Every year, at every convention, my weakness without fail is artist alley. I’m trying to diversify my list from past conventions, and luckily, NYCC has so many artists coming, that it wasn’t difficult to include folks I haven’t had the opportunity to meet and purchase things from just yet. My only repeat on this list from my last convention (Baltimore Comic Con), is Cliff Chiang because he had to cancel at the last minute and I wasn’t able to see him. But this NYCC, I’m totally ready to attack his table!
Who are you most looking forward to meeting and purchasing artwork from? Do you prefer to buy prints, or do you like commissioning original artwork from your favorite creators?
Baltimore Comic Con is once again my favorite convention of the year. Each convention has a specific focus and personality to it and Baltimore’s is strictly comics. I was so pleased to see how much the convention had grown in only one year. There were plenty more people in attendance this year than there were last year, but even still the floor was not unmanageable to walk around. There were definite crowds in some areas, but the floor is set up with enough space between aisles that there isn’t ever a major human traffic jam. One of the reasons I love Baltimore so much is because all of the creators are so easily accessible. This year the two longest lines I waited in were to buy artwork from Amanda Conner, and the Starbucks line. But to talk to Brian Bolland, the creator of one of the most infamous and terrifying images, depicting the Joker peering out from behind his camera with that eerie over exaggerated smile, I waited for MAYBE three minutes.
I spent the overwhelming majority of my convention time walking around with Amy, who I absolutely adore. The first day of the con Amy dressed as Princess Amethyst of Gemworld, and I was dressed as a casual Stephanie Brown Robin. We were able to walk the entire floor in less than one day, but we spent a lot of time perusing through artist portfolios and Amy was in search of artists to draw in her new Daredevil themed sketchbook. I don’t even want to think about the amount of money we spent between the two of us. We also visited our friend Stephanie at Bill Willingham’s table and she entertained us with stories about cats. Then we followed her into the two hour long Fables panel which I’m going to recap very soon for On Wednesdays We Wear Pink. Amy and I walked into the panel slightly late and in the same door and time as Shelly Bond (executive editor for Vertigo Comics), so we were pointed at by everyone on the panel and stared at by the attendees while we tried to move across the room as quickly as Barry Allen to find seats and get out of that awkward situation. After the panel we went back to the floor and (shocker) bought more art. I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Fay and Rich Bernatovech who I were drawn to because of their incredible artwork. I bought a bunch of things from them including their complete Sentinels series, and I just finished reading their current series, Neverminds, which I totally love and am going to write a separate blog post about.
Remember how I said the other longest line I waited in was for Amanda Conner? Well that was because she already had prints with her from the upcoming Harley Quinn series her and her husband Jimmy Palmiotti are working on. And Harley looks beautiful. I’m really happy that I decided to commit and brave the long line because when I went to see Amanda on Sunday she was completely sold out of Harley. I also picked up Supergirl, and Black Cat prints from her as well. And if she’s coming to NYCC (which I’m pretty sure she is), there were Catwoman and Wonder Woman prints I had my eye on. Other artists we saw and purchased prints from were Chrissie Zullo, Sean Gordon Murphy, Chris Samnee, and Franco. I was disappointed that Cliff Chiang had to cancel last minute, but hopefully he’ll be at NYCC as well. I also bought a bunch of older DC trades for 50% off and a Marvel holiday trade (because the cover has Spider-Man wearing a Santa hat, insta-buy) at the same booth I purchased trades at last year. If it weren’t for the kindness of Amy’s fiance Thom Zahler, and his table mate Paul Storrie (who I also bought a really cool comic from called Robyn of Sherwood about Robinhood’s daughter), I might’ve ended up breaking my back and needing medical attention (which I how I felt on my commute back to NY).
I had woken up at 3AM for my commute to Baltimore so I was pretty lame on Saturday night and instead of hanging out in the hotel bar and drinking with my friends I decided to stay in my hotel room and read some more of my book before I called it a night. I know, such an exciting life I lead! Still, I started Sunday morning off with an iced Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte and I spent the 45 minutes in line catching up with fellow New Yorker, Heidi MacDonald, who runs Comics Beat before the panel she was moderating. Sunday is the big cosplay day of Baltimore because there’s a huge costume contest held for all the attendees. I spent Sunday morning photographing my favorites (including these DC Aquaman/Mera and Green Lantern/Star Sapphire couples). Afterwards, Amy and I (who dressed as ourselves for the day), attended another panel called Genderizing Comic Books which was moderated by Christy Blanch, who I totally want to be when I grow up. She was so inspiring and full of fascinating Superman stories I hadn’t ever known existed. Her panel was very engaging and interactive, and it was clear the entire audience was captivated by her wisdom. Amy and I had the longest talk with her after the panel and she told us all about her new comic book shop which I’d basically do anything for a chance to visit. Then we popped back over to see Steph before she had to rush off to the airport back to Canada land. And then we too were on our way back home. I’m so happy I was able to spend the weekend with Amy. We’ve been internet friends for a while but we hadn’t ever gotten to spend so much one on one time together! I’m sure there are other highlights I’m probably forgetting from this whirlwind of a weekend because I definitely haven’t caught up on sleep just yet. But, I’m not planning on getting much sleep anyway until after Fangasm premieres which I cannot believe is only two weeks away! SO EXCITING!
