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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New York Comic Con 2007 Report #4 : Programming Day Two

In this fourth NYCC report, I will tell about the 3 sessions that I attended prior to the one that I moderated at the end of the day.

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.

Degrassi panel
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).

Degrassi Fan

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.

Steve Sarah and Debbie

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.

New York Comic Con 2007 Report #3 : Programming Day One

Spidey and friends

In this third NYCC report, I will discuss the programs from my first day at Comic Con. Since I arrived in NY late on Friday night, my first day of programming was Saturday (i.e. day 2 of the Con).

I managed to get to my first session just minutes before it started. Since it was the session with actors from the Buffy TV show, I thought the room would be packed and I might not be able to get in. Boy, was I wrong!

I didn't have a camera with me that morning, but Elayne Riggs did (this photo is taken from ComicMix)
Come have a seat at the Buffy panel. PLEASE?!!!

Nicholas (Xander Harris) Brandon ended up being a no-show, but I doubt that was why so few showed up. One of the actors on the panel blamed it on having one of the worst time slots of the convention (i.e. 10-11 AM on a Saturday). So, what do I remember from the panel? One guy talked about the guilt he felt at being the young actor who took the part from elderly actors who don't get a lot of opportunity for decent TV roles like the one he got. The actors unanimously agreed that they would do a Buffy reunion show if Joss asked them. And there was free cake to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show.

Nezt up, in the same room (and with a larger crowd), was the Battlestar Galactica panel moderated by Kevin Smith. I knew that Smith would be at the show (he was in the program), but he wasn't listed as the moderator ; it was a pleasant surprise and he did a decent job of it with his usual wit. I was a little disappointed, only because so many of the questions and remarks went over stuff that was already known (or should have been ; I mean, read your program, people) like how Tricia Helfer got her start in acting and how James Callis was in the Bridget Jones film.

I asked about whether other actors from the original series would be in future episodes (now that Richard Hatch has paved the way) and was told "anything's possible". After which Smith quipped, "Well, not anything. You can't use Lorne Greene. He's dead." Leave it to Degrassi-lover Kevin Smith to mention the late Canadian actor. Someone asked about how the show is perceived in Hollywood and James answered that it is, for the most part, ignored. Kevin shared an anecdote about how he was one of those who wouldn't give the show a chance but ended up catching some episodes and is now hooked. Someone else asked about how Callis is able to prepare himself for the scenes where Balthar seems to be insane ; James answered that he needs some quiet moments of concentration to get into the part. James also made reference to the old show, saying that he would have been reluctant to accept the part if he'd been required to wear a toga.

Much of the rest of the day was spent on the exhibition floor and in artists' alley.

However, I ended my day at the Javits by going to a late panel called Carousel with Sikoryak and Friends. It wasn't the first time that I've seen what can really only be described as "comix performance art". Better than the author readings that I've attended at Toronto's Harbourfront. This was an audio-visual treat using comic pages (projected onto a screen), music and the author's voice reading the captions and dialogue. I knew that Lauren Weinstein was Jewish, but had not expected her to read a story titled "Horse Camp" about a Jewish youth who attends a Christian summer camp. She gave me a copy of a pre-publication edition of Stuck iin the Middle (which contains the story) and signed it for me. Sikoryak's 2 performances were the funniest of the lot - a "Peanuts" adaptation of Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" and a "Garfield" adaptation of the story of Faust. For the final story, we were given 3-D glasses.

After that session (and after being given easy-to-follow subway directions), I headed off to Brooklyn and spent an hour at a comic launch party that was held at a comic shop called The Rocketship, which seems similar (in some respects) to Toronto's The Beguiling. One of the differences : The Beguiling doesn't have a room in the back where they serve drinks.

