Friday, July 20, 2012

Great Moments at SDCC 2012: Marvel Shows Respect

San Diego Comic Con 2012 was like many other SDCC's. There were crazy crowds and lines, thousands of cosplayers, a bunch of great panels, wonderful artists and plenty of good friends to enjoy the weekend with. SDCC was a success! With any success there are moments that help define that success. This is one of those moments that made SDCC 2012 great for me.

Axel Alonso and Arune Singh Respect For The Hardcore Fan

Axel Alonso - Marvel Editor in Chief
Much has been made about the crying fan at the Man of Steel panel which the hilarious and huge-hearted Chris Hardwick ran down to hug. Chris said the fan represented what comic con is all about: a fan that was brought to tears because he loves comics/a character so much. While Chris was right, and this moment was indeed special, a great moment involving a huge fan occurred in the Marvel Ultimate Universe panel, really stuck with me.

A real passionate fan got up during the "Q & A" portion of the panel and proceeded to ask an unanswerable question. The kid asked something along the lines of, "I know you can't tell us, but if you were going to make a certain character radioactive, how would you do it."
  1. The scenario suggested by the questionnaire was never raised in the comics or anywhere else. It was just a random thing the kid wanted to see happen.
  2. The panel isn't intended to test the panelists' creative skills on the spot. One can't just go up and say, "If Captain America had a brother who had powers, how would you plot a story out about him?"
As the panelists, lead by Axel Alonso (Marvel's Editor in Chief), tried to explain it was not something they had thought about, the audience started groaning at the further insistence of answers by the questionnaire, "but if you did..." Finally, just as it seemed like Axel had politely let the kid down by telling him, again, it wasn't something Marvel thought about, Axel shocked the audience just as the kid was about to step away. Axel continued with, "How would you do it?"

The audience immediately let out a long sigh knowing that this opened the door for the super fan to ramble on. No one in the crowd wanted to hear some kid's fantasy idea, but still...that's what the crowd received. I would venture to say that many people were a bit angry that Axel was "wasting" their time by encouraging the kid, but I think it was one of the nicest things I have ever witnessed.

This kid was clearly an uber-fan with many ideas about his favorite characters and comics. For him to be able to tell his ideas to the Marvel Editor in Chief, when he could have easily been tossed to the side at the approval of the audience, had to be a magical experience for that kid. After he stumbled through his nonsensical answer, smiling the whole time, Axel shook his head and said something like, "that could work." Axel gave the kid approval and nourished the young man's sense of creativity and pride: something so many comic fans may be in need of.

Arune Singh - Marvel Director of Communications
At this point Arune Singh (Marvel's Director of Communications) jumped in and awarded the questionnaire a limited t-shirt prize for being creative and brave enough to express himself in front of everyone in attendance.

After the panel I saw the young man who asked the question and he looked like he had just been asked to hangout with Spider-Man. His father was with him, so naturally the kid was going on and on to his smiling father about the panel. Seeing the joy on that kid's face, thanks to Axel and Arune's respect of every fan no matter how passionate they are, was worth admission to comic con.

Side Note: Technically I didn't pay because I had a press badge...but I would have!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SDCC Can't Miss: Friday's Ballroom 20 (Early & Late)

Everyone knows the television big boys are put in Ballroom 20, at San Diego's Comic Con. This year, the best day to check-out some Ballroom 20, television panels, is Friday. Let's breakdown what you will be treated to:

Community: 10 - 11am - Almost the whole cast (excluding Donald Glover and Chevy Chase) will be in attendance to talk about the upcoming season which NBC just could not kill. Personally, I think Joel McHale is hilarious and Alison Brie (Mad Men) is absolutely adorable. Damn that Pete for treating her the way he does! Anyway...the panel is sure to be nothing but fun.

Firefly: 10 Year Anniversary: 12:30 - 1:30pm - Joss Whedon and the cast from Firefly will be together again for a trip down memory lane. If you've never seen Nathan Fillion on a panel, at a convention, you've never lived...nerd! I guarantee he will have the whole room laughing, smiling and even in tears. I wonder if anyone will ask Whedon if he wants to put Fillion in the next Avengers film as the superhero known as, Nathan Fillion.

Breaking Bad: 6:45 - 7:45pm - I trust almost everything Conan O'Brian tells me through the TV. One thing that Conan constantly tells me is that Breaking Bad is the best show on television now, and possibly ever. Currently, I am in the middle of season 2 on Netflix and I am loving it. With that said, I hear the best is yet to come. Join show-runner (and genius), Vince Gilligan, and the cast as they discuss the upcoming final season which begins shortly. They'll bring some footage for Ballroom 20 guests, too. So for those of us who absolutely cannot wait to see some new Bad...this is the panel for us.

Friday, July 6, 2012

SDCC Can't Miss Panel - Batman: Beyond The Night of Owls

The best DC comic book to come from DC's New 52 has been Batman, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Their "Night of Owls" story line, which really started with Batman #1, was a hit in terms of critical opinion (online reviewers) and financial success. Snyder and Capullo took a very unique and interesting approach to Batman by establishing the idea that maybe the man who knew everything about Gotham, and practically was Gotham, had been in the dark his whole life. What if Gotham hadn't been shaped by a bat, but rather a society of owls?

Personally, the excellence of Snyder and Capullo's Batman lead me to want more Batman, so I ventured into Batman and Robin which Snyder praised at Wondercon earlier this year. I also started purchasing Batman Incorporated and even went back and collected the pre New DC 52 Grant Morrison Batman and Robin run. Basically, I am now Batman obsessed. But for good reason! Batman books have been stellar.

So naturally...I am excited to see the direction of the various Batman titles.

The San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) panel, "Batman: Beyond The Night of Owls," will feature editors and writers of the Batman titles including Scott Snyder, J.H. Williams III and more. They will be discussing the direction the new Bat-books will be taking and hopefully displaying some new preview art (like the recently released Capullo Joker art preview...posted below). For Batman, Scott Snyder and comic fans in general, the "Batman: Beyond The Night of Owls" panel is a SDCC can't miss.

Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo Batman - Joker Promo - 365 Days of Comics
Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo bring the Joker back to Batman.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oliver Coipel Energizes Avengers Vs. X-Men #7

Avengers Vs. X-Men: Round #7 (issue #7) is a beautiful issue.

The first 5 issues of AvX were handled by the hard working John Romita Jr., but quite frankly were not very impressive in terms of visual content. JRJR just doesn't do it for me when it comes to big action and multiple characters. I know he is a quick worker and Marvel never has to worry about him meeting a deadline, but I'm okay waiting for dynamic pages by elite Marvel artists like Steve McNiven or Oliver Coipel.

Coipel actually illustrated Avengers Vs. X-Men #6, but it wasn't untill issue #7 that I really appreciated his lovely layouts and remarkable solo shots. "Solo shot?" you may ask. These are the shots that where a single character overlaps several panels and highlights the page. (I provided a few of the pages below that highlight Coipel work).

Oliver Coipel continues to impress me with every issue he illustrates, and because of Avengers Vs. X-Men: Round #7 the comic I most anticipate is Avengers Vs. X-Men: Round #8.

Oliver Coipel Art Pages - AVX #7 - 365 Days of Comics
Oliver Coipel highlights Hawkeye.
Oliver Coipel Art Pages - AVX #7 - 365 Days of Comics
Oliver Coipel highlights Cap and Tony Stark.

Oliver Coipel Art Pages - AVX #7 - 365 Days of Comics
Oliver Coipel highlights Namor and Captain America in these 2 pages.