Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

April 22nd, 2008 by | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The weekend of chunky guys dressed like Colossus and hot women dressed as Slave Leia has come to an end. I myself had a great time, spent with hermanos from this very site and a whole bunch of guys from Funnybook Babylon. Sadly, Thomas “Wanderer” Wilde deemed himself “too broke” to consider joining us and Hoatzin would have probably involved a gigantic plane ticket paid in rare diamonds, since he’s from Europe. I don’t know. I really have no grasp on how that type of thing works. Besides, Hoatzin seems to have vanished from our planet. What happened to that guy?

This one movie sent the other movie into space.

Day One

Last year I got to New York the day before the con started, which allowed me enough rest and whatnot. This year I had to come in the first day of the event and kill time until David Uzumeri came in from Canada, since he was in charge of dealing with the hotel. I walked straight from the Port Authority bus terminal to the Javits Center, which tired me the hell out.

After getting my swanktastical press pass, I met up with hermanos and Joseph of FBB. They were at a panel starting up that was a screening for a new Will Eisner documentary. Since I was tired from all that walking, I decided to stick around and watch it. I found it interesting in the sense that I honestly didn’t know all that much about Eisner, which is almost a sin if you’re a comic fan. The four of us (David U. showed up towards the end) mostly agreed that while it had some fantastic stuff in there, such as taped conversations between Eisner and guys like Kirby, the sum of it was incredibly dry.

Shortly after, we went to the panel on online journalism, with guys from Newsarama and CBR there. It wasn’t as good as the comic blogging panel from last year and mostly focused on arguing over criticism vs. getting press releases. Once that was done with, I was rested up enough to do some wandering.

Over the weekend, mostly while walking around the floor of the con, I ran into several people who shockingly recognized me. Though to be fair, I was wearing a 4th Letter t-shirt for a big chunk of the con. I do want to take this moment to apologize to anyone I talked to on Friday. Due to taking a nap in the evening prior, I woke up 11:30 pm Thursday and didn’t sleep again until Friday night. I was physically awake throughout the day, but my brain was thoroughly toasted. So if I talked to you on that day and came off as distant and confused, I’m really sorry.

I did get into a nice conversation with Michael Kingston of Headlocked fame. He recognized me before I recognized him, so that was cool. Among other things, we discussed CHIKARA, the Sandman being really drunk at a recent indy show and the status of his series. In a cool piece of news, he says that the next two issues of Headlocked are finished and ready to be released. The one thing holding it back is that he’s waiting for their special guest artist to finish working on the next issue’s cover. The artist in question?

It’s Jerry Stupid Lawler! I mean, it’s Jerry “The King” Lawler! Sweet! I suggested to Mr. Kingston that he get wrestlers to illustrate all his covers, no matter their drawing skills. Think of having Mantaur or Duke “The Dumpster” Droese drawing a cover in crayon.

While on the floor, I started looking at the back issue bins at some of the retailer areas. I tried to get more of this done on Sunday, since that’s when the prices are at their lowest, but on Friday I came across a comic so utterly confusing on so many levels that I had to buy it immediately. I don’t want to spoil what it is, but you know how I do that Comics From the 5th Dimension column at PopCultureShock? This comic is the President of the 5th Dimension. It’s so out there that I can’t comprehend a stranger issue of anything. I promise a review of it for next week. Stay tuned.

The rest of the time at the con on Friday was spent at three panels: Mondo Marvel, Secret Invasion and DC Nation. They all took place in the same room, so I didn’t have to move.

The Marvel panels were nothing overly special. They made some announcements of stuff that isn’t all that exciting in the ground-breaking shocker sense and then went to Q&A. Lot of it was either about Joe Quesada’s involvement with One More Day/Brand New Day or overly specific questions about events in upcoming books. Asking if Sentry is going to be more involved isn’t a bad question. Asking if Sentry is going to turn out to be a Skrull and then die in Secret Invasion, and if so, in what issue? That is a stupid question. Hey, you know what was the best question?

“Is Jeph Loeb going to be writing any tie-ins for Secret Invasion? If not, thank you.”

I didn’t ask that one, but I did ask about obscure Skrull characters Virtue and Titannus being used for the big event. Judging from Tom Brevoort’s vague answer, nothing with Virtue, but Titannus will possibly have some kind of involvement in Initiative. Makes sense, since the only character to actually defeat him is currently on that team.

The DC Nation panel was a bit easier to get through, just because Dan Didio is so damn likeable. Having him publicly admit that Countdown was a disappointment was a bold move and one that has earned him respect. After the panel, they gave away pins of Tim Drake, Dick Grayson and Damien Wayne with the text, “I AM BATMAN” over them. I took them over to Didio and showed him that it was a typo, as there was no “GODDAMN” in there. Ah, topical humor from two years ago.

