Sunday is always a weird day for a comic convention. They’re almost always abridged days and they’re usually set aside for children and families. After three wonderfully exhausting days, it’s odd to think that if tomorrow you approach a stranger and ask who their favorite X-Man is they probably won’t either have a pre-considered answer or a rant about Wolverine.
But there’s no use fearing the return to the real world while you’ve still got some time through the looking glass so I ventured into the Block.
There I passed by the Mythopoeia booth. The day before I’d run into them at the Comixology table and heard a bit about their upcoming comic, Glow. While the level of preparation they’ve done on it is frankly intimidating, Glow definitely sounds like an interesting and expansive project. Set in a world where magic kickstarted an industrial revolution and ensured its decline, the preliminary materials for Glow include some gorgeous creature and character designs, notes on the world’s culture, and a reportedly functional language. Definitely something to keep an eye on.
From there I found my way to Chris Antzoulis’ booth. Chris is the writer of The Paladin, a fascinating indie book that just released its zero issue at the convention. Having stumbled onto issue #1 at a signing last year, I was eager to finally get more of this world.
I then moved out into the main floor and stopped by the Papercutz booth. I picked up a copy of Ariol: Where’s Petula? and talked with Deb Lucke, creator of The Lunch Witch. In the interest of full disclosure, I discovered both series while working at Papercutz, but while I’m honored to have my name on both of them, I fell in love with both purely as a fan. If you get the chance to talk to Lucke, definitely do. She’s got such a lovely energy about her and her passion for The Lunch Witch is clear.
From there I had to head out for my first panel of the day, DC’s All Access panel.
The big announcement of the panel was Gotham Academy #14. This issue will serve as Gotham Academy’s yearbook. “The Yearbook” will be much lighter than the story that’s run through GA #1-12 and Brendan Fletcher says that this is where the creative team gets a chance to play. Perhaps most exciting is the announcement that Hope Larson, Dustin Nguyen, Mouse Guard’s David Peterson, and more will be working on the yearbook.
Heath Corson revealed that Bizarro actually gets along really well with Zatanna as her backwards speech is one of the only things he can really understand.
Corson also told the crowd that this was the first time he and Bizarro artist Gustavo Duarte had met in person, despite talking nearly every day for the past six months.
A fan asked about projects the panelists would love to work on and Corson revealed that he wants to write a Blue and Gold series. The excitement from the crowd contrasted with Dan Didio’s statement that Ted likely wouldn’t show up anytime soon. Nonetheless, the panel was unanimous in their feeling that the best way to see such series was to make DC aware of the fan demand.
Another fan, reportedly unaware of whisperings about a return, asked whether there was any chance of seeing Azrael again. “It’s possible you already have,” replied Steve Orlando. Many sites have encouraged fans of the character to look through back issues of Orlando’s Midnighter, but I would remind everyone that Orlando is part of the Batman and Robin Eternal team and therefore Azrael could have shown up in any of the Batman family books from Batman to We Are Robin to Catwoman and more! Either way, it does seem to support the idea that Jean-Paul Valley will appear in Batman and Robin Eternal.
One fan asked what DC vs. Marvel fights the creators would be interested in seeing.
- Jimmy Palmiotti didn’t have to think before saying that Harley Quinn vs. Deadpool just made sense.
- Karl Kerschel wanted to see the Batgirl of Burnside go up against Spider-Gwen.
- Steve Orlando got a little more obscure by positing a bout between Midnighter and Taskmaster.
- Corson wanted Colin the chupacabra to take on Lockheed the dragon.
- Corson then decided to broaden the rules to see a photography showdown between Jimmy Olson and Peter Parker, before throwing fuel on the fire by saying that he believes Jimmy to be a much superior photojournalist. I suppose he hasn’t been taking pictures of himself for years…
- Gustavo Duarte wanted to see Bizarro and the Impossible Man face off.
- Babs Tarr demanded a Black Canary/Dazzler collaboration.
- Brendan Fletcher said the question made him sad, but said he’d like to see Maps Mizuguchi and Kamala Khan become friends.
Throughout the panel Fletcher and his teams mentioned how much a guiding light Batman: The Animated Series was for them. Whenever they need to reinvent a character they look what the classic series did with them. Perhaps this is what led one fan to ask about the possibility of seeing Terry McGinnis at Gotham Academy. While there was no confirmation or denial of Terry appearing in the series, Fletcher admitted that there have been mentions of the name McGinnis throughout the series and that the team has made them more and more obvious as fans seem to have missed them. Could we be meeting a Warren McGinnis sometime soon?
After that was the Women of Marvel panel. While it was still an absolutely lovely time, the panel wasn’t quite the inspirational experience that it was last year. There was less to announce this year and the rallying cry of ‘look how far we’ve come’ was peppered with corporate sounding reminders that these things take time. It was a decidedly less radical panel, though one could attribute that to the lack of Kelly Sue Deconnick. Despite this, the people who mattered most, the young women in the crowd, seemed happy and validated. The panel rightly pointed out that Marvel now has seventeen female led titles, as opposed to five years ago when they had…none. Plus Margaret Stohl remains a delightful, if barely contained, being of pure energy and fandom.
The panel confirmed that Scarlet Witch would feature an ever-changing roster of artists, possibly in order to fit with the globe-trotting themes of the book, which were mentioned again. Sana Amanat was clear that the series would be about Wanda “coming into her own” and that she would have “more agency”. The repetition of this idea from the previous day’s Cup O’ Joe panel demonstrated that this idea was obviously important to Marvel, though I can’t say if this had always been the case or if it had been given increased importance after the uncomfortable question and answer session one day prior.
