Archive for the 'New York Comic-con' Category


Comic Cons: Work vs Play

October 8th, 2014 Posted by david brothers

I went to my first convention as a fan, though I was ostensibly there to cover it on behalf of Hardcore Gamer Magazine, in 2007. It was a nice time—I finally met Gavin after years of knowing and writing with him online, I put a couple other faces to names, and I had a good time. I went to one panel where a company announced its next crossover and its dozens of tie-ins mere days after they finished their last crossover and the audience audibly groaned. Not just one loudmouth in the back, either, a large enough portion of the audience was so dissatisfied with the news that they straight groaned in disappointment. Even people who are on the hook don’t like being blatantly sold to. I laughed, and then I never went to one of those panels for fun again.

I learned a lot that first year, and I’ve been to a couple of cons a year since. SF-era Wondercon, San Diego, New York, and Emerald City—those are my shows. I worked NYCC and SDCC to make up for the travel costs, but I generally went to ECCC and WC for fun. But even “working” the cons as press means, at most, four-to-eight hours of actively doing things that aren’t for you, with a lot of free time in those hours. You’re essentially free to do whatever you like as long as you hit those meager marks and turn in copy. I took advantage—swims in the hotel pool, posting up at a bar’s patio for hours because the sun’s out, and sometimes even going into the show to see people.

I’m doing cons for Image now, which means I’m working-working, not press-working. Between sales and signings at the booth, panels at shows, and needing to keep up with my day job duties, I don’t know how to do cons any more, at least the hanging with friends and having independent fun part. It’s a whole different animal, going to a con to work versus play, and I’ve been having a hard time with it since I got started at Image last year.

It’s not that it’s difficult or annoying, though I suppose it is both of those—it’s just different. It’s new, it’s unfamiliar, and I’m still feeling my way through it. I’m distracted and unfocused when trying to have fun with friends, and I could tell. They could, too. It sucks, but it’s my row to hoe.

I’m finding a balance. I usually have a bad time at comics parties/events, so I focus on what I know works for me instead of the event-oriented nightlife. Finding a dark corner somewhere, leaving the con, walking and talking, whatever whatever. Talking about comics with strangers. I’ve taken to doing quiet, small-scale dinners with close friends instead of the sprawling comics dinners. Starting the show off on a good foot with a no-pressure thing. It works. It’s working.

I don’t really get stressed out at shows, but I do get anxious. Instead of being able to do nothing, I’m representing a company and have responsibilities. I want to make sure that I meet that need, so my down home work ethic says “All work, no play, son.” Which doesn’t work. It’ll burn you out. You gotta find things that work for you. I dress up, too. Nothing too wild, I’m not Dapper Dan over here, but I like to put a little extra effort out there to look nice.

I like doing panels, too. I’m doing four for Image at NYCC:

Thursday, 5 – 5:45PM
Location: 1A21
Comics can contain entire universes between their covers, and panelists Kelly Sue DeConnick (PRETTY DEADLY), Jason Latour (SOUTHERN BASTARDS), Jamie McKelvie (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE), Brandon Montclare (ROCKET GIRL), Kyle Higgins (C.O.W.L.), Tim Seeley (REVIVAL), and Ben Blacker and Ben Acker (THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR PRESENTS… SPARKS NEVADA: MARSHAL ON MARS, THE THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR PRESENTS… BEYOND BELIEF) excel at creating worlds that you can simply fall into from page one. Anything goes in comics, and now’s your chance to pick the brains of some of the most creative minds around.

Friday, 12:15 – 1PM
Location: 1A14
Comics are much bigger than superheroes. Kieron Gillen (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE), Antony Johnston (THE FUSE), Megan Levens (MADAME FRANKENSTEIN), Amy Reeder (ROCKET GIRL), Scott Snyder (WYTCHES), and Joshua Williamson (NAILBITER) create comics that range from sci-fi/crime to historical romance to horror and far, far beyond. Whether you’re here to broaden your horizons or check out a new work by your favorite author, these creators demonstrate the potential of comics.