I also begged him to let me write the comic miniseries lead-in for the Mortal Kombat vs. DC videogame. Unfortunately, he declined. I’m tempted to start an internet campaign for this, which is par for the course, since my entire internet writing career has been nothing but me stealing from Christopher Bird.

After the con, the whole lot of us went to a bar. I don’t drink, but they had food and I hadn’t eaten since getting into the city. Once that was done, I realized I was far too fatigued to be of any worth and walked back to the hotel for some well-deserved sleep.

I need to point out that my hotel roommates were both David U. and hermanos, AKA David Brothers. That meant that throughout the entire weekend, I had this stuck in my head.

Day Two

I decided that a reasonably-priced breakfast was a good idea, so I ate before going back to the Javits Center. I was too late for the Make Mine Marvel panel and didn’t feel like hitting the Countdown to Crisis panel. I did happen to hit the Grant Morrison Spotlight and I’m glad that I did.

The host of the panel introduced us to Morrison via a series of Morrison quotes from over the years, juxtaposed with stills from his work. Very cool stuff, followed by a delightful Q&A for the rest of the hour. Along with Johns, Morrison is the only writer I really wanted to meet during the convention that I never got a chance to. Next year, I suppose.

There was a Lois Lane Superwoman cosplayer at the panel. I later got a picture with her, doing the pose from that All-Star Superman issue’s cover, but it came out looking like such crap that I’m not even going to post it here. But I do have this neat image of me with Captain America!

No, I did not oppose his shield. Yes, I yielded anyway.

I ran into Greg Pak a couple times and talked to him about how much I enjoyed his Marvel Nemesis miniseries, which seemed to be something people don’t bring up too much in his presence. I also told him that I got a kick out of how he blue-balled us by introducing Skaar in What If: Planet Hulk for two panels, only to follow it up with the reveal of his upcoming canon series.

I admitted that as much as I love his work, I didn’t have anything of his on me at the time. Instead, I pointed out his beard and habit of kicking ass, comparing it to another individual whose comic I did happen to have.

I can promise you that the comic I alluded to earlier is in no way this one.

Pak’s a great sport. Read Incredible Hercules if you aren’t already. If not, you’re missing out on one of Marvel’s best books.

I almost didn’t make the Cup O’ Joe panel due to the escalators breaking (we miss you, Mitch Hedberg). For some reason officials took the stairs not moving way too seriously, as the concept of people walking up and down immobile stairs was too much for them to handle. I still figured out my own way in and got to the panel.

Stan Lee showed up briefly, unannounced and joked about how Quesada is ruining Marvel. Most of this was Q&A and some of the people asking questions should have been ashamed. Asking a question is fine, even if it’s a stupid one. Deciding that you’re going to ask three drawn-out questions when there’s a huge line behind you and only five minutes left is downright selfish. The crowd agreed with this and towards the end it became like Showtime at the Apollo.

The most notable one is when this one ass asked about Iceman and someone else showing up more in X-Men books. Totally acceptable question. Only he then went into this never-ending rant about how great and underused Iceman is. He wouldn’t shut up. The crowd didn’t care. Quesada didn’t care. Nobody cared. He is to Iceman as Jack Chick is to Jesus. Yes, you’re talking about a pretty all right guy, but when you go on about him for more than 30 seconds, we stop giving a shit.

Went back to the floor briefly before deciding to hit the Gail Simone Spotlight. Then I saw that the escalator still was messed up and every path into the conference area was backed up to Toledo. Sorry, Gail. It was getting late anyway, so I got back together with the other 4L/FBB guys.

We went to Joe’s apartment and recorded a podcast on our con experiences thus far. It’s already up. There were a ton of people there, so it was chaotic and I barely get a word in edgewise. Not that there was much for me to talk about. The first two thirds of it were about Artists Alley and the Black Panel, neither of which I had experience with. So at most, I just tossed in a couple random one-liners. Later we discussed the Morrison Spotlight and I finally had a bit more to say. Oh, and the last few seconds of the podcast involve me talking about wrestler Disco Inferno, so it has that going for it.

We went to a bar and hung out there for several hours. I don’t drink and I can’t hear in most bar settings, so I was incredibly worthless during that entire time. I got tired and hungry, realizing I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and walked through the streets of the city alone at 3 am. Thank the messiah Bobby Drake that Gray’s Papaya is open around the clock.

Day Three

Although Sunday was shorter than the others, it was still the most eventful for me. I missed out on the Dan Didio Sunday Conversation panel, but David U. tells me I made a mistake in doing so.

