Friday, July 30, 2010

My SDCC 2010 Experience

San Diego Comic Con 2010

[Top picture: Cynthia Martin, Moi, Stan the Man Lee, and Trina Robbins]
[Bottom picture. Back row: Maggie Thompson, Barbara Kesel, Karen O'Brien.
Front Row: Moi, Cynthia Martin, Trina Robbins, Gillian Horvath, and Nicola Scott]

This is the second year I’ve gone to the show as a “Pro” and not as an “Exhibitor.” I've been to six other SDCC's, all as an exhibitor, working the booth for our sister company, Moonstone. The con itself is pretty well organized overall, and even though the line for Pro Badge pick-up was long, it moved fairly quickly. The con floor opens on Wednesday, Preview Night at 6 PM. We got in line to get in with the rest of the attendees, and I think we managed to actually get INTO the hall at around 6:30 or so. Mind you, the con floor is only open until 9 PM on Preview Night. So that was rather annoying, again I'm used to being an exhibitor which means you can wander in any time after 8am or something like that. I really missed that exhibitor perk! I didn't miss all the time and effort spent as an exhibitor, getting our booth and product to the con hall and set up and shipped out after the show, not to mention all the hours that must be spent at the booth, etc.

The SDCC is BEYOND capacity at this point, just too many people running around, literally RUNNING through the hall. People get jostled, bumped, and practically run over by the insane masses. I’m about 5’1” and I got bonked in the head with more back backs than I care to count. I think the main thing I learned as a result of this show is I’m not good with large crowds of obsessed fans.

If/when I go back to the SDCC, I will do what many other Pros I know, they ONLY hit the convention floor for signings, otherwise they try to take ALL of their meetings outside of the hall. There are plenty of hotel lobbies, coffee shops, and restaurants to take a meeting, without all the craziness. I did do this a few times, so it worked out fine, but the main lesson learned is do NOT go into the convention hall unless you want to take your life in your hands. I can not imagine how difficult it must be to try to navigate the con floor with a stroller or a wheelchair. Dear lord. And everything in the con hall is a line, there is a line for just about everything. It’s like going to Disneyworld, but without the certainty of satisfaction. Want a toy exclusive? Sure, get in line and wait to see IF you get it. Be prepared to blow a bunch of time doing so, and you will be set, oh and be prepared to get disappointed when you get to the front of the line and they tell you “Sold out!.”

I wasn’t standing in line for anything for myself, mostly for friends, so it wasn’t too much of a big deal because if I didn’t get said exclusive it wasn’t going to be the end of the world, it would just cause one of my friends immense disappointment. Thankfully I was able to get most everything I was trying to get for my buds. The only thing I wasn’t willing to stand in line for was for the Plastic Man figure because you had to go upstairs to get in line for a ticket so you can then come downstairs and stand in line again. No thanks.

What did I manage to do while at the con? Got to say hello to many friends and colleagues, so that was way cool. Unfortunately, there were many of my friends and colleagues that I was unable to get together with, but such is the nature of the SDCC. There are time constraints on everyone. I was especially happy that I was able to meet one of my idols in the industry, Trina Robbins. Trina has worked for Moonstone on a variety of projects; most recently she penned a story for my forth-coming prose anthology Chicks in Capes and a two issue arc of our new Honey West comic that will be shipping in a few short weeks. Trina has to be one of my favorite people in the industry. What an amazing woman. I was also especially pleased to have had a chance to sit down for breakfast with many fine ladies that have contributed to both Chicks in Capes and Honey West: Karen O’Brien (CBG columnist and my fellow editor on CIC), Maggie Thompson (CBG woman of power, who was kind enough to write the intro for the aforementioned CIC), Cynthia Martin (artist on the first two issues of our new Honey West comic), Trina Robbins (writer of many fine things, including a few Moonstone projects, as mentioned previously), Gillian Horvath (contributing writer for Chicks in Capes), Barbara Kesel (contributing writer for Chicks in Capes), and Nicola Scott (one of our cover artist for Chicks in Capes). So much fun to meet all of these lovely ladies in person! Stan the Man Lee was at the table next to us, which just added to the fun. Check out the pictures to see what I’m talking about, his head is popping out right above the top picture of Cynthia, myself, and Trina.

What else did I do while at the SDCC? I’ll tell you what I didn’t do! I didn’t stab someone in the eye with a pen, I was tempted, but that wasn’t me, I’m afraid that was some other poor sap. That whole incident sums up the con for me. Yes it really felt like I was getting stabbed in the eye pretty much hourly, and I can see how tempers could easily flare, resulting in all kinds of nastiness. Too many over-zealous fanboys and fangirls in a confined area will inevitably lead to an unpredictable frenzy. I feel bad for the poor fellow that rather unceremoniously received a painful stab in his eye. I think I’m just getting old and can’t handle the crowds anymore. Maybe all the years working behind a booth for Moonstone has made me a jaded and crabby attendee. I like being on the other side of the booth way more than trying to make my way through the throngs of people on the con floor. Back when Moonstone had a booth at the SDCC on a regular basis, I almost never made it out on the floor, unless of course the path to and from the restrooms and to and from concessions count. I would watch the masses go by the booth, quite content to help whoever happened to come up to the booth.

