Baltimore Comic Con ’13: Top 5 Writers I Can’t Wait To Meet

At most conventions it’s difficult to meet and spend one on one time with creators because of huge lines and such, but that is not the case at Baltimore Comic Con.  I usually don’t write a “Writer’s I Can’t Wait To Meet” post because chances are, I’d have to spend most of my con floor time waiting in a line, and quite frankly, that’s not why I go to cons.  Midtown Comics often hosts comic signings with wonderful creators in the industry, so I always make my way over to those and I reserve my con time for mingling with friends, admiring cosplayers, purchasing new toys, and swooning over all the prints in artist alley.  But for Baltimore Comic Con it’s reasonable to formulate a mental (and now physical) list of writers you’re looking forward to seeing.  Here are mine!

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Mike Carey – Baltimore Comic Con is Mike Carey’s only United States convention of the year, and I’ve currently been re-reading and obsessing over his Unwritten series for Vertigo.  Carey has an original graphic novel coming out later this year based on Tom Taylor’s adventures and I’ve been dying to find out more information about the story.  You may also be familiar with Carey’s other series Lucifer, which is a spinoff of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.  He’s also written some Hellblazer, Fantastic Four, and a whole lot of X-Men.

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Joe Hill – I haven’t yet met Joe Hill which is kind of crazy since I admire him and his prose so much!  I was thrilled to see his name on the list of attendees this year and I can’t wait to introduce myself to him.  Joe and I have followed each other on Twitter for quite some time now (ever since I wrote a few reviews gushing about him & Gabriel Rodriguez’s brilliant Locke & Key series), and I’m so excited to get to see him IRL.  I’m also a huge fan of his horror novels Horns, Heart Shaped Box, and of course NOS4A2.  And holy smokes, I am so excited for his upcoming Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland comic!

1Sean Gordon Murphy – You may also recognize Sean Gordon Murphy from my Top 7 Artists I Want To Give All Of My Money To post from yesterday.  Murphy is a jack of trades having mastered both writing an incredible story and illustrating one in his own stylized manner.  I first fell in love with Murphy’s work after reading Punk Rock Jesus, and I’m currently loving the Vertigo series, The Wake, he’s co-creating with Scott Snyder.  I actually met Murphy at a Midtown signing a few months before I left for filming, and again on Free Comic Book Day, but nonetheless, I’m excited to see what he has with him in Baltimore. Oh!  He also designed a super awesome Batman Black & White statue that you have a chance of winning from Comics Alliance.

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Mark Waid – Mark Waid is another writer I’ve met in the past, but I’m still really looking forward to seeing again.  Waid was at Baltimore Comic Con last year and he has one of the best senses of humor of anyone I’ve ever met.  He helped moderate the Marvel NOW panel which was getting ready to launch at the time (oh, memories).  Waid actually made my brother stand up in the middle of the panel because he just so happened to be borrowing and wearing my “I’m not Daredevil,” t-shirt from WeLoveFine which Matt Murdock dons in issue #7 of Mark Waid’s incredible run.  Daredevil is my second favorite Marvel hero (second only to Spider-Man), and I absolutely adore the direction Waid has taken the series in.  He’s also written some other notable stories like Kingdom Come and Superman: Birthright.  So yeah, he’s kind of a big deal to me.

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Bill Willingham – Bill writes one of my favorite Vertigo series of all time, Fables.  I love everything that he’s done with the characters and how he’s modernized their story.  He’s managed to create one of the most fascinating universe’s in comics today, and he shows no signs of stopping any time soon (thank goodness).  I’ve also previously met Bill Willingham at last year’s New York Comic Con and he had plenty of hilarious stories to tell, including one about my best friend Melissa as the drunken Snow White from a signing in Texas a few years back.  Baltimore Comic Con is also hosting the official East Coast Fables panel which is going to include the majority of creators who have worked on the book, and it’s going to be a full TWO hours!

