Tagged: WonderCon

Jen Ernst: Orphan Black at WonderCon Interviews Pt 3: Graeme Manson

In this final video, it’s time to chat with Orphan Black co-creator and writer Graeme Manson.  While, it took great restraint for me not to ask about his episode of Being Erica (possibly the best time travel show this side of Doctor Who), there were plenty of on-topic related questions to pose.  Like:  Will Sarah ever get to stop running? Or which characters are the most interesting to write for this season?  And how has the original plan the show deviated after the first two seasons?  Manson also gets a chance to speak about Donnie & Alison and clone dance parties. But I suggest watching him answer the questions closely. Perhaps, if you are as mental as I am, you’ll be able to suss out spoilers in his eyes.

Orphan Black returns at 9pm on April 18th to BBC America.

John Ostrander: Wonder(ful)Con 2015

Last weekend, while my column was here, I was not. I was an invited guest at WonderCon out in Anaheim, CA, and I had a great time. It reminded me of San Diego Comic Con (who owns WonderCon) back before SDCC got so huge and overwhelmed with media stuff. WonderCon was mostly about comics and that felt very cool.

My duties were pretty light – two panels and two hour-long autograph sessions and one video interview. I didn’t have a table (my own fault) so I had a chance to walk around unfettered and unsupervised and see what I wanted. I didn’t realize fellow ComicMix columnists Jen Ernst and the Tweeks were also in attendance or I would’ve made an effort to get together with them and say hello and exchange stories about Mike Gold.

One of the big impressions I had was the sheer amount and quality of cosplayers in attendance. Every corner of fandom was there – comics, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, every sf movie or TV show you could think of. Some were mash-ups of different groups, such as Princess Merida (Brave) as a Jedi. I was dazzled.

What I initially thought was an interesting cosplayer turned out not to be a cosplayer at all. A guy with a bullhorn outside the security gates was haranguing everyone; turns out he was a Westboro Baptist-type preacher going on about sin and Jesus and the devil; I wasn’t listening very closely. Side observation: why do so many of these preacher types go on about the devil so much? They talk more about him than Jesus, it seems to me.

Anyway, his church also had some placards up with red letters against a yellow background with variations of “Jesus is Lord.” My second day there I saw one such sign inside the security barrier and wondered how they got past the guards. Then I realized it was being held by a Stormtrooper, probably from the 501st, and in red letters against a yellow background it said, “Vader is Lord.” Well played, 501st; well played.

I got to see some of my fellow professionals during the Con; my fellow Legends scribe Len Wein was there and we exchanged heart surgery notes. I had a triple bypass last October but Len had a quadruple bypass only six weeks before. (He’s so competitive.) I would not have been at the Con in his shoes and I hope all the fans really appreciated his being there. Len is one of the nicest guys in the biz and goes that extra mile for the fans.

Dan Jurgens stopped by while I was having breakfast on Friday ,which was nice. I later stopped by his table and we shot the shit about some of the old days at DC.

I also met up with Barbara Randal/Kesel/Kesel Randal/Randal Kesel/whatever. We ran into each other outside the Convention Hall and that is a very difficult trick to pull off. The odds against meeting anyone you know at one of these things is astronomical.

Barbara, I and my late wife Kim Yale were good friends back at DC when Kim worked there and it was still headquartered in NYC. Barbara has hardly changed at all and that should be illegal. I myself am old and weathered and show my years as any decent person should.

I went to a panel that Barbara was moderating called “What Does an Editor Do” which was fun, quick paced, and informative. A really good panel. During Q&A I asked her and her panelists who was an example of a good editor in the past. Barbara nailed it with her answer: “Archie Goodwin.” Boom! There it is. Great writer, great editor.

I also met some other professionals for the first time – Marc Andreyko and Tom King. Marc you may know from his version of Manhunter, which starred Kate Spencer. Kim and I had worked on a Mark Shaw Manhunter series so that gives us a bit in common.