Saturday, 2:15 – 3PM
Location: 1A06
No matter how weird of an idea you may have, if you can hook someone, they’ll be a reader for life. Wes Craig (DEADLY CLASS), Matt Fraction (SEX CRIMINALS), Steve Orlando (UNDERTOW), James Robinson (THE SAVIORS), Roc Upchurch (RAT QUEENS), Frank Quitely (JUPITER’S LEGACY), and Brian K. Vaughan (SAGA) take strange ideas and turn them into intensely relatable and entertaining comics. Now, they’re going to share their secrets and talk about how fun it is to make the unreal real.

Sunday, 2 – 2:45PM
Location: 1A10
All-ages comics are crucial to the longevity of the comics industry, and can be an incredible tool in entertaining and education children. Bring your family and come listen to panelists Nick Dragotta (HOWTOONS), Otis Frampton (ODDLY NORMAL), Chris Giarrusso (G-MAN), Sina Grace (PENNY DORA), and Fred Van Lente (HOWTOONS) speak on creating kids’ comics and the importance of libraries in spreading awareness.

A cool thing about my job is that I get an alarming degree of freedom when it comes to coming up with these panels. They all get approved by the mothership, but the rosters, the ideas, the descriptions, all of that is easily 90% my fault. Image does big announcements around Image Expo, which means I’m free to make the panels exactly what I want out of comics panels: an interesting discussion between people who know their stuff. I’m only there to help keep it moving and to involve the audience.

Here’s my approach: “What do I want to know?” That’s it! I’ll prep notes before the panel, and if I’m doing a Powerpoint presentation I’ll have a cheat sheet in there too. I only come in with a few specific things to ask, because I’ve found that if you start the conversation off right and then let it flow from that foundation instead of reading from a list, you’ll end up with a good time that ends up tying back into the theme of the panel. It’s like magic. So I’m up there to fire the starting gun, ask follow-up questions when people say interesting things in passing, and involve the audience. It’s a chance to satisfy my curiosity, and to create and satisfy curiosity in the audience.

The truth of comics panels is that the audience in the room is already on the hook and engaged. They may be the most engaged of all your fans, at least by a certain metric. So selling to them, letting them know it’s going to be X issues and come out on Y day and its ISBN is Z, is a bad tactic. They already know, and if they don’t know, they will know soon enough. So my choice is to engage them. Give them what they want and give them something they’ll remember. I’ve been blessed to have panelists that are gregarious and hilarious. I lose it laughing on-stage at least once a show, oftentimes more. The audience seems into it, too. People dig my approach. We may not have much for breaking news, but I’d put my panels up against anybody else’s for sheer quality.

I’m still finding my balance, though. New York Comic Con is my last show of the year, just a few weeks after a rough one, so I’m hoping I can have a good time and do my job well, too. I could be nervous or afraid, but honestly? I either will or I won’t. None of this is new to me, and I know what I’m doing, so I’m not going to sweat it. I’m just going to do it, and things will work out in the end.

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Curse of the Bride of the Ghost of the Revenge of the Son of the Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

October 22nd, 2013 Posted by Gavok

And another New York Comic Con is in the can. Once again, I went all four days. The problem was, I had no real direction for this run. There was nothing I was especially looking forward to and a lot of stuff I used to be excited about have lost their luster. Panels went from something I’d schedule for to something I can take or leave. Hitting Artist Alley is always cool, but I’m doing the same thing with it I’ve always done. Plus I’m trying to spend less than previous years.

As someone who’s never exhibited or been part of a panel, I’ve run out of stuff to experience at NYCC. I mean, there’s that speed dating thing, but I keep forgetting to sign up for that and part of me is thankful for it. Maybe next year. This time I wanted to try something I’ve never done before on a day that wasn’t October 31st. I was going to try cosplay. Each day a different costume.

Well, not every day. About a week before the show, I was talking to Internet Superstar Chris Sims and I joked about getting a couple t-shirts made saying “I’M A DAVID BROTHERS GUY.” Chris said that I shouldn’t be joking. I should be doing. And so, I had them made just in time for the show.

Some context for the uninitiated: Paul Heyman is a staple in professional wrestling who used to run his own promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling before that went under and he became part of the WWE. He’s recognized by many as one of the top minds in the wrestling world, unless you bring finances into it. He understands talent and has a knack for good writing that shows off the strengths of performers while hiding their weaknesses. For a while, he existed on WWE TV as a manager and mouthpiece for various top-ranking bad guys (most notable being Brock Lesnar, who went on to have a successful UFC career after the fact) while behind the scenes, he was one of the head writers. He ended up being let go because he wasn’t the most agreeable with upper management.

