3 panels today. I kicked off this morning at Room32AB, which was filled with people. Not surprisingly, as pretty much everyone who reads comics wants to create comics and the topic was focused on just how to do that. Entitled From Fan to Creator: Goal Setting for Creative Types it was run by teacher and founder of Toucan Learning Systems Douglas Neff. Neff has given this seminar at other cons and was certainly comfortable in front of the eager audience. Think of him as a Tony Robbins for the geeks. Neff had an amusing Power Point presentation filled with inspirational quotes, comic art and sound effects. With references to The A Team, The Lord of the Rings and Mario Bros. getting a few laughs, Neff was reminded that the listeners were “my people.” What he had to say wasn’t exactly revolutionary, but would’ve been a good encouragement for some. His helpers all had Blue Lantern t-shirts, symbolising hope, and that’s something he was trying to dish out to the creative hopefuls. With a rundown of his “Ten Magic Coins to Collect Along Your Path to Success” he focused on steps such as making specific, measurable and attainable goals, playing to your strengths and never giving up. Again, not entirely original but many were nodding and taking notes. A few attendees revealed their goals, such as opening up a comic shop and working for an animation studio and hopefully everyone learned, or was reminded, that a dream without hard work is just a fantasy, and also that every pro working in comics today was one day a fan too.
The Radical Publishing Panel was by far the best one I’ve been to. It was moderated by Harry Knowles of AICN. Though he didn’t really say much his enthusiasm for Radical’s impressive titles was obvious. Editor-In-Chief David Wohl kept things moving briskly with a look at their most successful series with a brief rundown by each book’s creator. Legendary painter and snappy dresser Jim Steranko talked about how he was influenced by a tough guy in the neighbourhood of his youth when designing Hercules and president Barry Levine showed off a tattoo of the character on his arm. Writer Jimmy Palmiotti ran from the Jonah Hex panel to talk about his new time travel WWII series Time Bomb, Steve Niles talked about City of Dust and Rick Remender discussed The Last Days of American Crime, which is a great premise (the U.S government is about to broadcast a signal in a few days making criminal thoughts impossible, so a grifter has one last chance to get away with the perfect crime).
Nick Simmons, son of KISS’ Gene got a warm welcome with his new book as writer and artist, Incarnate which is a fresh spin on vampire mythology. The space opera Shrapnel (which has a follow up called Hubris coming) and western series Caliber were discussed, with the latter being developed into a film, which director John Woo has pulled out off. Caliber writer Sam Sarkar said, seemingly with some seriousness that Woo wanted to make a more comedic Blazing Saddles approach. The biggest cheer was saved for Steve Pugh’s beautiful Hotwire book, which is a series everyone should be reading. New series such as David Hine’s FVZA, Arthur Suydam’s When Giants Walk The Earth, a Caliber sequel entitled Book of the Dead which focuses on Lancelot’s visions of the dead, and Hine’s noir-like Ryder on the Storm. All of Radical’s books have the distinction of having phenomenal art and many heads were turned at the screen which showcased some of their best current and future work.
The BOOM! Studios panel was hosted by PR guy Chip Mosher who soldiered on despite battling a cold. E-I-C Mark Waid showed he was a good egg when the team talked about the Mark Waid Is Evil promo for the Irredeemable series, and Andrew Cosby, Ross Richie and relatively new editor Matt Gagnon joined them for a few laughs and a look at new acquisitions such as their Disney/Pixar line including the now ongoing The Incredibles, Cars and now Mickey Mouse and co. The Muppet Show received an impressive round of applause, and it was announced that Waid’s series about a dying woman’s investigation into the afterlife, The Unknown now has a sequel. Their brave word for word adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has sold out and their new series include more Cthulhu, Kill Audio and a new series from Waid which just may be called Incorruptible. Maybe.
After the panels I talked to a few people in Artists Alley promoting their wares and picked up a few sketchbooks and some books from SLG and Fantagraphics. It’s so hard to choose!