We were both hanging around the Con booth for different reasons and I was trying to think of some way of introducing myself without sounding like a dweeb. Evidently, he was doing the same and we finally broke the ice and had a great conversation.

You may know Tom King from his current work on Grayson as well as his novels. He came up to say hello and introduce himself during one of my autograph sessions. A really nice guy and I enjoyed meeting him; he confessed he was a little nervous about meeting me. (I can give him names of people who can tell him how and why I am not so impressive.) I told him stories about how I dweebed out in meeting some of those pros I revered (Jack Kirby, John Broome, and Will Eisner). Tom and I got along fine after that.

Both Tom and Marc mentioned how my work on Suicide Squad really impacted them. That always surprises me when I hear that. These guys are hot, young and very good writers. All false modesty aside, I’m sometimes surprised that people remember what I did; I was just trying to do my best at the time. Like I always do.

The two autograph sessions went very well. Both lasted an hour each and I was busy right through each hour. I got to chat with some of the fans and see some of my old work which was sort of like seeing old friends. A couple of the fans had my very first work which was an eight page story in the back of the first issue of Warp, the first comic from First Comics.

The two panels were fun. One was my solo panel – all about me, a subject I know fairly well and can talk endlessly about. It was a relatively small crowd so I had them all move down to the front of the room and I sat on a chair in front of them and we just chatted. I told stories, held forth about writing, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

The other panel was about working on Star Wars and the room was packed. I shared the podium with several of my fellow workers and we fielded answers from the crowd. Towards the end, I asked the audience a question, one that I felt went to the very heart of Star Wars.

Did Han shoot first?

The answer was a deafening “Yes!”

Damn straight.

A good Con, all in all. I want to thank everyone connected with it and thank them for inviting me and taking really good care of me. I had such a good time I’m hoping to go back. If I have the money, I would pay my way.

And for those who know me, you know that’s a high compliment.


Jen Ernst: Orphan Black at WonderCon 2015 Interviews Pt. 2

According to Orphan Black’s Evelyne Brochu Season 3 (premiering April 18 at 9:00pm on BBC America), if the show were a spiral, this season would be getting closer to the center, moving at a faster pace, and creating more danger for the characters. “When you are in danger,” Brochu says, “you rise up to the challenge.”  This explains why Brochu and her fellow castmates Kristian Bruun (Donnie) and Dylan Bruce (Paul) showed so much excitement for the new season at WonderCon last weekend.  Bruun went as far to call it “the most action-packed season so far.” There were promises of darker storylines and more raw emotional story telling.   So, basically yea!  I’m also intrigued by what Brochu calls a “heartbreaking season” for her character, Delphine.  Heartbreaking in what way she wouldn’t say, so basically I’m already worrying about Cosima.

Of course, I expect to hear all kinds of buzzwords and hype from actors as they are doing PR for a project, but I believed them this time.  With Paul’s involvement in a more militaristic world, there’s going to obviously be more violence and intensity.  And while I’m okay with that —- a little bloodshed’s cool if it moves the plot along in painfully interesting way – I’m more excited about Bruun’s admission that we’ll be seeing deeper into Team Hendrix.  Yes, I do totally relate to the most suburban of the clones, but my favorite part of Orphan Black is the comic relief — that’s where Donnie & Alison excel. Bruun teased that Issue 3 of the IDW comics will explore the couple’s early relationship in college and then in the show itself we’ll get a glimpse into what they were like as newlyweds.

The interview video has all the deets – and you get to look at Brochu’s amazing hair.

Tweeks: Adventures at WonderCon Anaheim 2015

Last weekend, we totally geeked out at WonderCon Anaheim. So, in this week’s video we bring you the sights & sounds of our adventure.  Stay tuned because there will be more to come in the next coming weeks.  We kept busy over the three-days finding new comics, interviewing creators, shopping (lots of that), and people-watching.  Soak in the experience and then stay tuned for more WCA action.

