Breaking Comic Con News!
I had a weird flashback this morning to choir back in high school. A friend and I were discussing webcomics and I was like “oh cool!” and he suggested Penny Arcade. I went to the site, checked out the page and couldn’t work my way around the navigation. They had small buttons and archive issues and after 20 minutes of trying to get into a grove I went back to reading Dominic Deegan (and holy crap was that years ago).
A few years later once I had working wireless and a laptop I went through, read through the archives and was like “Ok, this isn’t amazing but they improved over time.” I bought their first two games for my Mac two years later when I was sunk down with depression and they were okay. I ended up watching Penny Arcade TV which was okay again.
Penny Arcade has been this always there, but nothing really special force for me. I’d had other favorite video game comics come up and when I stopped caring about games I’d still read it.
But Penny Arcade has done good things with it’s money that I like. The Child’s Play Charity is something that I can get behind. Hosting the Extra Credits video series is pretty fantastic because the series is really well done. I have a group of friends who go to at least one PAX every year and they rave about it. And despite some of the stuff tied to Scott Kurtz, I’ve enjoyed other videos on the Penny Arcade TV thing.
So you get where I am coming from – I don’t hate the Penny Arcade guys. I wish I had their success and money so I could do something but I don’t actively oppose them – but I really hate their Kickstarter – not because of them, but because it is a poorly run Kickstarter.
I’ve run a few Kickstarters, I’ve paid into a few and I’ve had friends do the same so I support the work that I do. It is a great tool to try and get donations easily while also giving people something worthwhile for their hard earned money. It is a way to honestly show your appreciation for what people do. Penny Arcade has now infamously done this in the one of the worst possible fashions (though not as good as the Kickstarter about a bet who would go to hell and Osama Bin Laden who was a demon.)
Heroes Con was a pretty intense blast – the right focus on comics, talking to people and not spending shit tons of money to get there – all important things. As the big conventions (ie Heroes Con and New York Comic Con or whatever weird name it is changing into) focus more and more on the pop culture, Heroes Con is a great show about comics, for comics fans and creators. It is the sexy point of being large enough to get comic’s big stars to do signings there but it is also small enough for a creator to tell you how they got too drunk to remember their name or hotel.
Nerdcenaries which for the weekend consisted of Editor In Chief Luke Herr, Contributor Joe Hunter and Intern Ziah Grace (who assisted with providing memories) (and also friendternet Jordan Witt) ended up tabling for most of the weekend stuck between some kind of inhuman monster and an abstract comic painter. We won’t link to the monster because for god’s sake we’d rather – I wouldn’t say wish him dead, but I might say he makes money equivalent to the value of what he creates which would mean he makes the same amount of money as the average Chinese factory worker.
Nonetheless, thanks to our interns brilliant sales techniques of trying to actively talk to convention goers and eventually offering free sketches we turned some profit or at least to the point of earning enough money to act less responsibly. Though you most likely care less about the business side of things than the good and the bad and the nerdy.
The Lines – Registration is one of the easiest things to do and the lines to get in and out of there are fast. While it is totally reasonable to come early to the convention there isn’t any reason to camp out like you might need to at SDCC.
The Creators – Any of them worth their salt are ready to talk and have a good time. This is a laid back show, they know it and they didn’t seem to be pushing much. Some of them will even just come up to hang out. Lee Weeks ended up doing a magic trick out of nowhere.
Getting Around – As far as I saw, except around 1 or 2 areas due to the Stan Lee line, it was easy to get around. There weren’t major stoppages, cosplayers tried actively to not bump into people and it was just generally open.
Panels – You get actual creators instead of editors and business men. This means that for people currently working there is enough time to ask your questions. We ended up seeing WRA and a few other panels and it was nice. The one disappointment was nobody seemed to ask Stan Lee real questions but it is pretty fine that way.