Years later, on an episode of Raw, CM Punk was doing a storyline where he was preparing to win the WWE Championship on the same night his contract was ending with threats that he’d leave the company with the belt. During a scripted speech with ties into real life, he said, “I’ve been the best since day one when I walked into this company. And I’ve been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody else wanted to admit. That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy. You know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar. And he split just like I’m splitting. But the biggest difference between me and Brock is I’m going to leave with the WWE Championship.”

About a year later, Brock Lesnar came back. Soon Heyman followed. Then they had Heyman become Punk’s manager. Anyone Heyman represented was referred to as, “a Paul Heyman guy.” Soon guys like Curtis Axel and Ryback joined the Paul Heyman Guy umbrella. T-shirts were made and while he’s a bad guy on TV, many wrestling fans wear them out of support for the man they consider to be a genius of the genre.

And that’s why Chris and I had to wear those shirts and mess with David’s head. Let me tell you, the reaction was completely and utterly worth it. The perfect mix of, “Fuck my life…” and, “Oh, you guys.”

Real talk, though. It was really great getting to see David and Chris. It’s been years since I’ve seen David in person and he’s seriously the coolest, chilliest, nicest guy. Chris is also an upstanding gentleman and was really cool by introducing me to various people, including Kieron Gillen.
Also on Thursday, I came across a vendor booth at the far end of the showroom floor. They had a bunch of stuff on sale, including the X-Statix Omnibus. That series is already something I’ve been meaning to read, but the deal made it a must-have. Normally priced at $150, they sold it for only $39. I had to lug it around with me all day because I wasn’t going to let them sell out of it without me.

On Friday, it was time for costume #1: Fred Flintstone.

Here’s me with DW Cycloptopus from Kaiju Big Battel. He’s a lot bigger on TV.

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The Mike Haggar Plus Prop Challenge

October 18th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Another year of New York Comic Con bites the dust and with it comes the fourth installment of the Plus Prop Challenge. Started in 2010, the Plus Prop Challenge is based on walking around Artist Alley and getting various artists to draw the same character… with a prop. That character with another object. What that object is is completely up to the artist, making it a fun creative exercise.

In previous years, we’ve seen Venom Plus Prop, Juggernaut Plus Prop and “Macho Man” Randy Savage Plus Prop. This year I went with a more video game route with Mike Haggar Plus Prop.

For those of you who have no idea who Mayor Mike Haggar is, he comes from the Capcom video game series Final Fight. In it, he’s a semi-retired professional wrestler who went into politics and got elected Mayor of Metro City. The place is overrun with street crime, so Haggar’s gotten tough on it while proving that he won’t be swayed by bribes or threats. Then one day, he gets a message that his daughter Jessica has been kidnapped by the Mad Gear Gang. Rather than give into the ransom or bowing to the Mad Gear and their leader Belger, Haggar decides to take action. He gets Jessica’s boyfriend Cody and their mutual ninja friend Guy to join him in taking the streets and beating the shit out of everyone getting in their way, from militant nutjobs with grenades to transvestites to an entire family of Andre the Giants.

Haggar would go on to appear in a couple Final Fight sequels and a one-on-one fighting game spinoff for the Sega Saturn that nobody played. He showed up as a playable character in Capcom’s wrestling classic Saturday Night Slam Masters and its sequel. For years he’s only shown up in cameos until being brought back into the spotlight with Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

I’ve found that about 2/3 of the artists were familiar with Mike Haggar. Let’s see what they came up with.

Mike Haggar with Q-Bert Arcade Machine
By Chris Giarrusso

Mike Haggar with Phone Booth
By Jacob Chabot

(note: this is the other side of this conversation)

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Bride of the Ghost of the Revenge of the Son of the Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

October 19th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

I hope New York Comic Con, 4thletter and I live forever so I can keep making the title longer year after year.

I’m going to be honest with you. When you come back from an exhausting trip like this and you have a day or so to recuperate, the realization that you have to relive it all over again by writing it up is like a punch in the gut. But it’s my duty to write of my weekend where everyone was wearing a Bane mask, Finn hat and doing the Gangnam Style dance. It’s time to discuss New York Comic Con 2012.

