Notes from the Phoenix Comics Convention

This weekend the Phoenix con is going on at the Mesa Convention Center.  Don't ask me about naming semantics!  So I, your intrepid reporter, spent two whole hours there this morning and I have survived to give you all the scuttlebutt I could.  Because that's what I'm here for - to fill you in, high-school gossip-style, on everything that's going on in the world of comics!

Item!  George Perez seems like a particularly joyful fellow.  While we were waiting in line, he came out and signed autographs.  He said (cheerfully) that if we had to stand outside in the cold (Arizona cold, mind you, so it was probably in the high 40s, but still - no fun to stand around in if you're not wearing a coat), he should come out and sign some stuff.  I got nothing signed because I had only a book I was reading, and it wasn't written by George Perez.  Three guys standing behind me in line had never heard of George Perez.  They're going to a comic book convention and they've never heard of George Perez?  Really?

Item!  Phil Hester swears there will be a new issue of The Atheist some day.  Apparently DC has been throwing money at John McCrea, so he has other things to do.  I can't blame him!  He also said that Marvel seems to be committed to The Irredeemable Ant-Man for at least twelve issues, so that was nice to hear, because I enjoy the book.  Finally, he said that he and Mike Huddleston are working on something together (or possibly just thinking about it - it wasn't clear).  Considering their last two collaborations were The Coffin, which was pretty good, and Deep Sleeper, which was freakin' excellent, I liked hearing that. 

Item!  Tone Rodriguez is a very large man.  According to someone I know who's eaten lunch with him, he freely admits to liking the french fries.  But that's cool - he seems like a swell dude.  He told me that he's no longer doing Conan and the Midnight God for Dark Horse (it's true - check out Previews!) because they wanted him to do it in a different style, one reminiscent of another artist.  If that's true, that's asinine.  Why would you get someone who has a clear style and ask him to change it?  Silly.  I was going to get the trade, because Violent Messiahs, by Joshua Dysart (who's writing the mini-series) and Rodriguez, was a very neat book, and I wanted to see them work together again.  I may still get the trade, but that's just a weird thing for Dark Horse to say.

Item!  I had a nice chat with Tim Vigil, who, surprisingly enough, does NOT look like the Anti-Christ.  For all you Faust fans (there have to be a few, right?), he says that the series will end with issue #15 (meaning two more), and he's almost done with #14.  He hopes to have them out early next year.  We spoke a while about Faust, which is a ridiculously bloody and erotic (if that's the right word) comic, and how it gets condemned as being pornographic while mainstream superhero comics are just as icky and perverse.  Faust is totally in-your-face about it, at least.  You can object to Faust on the basis of it being a lousy comic (and it's certainly not great, although the art is stunning), but the idea that it's so much worse than mainstream comics, when DC is willing to show Black Adam poking Psycho-Pirate's eyes out, is stupid.  Of course, in a world where DC has dumped The Boys because it's too icky for them, nothing surprises me anymore.  When did everyone become so uptight?  Don't give me the Republicans, because Tipper freakin' Gore is married to a Democrat.

Item!  I spoke for a while with Frank Beddor, who wrote Hatter M: The Looking-Glass Wars for Image.  I bought the novel that serves as a prequel to the mini-series.  He said he wants to do another one, and he hopes Ben Templesmith can draw it.  We talked about the weird humor in the first book, which seemed tonally off to me, but didn't ruin my enjoyment of the series.  He said he thinks that by the last issue, he understood more of who his protagonist was, so he thinks the next series will be stronger.  It's a pretty good series nonetheless - seek it out!

Item!  Rob Osborne is a perfectly nice fellow.  We spoke about Sunset City and its bizarre ending, which I told him I just did not like.  He said people either loved it or hated it, which is a good thing, because at least they weren't lukewarm about it!  I asked him what he's working on, and he said he has three balls in the air right now.  He's a good creator, so whatever he does, I'll be looking for it.

Item!  The Arizona Republic did a story about the convention, focusing on Len Wein.  The headline mentioned him as the creator of Swamp Thing, which I thought was odd.  I asked him if he thought he was more famous for that or for creating a short, Canadian, slightly homicidal mutant, and he thought that Wolverine might be a tad more famous than Swampy (unless you're Mike Sterling, of course, whose weird love for Swamp Thing is legendary!).  The article was accompanied by a picture of Wein with a big ol' Afro.  He said it was an old picture that his wife sent to the newspaper.  Len Wein looks perfectly healthy.  His wife couldn't have sent a more recent photograph?

Item!  Mike Mignola's line was longer than any others, which was kind of strange.  He drew Hellboy for the guy who works at my comics shoppe.  God-DAMN, that man can draw!

Item!  There are a lot of small-time comics out there that are very neat.  These days, creating comics isn't easy, but it's not that hard, either.  It's unfortunate that Diamond has such a stranglehold on large-scale distribution (and why hasn't Congress looked into their monopoly?), because there are so many tiny companies out there that produce top-quality stuff.  I was talking to a guy from Chandler, AZ, who runs a company and is bringing out a couple of books this summer (which I hope to review here when they show up), and some guy strolled up with his portfolio, which contained some beautiful art.  He colored it all on the computer, but he did the rest by hand.  He had a drawing of Mystique that was simply gorgeous.  There's a lot of talent out there, and it's nice to see these comics springing up, mushroom-like, all over the place.

See how I work for you guys?  I'm like Rich Johnston, man!  I get out there and get the information you need to know!  And it's all because I care so much.

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