Forgive me if this wrap up doesn’t always seem 100% coherent…it’s almost one in the morning, and it has been a very long–but very, very epic–day.

First thing I come across when I hit the con floor is an amazing, unbelievable piece of comic history:

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That, friends and neighbors, is an original copy of Avengers #1, from 1963. Not only is it in Very Fine condition…it’s signed by BOTH Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Sells for a cool $1200. (Which, all things considered, doesn’t actually seem unreasonable.) I’m just honored I got to hold it for a few minutes!

Next, it’s off to grab an autograph from Max Brooks (of Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z fame) before the marathon of panels begins. While in line for Mr. Brooks, I meet a gentleman, James Ward, and his son. James goes by the stage name Jimmy D in his work as a comedian, and is an extremely cool guy. He and his son are huge Star Wars fans, and made final plans to attend the con when they heard that the 501st Legion (see yesterday’s post) were going to be here:

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After getting my copy of World War Z (a highly imaginative and well-researched book, by the way; I very much recommend it) signed, it’s off to panels. But I’m sidetracked on my way out…who would say no to these faces?

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These are members of an extra curricular cartooning class that meets after school, and is comprised of kids from two local (Seattle) middle schools–Madison and Aki Kurose. These students learn some of the fundamentals of drawing and discipline, and spend part of their class putting together a one-shot giveaway comic book to take to cons and shows. I picked one up of course (along with a donation to the program.) I even got mine autographed! 😀

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I gotta say…I LOVED meeting Greg Rucka and getting his autograph. Brubaker? Amazing. Matt Fracton and Ron Marz? Incredible. But this might be the single most special set of autographs I get all con. These kids are very much the future of the industry and hobby we love so much. Not that all of them, or any of them necessarily, will grow up to become comic creators…but through this kind of class, they’ll at least come to understand the value of the medium, and have a much better chance of not dismissing comic books out of hand as an artistic medium as they grow up. You go, kids!

NOW it’s panel time. First stop: Vertigo! They had the misfortune of being scheduled opposite Max Brooks’ zombie survival panel (and honestly, that’s where I would have been too, had I not been covering the major companies for this site) so the room was rather sparse. Still, everyone involved was enthusiastic and clearly happy to be there. Major takeaways from Vertigo:

– The new arc of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth will be called “Endangered Species.” It involves Gus and company finding a sanctuary where it may be possible for them to settle down in safety. The group is split between those who want to stay, and those who want to continue with their quest Northward.

-House of Mystery #36 hits next month, and will be an excellent jumping on point for new readers. (It’s set to contain some newbie-friendly recap pages.)

– Jack of Fables #50 hits next month. It will be entirely comprised of splash pages. Sturges says that, “many characters will fight, few will survive, but we promise not to kill off EVERYONE.”

– Babe the Blue Ox one-shot is coming out later this year

– Don’t hold your breath for Daytripper hardcover editions. No plans for them as of now.

– When asked about the reason for Vertigo’s success as a brand, Will Nesh cited the early precedent set by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, as well as the strong and consistent guidance of Karen Berger. Vertigo tries to tell mature, intelligent stories, they don’t simply try to shock or titillate and call that “mature.”

– Jeff Lamire’s OGN “Underwater Welder” is still scheduled to come out this summer through Top Shelf

And photos:

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Next up, the Top Cow panel, in the same room. I found it hard to contain my excitement as the Beef Barons arrived…I love Top Cow and almost everything they do, as anyone who’s been following my Witchblade/Artifacts reviews already knows!

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Filip Sablick also revealed some never before seen artwork from Artifacts, and Magdalena #6:

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Major takeaways from Top Cow:

-Witchblade #144 will involve a retelling of Sara Pezzini’s origin story, something that hasn’t been done since issue #1. It will offer a new take and different perspective without changing or retconning any essential details.

– The next arc, Witchblade #145-149, will involve an ancient Babylonian goddess who wishes revenge against the Witchblade and its Babylonian bearer. According to Marz, the arc will include plenty of flashbacks to ancient Babylon.

On a personal note, the Top Cow panel was an absolute blast to attend. Everyone involved in the company was open, funny, and seemed to truly want to engage their fans, and get out some fun and interesting information about upcoming projects and ideas. Such a great time.

Marvel panels (back to back!):

The biggest news from Marvel involved (finally!) some details on the upcoming Fear Itself event. They were willing to say that the event involves Red Skull discovering that Odin is not the true All-Father, and also involves her releasing an ancient deity who thrives on the fear of others. Also announced was the fact that a major Daredevil announcement will be forthcoming at C2E2.

Now, these Marvel Panels (followed by the DC panel right after), were my first experience with the Big Two. Speaking personally, quite honestly…they were almost uniformly boring as heck. As exciting as it was to have all that talent in one place, none of them seemed really free to answer questions or give details about anything remotely interesting. (With the exception of that one very cool Fear Itself tidbit.) Lots of canned answers and lots–LOTS–of fans asking questions that went on for far, far too long.

I will say that, although neither of the big two were particularly enjoyable to sit through, if I had to pick one it attend again, I’d choose DC. Both Marvel panels seemed extremely…corporate, I guess the word would be, with everything and everyone seemingly kept at arm’s length. DC at least seemed interested in engaging fans in dialogue, and hearing comments and suggestions. They also seemed far less defensive than Marvel, and far more able to take criticism.

Pictures from Marvel panels:

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And the one halfway decent one I got from DC:

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(Sorry for the quality. The angle from my seat was horrible and I just couldn’t get a steady shot. This was, believe it or not, the best of the approximately 100 I attempted to take.)

Plenty more to tell, and all of Kracklefest to cover, but that’s all of the news and really important stuff. I’ll post more pictures and a run down of Kracklefest tomorrow, but seeing as it is now 2:30 a.m., and I have a con to go to tomorrow as well as a flight to catch, I’m calling it quits for right now. I’ll be Tweeting and Facebooking it up again tomorrow, so make sure to tune in!

Grade

Conclusion