Oh, man. Hello, all! Hello, home computer! I’ve missed you so! By now I’m sure my usual “I’m so busy, oh my God, I never have time, what is the meaning of life if I can’t read comics, I’m trying to post more I SWEAR” rant has gotten insanely old. So let’s just skip right on over that.
I’ve been wanting to talk about Boston Comic Con for weeks. I went several Saturdays ago, and it was a blast. Even better than last year, and so much fun despite a much larger crowd. First things first—a huge thank you to the organizers who put this on, as they continue to outdo themselves year after year—and congrats for knocking it out of the park. Last year was awesome, this year was amazing. My expectations are already set for 2013.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here’s the skinny.
For me, comics shows are more about getting to meet creators and interact with people, and less about scrounging for merchandise or sitting in panels. I got to meet Jeremy Bastian, Katie Cook, Phil Noto, Jimmy Cheung, Peter Nguyen, Clay Mann, and Cliff Chiang, among a bunch of other people, and some I didn’t get the chance to talk to, like Scottie Young and Stephanie Buscema, whom I’m so sad to have missed. Then there’s the few people bowed out—like Brian Azzarello, Amanda Conner, and Phil Jimenez, but that’s okay because it was still amazing even without them. I probably wouldn’t have known what to say to Brian Azzarello anyway—the guy seems like he’d be kind of intimidating in person. And meeting Amanda Conner might have easily charmed me enough to crack my moral conviction not to purchase Before Watchmen, so … you know, at least I’ve still got that going.
At this point I honestly can’t remember what booths I went to or who I met in what order, so I’m just gonna run through this thing.
Jeremy Bastian! He was awesome and super nice in person. I bought a sketchbook from him and he gave me a free pin with the Cursed Pirate Girl on it. I told him how much I loved the first volume and wondered about the second, and he said it was still unfortunately a ways off—which, considering how incredibly detailed his art is, doesn’t bother me one bit. I would wait forever for him, his stuff is that stunning. He pulled out a portfolio and showed me some finished pages (which look awesome!), and I was totally flattered that he even let me see. I told him I was very excited for more Cursed Pirate Girl and he seemed genuinely thankful. And he’s so humble. He’s a totally cool guy. Guests like him make the con.
Katie Cook’s table was beside Jeremy’s, and she is equally as nice and super funny. She was cracking jokes at her own expense left and right. She is
hilarious on Twitter and I told her so—yeah, I kind of gushed. I’m a fangirl, I can’t help it. I told her how much I love Gronk, and I bought a copy of the book from her which collects the first volume of Gronk strips in color. She was also doing these little playing-card-sized watercolor sketches of various characters, and I grabbed one with Robin on it that says “Sidekick” with him looking all sad. It’s SO CUTE and might be my favorite thing I got at the con, which is saying something.
Clay Mann. I can’t begin to say how excited I was to meet him; his art, specifically his X-Men, more specifically his Rogue, has been a favorite of mine. Knowing he was a guest was a major part of the reason why I went to the con at all despite being in the middle of a move. I put a stop to my schedule and came out to see this artist, because he took the time out to come see us. I thought it would be amazing to get a sketch and tell him what his work has meant to me.
We met. It was disappointing.
Actually, it was kind of devastating. I debated whether or not I wanted to get into specifics here, but in the end, I’m not going to badmouth the guy. I walked away from his table feeling pretty sad. Not all creators treat their fans the same. I’ll leave it at that.
So at this point I’m walking around still trying to process the … experience I just had. And I was sad. And I wondered if I was just completely wasting my time there.
That was until Phil Noto. Oh my goodness, Phil Noto. Stan Sakai has a rep for being the nicest guy in comics, but I’m thinking Phil Noto could give him a run for his money, and I totally gushed over him. I praised his wonderful X-23 work, and mentioned how I had the chance to meet Marjorie Liu a couple of months earlier, and how she had nothing but wonderful things to say about him. I was DYING for a commission from him, but his list was full. He asked if I was going to be there Sunday, and unfortunately I wasn’t, so I couldn’t get anything from him. I told him I’d buy a print instead in that case (he had this gorgeous one on the table), and as I grabbed my wallet he was like “No, don’t worry about it, you can have it.” He felt bad that he couldn’t get me a sketch and so gave me the print for free. I was so touched and happy and amazed, and just … couldn’t believe he did that, it was so sweet. I thanked him profusely. He also signed an issue of Birds of Prey I’d brought with me from way back when, and drew a little Oracle on the corner of the cover. He is the awesomest dude ever and I am even more in love with him than before. LOVE. He made up for my experience with Clay Mann tenfold. Clay Mann? Who, what?