I saw Lauren again there are we talked a bit about the fact that girls getting their period isn't something that we read about in comics --- or anywhere else, really (though I pointed out that male author Stephen King opened his novel Carrie with the title character getting hers). I also got to meet a guy named Mordechai who I showed a copy of Kramer's Ergot to (the store's ; I don't have a copy yet myself). I hadn't read Sammy Harkham's story "Lubavitch, Ukraine 1876" yet - and neither had he. So he read part of it, while I kind of read it over his shoulder. I also heard his (and a fellow comic fan's) views of Jewish-Muslim antagonism and how it didn't used to exist (something I was already aware of, but always enjoy discussing).

New York Comic Con 2007 Report #2 : Signings and Sketch


In this second NYCC report, I discuss my single sketch request and list the comics I got signed.

I asked Terry Laban to do a "Jewish sketch" for me and he drew an illustration of his wife Patty lighting a pair of Sabbath candles.

Comics that I got autographed :

* The Lone and Level Sands, signed by A. David Lewis

* Aardwolf #1, signed by Clifford Meth

* King David and Wolfpack #1, signed by Kyle Baker (he was an inker for Wolfpack)

* Testament #8 and a color printout of Testament #1, signed by both Liam Sharp and Douglas Rushkoff

* "Chanukah Blues", signed by Lauren Weinstein

* color printout of "Son O God", signed by Neal Adams

* printout of "How We Met : Neil's Version", signed by Neil Kleid

* Superman #80-82, signed by Jon Bogdanove

* Maximortal #4-7, signed by Rick Veitch

* Simpsons Comics #62, signed by Gail Simone (who wrote the story "Li'l Krusty in Give a Hoot, Stay in School")

* Peter Parker : The Spectacular Spider-Man #117, Mark Hazzard : Merc #3, Blasters Special #1 and Marvel Holiday Special 1993 (which includes the story "Revisionist History"), all signed by Peter David


Friday, March 09, 2007

New York Comic Con 2007 Report #1 : The swag & purchases


In this first NYCC report, I will talk about the free stuff (aka "swag") that I picked up, as well as the 2 items I bought.

Free Books

The Privelege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner (which she signed)

Star Trek : Mirror Universe : Obsidian Alliance

Star Trek : Mirror Universe : Glass Empires (signed)

Free Magazines

Massive Magazine #2

TV Guide Feb. 26 - Mar. 4, 2007

UVC (Urban Voice in Comics) #1 Feb-Mar. 2007

Wizard Magazine #185 Mar. 2007

Free Comics (non-Jewish content)

Ambiguously Gay Duo Comics #1

Archie #572 Mar. 2007

CMX manga preview 2007

Crows Yard : Kiss preview

The Darkness : Level Zero Dec. 2006

Guy Ritchie's Game Keeper preview

John Woo's 7 Brothers preview

Jughead & Friends Digest #16

Megatokyo preview edition vol. 5

Mortal Coils #3 (2003)

Netcomics Manhua sampler - Spring 2007

The Sleeper Cycle preview

Stuck in the Middle TPB (which includes the Jewish story "Horse Camp" by Lauren Weinstein, which she autographed for me)

Veronica #178 Apr. 2007

Wildseed #0 Sept. 2006

Wildseed #1 June 2006

Other Free Stuff

CR-ROM from Roy Schwartz

Fone Bone figurine

The Hills Have Eyes 2 t-shirt

Illusion TV sampler CD-ROM

Shooter baseball cap

Starz Home Entertainment 2007 DVD sampler (which includes Hellboy : Blood & Iron and Highlander : Vengeance

Jewish Comics (purchased)

I finally bought a copy of the Pilgrimage : Two Weeks in G-d's Country by Neil Kleid, which he autographed for me.

I also bought the new Tery Laban trade paperback collection of his (& wife Patty's) syndicated comic strip "Edge City" titled Edge City, which he autographed for me. Though not all of the comic strips are explicitly Jewish, the strip is about a Jewish family and there are botyh Hanukkah and Passover storylines in the book. The cover shows Terry cutting a challah loaf while his family stands around the table, a pair of lit Sabbath candles standing on a cabinet by the window.

To see the cover, go to, which also has a link you can follow to pre-order the book.