It's been a week since we got home from New York Comic Con 2012
, which means our bags are still packed and our lives have yet to return to whatever passes for normal in the blogosphere. Exhausted and succumbing to Con Crud, we're reflecting feverishly on what went on when we weren't on duty and had a chance to celebrate the true meaning of comics conventions: buying awesome things
. Hit the jump for a breakdown of some of what the ComicsAlliance crew amassed during their time in New York.
The major part of my New York haul is still in transit, because the main thing I like to buy at shows like this is artwork and that doesn't fit nicely into my carry-on luggage. This year was all about prints, and I've reproduced three of them here. The must-have of the show was Juanjo Guarnido's stunning Blacksad
print (and the sketchbook to match), because there are very few artists whose work excites me as much as Guarnido's. The Dave Johnson cover is a favorite that I couldn't resist -- I could easily have walked away with an armful of Johnson prints.
As you might imagine, the slightly risque Jason Todd/Dick Grayson piece was not from a DC artist, but from fan artist Tealgeezus
. I love seeing the fan artists in Artist Alley, because although the talent varies wildly, the passion and enthusiasm is always high, and it gratifies me to see aspiring artists stepping up to fill a niche and serve an audience that major publishers tend to neglect. I think it's well worth supporting the good ones.
I don't buy a lot of books at mainstream cons because I can usually get the same book just as easily from a good comic store without having to lug it on a plane, but if it's self-published I'll make an exception and buy from the author. My favourite discovery this year was artist Erica Henderson's World Bestiary
, with text by her father CJ Henderson. The book is rich with Henderson fille's inventive, lavish, often creepy and often witty illustrations of folkloric monters like the krampus, the banshee and the nightmarcher. It's a real treasure.
There were two highlights to the con for me. One was the Women in Marvel panel, which was full of smart people and great energy, and I hope to write about it in more detail later next week. The other was Artist Alley itself. Set up in a new hangar-style space at the Javits Center, it was the best lit, best laid out and best looking Artist Alley I've ever been to, and it was full of diverse and extraordinary talent. I hate that it was so far from the con floor and such a nightmare to get to, but if the organizers repeat the same set-up next year I think I'll probably spend most of my time at Artist Alley's and forget the con floor almost entirely. Artist Alley is where the convention really happens.
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One of my favorite aspects of NYCC is the fact that it's local enough for my friends on the East Coast to attend, and yet big enough of an event for my friends from around the country to trek out for the week. Unfortunately I wasn't able to see all of my friends at the con due to the denser-than-San-Diego-Comic-Con crowds, sold-out tickets, and shotty cellphone service. Despite the bad communications, a great perk at this year's convention were the free cellphone charging stations and wi-fi, which helped me out throughout the weekend (courtesy of DaVinci's Demons, whatever that is).
Despite the hectic crowds I was able to navigate my way to the Venture Bros. panel and to the Tom Felton Q&A (after pushing down a bunch of little girls to get a good seat [to prove my Slytherin cred]), and I got some shopping done in both the main floor and in Artist Alley. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tunnel in between "The Block" retail section and the main showroom was absolutely stellar, and I made sure to transport through the tunnel as much as possible! Although I usually cosplay at NYCC, I ended up leaving my alter-egos at home, which allowed me a bit more freedom to navigate through crowds, shop, and meet up with cosplayers.
A few cons about the con:
- Because of the scale of the convention, I still feel like I didn't get to walk through the entire floor, and now I have compulsive shopper's anxiety that I forgot to buy a bunch of things.
- Although the new and improved Artist Alley was my favorite part of the convention, there were so many creators that I missed out on seeing, including Ross Campbell (who did those amazing Jem redesigns
- There needs to be a better system/etiquette for photographing cosplayers on the floor. With the size of the crowds at this convention, the crowds would bottleneck immediately if a cosplayer was stopped in the middle of the busy aisles.
- Andy Khouri refused to model a pair of Necomimi robotic cat ears (despite the fact that they came in black, the color of his soul).