Next up, Cliff Chiang. His commission list was also maxed out. Apparently it got full within fifteen minutes of the start of the con—no chance. I bought a print from him as well, chatted a very small bit, and that was it. He looked incredibly busy and as a huge line was forming behind me, I didn’t hang out for long. Very nice guy, though. I admitted to him that the current Wonder Woman has been difficult for me to follow, but he asked me to stick with it, and I said I would for the time being. He’s kind of hard to say no to—his art, and his Wonder Woman, are beautiful to me.
Jimmy Cheung. Commission list: full. Another miss, but I had him sign a Young Avengers trade for me as well as the first issue of Children’s Crusade. I asked him if he was sick of drawing the Young Avengers yet, and he warmly said no and that he was happy to continue drawing them so long as they keep assigning him. He was very soft spoken and sweet, and had a lovely accent. He asked if I’d read all of Children’s Crusade and if I’d enjoyed it, which I told him I did tremendously. At which point my Fiancé decided to leap in and say something along the lines of “You should know how high a compliment that is, because she’s a harsh critic.” Jimmy was like “Is that true, are you tough?” and I must have turned red with embarrassment when I responded with … “Umm … no, I don’t think I’m that tough,” only to be further called out by Fiancé.
At the next table over to Jimmy was Peter Nguyen, who apparently listened to this whole exchange, because I looked over and saw him laughing. We spoke to him and his commission list was … OPEN! I got him to draw me a Batgirl, which was framed and hung up on a wall immediately upon arrival home. It’s beautiful. Peter was super nice and so cool and funny. Fiancé also bought a gorgeous print from him of Zatanna and Black Canary (which I have already stolen). Thank you, Peter—the con wouldn’t have been the same without you.
The final bit I want to touch on is none other than the great guys over at Firetower Studios. As you all know, I have been a huge fan and unwavering supporter of one of their books, Princeless by Jeremy Whitley. Well, I had the opportunity to meet Jeremy Strutz, who illustrates another one of Firetower’s books called The Order of Dagonet, also written by Jeremy Whitley. As a thank you for my reviews, Jason did a wonderful Princeless commission for me, which you can see here. Jason is very kind and I enjoyed talking with him and looking through his sketchbook. He signed a copy of Dagonet for me, and then it was time for me to go. What a great ending to the con.
Of course, I have failed to mention many other great things about Boston Comic Con this year. For instance, there was a lot of fun cosplay—my favorites were Evey Hammond and V. I got to meet Renae de Liz, otherwise known as the woman behind Womanthology. The team at Nerd Caliber had a charity booth going for Child’s Play. And best of all, I got my picture taken with Batman.
What more could a fangirl want?
Before I get into the reviews, let me just mention what is sure to be a fantastic new web comic, Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether by Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett. It’s just launched this week and so far I am pretty excited. Rucka is one of my favorite writers (and a totally cool person to boot), Burchett’s art looks lovely, and the site design is awesome. Worth checking out and supporting, so spread the word!
Avengers: Children’s Crusade #6 – Oh. Amazing. Just … completely wonderful. More comics should be this. MORE OF THIS, PLEASE, MARVEL.
Batman, Inc. #7 – I was ready to give up on the Batman, Inc. title after what I thought was a horrible arc in Argentina. Morrison lost me pretty hard with some of his writing techniques and the fact that I basically had no idea what was happening for like three issues. Then all this DC reboot stuff came up, and everyone’s all like “You have to read Batman, Inc. or the Bat books won’t make sense!” I guess I still don’t really understand how ANYTHING’S going to make sense as far as how we can keep the continuity in this title when characters are changing in so many other titles come September, but all right, whatever—I’ll bite. The book is ending soon, anyway—I’ll stay on for the ride and see what happens. So then I picked up this issue and was … absolutely glued to it. Wow. What? Where was THIS stuff hiding? I truly enjoyed this issue on so many levels. The story was meaningful, the artwork by Chris Burnham was a pleasure, the writing was clean and purposeful, and it didn’t teeter off the path or dillydally like it did in previous issues. The story is entirely self-contained in this one issue, and it’s friggin’ fantastic. I finished this and wondered why more Grant Morrison comics couldn’t be written in a similar manner. Morrison takes two characters I have never read or knew of before and creates something that feels so easy and humble. He rarely does that for me—so much of the time when I read his stories, they feel condescending or “holier-than-thou.” This one doesn’t, and it’s perfect. I enjoyed this issue a lot, and thus am now expectant of the remainder of the series to be the same. Read this. I don’t want to summarize the plot—just give it a read.