The panel also shocked me with the reminder that Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat would be the first Marvel series entirely starring and created by women. Admittedly I celebrated that same announcement when it applied to the Transformers franchise a year and a half ago, but somehow the idea that Marvel hadn’t managed it in fifty-four years (seventy-six, depending on how you count) wasn’t as impressive. Still, that’s another reason to check the series out to add to a quickly growing list.
Around this time Afua Richardson, frequent Marvel cover artist, arrived and promptly entered the running for best dressed creator of the con with a really cool Storm-inspired outfit. She spoke a little bit about her joy at drawing the X-Men Hip-Hop variant and her delight to be drawing Storm with natural hair. Bigger than that though, was the announcement that Marvel had approached her to draw an as of yet unnamed ongoing series. Richardson was clear that this was a project that Marvel was passionate about and that she was being given significant influence in the development of the idea. Her words conjured up the classic idea of a writer/artist creative team in the tradition of Chris Claremont and John Byrne or Marv Wolfman and George Perez. That alone would be enough to get me excited, but Richardson is a talented artist who seems to have something to say. Keep your ears open.
Amy Reader spoke about Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur saying that lead Lunella Lafayette is a genius, a kind of capable Inspector Gadget. Reader said that she really enjoys creating something new and that she was thrilled that Marvel not only allowed her to create this new Moon Girl but to give her top billing.
A fan asked if we’d see more women working in the Star Wars line. Sana Amanat followed up on a comment about the variety of jobs in the comics industry by reminding the crowd that the assistant editor on the Star Wars books is Heather Antos. Amy Reader also expressed interest in writing a series on Endor before donning an Ewok hoodie.
Another fan asked about bucket list characters at Marvel.
- Erica Henderson practically lept to the mic to claim Dazzler.
- Judy Stephens asked for a Mystique series
- Margaret Stohl took things in a different direction by picking a young Tony Stark, saying that she writes terrible puns for the character in her head.
- Sana Amanat chose America Chavez.
- Afua Richardson wonders “where does Kitty Pryde go when she’s between things?” I, for one, would read the crud out of that.
Discussing the shift away from oversexualized costumes, the panel said that part of that was having women working as artists. Katie Kubert gave one example, saying that while she was thrilled to be working with an artist on New Avengers, but that he kept drawing Squirrel Girl with enormous boobs. “That isn’t the character,” said Kubert, pointing out that Squirrel Girl is heavier around the hips, not her chest. The panelists then stepped back and wondered if their mothers ever imagined that they’d be discussing boobs in front of a packed convention room for work. Thinking for a moment, Amy Reader determined that her mom would not be terribly surprised.
Reader confirmed that the original Moon Boy would show up in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
One of the last questions was about the possibility of a Young A-Force. I wish I had been quick enough to get a photo of Marguerite Bennett’s face, but trust me that I’ve rarely seen as potent a smile or as intense a wink, let alone both at once. “Be patient,” Amanat answered coyly.
One thing that I forgot to mention in my previous coverage is that next week is October 21, 2015 and, accordingly, Marty McFly was definitely one of the costumes of the weekend. I personally like to think that they’re all the same Marty from different moments in his personal timeline. Either way the Javitz Center was swamped with McFlys. Even better, a replica of Doc Brown’s DeLorean was parked in the entrance, which allowed me to snap this amazing picture.
After my panels were over, I headed to artist alley I spent some time talking with Marguerite Bennett and Rachel Pinnelas and sured up my interview schedule. I also had one of the most surprising moments of my con when a man dressed as Jesus rushed towards me as I sat in a corner resting and hurriedly spat out “is that your cross?!” Lo and behold, there was in fact a giant wooden cross leaning against the pillar I had sat down next to. It was honestly more of an X but that obviously didn’t bother my overjoyed friend in the robes.
I finished up my Comic Con experience by talking with Tom King and James Tynion IV. They were different interviews but they both reminded me just how much comic writers are working on. I mean, I didn’t get to ask Tynion anything about Batman/TMNT, and when you can’t make time to ask about Batman teaming up with mutant turtles you’ve clearly got lots to talk about.
And, sadly, that was that. I did see an Aquaman cosplayer with a dolphin balloon following her around and what appeared to be a Blue Lantern Nightwing, but New York Comic Con was over. The smaller publishers definitely owned the panel scene for me, with more announcements and more focused programs. Artist Alley was wisely arranged by the organizers and the creators were especially friendly. I regret not spending more time with some of the smaller creators but the entire convention was lovely. It was crowded, it didn’t have the range of announcements I hoped for, but walking out of the Javitz Center on Sunday really did feel like coming back from Fairyland. The clothes seemed impossible, time moved differently, and you were free to talk to nearly anyone about whatever you love. People joke about New York Comic Con. They say that it’s not really a comic convention any more. I don’t know about that. Admittedly you probably don’t have to do a single comics related thing all weekend, but that choice is yours. Just being surrounded by that kind of fandom for four days is a remarkable experience and, whether its just the New Yorker in me talking, NYCC always occupies a special place in my convention season. I hope those of you who were there had a blast, I hope that those at home enjoyed our coverage, and thank you to all the fans, creators, organizers, and volunteers who made it possible.