- The bright red carpet was infuriating.
My NYCC haul:
- Josie & the Pussycats poster, signed by Fiona Staples (note: Sims gave this to me as a belated birthday present. Thanks Chris!)
- The Misfits print by Bill Walko
- Felix the Cat lunchbox
- Halloween edition Sonny Angel Kewpie dolls
- Paper Mario stickers
- Bat Manolo sketch card by Erica Henderson
- World's Finest & Misery Chicks pin sets by Ming Doyle
- JL8 pin set by Yale Stewart
- Batman sketch by Yale Stewart
- tiny pink vintage X-Wing
- LEGO Gandalf keychain
- Babies earrings by Martha Rotten
- vintage Wicket & C-3PO pencil toppers
- Creamy Mami Docolla doll
- tiny white alpaca/arpakasso keychain
- pink alpaca/arpakasso coin purse
- R2-D2 tunic tank courtesy of We Love Fine
- vintage Wicket plush (I just really like Ewoks, okay?)
- not pictured: Orko hat-shaped crown from Mattel
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Chris Sims wrote a lot about
the unique situation at Artist Alley at this year's New York Comic Con. For my money, it was the best Artist Alley I'd ever seen, so I spent a lot of time talking to illustrators and comics artists and animation pros and buying prints and art books.
art book by Eric Canete
. Part of the Offset Comics crew I wrote about previously
and a contributor to the Tron: Uprising
and upcoming Beware the Batman
animated series, Canete's work is a frenzy of motion and style. This art book is the kind of thing I love; oversized, heavy as hell, and packaged in a deluxe case. And this is just the standard $100 edition, there's another $400 version that comes with prints and other extras that's truly gorgeous.
- Face Paint
art book by Paolo Rivera
. If you read ComicsAlliance you know we're all huge fans
of Rivera's work on Daredevil
, so it was a pleasure to meet him and talk shop. Available only at conventions, this book collects some of his best formal portrait-style pieces of characters from comics and film.
- Art Works
art book by Dave Bullock
. A slim hardcover containing a lot of his animation concepts and designs as well as some comic book covers and pin-ups. Director of Justice League: The New Frontier
and contributor to loads of great animated shows, Bullock's one of my favorite artists. I also picked up a print of his sassy Lois Lane illustration.
- Runaways-inspired DC heroines print by Cliff Chiang
. An old favorite that I only just got around to picking up. Chiang is awesome, and this joins two other pieces that hang in my office.
promo poster by Ming Doyle
and Jordie Bellaire
. I've been a big fan of supporter of Doyle's for a few years, and she was very excited to show off her first ever promotional poster for her first long-form work, the upcoming sci-fi miniseries Mara
written by Brian Wood.
- Supergirl print by Joshua Middleton
. One of my favorite images of Supergirl, I picked this up from Middleton as a gift for a friend, but I may end up keeping it if I can find the wall space. Middleton's been working outside of comics for a while but told me he's working on a creator-owned project that he hopes to talk more about next year.
- CBLDF print by Terry Dodson
. You can tell the artist colored this beautiful piece himself, because if this was out of a comic book the backgrounds would be rendered to hell. Dodson is an old favorite of mine going back to the late 1990s, and of course I'm a fan of his pin-up and good girl art, but there's a serenity and understated sexiness to this limited edition print that made it an easy buy for me.
- Double Cross
print by Daniel Krall
. It was difficult to pick a favorite of the three limited edition prints offered by the new Offset Comics
group we told you about before, but Krall rocks this mid-century cartoon style like few can. I've only a minimal grasp of what Double Cross
is going to be about, but this image is in and of itself a beautiful thing.