The Little Guys – Not everyone at the convention can be a god of the industry, so to speak but Heroes Con treats everyone well. For it being the first year at the convention, Nerdcenaries had a great spot with lots of traffic that might have been lost if we’d been inside. The crew was more than happy to help us find chairs.
Food – Besides Bojangles (which is amazing), it was pretty difficult finding good food in the city. Mert’s, a BBQ restaurant we tried to go to every night at the convention was booked up. This meant that we had to eat stand-in food which was typically disappointing. Fuel Pizza which was across the street from the center was bland and overly greasy. Fitzgeralds was chain restaurant level fare and there wasn’t much that was all that good (though when we got to Mert’s it was pretty amazing).
Exploitation – There are some people who make really exploitative art whether sexually or creatively where it is just horrible for everyone. There was a lot of that. It sold well. It was depressing.
Wireless – Yeah, you had to pay to use the wireless even at the hotel – unless, ironically, if you were in the lobby.
Everything – Ziah had about 6 hours of conversations on Batman: Odyssey. Street Sharks and Space Jam with other people. I’m not really sure how it happened.
Thanks to all of our friends and new connections who were there suck as: Joe Carroll, Patrick Dean, Justin “Luthor” Peterson, Lee Bretschneider, Maris Wicks, Ben McCool, Lee Weeks, Jojo Seames, Andrew Ihla, Ming Doyle, Neil Cicierga, Kevin Church, Robin Kimball, Chad Bowers, Curt Franklin, Chris Haley, Chris Schweizer, Catie Donnelly, Paul Tobin, Colleen Coover, Matt Fraction, Brian Clevinger and everyone else who didn’t get to the list.
In a shocking press release this morning, Dan Didio, co-publisher of DC Comics announced that all DC Superheroes were “slightly gay.”
“I was catching up on Mad Men last night and it suddenly occurred to me that I thought that I had no idea what happened to (Paul) Kinsey. So I look Kinsey up on the internet and the Internet has this Kinsey scale of gayness and it is like Hot danggity dang, I can just make every character sort of gay. And it comes with a numbering system so we can just add it to power charts that the fans like.”
The Kinsey Scale is a 8 number ranging scale from 0 to 6 with X as a non-sexual rating where lower numbers mean more heterosexuality and higher numbers mean more homosexuality meaning a 0 is purely heterosexual and 6 is purely homosexual with the numbers changing through life.
“I love breaking everything into groups and the Kinsey scale let me do that,” explained Didio. “Jim and I ended up rolling bones for each character to assign them sex numbers and now we can get some news for it. Did you know that Batman and Green Arrow are 6′s? They are probably just spooning on the satellite. And Superman is a 5 so he gets in on that too! Shade the Changing Man ended up being a 0 – who knew! And because we are doing this, it is all canon!”
Didio then displayed the famous nu-52 Justice League image with the new Kinsey chart rankings. “We are currently updating a bunch of Wikias that you guys love to run so you can check there.
While the current reaction has been stunned silence, One Million Mom has already planned to continue not buying comics .
“On a sad note, all of the Robins and Flashes are pure Xs. No sex for them!,” concluded Didio.
Upon the news of DC and Marvel announcing new video games, Marvel Core, the extremist branch of Marvel Comics that was left after the ghost of Kirby attacked, announced their own game title Secret Gauntlet.
Said project head Brian Clevinger, creator of Atomic Robo as well the writer for an all ages retelling of The Infinity Gauntlet. “After we got stranded in the Marvel Building by the circling ghost pirate ship, we just started talking about making comics we’d love to see as games. I didn’t really dig the whole Civil War angle that they keep pushing and I think the new event comics lack that big feeling so Jeff (Parker), Matt (Fraction), Greg (Pak), Fred (Van Lente) and a few others talked it out and were like – Secret Wars meets Infinity Gauntlet!”
