Tag Archives: WonderCon 2010

2010 in Review: Ranking California Comic-Cons

I ended up going to four comic book conventions in 2010, mostly in Southern California (plus one in San Francisco). Based on this year’s experience and past experiences, here are my thoughts on each show.

1. Comic-Con International

DC Nation - Grant Morrison and DarkseidComic-Con International in San Diego is the ultimate pop culture fan experience. They have everything you could possibly want to see, including comics, movies, video games and more. The downside: they have everything everyone else could possibly want to see, too. So it’s crowded, hectic, and requires planning months ahead in order to make sure you have a ticket and (if you need one) a hotel room. Comics publishers have a major presence, as do movie and video game studios, collectibles manufacturers, etc. and there are so many events on the schedule that you’d need a group of 20 people to see everything. If you can, try to go more than one day. This is the con I’m most familiar with, having attended every year since 1990.
CCI 2010 report.

2. WonderCon

Captain America and Iron ManComic-Con International’s little sibling, WonderCon in San Francisco, is a nice balance of everything San Diego has to offer, but less crowded and less, well, insane. Comics take up a bigger part of the show, with the major publishers always well-represented, but movies and TV have a presence here as well. I’ve been to the last 3 cons.
Wondercon 2010 report.

3. Long Beach Comic Con

Hulk Smash Puny Convention!Only in its second year, Long Beach Comic Con makes a great impression as a convention that’s actually focused on comics and the people who make them. The artists and writers area is the central feature of the main floor. Programming is light, but the mid-level comics publishers have a strong presence. The emphasis on authors and the light crowds (this was only its second year) make it a good place to meet artists and writers without standing in incredibly long lines.
LBCC 2010 report.

4. Anaheim Comic Con

Flash TrioWizard World’s return to the LA/OC area, despite the name change, is more focused on pop culture than comics. There’s little publisher presence, minimal programming, and a major emphasis on celebrities and dealers. Good for costume spotting. It’s fun, but if I had to pick one or the other, I’d definitely go with Long Beach. Technically this was its first year, but I understand Wizard World is trying to make all of their shows the same type of experience.
Anaheim 2010 report.

And Beyond

There are a lot of smaller cons that I either haven’t been to at all or haven’t been to recently. The roughly-bimonthly Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention at the Shrine comes to mind, for instance, and the California Comic Con in Yorba Linda. And aside from WonderCon and APE, I’m not really familiar with the Northern California scene — or, for that matter, the Inland Empire here in Socal.

Are there any other California-based fans here? What cons do you like to attend?

DC Comics Goes Digital

Big news: DC Comics has launched a digital comics program, starting with the iPad/iPhone and the Playstation network.

And by launched, I mean launched. As in, you can download the app and buy comics right now.

I’m really looking forward to the day when they expand this to more platforms (desktop PCs, Android and Windows–based tablets, etc) and start reaching into their back catalog. I’ve griped about the lack of Golden Age Flash reprints before, and the Bronze Age is also virtually invisible in reprints (though at least with comics from the 1970s and 1980s, you can usually find the back-issues at a reasonable price).

I haven’t had time to read all the interviews, but I’ll definitely be reading them tonight:

With Jim Lee so heavily involved in this project, I can’t help but think of a moment at WonderCon this year. Saturday was the day of the iPad launch, and the Apple Store in San Francisco is just a few blocks from the convention center. Jim Lee was conspicuously missing from the DC Editorial panel. He showed up partway through the panel and stood in the Q&A line, where he planted a few questions…and then pulled out the brand-new iPad that he had stood in line for that morning!

Sadly, judging by ComiXology’s new releases, DC hasn’t brought Flash to the iPad just yet. But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

Update: Comics Alliance has another article I won’t have time to read just yet, on why this is a big deal.

Cross-posted at K-Squared Ramblings

Dead Parents and Super-Hero Origins

One last WonderCon post!

At the Comic Arts Conference panel on super-hero origins, James Robinson and Steve Englehart agreed that one of the key elements to a good origin is that it includes the hero’s motivation and a hook that readers can relate to. Robinson cited the Silver-Age Flash as missing that compelling motivation: Okay, he put on a costume to fight crime, but why? Why keep going?

Robinson also talked about why so many heroes have dead parents in their past: the fear of losing a parent is something that any reader can relate to. In fact, when someone asked later in the panel how one could create a good origin, Englehart flippantly replied, “Kill their parents?”

Later in the discussion, the moderator asked about retelling origins. Robinson said he was always wary of destroying what was already there, and preferred to try to add new detail around what already works. He cited Geoff Johns’ revised origin for Barry Allen, in which his mother is killed and his father framed for it, as a successful example.

Personally I disagree. It drastically alters the character’s history, and raises questions of why his history hasn’t changed in other ways, but most importantly, it introduces a cliche that wasn’t present in the original version of the story. If you’re going to revise a story, it seems better to remove overused elements than add them.

The same weekend, the New York Times published an article on the role of parents in young-adult fiction: traditionally, the role of a hero’s parents in classic literature was to die, or at least get out of the way, forcing the protagonist into his journey of self-discovery: the orphan’s “triumphant rise.” (via Neil Gaiman)

Yeah, writers have been using this trope for a long time.

WonderCon 2010 Con Report

I’ve finished my write-up of WonderCon over at K-Squared Ramblings. Most of the posts I’ve made here were about the news that came out of the convention, but this one covers the experience of actually being at the con.

» WonderCon 2010 Experience

Next weekend: C2E2 in Chicago and the awkwardly-named Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con in California. It looks like DC will have much more of a presence at C2E2 than Anaheim. I’m not traveling again for a while, but Anaheim is literally 10-15 minutes away, so I figure I may as well check it out.

WonderCon Flash Bits: Jesse Quick, EVS & Carmine Infantino, Movie Non-News

I’m back from San Francisco, catching up on work, email, and reading. I’ll post my WonderCon write-up when I get a chance (tonight, I hope, but definitely by the end of the week [Update: it’s up now]), but for now, here are a few more Flash items from the convention:

Jesse Quick will be joining the Justice League of America after the upcoming JLA/JSA crossover, as announced at the James Robinson Spotlight.

He included the character because he was always such a fan of the character’s father, Johnny Quick. The writer made sure to mention that he has no plans to upset the marriage between Jessie Quick and Hourman. He promised there would be no cheap plot device to break them up.

Robinson also made some thought-provoking remarks about the Flash in the Super-Hero Origins panel, which I’ll write up when I have more time and can look at my notes. Update: Here they are: JR on super-hero origins.

When asked about plans for DC movies beyond Green Lantern, Geoff Johns said, “We’ll talk in San Diego.” A lot of sites are taking this to mean that DC will announce Flash & other movie plans at Comic-Con International in July.

At the Ethan Van Sciver Spotlight, the artist was asked about Carmine Infantino’s classic art in connection with Flash: Rebirth.

The artist said that he loved Infantino’s work, and that besides Batman, the Flash has one of the best set of villains in the DCU, which Van Sciver credits to Infantino. “His characters were so unique and individual, so wonderfully different from each other,” he said, also mentioning that he would love to go back to “revisit the wonderful, angular, ugly faces of Carmine Infantino’s rogues, and restore them.” Van Sciver even said he would talk with new “Flash” artist Francis Manapul about Infantino’s rogues.

And once again, my photos from the con are up on Flickr.