I started off the day by going to the History of Comic Book Movies session given by Arie Kaplan and Eddy Friedfeld. Unfortunately, it started earlier than it was supposed to, so I didn't catch all of it. My favorite parts were seeing a clip of the Ambiguously Gay Duo (from the Saturday Night Live TV show) and a clip from a Batman DVD that showed a screen test of Lyle Wagonner (in a Batman costume that didn't have the yellow circle). While watching the Wonder Woman clip, it occurred to me that Baywatch was not the first TV show on the air that exploited the fact that a significant percentage of male chauvinists are willing to spend time watching repetitive scenes of a sexy woman in a skimpy costume running ... and running ... and running.
Immediately following the end of the presentation portion of the Comic Book Movies session (I couldn't stay for the Q&A), I joined my wife for the Degrassi graphic novels session. She was worried that the room would fill up and that we wouldn't get in, but that didn't happen. It was, however, a better turnout than we've seen for the Toronto Degrassi graphic novel events we've gone to.
Comic Book Resources gave a great, detailed report on the session. Here's an excerpt :
Perez remarked on the challenge when dealing with characters based on real people. “I’ve worked on some Star Wars stuff where the characters are iconic but don’t have to look like the actors,” he said. “The audience is very familiar with Degrassi characters.” Perez said that he hadn’t seen the show beyond season one and watched the entirety of season five, focusing on Manny and Emma. He also picked up fashion catalogs to find out “what the kids are wearing” and visited the Toronto sets to ensure accuracy. “I’ve worked on enough properties to know that if you get something wrong, the fans will let you know about it.” He added that he’s drawn Emma a half dozen times at different shows. “It’s a lot different since it’s a real living person and not Superman.” Perez said that he’d be willing to do another Degrassi graphic novel.
Sarah Barrable-Tishauer has been on Degrassi for six years. “You’ve seen my awkward years documented in season one.” Barrable-Tishauer was also featured in a production of “The Lion King” in Toronto. She said she was surprised to see the show move into graphic novels. “It’s the most bizarre thing to see yourself in comic form,” she said. “When I showed myself talking to JT in book two to my family, they were like ‘that’s totally you!’”
I can't add too much to what John wrote. I agree with John that it's cool that Chris Jackson recognizes certain fans (he recognized both myself and my wife).
J. Torres referred to one of his lines that was cut from one of the websiodes : "Go Go Gonhorrhea!" Sarah mentioned that originally she had tried out for the role of Manny. Hmmm ... that could have been interesting to see, but I'm glad she ended up playing Liberty instead. We were told that there will be at least one more season of Degrassi (yay!).
Sarah also talked about the reactions of herself and the other actors when they did the first read-through of the script for the episode where J.T. dies. Apparently, sometimes the writers will throw fake scripts at them or scripts that they later decide not to use. So, at first they weren't sure this would be an actual episode. Once they realized it was real, though, it was tough to accept. Sarah said that she and Ryan Cooley co-wrote a "what if?" webisode in which we would have seen what would happen if JT hadn't died and if he and Liberty raised her child together. Naturally, that resulted in groans from many in the audience who wanted to see this rejected webisode.
After that, we left the room to join the mob who'd reassembled in the exhibits hall to meet the panelists, get autographs and snap pics. I have to give kudos to the publisher reps ; they were able to keep things orderly and got everyone lined up nicely without blocking the other booths too much or cutting off the aisles.
I passed by Evan Dorkin, but couldn't wait for him to return to his table, as I was already a tad late for the Dave Cockrum tribute. Unfortunately, that meant that I didn't get his sketch of One-Punch Goldberg --- maybe next time.
Next, it ws off to the Dave Cockrum tribute panel.
The panel was well-described by Matt Powell of Wizard Entertainment :
Before it was initiated that original art be given back to creators, Levitz shared a story of how Cockrum went out of his way and pocket to obtain a larger canvas than needed in which to draw the wedding with more detail - illustrating Cockrum’s dedication to his craft.
“Dave wasn’t a penciller, or a writer, he was a comic book creator,” emphasized Rubinstein of Cockrum, whose pencils he frequently inked.
Elayne Riggs also described it at ComicMix :
As might be expected, the Dave Cockrum tribute was fairly low-key but heartfelt. Birthday boy Clifford Meth moderated a panel of Dave's friends and coworkers which included Louise Simonson, Chris Claremont, Paul Levitz and Joe Rubinstein. Cliff passed on the welcome news that the Uncanny Dave Cockrum Tribute hardcover (featuring lots of new stuff, including some more Cockrum artwork) will be released by Aardwolf soon, and everyone had wonderful stories to tell of Dave's generosity, self-effacing nature and enormous talent. Anyone who could consistently inspire greats like these panelists was a person well worth knowing and remembering.
After the panel we caught up with Cliff and two other old friends to whom I'd wanted to introduce him, each of whom had known someone else close to me who'd passed away recently. Throughout the weekend we'd been seeing old "convention regulars" and becoming aware all over again how important we all are to each other in our short and hectic lifespans. These moments are the important ones, they're what invest comic conventions -- and indeed our lives -- with meaning. We should never be too busy to just sit with folks and chat, and I'm grateful I got to see pretty much all my comics industry friends, old and new, during the weekend
All I will add to those excellent articles is that one panelist (Levitz?) talked about how the writers felt challenged by the way Cockrum drew so well and how it inspired them to turn in their best work in response. Someone else pointed out that with regard to the newer X-Men, he loved Nightcrawler, but hated Wolverine. Levitz reminded us that we should not take the golden age creators for granted, but let them know how much we have enjoyed their work while they are still here with us.
The last session that I attended prior to the one that I moderated was the syndicated cartoonists panel. The panel, held in the room that mine was to be held in, started late and that was a sign that mine would probably also start late.It was nice that they had several sample cartoons from each of the artists projected onto a screen, though it did distract from the actual discussion going on. The only thing I really remember from that panel was the comments about how a cartoonist needs to be prepared for plenty of negative feedback from fans, especially now that it's so easy for anyone to quickly fire off an e-mail on a whim.