Friday morning was an exhilarating but decidedly stressful one for me this Emerald City Comic Con. Arriving at the con on a tight schedule, I ran to the Valkyries booth to catch G. Willow Wilson’s only signing of the show. Willow has such a wonderful genuine energy about her. I generally try to keep conversations with creators as casual and personable as possible, but, given the issues of Ms. Marvel I had brought to be signed, I couldn’t help but gush a little bit. The best part is that Wilson was practically just as excited about those scenes, even months after their publication.
It was lovely to see her, but I had to run to an interview with Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing. After that I walked Artist Alley a little more and found a comfortable spot to look through my Midnighter issues and finalize questions ahead of my second interview, with Steve Orlando.
Once again the show floor was packed, making it tricky to get around. Artist Alley was the core of this show and business was good. I had packed my bag with most of my comics to be signed, fearing that I wouldn’t have time on Saturday. I stammered out my praises for Elsa Charretier and stopped in with Amy Chu, but my longest visit was, unsurprisingly, with Mairghread Scott.
This was the first time I’d seen Scott since the release of Toil and Trouble and I adored that series. Better still, the artists, Kelly and Nicole Matthews, were in the next stall! I was thrilled to hear that the series had been kind to them and that they’ll be working on Breaker for Stela. I also learned that, apparently, the series had held fast to the rumors of ill luck surrounding the play upon which it was based. The beautiful version of the series that the Matthews delivered very nearly never was, as they were the fourth art team attached to the series, each of the previous teams being hit with some sudden misfortune or even vanishing, falling completely out of contact with Boom! Even the Matthews sisters were not immune, being hit by a number of serious storms over the course of the production.
Just like Thursday, I waltzed right into the Vertigo panel with no waiting. Speaking about the genesis of Clean Room, Gail Simone stated that she went into the series with an active goal not to write a redhead but that, when the character designs came back from Jon Davis-Hunt, Astrid Mueller was, indeed, crimson haired. She also declared that she had discovered a fan-coined name for a Clean Room fan and that she was stealing it. Those who love Simone’s latest series are all Roomies.
Kurt Busiek announced that Astro City #35 will begin a story looking at Jack-in-the Box’s son. The two-part tale will take him to TJ Scoundrel, which Busiek describes as if TGI Fridays were covered in nothing but supervillain bric-a-brac; apparently you can’t really copyright your likeness when you’re a wanted super criminal. These issues will be drawn by Ron Randal.
Busiek also reminded readers that Astro City #41 is actually the hundredth issue of the series and let us in on one way that he’s planning to celebrate: we’re going to find out how Astro City got its name.
Named for a comment made by a Cherokee chief when the white man claimed the land of Kentucky, Shawn Aldridge’s The Dark and Bloody is a new series from Vertigo that shows what happens when two seemingly opposite worlds, Kentucky and Iraq, are smashed together carelessly. Struggling against the limited options for returning veterans, Iris Gentry has fallen back on what the war taught him, to trust his CO and not ask about legalities. But their actions have consequences in the form of a young Iraqi girl’s otherworldly revenge. Aldredge described the series as ‘what if PTSD was a supernatural entity’ and said that he wants to share a little of the wonderful and horrible present in his home state that comics have neglected to depict.
Perhaps as the natural counterpoint to DC’s Vertigo-tinged announcements the day before, Shelly Bond also took a pointed moment to talk about Dark Knight: A True Batman Story, the autobiographical original graphic novel by famed Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini. The OGN will discuss Dini’s relationship with the caped crusader as he recovered from a traumatic mugging. Dini is obviously something of a treasured writer at DC Entertainment, but Bond stressed how emotional and universal the story he’s telling is in her eyes. The book will release this June.
Asked if she had personal relationships with any of the characters that she’s written, Gail Simone answered that she frequently thinks ‘What Would Wonder Woman Do’ and later admitted that she suffered from increased nightmares while writing the Joker for the first time from the perspective of Barbara Gordon. Busiek didn’t have as clear an answer but said that he often discovers that his characters have connections to him. He recounted how the initial Astro City stories were intended to be about the struggle of a superhero, to do the most amazing things and never have time to appreciate that, but recognized that it was really about being a freelance comic writer.
Just before the panel I stopped by the AWaveBlueWorld booth to check if I’d be able to pick up a copy of the Broken Frontier anthology at the show. I’d backed the project on kickstarter a few months prior and was excited to get it signed by the attending creators if possible. I honestly planned to wait until the very end of the day to pick it up, but Robbie Rodriguez was going to be signing sooner, so I decided to bite the bullet and add it to the weight on my back.
But then tragedy struck! Walking the aisles, waiting for the signing to begin, I spotted the massive first trade of Elephantmen for ten dollars. To be honest, I don’t know a lot about Elephantmen, but it’s been one of those series that seems to have a quiet but incredibly passionate fanbase that often warrants at least a look. And so, foolishly, I stuffed the omnibus sized collection into the last remaining space in my bag.
I had a nice time talking with the guys at the AWaveBlueWorld Booth and got a gorgeous sketch in the front of my book from Rodriguez before wandering out into Artist Alley to congratulate the contributors and get the book signed. Of course, the one problem was that now I was just carrying this hardcover anthology around in my arms. Through my own poor planning, I had accidentally made myself a walking advertisement for the book.
Winding my way through the tables, I came upon Sanford Greene and David F. Walker. Over the extremely short time that I’ve known him, Walker’s immense honesty has struck me. Sometimes it takes the form of cynicism, but, in talking to him, you always get the sense that Walker is sharing as much of himself as he can. Add to that Greene’s air of enthusiasm and I’m almost certain that seeing these two work together must be incredibly fun.
Walker also revealed that he had just announced Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes, a Boom!/Dynamite team up co-written by himself and Tim Seeley. It’s a combo that’s as strange as it is obvious, but if you heard Walker talk about his love of the Planet of the Apes franchise, you’d be excited to see what comes of it too.
Not to mention that my earlier poor decision making paid off somewhat, well, at least for Walker.
— Tyler Chin-Tanner (@AWaveBlueWorld) April 10, 2016