Secret Wars and The Infinity Gauntlet were two famous series from the 80′s prized for their storytelling ability and generally high sales. While the Secret Wars focuses on a team of heroes and a team of villains fighting in space for the Beyonder, a godlike hero’s promise of power, the Infinity Gauntlet is the opposite. In the Infinity Gauntlet after half of the life in the Universe is wiped out by Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet a team of superheroes is forced to ban together to defeat the threat to restore the universe.
“Explosions are fantastic! And if we can give a big enough threat for heroes and villains to work together – namely Thanos and the Beyonder as these galactic threats – we can get tons of explosions,” commented Greg Pak, writer of series such as The Incredible Hulk, Alpha Flight and Hercules.
The proposed game would feature the Beyonder summoning the greatest warriors in the universe to fight while accidentally bringing together all of the Infinity Gems – cosmically powered jewels that allow the users to reach omnipotence. Teams of 6 composed of some expected 60 playable characters (with more added via DLC) will then be able to fight for the gems and to achieve that power to either corrupt the world or save.
“Of course, once you get the Gauntlet and the Gems – you team breaks down and it turns into a fighting game,” explained Jeff Parker, writer of Atlas, Hulk and Thunderbolts. “There we want the game to not just be about physical fighting but we want this intellectual level. These are people who want to save the world – but they all have different ideas. If Cap, Iron Man and Flatman had to figure out how to fix the world, could they come up with a use for that Infinite Power?”
“Unfortunately we don’t really have the support or power to do much though, but we’ll figure something out,” commented Matt Fraction, creator of last summer’s event comic Fear Itself. “We do have these drawings that we made on napkins though,” said Fraction as he held up one of Thanos and Spider-man and added “Thwp thwp! Eat a dick Thanos!”
Socialfist (Basic) is free to download today on Free Comic Book Day! There is a Google Docs link here! As of 2 AM it is only in CBZ format, may be buggy. Leave a comment if it is. I’ll also be posting a PDF later!
The basic version now costs $2
But wait, you want to get the bonus version?
Shit son that is a Paypal button! $5 gets you the CBZ bonus edition! And that is unlimited downloads! (And you will get the PDF when I figure that out!) The bonus edition includes over 15 pages of original content, commentary, bonus art and more!
Set for a July release is the new series from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Lark, The Bureaucracy Avengers, a team of Avengers dedicated to solving the myriad legal, financial and assorted documentation troubles of superheroes, their relatives and friends. Headed by psychiatrist Doc Samson, the team includes attorney She-Hulk, accountant Iceman, computer expert Cypher, social worker the Falcon, and mystical consultant Jennifer Kale.
“We are committed to realism at Marvel Comics and to that end we are going to showcase the people who handle the minutiae of superhero life,” explained Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso. “Everyone knows that sometimes characters die, but what happens when that character comes back to life? Who backdates those W-2s? Who wipes out those obits from news servers? You’re about to meet the people who dot the i’s and cross the t’s.”
The team members are headquartered on the sixteenth floor of the reconstructed Avengers Tower, where in a hi tech facility they analyze the problems of their “clients,” superheroes in need of some professional advice. “This isn’t just a talking heads book,” says Bendis. “We’ll have them filling out forms, working at computer terminals, and researching law journals. It’s really in depth, real steeped in the real world.
“I want everyone to be clear that this is exactly the kind of book I’ve been building to. Gritty and tense. The battles are over. Now it’s time to go to work. Paperwork.”
“To be able to work with these larger than life characters and show how they would interact with the mundane aspects of life, it’s something of a treat for me.” Lark, whose work credits include Terminal City, Daredevil, Captain America, and Gotham Central, has worked with Bendis in the past and knows what the New Avengers scribe is looking for in an artist. “I sent Brian the first page, and said it was “like reading a work manual.” I knew he was happy.”
Alonso is very confidant the series will take off. “David Mamet is in talks to create series for HBO.”