The Guild: Bladezz One-Shot – So, I’m kind of obsessed with The Guild. If you’re a gamer and have never watched this web show, do yourself a favor and check it out, because it’s awesome and hilarious. Watch it on the website. Watch it on YouTube. Netflix it. Get the DVDs off Amazon. Whatever—just do it. It’s become such a hit, in fact, that Dark Horse has taken to publishing one-shot Guild comics for each member of the Knights of Good. I’d recommend reading the short Guild miniseries that came out last year as well, as it serves as a prequel to the show and gives some more depth to the main character. It’s also super short, inexpensive, and collected in trade for your convenience. Anyway, tangent—Bladezz is the third one-shot to be produced, after Vork and Tinkerballa. It’s on par with its predecessors, if not slightly better. I have an affinity for Bladezz as a character, I think he’s pretty damn hilarious, and I found his one-shot light and funny. The artwork isn’t really my taste, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, and it’s basically in line with the issues before it. So, bottom line—read Guild comics. They’ll give you +5 to Sexterity.
Wolverine/Black Cat: Claws 2 #1 – … Are you serious right now? Are you absolutely serious? Reading this, I could feel a part of my brain crack apart and die. I don’t even want to glorify it with a full review, suffice it to say Palmiotti’s writing is nothing more than fanservice and brings me to a hysterical fit of tears, and Linsner on art is eye-gouging. Don’t go near this thing. Just … don’t. It’s actually worse than the first one. If you can imagine that.
You know who I love? The Young Avengers. They’re just so darn adorable. This book gave me what I needed in my comics this week: some fun. Heinberg and Cheung have, in the course of two issues, successfully resurrected the chemistry that made their original run on Young Avengers so enjoyable, and I find myself wishing for a YA ongoing again. There is excitement, fun, humor, and drama in Children’s Crusade #2, and I can’t wait to see what else Heinberg has up his sleeve.
Having made the decision to find the Scarlet Witch, the Young Avengers were taken by surprise by the appearance of Magneto at the end of the last issue, who claims he would like their help in finding his daughter and restoring her reputation. Magneto comes across as truly apologetic and regretful about how he’s treated his family in the past, and seeks to atone for the harm he’s done his daughter. Of course, not all of the Young Avengers fall for his sentiments, believing that Magneto’s reputation guarantees he is only using them. Meanwhile, a fight ensues between the … um—”Old” Avengers? “Regular” Avengers?—and Magneto, as the heroes are understandably wary of his interference with the impressionable group of adolescents. Before we know it, the young team and Magneto are transported to Wundagore via Wiccan’s spell, where Quicksilver makes his inevitable appearance, and a cliffhanger reveals what may be the true fate of Wanda Maximoff. There are lovely moments of character interaction—clearly Heinberg’s strength—and each character sounds and feels like their own individual selves. No person runs into or sounds like the next, which is something that plagues Bendis’ Avengers. To top it off, Jimmy Cheung’s clean art takes this dish and adds the spice that makes the series even more enjoyable. It’s good, clean, mutanty fun, and I love it! (See, I can be positive!)
I have only one complaint about this book (sorry, I guess it’s unavoidable), and that’s its lateness, which is shaping up to be chronic. Anyone who has read Young Avengers has already experienced Heinberg and Cheung’s apparent lack of urgency—yet, when this current mini was solicited, we were told that a number of issues were already completed, written and drawn. I was pleased by the promise of regularly published issues … but it has been two months since issue #1 debuted, and it looks like #3 isn’t due out until November. Unless I’m wrong and this is a bi-monthly book, I’m not sure what’s going on here, and slightly offended as a consumer that this isn’t being taken more seriously. Hey, Marvel: If you want us to buy your stuff, you might want to consider producing it on time. But, short of it taking a year, I’ll still be on board for issue #3.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Written by Allan Heinberg
Pencils by Jim Cheung
Inks by Mark Morales w/Jim Cheung
Colors by Justin Ponsor
Letters by VC’s Cory Petit