Jen Ernst: Orphan Black at WonderCon Interview Pt.1

Orphan Black, BBC America’s addictive science and morals showdown series is back on April 18 at 9:00 ET.   Season Three throws Tatiana Maslany, in her gazillion (give or take) clone roles, into unexpected territory as they deal with the revelation of  a new line of militaristic male clones played by Ari Millen.  It also hopefully brings more sass and wit from more sassy Felix (the British-accented artist/rent boy foster brother we all wish we had.) And fingers crossed it will answer the questions plaguing me since last season ended. Now that Project Leda know they are not alone, what’s next?

There are a bunch of questions that need to be answered! Who survived? Where did they take Helena? Is she preggers?  Will Rachel will be rocking an eye patch? I can’t wait to see those play out.  But, what’s been plaguing me in the hiatus has been Mrs. S.  What’s her deal?  Who’s side is she on?  How pissed is Sarah going to be?  There’s something about Maria Doyle Kennedy’s portrayal of Mrs. S with her brand of harsh compassion that is so compelling.  Maybe I just have huge girl crush on MDK ever since The Commitments, IDK.

So, of course I was totally beside myself at Wondercon last Saturday when members of Orphan Black’s cast were on hand before their panel to give some insight on what’s to come.  And yes…Maria Kennedy Doyle was there.  And no, I didn’t fangirl out.

In this first video, Jordan Gavaris (Felix) and the lovely Maria Kennedy Doyle talk about their characters’ relationship, if we should trust them, and skillfully answer questions without getting spoiler-y.   Oh and yes, there is a Mr. S!

Tweeks WonderCon 2014 Report!

320230__safe_twilight+sparkle_comic_crossover_princess+twilight_winona_artist-colon-karpet-dash-shark_dog_littlest+pet+shop_twily-dash-daily Our dynamic duo hit up WonderCon in Anaheim this past weekend  repping their fangirl geekdom and will not be deterred by the chauvinist backlash currently creeping in some corners of comic culture. Also, they give quick definitions of what cons and cosplay are for the muggles in their audience.

Mike Gold: Of Mice and Cheese

Gold Art 140416Like most businesses, we here at ComicMix have regular senior staff meetings. By “regular” I mean “every week or two” and not “structured.” Last week while we were working on our convention schedule (Glenn to WonderCon, Adriane, Martha, Emily, Evelyn and me at Washington’s Awesome Con, me at C2E2, etc. etc. and endlessly etc.), I wondered out loud “when does the so-called convention season actually begin?”

Adriane voiced Emerald City, in Seattle. Everybody concurred. Well, everybody but me. I suggested “New Year’s Day.”

OK. I’ll admit it. When it comes to comics conventions that have little to do with comics, I’m a bit burnt out. My first big show was Phil Seuling’s hallowed 1969 program in New York, I helped organize the Chicago Comicon and helped run it for its first ten years, and I represented First Comics, DC Comics, arrogantMGMS and ComicMix at approximately one billion shows. It’s possible that Martha’s actually done more of them. So when I parse out my time and energy, I prefer to be at comic conventions that actually have something to do with… you know… comic books. Go figure.

My favorite shows are MoCCA in New York, the Baltimore Comic Con in (you guessed it) Baltimore, and Heroes in North Carolina. These shows are nearly 100% focused on comics. There are others, to be sure, and Emily’s been telling us Awesome Con is, ummm, awesome. I’ll probably know first-hand in a couple days.

My least favorite shows are the big clusterfucks that have little or virtually nothing to do with comic books. At the top of this list, most certainly, is the San Diego Comic-Con. Often, I feel those folks who are interested in comics just get in the way of the autograph buyers and media gawkers. I have no idea how the show continues to justify its tax-exempt status: it’s been years since they’ve bothered with their well-advertised mission statement. And now that the nearby hotels and restaurants caught on to the show, San Diego is a very expensive way to spend the better part of a week.