This was a lonely year for me. David has long disowned the con, other David wasn’t going either and I wasn’t going to be joined by any of my coworkers. With all the UCB classes I’ve been taking, I decided to be a little more on the frugal side and went against getting a hotel. After all, the classes have made me so accustomed to commuting into the city that I figured I could just do that for four days in a row. Coincidentally, I had a show in the city the Sunday prior and watched a show with a friend the following Tuesday, so I ended up commuting six times in eight days. I spent about half a day in a bus over that time.

At least I had a press pass, which was nice. The only problem being that NYCC has decided to put their foot down and make it a little harder to get one of those. It used to be that you’d just fill out some stuff online. Now you have to fill out some stuff online, get an email for a link to a PDF document, print it out, fill it out, print out three articles, staple your business card, get an assignment letter from your editor (which I guess means David) and fax it all. Yes, faxing is apparently still a thing in 2012. I had no clue.


Thursday is the prelude, really. The place is only open for four hours and not as many people are there. I got to wander the floor a bit and enjoy a brief day of no insane foot traffic. At one point I ran into Neil Gibson at the Twisted Dark booth. I reviewed his comic less than a year ago and it was a really shittily-written review and I felt bad about it, so I bought a copy of the comic’s third volume. I mean, I guess I would have regardless, but at least now I feel like I redeemed myself in some way. Nice guy, although he was really annoyed that the printers fucked up their con copies of the book and added an extra page. Now all the reveal pages are on the right side instead of the left, ruining some of the suspense.

I perused through some of the comic-selling booths. It’s something I tend to do every con, but I keep forgetting to save it for Sunday, when the prices are cheaper. Every year I look for that one weird piece of comic history that hits me by surprise and I got that taken care of pretty early on with a comic starring Bob’s Big Boy.

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The “Macho Man” Randy Savage Plus Prop Challenge

October 15th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

It’s become a recent tradition for me to do the Plus Prop challenge every time I make a visit to New York Comic Con. First time it was with Venom and that was fun. Then I used Juggernaut and that worked out well too. This year I wasn’t sure who to use. With so many choices and some reader support, I settled on using the late, great Randall Poffo, known by many names: Bonesaw McGraw, Rasslor, Leonard Ghostal and most famously, “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

And so, I spent much of Comic Con’s four days badgering various comic artists for commissions at Artists’ Alley. The challenge is to draw Randy Savage plus another object. Any object. What that object is is up to the artist and not me. This one ended up being a ton of fun and most of the artists were incredibly into it. Before he even drew anything, Chris Giarrusso and I spent like a half hour talking about how great Savage’s promos were. So sit back and snap into the fruits of their labor.


Randy Savage with Skull
by Jacob Chabot

Randy Savage with Mjolnir
by Chris Giarrusso

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Ghost of the Revenge of the Son of the Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

October 22nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Another year and another trip to the Jacob Javits Center for New York Comic Con. My fifth NYCC. And now you have to hear about it. Unless you came here by accident or you’re one of the 90% who only come here to read the David Brothers posts. If so, I apologize and understand.

I mean, for one, you won’t see this kind of crap in a Brothers post.

Maybe in an Esther post. Probably maybe.


This is the first year of NYCC where they had Thursday open, as far as I know. The place was only open for three hours, so it was mainly about getting the lay of the land and enjoy being able to breathe on the show floor. Shortly into my trek, I met up with my B&N coworker Jody. He was nice enough to hold the camera as I made this terrible, overplayed visual joke.

I spent a couple minutes at the Capcom area of the floor, where I briefly got to try out Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken. Then they had a weird little spot where they promoted the upcoming game Asura’s Rage by sticking people in a glass booth and having them scream as loudly and angrily as possible to see where they rate on the rage meter. When it was my turn and the host asked why I’m so angry, I told him I had been fighting with my eating disorder, which he didn’t know how to react to. I ended up with a 95%, which is just fine. I also got a strained throat, a promotional wig and a poster that I left in the hotel. I didn’t even see what the game looks like.

