"The comic industry is on the upswing."
"The comic biz is booming."
These are things we've heard in press releases and sound bites from various comic publishers, but seeing is believing, and seeing this year's Emerald City ComiCon…I believe it!
The ECCC (taking place in Seattle) is now in its fifth year of existence, and it celebrated this fact by breaking its own attendance record with over 7000 individual attendees. When compared to some of the larger cons, this number may sound on the small side. However, fans and guests agree that the energy and excitement felt at ECCC is possibly even greater than that of the country's largest convention. Organizer Jim Demonakos, who puts the event on with the help of Brian Meredith, George Demonakos and Chris Rangel, was extremely pleased with what he saw this weekend.
When asked what he attributed the con's success to, Demonakos replied, "It's just a good old-fashioned comic book convention with enough cool stuff to keep both casual and hardcore fans interested in checking it out. This year, we had our best line-up of guests yet - an amazing diversity - plus some great attractions like 'Take your picture with a Star Wars character,' a costume contest with thousands of dollars in prizes, a great array of dealers, and so much more."
In wrapping up this year's ECCC, Demonakos added, "Thanks to everyone - fans and exhibitors alike - who made the 2007 Emerald City ComiCon an incredible success. We look forward to seeing everyone next year!" He also wanted to mention that the ECCC now has a contract with the Washington State Convention Center and the show will be there March 30th-31st, 2008 (mark your calendars now!).
So, are you curious what news, rumors, and innuendo were heard at this year's con? Lucky for you, CBR News was on hand to get you the scoop. Broken down by panel and creators, here we go:
In attendance were writers Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Kurt Busiek. The panel was moderated by DC editor Joan Hilty. A wide array of questions were answered…and avoided. For example, a fan asked Simone for confirmation of a rumor that she would be writing "Wonder Woman" soon. Although she couldn't confirm this, the writer did say that she will be writing "one of DC's premiere female characters soon."
When questioned if Animal Man would be getting an ongoing series after "52," Rucka joked that he could be getting an ongoing series…or a memorial.
Another fan asked if the yellow aliens that gave Animal Man his powers have a name. Rucka and Waid laughed and said that Grant Morrison has a name for them, but it's one that only he can pronounce.
Regarding Jason Todd (a.k.a. the Red Hood), fans were told that the character was a big player in "World War 3" (as is Martian Manhunter).
Another fan asked if DC would consider writing stories from the Ted Kord Blue Beetle's past, even though the character is dead. Waid said to keep reading "52," if they miss Ted Kord. Rucka mysteriously added, "Just hang in there 5-6 more weeks."
When asked if Grant Morrison's other books will be on time after "52" wraps, the members of the panel smirked and replied "no."
As "The Hunt for Ray Palmer" is part of Countdown's promotion, a fan asked if the DCU is big enough for two Atoms, considering it has two Green Lanterns and two Flashes. Simone said, "Why not? They're small…"
Several fans said they missed Busiek on "Aquaman." The writer said he was taken off of the title for a special project at DC, but then the project got delayed for a year. As for his current workload, he is working on a "Countdown"-related arc of "Superman" and a Lex Luthor miniseries.
Joan Hilty told fans that current plans/rumors they've been hearing about for Green Arrow and Black Canary are long-term.
Someone asked Hilty - as the editor of "Flash" - what the significance of arcs 13-16 were. Hilty said, "It's huge." Rucka chimed in, "It's very significant."
When asked why none of the writers on the panel wrote superhero movies, Simone said that a movie producer just told her within the past 48 hours, "Just because you can write a comic book, it doesn't mean you can a write movie script." Waid said he wouldn't do it anyway because it would ruin his love of superheroes.
In talking about TV and movies, Waid also said that seeing Impulse on "Smallville" was a highlight for him.
When asked about Superman's new post-Crisis origin, Busiek said he did want to address this, but felt the need to give his One Year Later arc breathing room. He said it would be confusing to jump one year forward and then thirty years back right away.
When asked about characters he'd like to pair together in "Brave and the Bold," Waid joked about a Bizarro and Brainiac team up…or was it a joke?
Quote of the con, by Greg Rucka - Questioned on how he felt about the comics industry when he started vs. how he feels about the comic industry now that he's worked in it awhile, Rucka said, "Comics are like sausages - you don't want to know how they're made."
The House of Ideas was represented by Brian Bendis, Mike Oeming, Brian Reed, Ed Brubaker and Jeff Parker. The panel was moderated by associate editor Jen Grunwald, who did her best to keep the rowdy boys in line…
Bendis spoke enthusiastically about the "Daredevil: End of Days" series which he is co-writing with David Mack. Bill Sienkiewicz and Klaus Janson are handling the art. The writer compared it to "The Dark Knight Returns" and said it is set "ten years from today."
