last, there were nine other people waiting for the same commuter train who clearly were headed not to work but to the New York Comic Con. Trains run every half-hour, and ours is but one of a great, great many such stations. Do the math.

In total… one hundred thousand people. Some of whom bathed.

Sure, San Diegoans might smirk at a mere 100,000, but there are major differences between the two shows. First, it only took NYCC six years to reach the 100,000 mark. Second, the Javits Center is smaller and much more out of the way than the San Diego Convention Center. Third, the NYCC has a lot more to do with comic books than the SDCC. Actually, the SDCC barely has anything to do with comic books, despite its title and its not-for-profit mission statement. And finally, NYCC has more European artists and writers while SDCC has more Asian. Of course, this is neither better nor worse, but it is an interesting difference.

For me, there’s another important difference: I don’t have to fly from sea to shining sea to get there.

I’ll gleefully admit six years ago NYCC really, truly and totally sucked. I said so right here in this space. It was the worst planned, worst programmed, worst run major show I’d ever been to, and I started going to New York conventions back in 1968 (I cosplayed Swee’pea). It improved, slowly, and achieved adequacy in its third or fourth year.

This time around the show was very well run – although I agree with Emily’s comments about their panel programming decisions being less than knowledgeable. They should endeavor to overcome this problem.

My biggest complaint – they’re called “issues” now, aren’t they? – was rectified mid-way through the show. They had the exits blocked off, forcing the mass of humanity through narrow corridors back to the small entrance way, making it dangerously difficult to leave, particularly for those who were mobility-challenged. This policy was enforced by a part-time minimum wage crew and, while I sympathize with their difficult job, there was no reason for them to lie to us – they weren’t upholding fire laws; quite the contrary – and there was no reason to act like Cartman without his truncheon. On Thursday and Friday some acted as though it was their job to put the oink in “rent-a-pig,” but on Saturday the rules were changed and you could actually exit through some of the doors marked “exit.”

The New York Comic Con was totally and completely sold out well before the show started. While there was some confusion about the changes in registration procedures (particularly for pros, but we’re an easily confused lot), most of us who followed the rules received our badges in the mail several weeks before the show and therefore were saved from the agony of lines long enough to cause a riot at LaGuardia Airport. I don’t know how you legitimately limit the audience size and 100,000 people can barely fix into the venue; there’s some construction going on at the Javits right now so I hope they procure more floor space next year.

Personally, I had a great time. Sure, most of it was work (ComicMix had nine people there, a third focused on cosplay coverage for our Facebook and Twitter feeds) and because of the nature of my work I spent most of my time in and about Artists’ Alley, the only room that routinely had sufficient oxygen. But I saw a lot of friends – a lot – and, when all is said and done, we could take whatever energy we had left and wade into the bowels of Manhattan, which is always an entertaining and unusual experience.

A rough estimate reveals the New York Comic Con contributed over a quarter billion dollars to the local economy. We’re not just legitimate. We’re big business.

 (Our columnist would like to thank Ed Sullivan for the loan of the head.)

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

 

Mike Gold: The Baltimore Fun

I like comic book conventions, although I’ve been pretty hard on them lately. These days most conventions have little to do with comic books. They have a lot to do with pop culture and celebrities and movies and autographs and promotion, but over the past decade or two comic books have become the ugly stepchildren within their own temples.

Except for a handful. Mid-Ohio Con has been consumed by the dreaded Wizard ogre; that one used to be a favorite. HeroesCon in North Carolina is high on my list of the exceptional; I wish I could get there each year. There are plenty of great small shows, usually held in hotels and attracting people from about a 200 mile radius, if the weather is agreeable. And, as I’ve incessantly proselytized to the annoyance of thousands, my absolute favorite: the Baltimore Comic-Con.

First and foremost, the Baltimore Comic-Con is about comic books. The panels are about comic books. The exhibitors are about comic books. The awards ceremony is about comic books. In short, it is a comic book convention.

Second, it’s only two days: Saturday and Sunday. The burnout rate is low and people tend not to leave as early on Sundays. You can get as much done in those two days as you can elsewhere in three… or four. Third, the staff is well-trained, efficient, and so damn polite if you’re from New York your skin just might peel off in strips.

I’m happy to say I’ve got a hell of a lot of friends who go there. It’s one of the few shows Timothy Truman attends. Mark and Carol Wheatley both put me up and put up with me year after year; my daughter and ComicMix comrade Adriane Nash gets to stay in Mark’s breathtaking library and studio. Marc Hempel joins us at the Insight Studios booth. Great folks like Gene Ha, Brian Bolland, Amy Chu, Andrew Pepoy, Denis Kitchen, Jack C. Harris, Walter and Louise Simonson, Joe Rubenstein, Larry Hama, Matt Wagner, John K. Snyder III … we don’t have the bandwidth to name a tenth of the people I hang out with at the show. Even the (fairly) recently liberated Paul Levitz showed up as a freelancer.

Better still, the ambiance of the Baltimore Comic-Con allows me to make new friends, something that’s almost impossible to do at the largest shows like San Diego, New York, and Chicago. This year I was exceptionally lucky, spending memorable time with Phil LaMarr and Ross Richie.

ComicMix was there in full-force: Vinnie Bartilucci, Glenn Hauman, the aforementioned Adriane Nash, Emily S. Whitten, and the non-alphabetical Marc Alan Fishman – who was there with the rest of the Unshaven Comics crew, Matt Wright, and Kyle Gnepper, where they managed to sell out of their excellent indy comic, Samurnauts.

Probably the highlight of the Baltimore show each year is the Harvey Awards dinner, and this year was no exception. Phil LaMarr served as master of ceremonies, keeping the three and one-half hour show moving while keeping the audience in stiches, Ross Richie delivered an inspiring keynote address, and as usual Paul McSpadden did his usual amazing job coordinating the whole event.

The Hero Initiative honored Joe Kubert with its Humanitarian of the Year award – a decision made before Joe’s passing last month – and Dr. Kevin Brogan delivered a moving tribute to the late cartoonist and educator. As it turns out, Joe left us one more graphic novel. Their annual Lifetime Achievement Award went to John Romita Jr., in a presentation made by the team of Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

I particularly enjoyed seeing Marc, Kyle and Matt there for the first time – being sequestered in that room with most of the above-mentioned folks as well as with Stan Lee, John Romita Sr. and Jr., Mark Waid and so many others seemed like a heady experience for our pals, who, I think it’s safe to say, were in fanboy heaven. Pretty damn cool. I’m proud to say our own Glenn Hauman helped in the IT end of things, and ComicMix joined Insight Studios, DC Entertainment, Boom!, Comixology, Richmond Comix and Games, ComicWow!, Painted Visions, Bloop, Captain Blue Hen, Cards Comics and Collectibles, and Geppi’s Entertainment Museum as sponsors.

And I managed to sign up a new columnist for this site. I mentioned the name above somewhere (good hunting), and this person will start out as soon as we iron out scheduling issues and the usual start-up stuff. I’m very excited about this, and you will be too when you read this person’s stuff.

We also went apeshit covering the cosplay scene. Adriane posted about 100,000 pictures on our ComicMix Facebook page, all to the obvious enjoyment of the masses. We’ll be expanding our cosplay coverage considerably, while at the same time polishing our alliteration.

On behalf of the whole ComicMix crew, I want to deeply thank Marc Nathan and Brad Tree for once again putting on the best show in comics, and to thank my dearest of friends Mark and Carol Wheatley for being our personal sponsors. We-all had a great time!

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil