Typically, I’ll spend most of Saturday in panels, but the first one I was interested in wasn’t until later in the morning, so I killed time taking in some of the more offbeat exhibitors, like Ben the Bubble Guy, a businessman who hires himself out for birthday parties, corporate events, funerals. Okay, maybe not funerals.
When it was time, I headed up to the fourth floor for the AV Club‘s panel on the Future of Superheroes.
I love the AV Club’s website and Reasonable Discussions podcast, but I was disappointed by a) the fuzzy picture I took of them and b) the analysis of how the superhero genre is doing. It’s not that they’re wrong, it’s just that they weren’t particularly insightful about this topic.
They answered their primary question right away by predicting that superheroes aren’t going away anytime soon. Tasha Robinson correctly stated that there’s no pop culture superhero bubble that’s about to burst; it’s a sine wave that goes up and down based on the quality of the most recent films. When superhero movies are pretty good, they make a lot of money and we see more of them. When Hollywood releases a bunch of crap, nobody goes and Hollywood decides we don’t like them anymore.
There was also some discussion about where the next group of superhero fans are going to come from, which led to lamenting the state of comics for kids today. This is all discussion that’s been had in the comics community for a while now, and that was my problem with most of the panel.
There was one point that got me thinking though. Someone made the comparison between digital comics and the old-fashioned drugstores and newsstands that keep getting brought up in discussions about How to Save Comics. There may be something to the idea that digital stores could make comics accessible and affordable to children in the same way those non-specialty shops used to. Of course, the panel also pointed out that most digital comics require a credit card to purchase, so there’s still a barrier between kids’ allowance money and the comics it could conceivably buy. Still, it seems like this is something that could be developed. What if comiXology allowed parents to set up pre-paid accounts for their kids, for example?
I’m not blaming the Future of Superheroes panel for killing my interest in the rest of my panel schedule for the day, but for whatever reason I decided to spend the rest of the day on the show floor, catching up with some Artist Alley folks I missed yesterday.
I missed Brian Shearer the first time I stopped by his table, but got to talk to Amy Chu at the table next to his. She’s written an anthology comic called Girls Night Out and Other Stories, so I grabbed one of those and Meridien City, a sci-fi mystery adventure written by Chu’s friend Georgia Lee and drawn by Silvio dB.
I caught up with Steve Bryant to congratulate him on Athena Voltaire‘s being picked up by Dark Horse’s Sequential Pulp imprint.
Ryan Kelly was selling the second issue of his Funrama series. I picked up the first couple of issues of Saucer Country as well.
Out of Artist Alley for a bit, I visited the booth for The Science Fiction Outreach Project, a literacy group that was giving away free sci-fi books. Grabbed me a book by Tobias Buckell, since I’ve been meaning to read some of his stuff.
There was also a cool booth dedicated to Doctor Who merchandise.
Navigating the floor got challenging in the afternoon. It’ll be interesting to see the attendance numbers, but there were some serious crowds all day.
Back in Artist Alley, I’d already bought everything I came to the convention for, but I kept seeing new things to try. Like the first two issues of Sean O’Neill’s Rocket Robinson and the Pharaoh’s Fortune.
And Spinnerette, a graphic novel about a novice superheroine by Krazy Krow and Walter Gomez. I wrongly assumed that the gal who sold me the book also helped create it, but that’s maybe not important. She pitched it well, so I’m trying it out.
Back in more familiar territory, I grabbed an art book and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea adaptation from Gary Gianni. I don’t know how I conducted that purchase without geeking out more than I did, but it probably had a lot to do with his being so very very nice.
And of course, no collection of con photos is complete until you include the cosplayers.
And finally, of course: the Daily Haul to remind me of the people I forgot to take pictures of, like Raf Nieves and Dan Dougherty (Bob Howard, Plumber of the Unknown) and Bill Halliar, who’s inked some of my favorite Ben Caldwell stuff.