Brubaker reported that the World War Hulk and X-Men crossover will touch upon the Superhuman Registration Act and how it affects the mutants.
When asked why "The Irredeemable Ant-Man" was being collected in digest form (as shown in the most recent Previews solicitation), Grunwald responded with a smile, "because he's tiny." She then went on to explain that this is dictated by sales.
Bendis said that Nick Fury will make an upcoming appearance in one of the Avengers books, and this event will clearly lay out the Marvel landscape for readers. He also added that both Nick Fury's (the Ultimate and "616" version) will be having big impacts on their respective universes in the upcoming year.
In speaking about the comic book Bendis wrote specifically for our military personnel (which was done through Marvel), he relayed a funny tale of how he had to have a story meeting with the Pentagon. The writer said he pondered, "Isn't there something else they should be doing?"
In honor of the ECCC, Brian Reed wanted to point out that three of his upcoming issues of "Ms. Marvel" take place in Seattle (as can be seen on the cover of "Ms. Marvel" #16 in the current issue of Previews).
A fan who requested a showdown between the new Thunderbolts and the Avengers was told by Bendis that this would definitely occur eventually. When asked about the new Thunderbolts fighting Daredevil, Brubaker said he's pondering it.
Bendis promised that fans would find out who the new Ronin is in "New Avengers" #29-30.
It was announced that plans for Mar-Vell (who recently reappeared in the Marvel Universe) would become evident in upcoming issues of "Ms. Marvel."
When asked if fans were going to see Hawkeye soon, Brubaker chimed in, "You already have. In issue #25, when Captain America was hit by a tomato, it was Hawkeye…from eight blocks away."
And speaking of "Captain America" #25, Brubaker explained that he didn't originally intend to have the character die on the courthouse steps. His plan was to have Captain America die immediately after the end of "Civil War." However, when the writer found out how the finale of "Civil War" was structured by Millar and Marvel, he moved the setting to the courthouse and Cap's arraignment since the story needed to take place "weeks" after the war had ended. In the end, he feels that this worked well.
Considering the divided reaction to "Civil War" here in the U.S., a fan asked what the international response has been. Brubaker replied, "Well, Iran took a bunch of hostages…"
BIG NEWS OF THE CON - Bendis said everyone has been asking about Mark Bagley's next project after "Ultimate Spider-Man," and he was happy to announce what it was "Mighty Avengers." After Frank Cho completes his current arc with issue #6, Bagley will hop aboard for an arc with #7. Cho will return to the book after Bagley's arc. However, this doesn't mean Bagley has completely escaped his Spidey past, as Bendis has stated that this arc has a lot of "symbiote action" in it. Regardless, the "big villain" for the story looks to be Dr. Doom.
NEWS FROM THE FLOOR
- He and Alex Maleev visited the "Halo" offices Friday for research on the "Halo" book they will be doing together. The experience got them "pumped." The writer said fans shouldn't look at this book as just another licensed tie-in, but instead, something that ties in with the game (particularly "Halo" 2 & 3) and is made with a lot of forethought. He said the book content's "rating" will be similar to what is found in the game, and that he and Maleev are on the series for five issues. After that, he said they are both eager to dive into the "Spider-Woman" ongoing series.
- Regarding Stuart Immonen's art on "Ultimate Spider-Man" (who is replacing Mark Bagley), Bendis described it as a cross between his style on the "Secret Identity" books and his "Ultimate X-Men"arcs. The writer thinks it looks fantastic!
- "POWERS" ANNOUNCEMENT #1 - Bendis wanted to let us know that starting "Powers" #25, the book will be 40 pages per issue with nicer stock for both the cover and the interior. The price will be going up to $3.99, but Bendis said that this is the first price hike since they started publishing the book, and with the extra pages - which will go towards the story and the Powers personals - and nicer stock, Bendis believes fans will be getting their money's worth (and this writer is inclined to agree!)
- "POWERS" ANNOUNCEMENT #2 - In an upcoming "Powers" annual, Oeming will be writing the story in addition to his work on art. Bendis is writing wraparound "bookends" for the tale which take place in the present, while Oeming is writing a story from Walker's barbarian past (see "Powers" #32 if you need to shake your memory).
- "POWERS" ANNOUNCEMENT #3 - Just in case you can't get enough "Powers," a handbook-style encyclopedia is being made which will cover all of the intriguing characters which inhabit the Powers universe. He and Oeming hope to have this out by the end of the year.
- The writer-artist was sore from a wrestling match with David Mack that occurred the night before. Witnesses to the event say it was a valiant effort, but Mack came out on top.
- Oeming said he enjoyed writing "Omega Flight," but admitted that he did need to rejigger several parts of the story when it was changed from ongoing to a mini. Nonetheless, he is still pleased with the result.
- He is extremely proud and excited about his upcoming "Mice Templar" series, and hopes readers will give it a chance.
- Currently, they are filming a TV pilot of Oeming's comic "Six" (the TV title is "Them"). Oeming had the opportunity to be on the set this weekend to watch them film a scene where cast member Tricia Helfer ("Battlestar Galactica") is naked in bed, and he chose to be at the Emerald City ComiCon instead…such is the power of ECCC!
- Mack just completed his first children's book called "The Shy Creatures," which actually has its origins in "Kabuki" #3. Feiwel and Friends will be publishing the book.
- He's writing "Envy," which is one of the comics based on the movie "Se7en" for Zenescope Publishing (artist is Leif Jones).
- The creator is excited about the "Daredevil: End of Days" series he is working on with Bendis.
- The artist let it be known that his last full issue of "Ultimate Spider-Man" is #110, but he is drawing half of "Ultimate Spider-Man" #111. Stuart Immonen is drawing the other half to commemorate the hand-off of the title.
- He's excited to begin work on "The Mighty Avengers" with Bendis.
- The artist let us know that he just had his DC exclusive extended through 2009.
- He will be doing five issues of "The Authority" with Christos Gage beginning with issue #5.
- Fans can see more of his art in "52" #48, and a few pages of the final issue of "52."
- He will be doing pencils on "The Exterminators" #19-24.
- In talking about "The Boys," Robertson said the trade which is solicited in the most recent issue of Previews by Dynamite will collect the first six issues of the book as they were originally printed by DC. However, he and Garth are hoping/anticipating that there will be a "Boys: Uncut" Hardcover after issue #12 which will restore all the changes that were made to the first six issues. Of the changes made, Robertson pointed out "The Boys" #4 page 3. According to the artist, there were about twenty more naked women in center panel and several adult devices (rhymes with bildos) had to be "photoshopped" out.
- The writer said he's in talks with DC about a character that he is "often asked about by fans."
- While we were chatting, Darick Robertson stopped by. Both Waid and Rucka (who were seated next to each other) told Robertson that he "saved their asses" on "52" #42 (too bad the same couldn't be said of Ralph Dibny). Robertson also handed them each an envelope with unpublished art from "52." While I couldn't see what it was, both writers grinned like Cheshire cats when they saw it.
- Rucka said they are "technically done" with "52." There are minor things left to finish up for the writers, but for all intents and purposes, the final issue is written.
- The writer said he will have an arc coming up on "Superman/Batman."
- The artist had recently been on the film set where they were shooting the "Heroes" season finale. It sounds as though he will have plenty of "Heroes" work next year as well.
- He said he is on "Superman Confidential" through #6, and then he will be drawing a "new-but-old character" of the DCU. Interestingly, he made it sound as though this is a character DC is acquiring (possibly along with several other characters). Curious…
- The artist is on for four issues of "The Authority" (whenever Grant Morrison gets him the scripts).
- He will be drawing "JLA" #11 for Brad Meltzer, which he's very excited about.
- After "JLA," he will be drawing four issues of an eight-issue "Top 10" miniseries which Zander Cannon is writing.
- It appears his next book will be for Wildstorm. He wouldn't say which title, but indicated that it's "something they're currently publishing."
- He is also in talks with DC about another project, following the completion of "Ion."
- The writer said his dream book to write would be a "Tarzan" book with a "John Carter of Mars" back-up story (or would that make it "John Carter of Marz?")
- The writer said he is on the quarterly "Tek Jansen" for at least five issues. He mentioned that the approval process has been a bit tedious, but he is enjoying himself and is looking forward to the book hitting the stands.
- He is also currently writing the "Soldier of Fortune 3" video game.
- The artist is currently working on "Hulk & Power Pack" #3, and will be drawing a 5th week event for DC's "Outsiders."
IN CONCLUSION - A RANDOM OCCURRENCE & A WARM SENTIMENT
I've been to several cons over the years, but this year's ECCC gave me a moment I won't soon forget: Sergeant 1st Class Layne Wynn saw me wearing my CBR shirt and stopped me to thank our site for all the comic book reporting we do. He just got back from serving in Afghanistan and said that while stationed there, he relied on us for his comic book news and thanked us for our work. Layne, thank you (and those stationed with you) for all you've done.
What a great con!
Return late Monday for a full photo parade from the con!