What else did I do at the show ? Well, of course, I’m a huge Tokidoki fan and for the first time in history I made a B-line for the Tokidoki booth first thing on Preview Night, as per my ususal, and the only thing I bought there was a Tokidoki/Capcom t-shirt for a friend, NOTHING for me, at least not there. I did manage to find some Tokidoki apparel from a few seasons back at another booth, so I dropped some cash there. I also fell in love with a t-shirt designer/artist that I was unfamiliar with until this year’s con: Arlyn Pillay from I picked up one shirt from him, and what a nice guy! I highly recommend his lovely t’s, tanks, prints, ties, and more.

And then there was Tron, or as the Tron fans were calling it ComicTron. Tron was pretty much all over the convention hall, outside the hall and more. The new Tron movie is coming in December and Disney pulled out all the stops this year to hype the shit out of this movie. We are talking a BIG panel in the infamous Hall H at the show, featuring the producer, the director, the original creator of Tron from back in the day, the old stars and the new stars. They were kind enough to show a new preview for the film in 3D, so that was cool. I’m not a huge Tron fan myself, just a casual fan, but even I enjoyed the panel discussion and film excerpts. Then there was Flynn’s Arcade. The Disney folks reproduced the arcade from the original film and the forthcoming sequel. You could actually go in and check it out, all the retro games were available on free play starting on Friday. Behind the arcade they had Flynn’s old workshop set up, with all the props you remember, and then behind that was the Tron dance club. I shit you not. It was pretty damn cool. Go tooling around on Youtube and I’m sure there are folks out there that videoed the whole thing. Crazy nuts. They also had many of the cool new Tron-related merchandise that will be coming out later this year showcased under lights. My favorite Tron-related merch coming out? Tron light up shoes and Tron Oakley sunglasses. The sunglasses will set you back a measly $700, I’ll get two pair at that price! Tron Mania!

What else happened at the show? Scott Pilgrim of course! There was a huge Scott Pilgrim pavilion set up outside the con hall, and it was just a mob scene. They handed out bags of Scott Pilgrim swag, I did manage to snag myself one, and people were just SO excited about Scott Pilgrim. I couldn’t be happier for Oni Press, they are great little company and the success of Scott Pilgrim has really rocketed them into a very high profile position. Congrats to them and to Bryan Lee O’Malley, for a job well done! Who would have thought back when volume one came in 2004 that this series of graphic novels would DOMINATE the graphic novel best seller lists? In the swag bags they gave away a FREE Scott Pilgrim shirt, exclusive to the show, one for guys and one for girls. Very cool, definitely the best piece of swag I picked up at the show.

Interesting aside. Southern California has a huge homeless population because of the lovely weather that they have pretty much 365 days a year. I was walking around the streets of SD late at night, and here come two folks staggering down the street in the exclusive Scott Pilgrim T-shirts. Aha I thought, here are two more con attendees, but upon closer examination, it was quite evident that they were actually part of SD’s homeless population. I can only assume that when these folks saw the Scott Pilgrim swag being handed out, that they got in line to get their free t’s too! Good for them and good for the Scott Pilgrim guys. In theory you had to have a SDCC badge to get a bag of swag, but somehow these two got their own. This seems like an excellent untapped marketing idea. Why not spend a bunch of money getting t-shirts, blankets, umbrellas, hats, whatever printed up with whatever you wanted to promote at the show and hand them out to the homeless population and then you have instant advertising for the duration of the show. Costs a lot less then buying those damn banners that were hanging all over the city or draping your ad on the side of a high rise or plastering it on the side of a bus. Not only would you be advertising, you would be donating goods to a segment of the population that could really use it, instant tax right-off.

The SDCC is something every fan should experience at least once. There are down sides of course, but the spectacle of it all is something that must be seen in person to be believed. Watching coverage on G4 does not count, you have to be there, sweating with the masses of people, to really understand the level of insanity possible with this event.

Glad I was able to go, but boy am I giddy as a school girl to be back home, in my sleepy little suburb. On the plus side, my shop didn’t burn down while I was gone, so that made me a very happy girl. My lackeys at the Frankfort location did a stellar job running things until I got back. 

Comicon of Savings 2010!

In case you haven't heard about Amazing Fantasy's upcoming event, I wanted to let you know all about it.

Are you sick and tired of being comic-conned out of your hard earned cash by that shifty "wizard"? No ticket prices, no parking fees, no paying for autographs of "celebrities," just 100% savings! @

Amazing Fantasy's
Comicon of Savings 2010!