- Harley Quinn commission by Erica Henderson
. My girlfriend's a huge fan of DC Comics' women heroes and villains, and of sexy pin-up artwork. A regular guest star in Best Art Ever (This Week)
, Henderson was the perfect artist to combine the two themes for a great surprise gift. She chose the character and pose and everything, taking inspiration from Bruce Timm's work in Batman Adventures: Mad Love
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I tend to take it easy on purchases when traveling for conventions (I'm one of those bros who can't find it in his heart to pack more than a carry-on when flying), but after attending Hasbro's NYCC party, I found myself with more than a few fun toys that somehow managed to fit in my luggage. I gave a number of items to Chris (MLP is more his bag), so my pug has been forced to content herself with a Cobra H.I.S.S. tank, a Marvel Universe Old Man Logan action figure, some surprisingly fun Star Wars Angry Birds and a KRE-O Energon Bumblebee. The Lego pizza slice teaser for the new TMNT building set line
is also still kicking it on my desk - a permanent reminder that every meal I don't eat like the turtles is a horrible waste.
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First off, I'll join in the chorus of praise for this years Artist's Alley. It was absolutely the best one I've seen. I spent nearly all of Sunday there, and it honestly wasn't enough time. Also, I have to give a special shout out to the Hip Hop & Comics: Cultures Combining panel, which is among the best I've ever attended. I can't recall the last time I walked out of a panel feeling that excited.
The only negative comments I have about this year's show are about space and paneling. I haven't seen official numbers yet, but this was certainly the most well-attended NYCC to date, and that was ostensibly noticeable. Navigating the floor at times was as challenging as it was frustrating. The spacing issues at NYCC are quickly becoming untenable, and I'm curious to see how Reed (the folks who put the show together) responds.
As for paneling, my praise of the Hip Hop & Comics panel aside, there weren't that many that I was particularly excited about. And while it's been pointed out by others, it's worth repeating: it's still far too difficult to find panels featuring female and/or minority panelists that don't have the words "Women" or "Minorities" somewhere in the title. I suppose that's more a reflection of the industry itself than NYCC. Still, it's a recurring theme that is long past getting tired.
Now for my haul:
- The Breakfastables
by Andy MacDonald
- A print of Cliff Chiang's cover to Gotham Central
- Black/White: The Creative Process of Eduardo Risso
- A copy of Rappin' Max Robot
by Eric Orr
, the first ever hip hop comic book (which includes a piece of art by Keith Haring on the back), originally printed in 1985
- Face Paint
, Paolo Rivera's sketchbook
- A Calvin and Hobbes
print by Rafael Albuquerque
- Two Thundarr the Barbarian
comics by Matt Horak, because I love anything related to Steve Gerber
- Blast Furnace
by Ryan Browne
(who spoke to
our own Chris Sims about the book)
- Infinite Kung Fu
by Kagan McLeod
(to replace the copy I lost)
by Gustavo Duarte
, whose work I was unfamiliar with but I now love
- And lastly, a postcard from the Hip Hop & Comics panel, signed by the legendary Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, a real life superhero. Of note: he wrote "JMJ R.I.P." on the card, a tribute to the late Jam Master Jay
Obviously, the thing I was most excited about at the con was Oni's announcement
of the story I co-wrote with Chad Bowers, Down Set Fight
, but I also managed to grab some stuff made by, you know, other people.
Top Row: Two minicomics, including House of Arson
by former CA contributor / teenage wunderkind Max Huffman, Ryan Browne's Blast Furnace
, an Archie Comics joke book for kids, a glow-in-the-dark My Little Pony figure of Zecora the Zebra, and three pocket-sized Judge Dredd paperbacks with awesome cover designs. They were super-cheap, too!
Middle Row: Francesco Francavilla's zombie variant cover for Life With Archie
, Dennis Budd and Joe Caramagna's Model Operandi
, a copy of Creator Owned Heroes
#1 signed by cover model and frequent Best Cosplay Ever (This Week)
subject Juli from the Twin Bees, Skullkickers
volumes two and three.
Bottom Row: Ryan Dunlavey's Tommy Atomic
one-shot, the Dirt Candy
cookbook (also illustrated by Dunlavey), Avengers: Black Widow Strikes
signed by Fred Van Lente, Hell Yeah
volume one, and God Hates Astronauts
Extreme right: A copy of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
, for scale.