The people at Reed Pop (New York Comic-Con and C2E2 in Chicago) might have been somewhat interested in the comic book medium when they started out, but now they’re jut a gaggle of San Diego wannabes. I get that: Reed is a business and the best way to make big money at a comic book convention is to load it up with media has-beens and almost-wases and treat the fans and comics dealers like afterthoughts at best. I live in New York and I’m from Chicago and I have a lot of work to do at both shows. But there’s this “diminishing rewards” thing going on, and I no longer attend either show on Sundays. Next week’s C2E2 is up against the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, and for those of us who are fans of old paper – including comic books – this is a far more entertaining affair. I’ve done a lot of business there as well, and I have a lot of friends that go there and not to C2E2. That’s where I’ll be a week from Sunday.

I will have been to about a dozen shows this calendar year, so forgive me if I act like my sphincter muscle seems like it’s set to 1000 pounds per inch. I’m a fan of many media, but first and foremost I’m a comics fan. I prefer comic book shows to autograph shows, and I prefer not wasting three hours standing in line to get into a desired panel.

I’m looking forward to Washington’s Awesome Con  this weekend, and ComicMix will be set up and in force. Drop by and say hello. Feel free to tell me I’m full of it and/or that you haven’t been to the San Diego Comicon but you’re dying to do so.

I know how you feel. I used to feel that way, myself.

Martha Thomases: Are Pro Women Con Women?

In last week’s column, I raised the issue of how many women are invited guests at comic book conventions.  As you can see, of the four shows I selected rather randomly (the criteria was that I wanted to go to them because I had heard good things), not a single show had a guest list that was more than ten percent female.

Was I being unfair?  Should I be more systematic?

The short answer is, “Yes.”  There are lots and lots of shows, and somewhere, there must be a few organized by people who want to celebrate the work of women as much as the work of men.  More commercially, there must be some shows that want to attract convention-goers interested in comics that represent multiple points of view, because there is money to be made.


Mike Gold: Me MoCCA Mike

Gold Art 130417

Well, it’s convention season once again. This statement doesn’t mean as much as it used to, when there actually was a convention “season.” Now it pretty much runs from the beginning of spring (Glenn was at WonderCon and will be posting his pictures sometime before next year’s show) and ends the following March at San Francisco’s MegaCon… give or take.

My schedule includes Chicago’s C2E2 next week, maybe Heroes in Charlotte in June, San Diego in hell, Baltimore in August and New York in October, held each year at the only spot in all Manhattan that is inaccessible to humanity. For me, it started last week at one of my favorites, New York’s Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, a.k.a. MoCCA Fest.

Being in our back yard, ComicMix was well represented: Vinnie Bartilucci, Glenn Hauman, Adriane Nash, and Mike and Kai Raub. Traditionally, Martha Thomases is in attendance but this year the she was in Japan at the time and the commute would have been a bitch.

I enjoy MoCCA because there it covers the widest spectrum of self-published, small-published, and web-published “independent” comics. If your thrills are limited to capes and masks from the Big Two, this event would either bore you… or transform you, opening your eyes to all sorts of really interesting stuff people do with our coveted medium. So if you’re into comics, it’s certainly worth a try.

If you could bottle the enthusiasm in the room, you’d have enough energy to replace Chernobyl. By and large, these people aren’t getting rich, although some make a living and others would like to eventually. They’re there out of their love for the comics art medium and to employ our unique storytelling concepts to communicate their stories. Each time I’m there, and I think I’ve been to eight or nine of their shows, I come away renewed and rejuvenated. So up yours, Ras Al Ghul.

Despite the quantity of behatted hipsters, this isn’t necessarily a young person’s show. Fantagraphics, perhaps the leading bookstore publisher of these sorts of efforts, was well-represented, as was Abrams and other staid outfits. While trying not to be overly creepy in my contacts with the younger folk, I also hung out with fellow geriatrics including Craig Yoe, Denis Kitchen, J.J. Sedelmaier, and Paul Levitz.