We are reaching this horrible point in the comic business that has been a long time coming where it is really freaking hard to come up with an idea to insult the industry with an outrageous idea or some stereotype that won’t come true. This is reaching the point where I am worried that if I post an article about Frank Miller’s family being gunned down in front of him it might actually happen.
Am I worried that I am actually god? I wouldn’t go that far but part of parody has always been understanding trends in whatever you are producing. The thing is what we once considered to be sacred and holy is, I don’t want to say being “blasphemed” since this is medium where the best selling characters are grown men in costumes, but there aren’t getting respect. Or the creators aren’t getting the respect for their work. They aren’t getting the chances to really create anything new with the big two and from what I understand the other companies in the states have their basic wheelhouses. If it is a Dynamite book it will probably have a lot of tits and cleavage in it. If it is Dark Horse expect some ghosts and creepy shit. If it is Image you’ll be getting blood and gore. Blue Water? – unpaid artists. ZING!
Back when I still lived in Pittsburgh I visited the Toonseum a few times and was even in a loose planning phase with Joe who was running the museum about doing a webcomic event (sort of an expansion of the Pittsburgh SPX). I ended up going to the gala for the next few months events as a press member – thanks Socialfist, and one of these big events was that Giulio De Vita’s opening (which I ended up missing due to pre-graduation). That said the guy is huge over in Italy and we barely hear about him in the states and the guy has some rather fantastic looking work. He was actually working on bringing his work for the American audience which is fantastic – getting ideas from an entirely different group where superheroes are not the only comics.
I think we need to start looking at other genres for more of what comics can be especially when you consider the big two companies really don’t have many non-superhero books. Marvel doesn’t produce any titles that they full own that aren’t tied to their superhero universe to my knowledge and while DC has Vertigo those big titles have been around since the 80′s and a great deal of them were just tied into the superhero universe and were remade.
Of course if you say “but these companies are less interested in comics than the properties ” where will these new properties come from? Has DC or Marvel created a new character in the past 5 years that isn’t a rehash of a preexisting one who can hold their own title? I mean I love Jeff Parker’s Hulk about the Red Hulk but he can’t be tied to his own universe at least for film purposes. We can’t do a Nightwing movie that fits the character without getting to discuss Batman (note: I know Nightwing is not a new character). This expansive universe essentially says you can either be tied to us and our world or you can go and start something new that will eventually be tied back in with the rest of us. Even Mystery Men, the Marvel series, had some explicit ties to the Marvel universe (though side note it was another amazing series).
(And yes there are the Marvel titles like Sigil from CrossGen but will it be that long before they get incorporated into the new universe like Wild Storm was pulled into DC).
So I am a bit afraid of not telling jokes but telling some version of the future based on what might happen based on what already happens. Of course if you want fresh universes there are always webcomics, indie comics (which are for some reason not online) and more.
We waited for the return of our hero, refreshing our browsers, flipping through channels and digging through old periodicals. We’ve spent days asking “where can I go to see if I need the Man of Steel or not?” Is this some innate desire that we have for our questions to be answered or is it something more?
The articles were printed all over questioning if we needed the man of steel. People argued bitterly over the topic. High schoolers wrote essays. There was no consensus. Now that time has passed, we can see that we don’t need articles about needing Superman.
Yes that very question was vital once upon a time but society hasn’t changed. We know the lessons that each article argued. We know how some people say that he slows us down while others say he inspires us but we have not changed. We are still the weak mortals that could be surviving with or without the man of steel.
The articles had moved papers. After his death they moved more and even more so after he returned but they turned into dark repetitions of questions that were unable to be answered. It became a rhetorical being that didn’t matter.
There are more important stories to be told through the print though. As not if we need the man or not, simply give us the entertainment and information that we want. If you want us to question if we need the last son of Krypton show him as a bastion of strength attempting to do what is right. Show him dealing with the threats that he must fight against. Don’t ask if we need him directly, let him interact with our lives that we might ask the question and come to our own decision, something that defines how we live.