After going back through my list, I’ve realized how many of these creators I’ve already met!  Being the huge comics fan that I am, it doesn’t even lessen the excitement level for me the slightest bit, and I am so thankful for that feeling!  One more day, and to Baltimore I go!

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TRILLIUM #1 By Jeff Lemire Review

It’s no secret that Jeff Lemire is one of my favorite writers and artists currently producing content in the comic book industry, which is why I had been looking forward to reading Trillium since the day it was first announced at NYCC in 2012.  Trillium is an 8 issue miniseries written and painted by Lemire centering around two characters; Nika Temsmith, a botanist working in space 1,000 years in the future in search of a rare flower, Trillium, needed to cure a virus from 3739, and William Pike, a WWI veteran journeying through the Amazon while experiencing PTSD.  The series is a science fiction love story, subtitled The Last Love Story Ever Told, which takes place across time and the universe.  Intriguing, am I right?

In typical Jeff Lemire fashion, the first issue completely exceeded all of my expectations.  The issue is divided into two 14 page sections which tell the stories that lead the main characters to meet each other from each of their points of view.  There’s something poetic about two characters who’re meant to fall in love with one another literally meeting in the middle of the issue (similar to how all relationships require compromises, and for each person to meet the other halfway).  Lemire has taken the typical story structure of most literature (exposition –> rising action –> climax –> falling action –> denouement) and recreated the story chart for Trillium by applying it in a way where the end is directly in the center of the book.  Technically speaking, there is no falling action or denouement in the first issue because both sides of the climax constitute the rising action for one of the characters.   The way Lemire is able to revolutionize storytelling never ceases to amaze me.  After reading the first issue, I watched this interview with him on CBR, and learned that each side of the story not only has an equal number of pages, but it also has an equal panel count on each page, and the exact same page layout for both character’s stories.  Lemire is correct in stating that he “created the perfect mirror.”  He also informs CBR that the second issue, which comes out this Wednesday, is going to be all about language.

I would be remiss in ending my review here without mentioning the beautiful artwork that enhances the narrative, and takes on a burden equal to that of the prose in conveying Trillium’s story.  Flipping through the painted panels is reminiscent of what it must feel like to experience a lucid dream in Lemire’s head.  The book is water colored by Jose Villarrubia who previously worked with Lemire on his last Vertigo series, Sweet Tooth.  There’s a clear shift in the style of art used in Sweet Tooth to the style used in Trillium (which is similar to the art in Lemire’s original graphic novel Underwater Welder), and there’s no doubt that the pair have certainly grown and matured together in their progression from series to series.  One of my favorite aspects of all of Lemire’s artwork is that the way his character’s are drawn allow the reader to grasp the experience and stress behind the character’s journey up until this point in time.  So far, we’re aware that William is a war veteran, but it’s his physical features and flashback panels that give us a hint as to how traumatized his character truly is.  If you haven’t read Trillium #1 just yet, I highly recommend purchasing the issue as a physical comic.  You will reap the rewards of the flip book element of the story and the mirrored panels will be more easily appreciated than if you were to read it digitally.

Trillium #2 debuts in comic shops this Wednesday September 4th.