A few nights ago I read the first two issues of Batman ’66 and for lack of a better phrase, I’m completely obsessed. In just 50 pages (30 pages in issue #1, and 20 pages in issue #2), we’ve already been introduced to Batman, Robin, Riddler (the Frank Gorshin version), Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, and Circe. And we’ve already gotten some classic Boy Wonder exclamations such as “Holy Evil Alliance,” “Holy Tightrope,” and “”Should I enter it into the Bat-Computer?” The first two issues each contain one main story, and a backup story. Jeff Parker, who writes the series, told the NY Post that he listens to the characters speaking while he creates their dialogue, which you can easily tell while you’re reading. Parker has a much bigger opportunity to tell grander stories since there’s no budget for effects in a comic book, and it comes through in his writing that Parker is basically telling dream Batman ’66 stories which wouldn’t have been able to be told on the television series due to monetary restrictions. We haven’t seen a full blown Batusi yet, but hopefully Parker was foreshadowing in the first issue when a bar patron asks “Batman, I was hoping to run into you! Can you show us how to do that dance we heard about?” Sadly Bats doesn’t have the time because he and the Boy Wonder are investigating a serious crime.
Jonathan Case, who illustrates and colors the series, created artwork which perfectly captures the overall tone. He uses bright neon colors which pop against contrasting backgrounds, and in the first issue with the Riddler, he outlines all of the landscapes with blue lines which creates a kind of 3D effect in a much more attractive version of Gotham. Case perfectly captures the likeness of the Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar’s ’66 characters, using smooth rounded lines, and hairstyles consistent with the decade to depict the cast of the comic. And I just have to say this – Case’s Catwoman is purrfect. I’m also loving the use of the exaggerated sound effects within the comics’ panels. And the covers are drawn and colored by Mike and Laura Allred, who just so happen to be two of my favorite artists. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have flipped through these issues.
According to Comics Alliance, a very classy Mad Men-like version of Harley Quinn will be appearing in issue #7. If you’re reading the comic digitally, you’ve already seen Harley’s introduction, but since I’m reading in print, I’m only up to issue #2. Batman ’66 is part of the DC2 initiative to convert readers to digital comics. I’ve been reading the physical printed copies, which are released on a very delayed time schedule compared to their digital counterparts, but since I loved the first two issues so much, I think I’m going to finally cave in and start buying the series from ComiXology… as well as the print issues… and the trade. *Makes fist* damn you DC Comics for monopolizing my bank account!
Last night, the newly rebooted series, Teen Titans GO!, premiered on Cartoon Network and I was absolutely blown away by the first episode. I love the original series from the bottom of my heart, so I had been looking forward to the new series, especially since it stars the same voice actors as the original series. It is so exciting to me to have a weekly Tuesday night date scheduled with Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg. One of the elements that truly enhanced the episode is the animation style. The characters are drawn adorably, and throughout the episode I found myself wishing that I could reach through my television to give them each a giant hug. The colors are much brighter than those in the original series, and they not only capture the eye, but they really make each scene pop and enhance the story. Admittedly, the new theme song which is somewhat a remixed version of the original will take a few episodes to get used to, but everything else about the show was perfect.
The episode was divided into two parts, ‘Legendary Sandwich,’ and ‘Pie Bros.’ The first part ‘Legendary Sandwich,’ opens with Raven secretly watching a show called Pretty Pretty Pegasus (a show bearing a striking resemblance to My Little Pony, with main characters named Sparkle Face and Butter Bean) on her laptop. That first scene is when I knew I was completely sold on the series. For those who don’t know, Raven is voiced by Tara Strong who also does the voice Twilight Sparkle on MLP. All Raven wants to do is watch her guilty pleasure show in peace and act out scenes with her toys so she sends the rest of the Titans out on a mission to obtain the ingredients to the legendary sandwich which will give the consumer eternal life. Each Titan accepts their mission and endures a battle sustaining serious injuries for the mystical bacon (Cyborg), the King’s lettuce (Beast Boy), the stellar tomato (Starfire), and then there’s the pretzel bread which Robin has to wait on line for at the supermarket. The supermarket scene gives us a glimpse into the comedic nature of Robin and it interlaced nicely with the more dramatic fight scenes.
The next part of the episode, ‘Pie Bros,’ almost had me in tears. (It was a long day). It’s Cyborg’s birthday and Beast Boy wants to buy his best friend an expensive present so he takes a job at a pie shop to help fund Cybrog’s gift. Plus there’s singing. Lots of singing. ABOUT PIE. So yeah, that in itself is a reason to watch the episode. Beast Boy endures much torture from Cyborg about the ridiculous uniform he’s forced to wear during his shift (see: pie hat), and he’s even forced to attend Cyborg’s birthday as an employee because he needs the extra money. Cyborg is livid that his best friend thinks a little extra cash is more important to him than their friendship so during the party he makes it his mission to throw pies on the floor for Beast Boy to clean up. The adorable factor in this episode is through the roof. Before Beast Boy even takes on the job, he draws Cyborg an awesome picture of the alien Cyborg riding dog Beast Boy, which he later finds out would’ve been enough. There’s also a Sweeny Todd-esque element to the owner of the pie shop, but she fills a very secondary plot in the episode, while Beast Boy and Cyborg have a screaming pie fight that eventually morphs into more singing.
Overall, the first episode of Teen Titans GO! completely surpassed any expectation I had for the new series. It’s a much more kid friendly series than Young Justice, which it has replaced (all the tears), but I have high hopes for this becoming an instant fan favorite. The show stars Scott Menville as Robin, Tara Strong as Raven, Hynden Walch as Starfire, Greg Cipes as Beast Boy, and Khary Payton as Cyborg. If you missed the first episode, have no fear! Teen Titans GO will be repeated on Saturday mornings as part of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block. In the meantime, if you’re looking for more of the Titans, you can catch the old series online (Amazon, iTunes, etc.,), read Geoff Johns’ DC Comics run on the series (which is arguably one of the best series ever written), or play the game on Cartoon Network’s website.