Friday, August 20th, 11am-8pm
Saturday, August 21st 11am-7pm
Sunday, August 22nd 11am-5pm

Drop by one or all four A/F locations for savings that will be worth leaving the house for! Every store will have something different! The Wheel of Savings! Games of Chance! Monkey Knife Fights! (OK the Monkey Knife Fights will not be taking place, not really, but I wanted to make sure you were paying attention!)

As an extra special deal, dress as your favorite character and you will receive an additional 5% off whatever discounts we are offering that day!

You'll save so much money this weekend, you won't regret not seeing Billy Dee Williams bitch-slap James Marsters!

Frankfort 815-469-5092
Calumet City 708-891-2260
Tinley Park 708-633-0837
Lockport 815-834-1658

For those of you not paying attention, this sale will be taking place during Wizard World Chicago. We highly encourage you to skip Wizard World this year, instead be green! Shop local, save local. Save gas and save money! If you really want to go to a comic convention, start saving your pennies now for C2E2 next year: March 18-21 2011. Wizard does not deserve your hard earned cash, but your favorite LCS does!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Thor Trailer!

I'm sure everyone has seen this, but in case you haven't had a chance to view the full Thor movie trailer, as seen at the SDCC, go here and get giddy.

I knew this movie was going to look amazing, but it looks way better than I expected! All of the gods look great, there's tons of action, lots of great effects, and man Asgard looks exactly how I imagined it. Kenneth Branagh is the man. Only he could pull this off in a way that works. I am so excited about this!

And yes, I did atend the SDCC, full report coming soon. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

X-Men Shindig Thursday July 8th

Don't forget, comics ship a day late this week, due to the July 4th holiday. Not only will your friendly neighborhood comic shop, Amazing Fantasy of course, have all the new releases for the week on Thursday, but we will also be participating in Marvel's X-Men Day!

All day long on Thursday, July 8th, all four locations will be offering specials, please call your local A/F for details:

Calumet City: 708-891-2260
Tinley Park: 708-633-0837
Lockport: 815-834-1658
Frankfort: 815-469-5092, or just see below for info

The Frankfort Amazing Fantasy will be offering the following X-citing deals on Thursday July 8th ONLY:

Buy a copy of the first ongoing NEW X-Men #1 in 20 years, written by Victor Gischler with art by Paco Medina, and receive a FREE Limited Edition Paco Medina Exclusive Cover Print.
(Quantities limited, so arrive early to avoid disappointment).

Spin the Wheel of Savings to save BIG money on X-Men and X-Men Related Graphic novels and back issues. (Ask for details when you come in for your X-Men fix).

We will be raffling off ONE X-Men #1 Variant every hour on the hour. No purchase necessary, one entry per person, per hour. No requests, the variant I decide to give away that hour is the one that will be given away, and once you win a variant, you will not be able to win any additional variants that day. Give me lip, and I will keep the variant for myself. Seriously folks, I could take the variants and sell them on Ebay for extra cash, but instead I am giving them away for FREE. Who's your daddy when it comics to comic book-related goodies? Amazing Fantasy of course!

So come on out and let your geek flag fly high boys and girls, because we all LOVE comics. No need to deny it or hide it, tell the world you love comics and especially the X-Men on X-Men Day!

Hope to see you all there. And don't forget to wear your favorite X-Men t-shirt to be entered into extra special raffle to be announced that day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wonder Woman #600

Yes, yes, it's been AGES since I've written anything, and I apologize. It's been a busy summer so far, but I just HAD to make time to talk about the NEW Wonder Woman costume that has been getting so much attention in the various media outlets.

The above image is the redesign that Jim Lee came up with, and boy has there been a lot of talk about it. Give it a rest folks, she HAS changed costume before. Granted this is a more radical change, less skin on display, which really isn't a bad thing if you ask me. The only thing I don't really like are the shoulder pads, what's up with that, they just scream 1980's to me. Personally, my all time favorite version of WW's costume is her very first costume as seen in her early appearances in Sensation Comics (see pic above). She had a very pretty skirt on, which looked really nice. Way more tasteful than the variations that came after, her pants/swimsuit kept getting smaller and smaller, higher and higher-cut legs, and more and more cleavage over the years, lol.

I think the costume looks better in the issue itself, no offense to the immensely talented Jim Lee, but Don Kramer and Mike Babinski outdid themselves with the art in the last half of Wonder Woman #600. These two artists together are a force to be reckoned with, beautiful, just beautiful I tell you. Now before you get your panties in a bunch over the whole costume change and the whole timeline shift in that JMS and company have brought to us, the humble readers, I want to say the first half of this double-sized issue features some great little short stories featuring everyone's favorite gal of the moment.

