Oni Press took a slightly different approach with their panel discussion at Emerald City Comicon, presenting “The Not So Late Late Show With Oni Press.” The panel followed the format of a late night talk show, hosted by Oni Press Marketing Director Cory Casoni, with guests Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of “Scott Pilgrim;” Becky & Frank of “Tiny Kitten Teeth;” a “fake-baking” demonstration by “Spell Checkers” artist JoÃ«lle Jones; and music by self described nerd-rock band Delta!Bravo, with plenty of humor and conversation.
Casoni opened the show with a brief monologue comprised of plenty of self-deprecating humor and industry in-jokes. “Speaking of nerds,” he joked, “no, listen to this! ‘Mass Effect 3’ came out and people are really upset about the ending! They say that it ends too abruptly and that it’s unsatisfying, I don’t know, I don’t get it. My wife has been saying that about me for years!”
“Thank all of you for joining us here, I know you have a lot of entertainment options on a Friday night,” he continued. “Robert Kirkman is next door doing a Q&A, though I guess for him, that’s kind of a typical Friday night, though he doesn’t usually call it a Q&A he calls it a deposition.” The crowd was ready to go along with the ride, supporting the routine with generous laughter and applause.
Casoni’s first guest of the evening was O’Malley. After an intentionally awkward on-stage greeting, Casoni and O’Malley sat down for a brief conversation around the upcoming publication of “Scott Pilgrim” in full color, the first volume of which will be released on August 8. The book will also include a section of special features. “I’ve been scanning old sketchbooks and stuff, and just kind of getting some developmental features in there,” O’Malley said. “I think it’ll be pretty cool.”
Regarding his new project, “Seconds,” with Villard. “Do you want to tell us about your new thing?” Casoni asked. O’Malley was mum. “Not really,” he said. “It’s still pretty early on.”
Casoni asked O’Malley to talk about his enigmatic online persona. “I was just back there actually tweeting about my body being possessed by insects,” O’Malley said. “I just like being weird on Twitter.”
After a musical interlude from Delta!Bravo, Casoni welcomed his second guests, Becky & Frank, the minds behind the internet comic “Tiny Kitten Teeth.” The series arose out of something of a personal crisis for the creators. On the last day of college, Becky ordered a pizza. The delivery person, she learned, had graduated from that same college a number of years before. “We were horrified,” Becky said, “Because I had no idea what I was gonna do.”
“So we sat down and were like, what are all the things we like, we like cartoons, and we like paintings, and we like Disney stuff,” Frank said. “So we took all those things and we kind of threw them all together.”
The conversation quickly diverged into tangential paths, touching on the resemblance of Abraham Lincoln to the Queen of England, and the horrors of Australia, where Frank lived for a time. Frank described deadly spiders and walls of fire, and O’Malley piped in with rumors of a plague of toads.
“It sounds like a bad place,” O’Malley said.
“Yeah, it is. Actually no! I love Australia!” Frank responded. “Back-pedal, back-pedal… Please give me arts-funding! Because the government does that there, they give you money to make comics.”
The show concluded with a “fake baking” demonstration by Jones. With everyone donning aprons, Jones’ red apron adorned with the yellow Pheonix emblem. Jones issued flustered directions to her fellow guests on how to make an imitation cake using a styrofoam base, plaster of Paris, spackle, and acrylic paint.
“The Not So Late Late Show With Oni Press” may not have offered much in the way of breaking news, but made up for it with style and good humor, offering a welcome break for convention goers and a chance to get to know some of the talent behind Oni Press.