I did briefly chat with Gail Simone. Talked about the usual fan-to-creator stuff. Very nice lady.

Then there was the Marvel Prize or No Prize panel. I kind of feel bad for host Tom Brevoort, as they didn’t have a chance. The program for New York Comic Con has both a graph schedule of the panels and pages of descriptions for each one. Although they put Prize or No Prize on the graph, they neglected to add the description. Not only that, but it was put up against DC’s Final Crisis panel, featuring Grant Morrison. So yes, they had less people than they really should have. On the other hand, bad for the competition means good for me.

It started off like last year’s where we all made two lines. Brevoort would switch between each line and ask the first person to name a Marvel character whose name starts with a certain letter. You get it right, you go to the back of the line. You get it wrong (and in many cases, name a team, a DC character or, in one case, Youngblood), you have to sit down. The survivors get a signed copy of something. I only had to go through it once and barely made it. I had to think of somebody starting with “I”. I don’t know why Iron Man – a guy whose picture was advertised everywhere I looked – didn’t come to mind, but fortunately I realized Impossible Man’s name fits. I realized that because a guy in the back muttered it. So cheating got me a signed issue of Dan Slott’s She-Hulk.

The funniest part of this segment was when somebody had to think of a character starting with “Y”. He drew a blank and Dan Slott, one of the panelists, mentioned, “He slapped his wife…” Another panelist tried to quiet him with the mention that this is a family panel.

Brevoort, unheard by some, asked, “Dan Didio?”


…which I suppose is what she said.

Then came the main part of the show. Someone would come up on the stage and answer a question for a prize. If they get it right, they can take the prize and go or put it on the line for another question/prize combo. If they get it wrong, anyone from the crowd can capitalize on it. Sadly, “Sing Along with Marvel” wasn’t one of the topics this year, meaning I couldn’t clean up by singing the old 60’s Marvel cartoon theme, which I have, even more sadly, memorized.

Which is a shame, since I’ve become certain that Namor is “exotically neurotic” and not “exotically erotic”. I mean, he is. Just not in the context of the song.

I bided my time and got the rebound when a guy couldn’t guess that the villain who recreated the Fantastic Four with apes was the Red Ghost. I quickly got on stage and, as some in the crowd advised, took the prizes and sat back down. Not only was that my downfall last year, but Brevoort was asking a question about X-Men 2099. That made me too nervous.

So it’s not as impressive as my triumph last year, but damn it all if I didn’t score some nice swag. I got some of those Superhero Squad figures with those kiddy Marvel heroes with creepy smiles, an Iron Man t-shirt, Skrull masks signed by Bendis, Brubaker and Fraction, a variant of the New Avengers issue where Elektra was killed/revealed, a piggy bank in the shape of Spider-Man’s head, and a crapload of signed sketches. I know it’s disrespectful not to say who the sketches are from, but I can’t remember every single mention and in some cases can’t make out the signatures. So I’m just going to button my lip for all of them and let you figure it out yourself. As for the gray one, that’s Penance by I believe JMS. I think. Either way, it’s somebody who is a straight-up writer.

I don’t know about you, but I find that Sentry sketch exotically erotic.

While my laid back approach of answering two questions over the course of the panel got me a ton of great stuff, the real winner was fan-favorite Spidey 616, who got the last question and brought home a ton of cool Iron Man junk, most notably a big statue of Ultimate Iron Man.

Once the panel was over, I got to spend a couple minutes talking to Dan Slott. I may be a Juggernaut fanboy, but I still like a majority of the guy’s work. I told him about the What If Countdown deal. Usually when I tell somebody that I read every issue of that series, they have a disturbed and confused reaction. Slott strangely did not, as he admitted to being a big enthusiast of the comic. When I said that I made a list of the top 100, he looked at me in disbelief and said, “Don’t tell me the Living Laser one made it.”

He was pleased that I enjoyed that one, but was really down on himself for the issue where Dr. Doom became Sorcerer Supreme. He said that he had a couple ideas for new ones, including one he says is so obvious he can’t believe it hasn’t been done yet. I asked, but no, it isn’t What If She-Hulk Really Slept with Juggernaut.