I found a booth selling comics in batches based on runs. I tend to like those better because a lot of the time, the weird shit I’m on the look for isn’t available in trade form. I bought a handful of stuff, including both runs of Seaguy and the original run of Rocket Raccoon, but one thing I had to get based on the cover was Superman vs. Terminator from 1999-2000.

Can Superman stand up to the Skynet Masterlock Challenge?! Really, though, I was too enthralled by the concept. I don’t care how many Terminators you have. It’s a bunch of faceless villains vs. a guy who will casually eat a robot if someone dares him.

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The Juggernaut Plus Prop Challenge

October 17th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Last year, I went to NY Comic Con, stared Artist Alley in the eye and laid down the gauntlet for the Venom Plus Prop Challenge. The bounty was wonderful. Naturally, I’d have to think of a new subject for my sketchbook during this year’s Comic Con trip. Venom is out and Juggernaut is in.

The theme is simple: Juggernaut and another object. Any object. It’s not for me to suggest what it is, but for the artist to come up with the idea. Luckily, nobody gave him a hammer because look where that put him. Depowered and off Marvel’s best book. And nobody drew Colossus in a Juggernaut helmet because that’s lame and smelly. You know it’s true.

Let’s see what we got.

Juggernaut with Umbrella
by Chris Giarusso

Juggernaut with Cell Phone
by Jacob Chabot

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The Venom Plus Prop Challenge

October 12th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

As I talked about in my article about NYCC ’10, I decided to make use of Artist Alley after three years of passing it by. The question was, what did I want out of it? Asking for a sketch of just a comic character wasn’t enticing enough for me. I needed something just a little extra.

Therefore, I came up with the Venom Plus Prop Challenge, based on fulfilling my own typecast. Each artist would be tasked with drawing Venom along with another object. Any object. What will the prop be? That’s up to the artist his/herself. I had a lot of fun with this and got a good pile of sketches out of it.

Let the showcase begin.

Venom with Lobster Bib
by Todd Nauck

Venom with Handlebar Mustache
by Jacob Chabot

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Revenge of the Son of the Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

October 12th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

My fourth New York Comic Con came to an end last weekend, so naturally, I’m compelled to tell you about it. While the earlier years were more based on seeing a million panels, scouring the trade floor and hanging around the Marvel and DC booths to get signed comics from whoever was nearby, I mostly went in a different direction this year.

I’ve been wanting to take this picture for quite a while. Would have been better with Esther there and maybe a fourth person with a question mark pasted over their face. If fighting games has taught me anything, always give the extra spot to the random select button.

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Son of the Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

February 11th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Now that I’m fully rested after having to endure that exhaustive weekend of New York Comic Con, now would probably be a good time to do a detailed write-up about the event. Well, that’s not going to happen.

Truth is, there isn’t too much to write about. It was your usual fare, only with tons more people than the last couple years, meaning that it was harder to walk around and even harder to get into a couple panels. One panel about self-publishing I couldn’t get into because it seemed to have been held in a room the size of an elevator and was already filled to the brim. And the DC/Marvel panels? Forget about it. I went to a couple, but I had to stand in the corner due to the amount of people there.

By the way, if anyone was at the Dark Reign panel, I was the jerkwad asking about D-Man. Yeah, that’s right. D-Man! Represent!

I got some books signed here and there. Jason Aaron, despite looking like a guy who would tear your throat out with the slightest provocation, is a really swell guy and really gracious. Van Lente, Gage, Parker, Pak and Calero were also pretty cool to talk to. My true failure of the weekend is my inability to find Larry Hama in time. I had hoped to have him sign the “Venom vs. Carnage inside the internet” issue of Carnage Unleashed and the “Rad Eddie” issue of Venom: The Hunted, but by the time I figured out where he was going to be, I was a half hour too late. Oh well. He probably would have haymakered me for it anyway.

One of the cooler moments is finding former Booster Gold co-writer Jeff Katz and Booster Gold creator/artist/writer/caterer Dan Jurgens at the DC booth. I asked Jurgens about whether or not Booster’s old secretary Trixie is Rip Hunter’s mother, which he said no, but a good guess. I began explaining my harebrained “Ted Kord is the next Batman” theory to Mr. Katz and he surprised me with the revelation that he himself has read that very article. Hell yeah! High five!

Unfortunately, he tore down any hope of Kord being the Dark Knight. Awww.

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