It comes as absolutely no surprise that of all the shows I attend, MoCCA routinely attracts more women per capita. Well, having made that statement I might have just put the kibosh on that, so let me say there isn’t as much semi-naked cosplay as I see at capes shows. I suspect that this is because the show is all about your desire to express yourself and tell your own story and not so much about who was the Avenger villain who crossed over into Amazing Spider-Man #214. (No, no; don’t Google that – I pulled it out of my ass.)

A high-point was when Vinnie, Glenn, Adriane, Mike, Kai and I semi-inadvertently all wound up at the Popeye’s Fried Chicken across from the venue. There was a point when ComicMix had actually taken over the joint. I’m glad to say that we didn’t spontaneously burst out in rousing song – MoCCA isn’t a science-fiction convention.

As it turns out, this column is sort of a crossover. My friend and fellow columnist Denny O’Neil was also there, and he will be waxing poetic about his MoCCA experience tomorrow, same-Bat-Time, same-Bat-Channel.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases


Mike Gold: The Lenticular Corridor

Gold Art 130403Well, this is fun.

As I type these words – 20 hours prior to posting – ComicMix is in the following situation. Glenn Hauman is about to board a plane taking him from WonderCon to San Francisco to Newark, New Jersey. We should see him sometime late next year. Martha Thomases and Arthur Tebbel are wandering around Japan hoping the whole North Korea is-gonna-nuke-us thing is a joke. Bob Greenberger is somewhere vaguely north of the White House staring at boxes and wondering how he got so old so fast. Adriane Nash is floating around North Haven Connecticut holding a candle. Vinnie Bartilucci is in Who Heaven studying the 50th anniversary show read-through photos pixel by pixel. Marc Alan Fishman is trying to come up with a way to spend more time with his son Bennett without having to go to Japan. Some of the above are planning on this weekend’s MoCCA Arts Fest.

That leaves me here at ComicMix Central. Always a dangerous thing.

And then my iMac started acting up.


I’ve had more than 29 years of experience with all things Macintosh, so I should be able to fix things while Wizardboy Hauman is on the Left Coast. And, while I’m at it, I should be able to shoot down flying monkeys with my psionic death rays.

Turns out that psionic death rays thing might have been easier to pull off. I’ve spent 24 hour doing PRAM zaps and SMC resets, swapping cables, connecting and disconnecting USB cables (2.0 and 3.0), connecting and disconnecting USB devices, fussing with Bluetooth and WiFi, blowing off sundry start-up apps and rebooting like a cobbler on meth. And I still get five copies of the “You’ve got a USB device that’s draining too much power, asshole” error messages cascading across my screen on the average of every 20 seconds.

OK. Every once in a while computers, cars, and human beings break down and I’m way, way past my due. When Adriane isn’t wandering around New Haven county, we’ve got a zillion machines here including iPads and iBooks and iBalls. Unfortunately, Adriane is wandering around New Haven county with some of the above equipment, so I can’t boot my machine as a target disk.

Which means, in English, that I can’t do squat until I’ve fixed it. I’ve got to post Michael Davis’s Tuesday afternoon column (this wouldn’t have been a problem if I got the column on time, as opposed to just past midnight Monday morning; Michael’s got an excuse and it’ll probably be next week’s column) and I’ve got to write and post my column and do all kinds of other important stuff. I can do a lot of this on my iPad and I have, but in order to edit art and post properly, I need that iMac.

And then, literally 55 minutes before Michael’s column is to go up, I find it. Well, maybe not “it” but something that, if disabled, seems to cure about 90% of the problem. That’ll do… and maybe that other 10% will disappear when I reboot.

Or maybe the iMac will go Nagasaki on me: that’s how computers, cars and human beings tell us they want to be replaced.

But at least I’ve got a column out of it.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases