Wondercon Wrap-up!

April 6th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

If you asked me to sum up my Wondercon experience in a couple of short, witty phrases, I’d just tell you that I ate six pieces of pizza over the course of two days and that I spent more on karaoke than I did on anything even remotely comic-related.

That’s not the full experience, though. It was an interesting con for me, due in no small part to the ongoing evolution in the way I approach comics, and being a fan of comics. I got no signatures, no sketches, no freebies. I paid for three books and got one for free. I spent maybe twenty-five whole dollars at the con, a drastic decrease from the usual foolishness I get down to. I’ll get to that, though.

I left work a couple hours early on Friday to hit the con and get my pass. It was painless, with less than two people in line ahead of me. Other than my pass saying “4thletter!/Popcultureshock.com” for some reason, it was easy like Sunday morning.

I figured I’d walk the length of the hall from wall to wall, but the first thing I did at the con was find Matt Maxwell, Jeff Lester, and Heidi MacDonald chit-chatting in Artist’s Alley/Small Press. I killed some time with them for a while, talking about the con and comics, and that more or less set the tone for the con.

I spent a lot of time talking to people about comics and only attended a few panels. I stopped in on the DC Nation panel because a few friends (Esther, JK Parkin, Graeme McMillan, Carla Hoffman, Laura Hudson, a couple others) were there. It was, in a word, abysmal. They completely flubbed looking like they had any idea what they were doing with digital comics, there was a lot of “Wait and see,” there were a few “Wait until San Diego” answers… it was boring. I liked when someone asked about plans for Nightwing and got a succinct “Yeah, he’s Batman” in response, and I love that Dark Knight: Boy Wonder got announced, but it was a snoozer. I had a similar experience at the Marvel panel I accidentally attended the next day, again because friends were in effect and I had an opening in my schedule. I spent most of it poring over Darwyn Cooke’s The Man With the Getaway Face.

I attended a couple panels that were cool. The Greg Rucka spotlight moderated by Laura was a trip and well worth the price of admission. It was in a huge room, for some reason. The Boom! Studios panel was also pretty good, and Ian Brill seemed genuinely excited to be writing Darkwing Duck.

There was a Disney Comics superfan in the audience, too, who kept interrupting to ask about minutiae. At the end of the panel, I went up to say hi to Ian, and as I turned to leave, the superfan was right behind me. He was mumbling something about how we should print the Disney newspaper strips in black and white and not colorize them and something something Carl Barks. I tried to tell him I wasn’t part of Boom!, that that was the other black guy in the room, but he just said, “Yes, yes, but I think that…” and kept going. I shrugged and walked away while he was talking. I’m not getting trapped in an infinite conversation ever again, and that definitely had the makings of one.

(You ever had one of those? When someone keeps going and going and you can’t find a polite way to excuse yourself because they’re so focused that all they want to do is talk about whatever? Yeah. Infinite conversations. They’re gonna be the death of somebody one day.)

I attended the Black Cartoonists as Social Commentators panel, too. It was good, but the moderator was a little too overbearing. It was clear he had a very clear and academic formula he wanted to follow, but Keith Knight and Darrin Bell are hilarious, personable, and have great anecdotes. I would’ve much preferred to see them let loose with a conversation about themselves and their work. The glimpses we got were great, though, and if you aren’t reading either, get familiar. Bell’s story about how he was getting hate mail after hate mail before Hurricane Katrina and zilch after… that was a good one. It was a good panel.

I spent most of my time walking around with friends like Lauren Davis and Ana, digging in the various half off book booths and looking for stuff to buy. I didn’t buy much, as I said before, in part because I know exactly how much stuff is sitting on my coffee table, waiting to be read. I stuck to books I knew I’d love and get to relatively soon. This means I missed out on deep discounted hardcovers, but that’s okay. I think.
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If you think you like me now, wait until the light hits me

April 5th, 2010 Posted by david brothers


We’re taking a break from the Fourcast! this week, due to Wondercon hitting on our recording weekend and being unable to record the podcast panel (I’ve never seen so many wires in my life). We’ll be back next week with something interesting for y’all, though, please believe.

In the meantime, some minor self-promotion! You can find me posting a few times a month at Comics Alliance, and I’m part of the new team at iFanboy, too. I’m going to be posting once a week for now, doing a series of linkblogging posts called Pay Attention! I’ll run down news you might have missed, interesting sites, blah blah blah.

Now I can finally stop pitching rocks in Hamsterdam! Hurrah!

Podcast will be back next week!

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Wondercon Invasion!

March 23rd, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Wondercon is right around the corner, taking place from April 2nd to April 4th. It’s probably my favorite con, maybe tied with New York Comic-con, but slightly ahead because I can walk to Wondercon if I like. This one’s gonna be super special, as you can see from these descriptions of Saturday’s programming:

12:30-1:30 Comics Podcasting— Celebrating 5 years of podcasting about the comics industry, join the voices behind the iFanboy series of podcasts, Ron Richards and Conor Kilpatrick, along David Brothers and Esther Inglis-Arkell from the Fourcast! from 4thLetter, plus some possible very special guests as they discuss the ins and outs of podcasting about comics, what’s changed over the past 5 years, and what the future holds. You won’t want to miss this frank discussion, which is sure to be filled with often embarrassing stories of comics creators, conventions, and other comics related amusements. Room 220

6:00-7:00 Comics Journalism— Join David Brothers (4thletter!), Kate Dacey (manga critic), Graeme McMillan (io9), JK Parkin (Robot 6), and Ron Richards (iFanboy), for a roundtable discussion of comics journalism from all angles. What should publishers and readers expect out of the varied and often fluctuating landscape of comics criticism online? Is comics print journalism dead? What makes a writer worth reading? Expect answers to these questions and more as the panelists, each practicing a different discipline of comics journalism, talks about the what’s, why’s, and how’s of writing about comics online. Room 232/234

So, you know, if you’re around… come around. We’re up against some stiff competition, but really, who cares about Brightest Day and Toy Story 3, anyway?

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Food for thought, you do the dishes.

November 19th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Real life buddy Sonia Harris wrote a piece on ten implausible things in comics that I really dug. A sample:

Why can’t you see her food, when she’s just eaten, before it’s digested?
This has always confounded me. As far as I remember, in the Invisible Man, you could see his food, until it was absorbed by his body. That seems logical to me. However, no one talks about Susan Storm’s food, or being able to see it.

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I Know Blog People Linkblogging

August 27th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

-Over at the Factual, I make jokes about interracial dating and Nina Stone delivers the best review of Batgirl #1 thus far. Nina’s POV is great, and she wrote up a pretty funny review, too.

-IDW Publishing is releasing Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Parker: The Hunter on iTunes. Five chapters, first hit’s free. Haven’t seen this news anywhere? You should watch more iFanboy. Ron Richards interviews him and he drops the bomb like it was nothing. Here’s the embed, as the interview is hilarious and full of true facts.

They’ve got a good (but quick) interview with Adam Warren, too.

-If you don’t think digital comics are the future… well, have fun with your phonograms, horse & carriages, and that dying from tuberculosis thing. Print will undoubtedly stick around, but all the smart money is on digital comics that aren’t based around tights and fights. I like superheroes as much as the next man, but it’s time for some diversification, and I’m not talking about putting some chocolate sprinkles on your vanilla ice cream or a wise latina on the Supreme Court. I’m talking about comics about vampires, nurses, fast food, slice of life, lies, World War II, science fiction, detectives, and everything else that’s not, or poorly, represented by the Direct Market-focused comics industry.

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Comic Economics Linkblogging

January 14th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Comics going up to four bucks has been a hot topic lately, with good reason. It’s a big jump in price from 3 bucks, and it’s coming at a time when people are screaming “Recession!” at each other like it was “bingo.”

Probably the best financial-based look at the price increase came from Conor at iFanboy, where he broke down price per page for trades and singles. Matt Silady hipped me to Marvel’s Ultimate trade and hardcover pricing a while back (ten cents per page on the OSHCs, approximately, saves you money, with Ultimate Power being the first to cost more than that), and I’d been paying attention to comic prices before then anyway, since I’d taken an axe to my pull list and gotten rid of 90% of the dross I was reading.

I found another interesting post this weekend, courtesy of Heidi Meeley. She breaks down some real-world equivalents for what you pay for comics:

12 comic books at $2.99 = $35.88
Monthly electric bill at $34.76
That is a big one, right?
16 comic books at $2.99 = $47.84
Cell phone bill at $49.95
Unfortunately, some form of communication remains a viable expense.

I buy most of my trades off Amazon at this point. Getting up to 60% off counts for a lot, particularly when it comes to OSHCs or Absolutes. As my attitude toward comics adjusts, I’ve become more comfortable with waiting to read, or even not reading, some stories. As the price of comics has gone up, I’ve become even more comfortable with waiting to read books and dropping other books entirely.

Basically, I don’t really have any interest in paying four bucks for a comic book, especially not when I can double that investment, add a couple bucks, and get six times the story. Four dollars for 22 pages is a quite a bit more than a bit much. I quit buying CDs when they went over 12 bucks for similar reasons. I started looking for sales. With comics, I’m looking for full stories. Serialization is good and all, and hanging with the gang on Wednesday is fun, but most stories are interminable when split up these days.

And with Marvel pulling tricks like sixteen pages of story and charging four bucks for books like Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes, which wasn’t even really worth three bucks to begin with, well, I don’t feel too guilty about making four bucks my hard line.

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