I spent the next few hours scavenging for cheaper comics and figures. Here’s a list of some of the stuff I picked up. Not nearly all. Just some:

– Figures for Bizarro, Parallax Hal Jordan, Magog, Spider-Woman and Wasp (hey, it was $5 and came with Modok’s head).
JLA Foreign Bodies. One of these days I need to go on a quest to find out whatever happened to Len Kaminski. The world needs him.
Gotham by Gaslight. I don’t know why I haven’t read this one yet.
– A couple issues of Marvel Comics Presents that feature a Wolverine vs. Venom story I never actually read.
Archie Meets the Punisher. It’s about time I owned it.
– Couple issues of the Wisdom miniseries.
– Mark Waid’s Empire.
Power Man/Iron Fist #73, which is missing from the Essentials because it’s about them fighting Rom: Spaceknight.
– Jorge Vega’s Gunplay.
– The World’s Finest issue where Superman becomes a Nazi ruler and Green Arrow has to stop him.
– DC’s 1st Issue Special, featuring The Green Team. I only bought it because they share the same name as another super team.
– The trade of Doom. The one that starts out with a naked Victor Von Doom killing a lion with his bare hands.
Challengers of the Fantastic, the Amalgam story that gave us Galactiac.
– Other comics I won’t mention, as not to spoil their impending reviews.

With only a few hours of the show left, I went to visit Ghost Rider writer Jason Aaron and Peter David, who were doing signings for the hour. Peter David was late, but I talked with Aaron and he was a pretty rad guy. I told him that I hadn’t read any of his Ghost Rider stuff, but I had heard nothing but great stuff about it. Later I picked up one of the issues from one of the booths and had him sign that.

Peter David showed up, admitting that he thought his signing was an hour later. He signed my X-Factor hardcover and I told him that I had been reading his book on writing comics. That caused him to light up. I let it slip that I wish I brought my JELL-O Man comic for him to sign, leading to him to question why I would ever own it. I explained my deal at PopCultureShock, which led to me describing that comic from earlier in this article. You know, the one comic I deemed “President of the 5th Dimension”. I’m still not going to tell you what it is quite yet, but David reacted in confused horror, looking exactly like Psyduck.

It was a cool conversation. Though when I suggested that JELL-O Man be brought back to join the Loners, he laughingly told me that I now had to leave.

With that done and with all the stuff I had to lug around as is, I decided that I was finally done. I took a long walk back to the Port Authority and took the first bus home.

I’ll definitely be at the New York Comic Con next year. Hope to see you there.

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5 comments to “Return of the Wrath of Comic Con”

  1. “Besides, Hoatzin seems to have vanished from our planet. What happened to that guy?”

    I’m still around! I’m just caught up in a bunch of other stuff right now so I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties. Plus I still need to finish THAT THING for David. Procastrination is not a good thing, kids.

  2. Oh, and the convention sounded fun as hell. I’ll accept any and all donations that go towards me going next year.

  3. As the second to last guy on that line at the Cup o’ Joe panel, I feel your pain. I admit my question regarding the Young Avengers and Gravity wasn’t exactly the most thought-provoking of questions (in fact, I knew going into it that Joe’s answer would likely be “wait and watch, idiot”), but I did try to keep it short. Most of the people ahead of me, however, decided to go and waste as much time as possible with questions that ranged from long-winded yet interesting to long-winded and stupid (I’m looking at you, guy complaining about the Sentry’s mental issues).

    The stuff on the Iceman guy is hilarious considering I go to school with him and we carpooled to get to Comic-Con. When he started going off on his tangent about Iceman I knew exactly what was coming, as I’ve heard it all before dozens of times. He did the same thing at last years Cup o’ Joe, and will likely do it again next year if given the opportunity. Seriously, this guy could write a 30 page dissertation on the under-use of Iceman.

    (He did laugh when I told him he’d been called out as “the Iceman fag” over on the SA forums and he admitted to getting carried away, so I guess there’s no hard feelings on his end. He’s just gonna have to live with being “That Iceman douchebag” at next year’s Comic-Con when he inevitably asks the same question).

  4. I can relate regarding your experience at the Cup o’ Joe panel. When I was in the Army, we were actually required to have similar Q&A sessions with our leadership. You always end up sitting being forced to deal with people that are attacked by Question Goblins, ones that constantly demand that they ask the first thing that pops into their head. That “first thing” usually never being an actual question.

    Most people end up going in with raw ideas, rather than a formulated question. They ramble, rant, never get to where they’re going, and people who have actual questions get to suffer for it.

  5. Hey, this is Jay, I talked to you for a little bit waiting for the Peter David signing. (I also ran into david brothers briefly after the Black Panel. He told me I should comment.) I was at the Prize or No-Prize thing too, and I remember that the Penance sketch is by Paul Jenkins, which makes it extra hilarious. Beyond that, let’s see, Wolverine and Iron Man are both Tommy Lee Edwards, that Cable appears to be Axel Alonso from the signature and um, amateur artistry of it, and the Hulk is Greg Pak. That one’s pretty legible, though, so you probably already knew that.

    Anyways, it was cool running into you at the con, and maybe I’ll actually start commenting with interesting things to say.