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How I Spent Hurricane Sandy

Since Hurricane Sandy has struck, there has been little to no transportation available around New York, plus most establishments were out of power, and some still are.  Never in all of my years have I seen the school district close down for six consecutive days and counting.  I am so thankful that everyone in my family and all of my friends made it through the storm okay with only minor damage and power loss in some instances.  One thing Hurricane Sandy has forced me to do is spend a lot of time inside my house.  Work was closed for two days last week (we were nowhere near as lucky as the schools!), and I used that time to finish reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, reorganize my book and graphic novels shelves, reorganize and minimize my DVD collection, straighten up some of the cluttered areas in my room (all while watching The X-Files), and spend a lot of time watching classic movies with the rest of my family.  It feels like I’ve been on the go since last March so it was really nice to enjoy a relaxing week at home for a change.  Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy curling up in my bed with a good book and a hot cup of tea, or lounging on my downstairs couch for family movie nights.  It’s always lovely to reconnect at home and spend some time selfishly indulging in the things that make you happy.  But now that it has been a few days, I’m ready to run out to Manhattan for more adventures.  I have plenty of exciting things coming up this holiday season, which I’ll be sure to share with everyone :o)
(I almost never wear my glasses, and I definitely never post photos in them, but since so much of my time was spent at home it just seemed easier than putting in contacts everyday.)  Anyway,  before I left for Florida I took a Twitter poll to see what I should read.  I began reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline on my flight there thanks to the overwhelmingly positive recommendations of some of my Twitter followers!  After the first page of the story, I was absolutely hooked.  Cline mixes my love of the 80’s with my love of classic video games to create a compelling story about an international video game challenge where players were competing to inherit the fortune and control over OASIS in real life after the creator passed away and left a video explaining the prize and a clue to begin the contest as a part of his will.  It took years before the first key was found (there are three keys and three gates that must be cleared in order to win the game) but once Parzival got the ball rolling, it was only a matter of days before other gunters (players who devoted their lives to the hunt for Halliday’s hidden easter eggs), began to crack the vague clue.  I think I enjoyed this book so much because it felt like I was piecing together a puzzle.  I spent just as much time reading as I did contemplating the possible places keys could be found or how to clear any of the gates.  Cline wrote Ready Player One in a way that made it difficult for me to ever put it down.  If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest ordering a copy on Amazon so you can begin the hunt as well.  If you do read it, or have read it already, please tweet me with your thoughts or contact me on tumblr as I would love to discuss it!  My brother is currently reading my copy and it’s so difficult for me to keep my mouth shut about what’s going to happen while he finishes.
The next activity I mentioned was cleaning, but since that is extremely uninteresting I’ll move along to the classic movie marathon my family has been having.  I’ve always been a fan of old movies.  I find the glamour and classiness of old Hollywood to be irresistible.  The first night of the storm we watched Hitchcock’s Vertigo staring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak.  Stewart’s character Scottie is hired by his friend to tail his wife around town because he believes she has been possessed by a spirit.  As I’m sure you’d imagine, chaos ensues as Scottie gets closer and closer to his subject, and his affliction with vertigo plays a major role in the outcome of his assignment.  The next movie we watched was also done by Alfred Hitchcock, and is one of my personal favorites, Rear Window.  Jimmy Stewart also stars in Rear Window, but this time he is an adventurous photographer confined to his apartment after he breaks his leg.  He spends his time staring out his windows at his neighbors and gaining insight into their lives.  It’s all fun and games until he believes that he may have witnessed a crime.  With his the help of his companion, the lovely Grace Kelly, the duo collect evidence against their suspect and involve one of the local detectives.  The movie is quite exciting and the ending really moves you to the edge of your seat as you watch the story unfold.  The rest of my family hadn’t previously seen Rear Window so I was really happy that I was able to introduce them to it and share in their viewing experience.  We’re also planning on watching another one of my favorites, Casablanca, several Audrey Hepburn films, and a few more Hitchcock masterpieces in the coming weeks.

I’ve always been the kind of person who loves holidays.  It’s a great excuse to craft things, bake delicious pumpkin and gingerbread desserts, spend time with your loved ones, and simply enjoy the spirited atmosphere that surrounds them.  Christmas has always been my favorite, but Halloween is a close second.  Because of the storm we didn’t have a traditional Halloween this year but I still ate my candy and watched James Gunn flicks.  One of the most exciting things to happen this week (you know, besides that whole hurricane thing), is that Starbucks brought back their holiday cups!  That means that Christmas is right around the corner! I had my first gingerbread latte of the season this past Thursday and it was the perfect way to console myself for being at work while the rest of my friends and family were at home.

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