Sprinkled throughout the issue, there are many great WW pin-ups by a variety of artists, such as Adam Hughes, Ivan Reis, Gullem March, Greg Horn and more. Nice little touch. I would much rather see the pin-ups peppered throughout the issue rather than lumped together at the end of the issue. The issue itself begins with a nice little intro by TV's Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter. For many folks, Lynda will always be Wonder Woman. I can't go back and rewatch those episodes, they are too cheesy and painful, but when I was a young girl, I truly enjoyed them. The short stories include a nice little girl-power piece by Gail Simone and George Perez, an absolutely adorable story by Amanda Conner (which is my favorite story in the issue because it's all about Power Girl's cat, and I'm a cat person, so too cute!), a fun tale of Superman and Wonder Woman by Louise Simoson and Eduardo Pansica, and a super short mini-tale by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins. The issue wraps up with the prologue to the new Wonder Woman storyline by JMS, Don Kramer, Mike Babinski, Alex Sinclair, and Travis Lanham. 10 pages of story by the new crew, which is just enough to make people outraged or intrigued to pick up the first issue of their new arc next month, Wonder Woman #601.

What do I think of the timeline shift? Well, it's hard to say in only a 10 page tease, BUT it could be interesting. I'm going to give JMS the benefit of the doubt, FOR NOW. Knowing the art team on the book, there is no doubt that Wonder Woman will be well worth the price for those beautiful pages alone. Honest to God, these have to be the prettiest pages I've seen from these two dynamos. How long will this timeline shift be going on? I have no idea. Will it somehow be Incorporated into current continuity? Again, I have no idea. I will be back month after month to see how it all plays out. Will I be pissed off with JMS by the end of his run? God only knows. I hope not, but I haven't ruled it out just yet.

As far as the other costume changes go, besides the Totally 80's shoulder pads, it's not all that bad. I like the new tiara, the new choker, the new jacket, and the new bustier. I think her new gauntlets/bracelets LOOK cool, but does she really leave a "W" when she punches something or someone? (This is according to JMS). What is she, the Phantom for God's sake? And her pants I don't mind, I don't LOVE them, like I loved her old skirt, but from a practicality perspective it makes sense. I mean come on, who would fight crime in a bathing suit? What woman on Earth would elect to do so of their own free will? NO ONE I tell you, no one. Hell, I won't even wear a bathing suit in public and I know many other women who share that very same opinion with me. No woman WANTS to be seen in a bathing suit, talk about feeling vulnerable. When you are attempting any type of physical feat, you want, hell NEED to be comfortable. Why was she in a swimsuit for SO long? Sure, I got used to her completely ridiculous costume, but I think it's time for a change. And of course I'm betting we will see her back in her original costume before too long anyway. Anyone else remember the failed attempt to change Superman's costume back in the 90's? Did not last very long at all if I'm not mistaken. So everyone just needs to calm down. Let's not forget that her snazzy new costume is much easier on the eyes if DC manages to make a live-action Wonder Woman movie, because I think everyone knows that her old costume would look absolutely ridiculous on the big screen. Lynda Carter looked fine as WW in the old costume, but times have changed and there is no way any movie go-er today would take a WW movie seriously if there weren't some changes made to her costume.

All of this excitement around Wonder Woman gives me hope that the numbers will pick up for her monthly title. All I can say is, it's about damn time things are shaken up to get people buzzing. Without the buzz, people are less likely to shell out a few extra bucks a month for the continuing tales of, imo, the most important and oldest female icon in print today.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The First Thor Promo Pic!

Holy Shit! First the Destroyer picture was leaked yesterday and now they release this OFFICIAL Thor promo picture. WOW! I had NO idea that Chris Hemsworth was going to look so damn good as every one's favorite Norse God! Hemsworth's big claim to fame before this role was in last summer's blockbuster Star Trek relaunch as Kirk's father, George Kirk. I guess I just have a thing for Norsemen/Vikings, because I also have a soft spot for the character of Eric Northman, the very tall blond vampire in True Blood who just so happens to have been a Viking when he became a vampire. Vikings/Norseman RULE! There definitely seems to be some kind of pattern for me here, not only do I lust after the all new Thor and Eric on True Blood, but I really enjoy reading Vertigo's hot Viking series, Northlanders. Oh yeah, I guess I SHOULD mention the Destroyer too, he looks cool and all, but he can't hold a candle to Chris Hemswroth as Thor. I mean, could Thor's costume pictured here be MORE spot-on? I don't think so. It looks like Marvel is doing it again, making a movie about a Marvel character that I've never cared about, and then after seeing the movie, I DO care about said character. It happened first with Iron Man, and now it seems to be happening with Ye Olde Thor. It appears that Marvel CAN do some things right in my book, especially where the movies are concerned. And did you hear that there was a leak for the "after credits" teaser from the theatrical release of Iron Man 2? Apparently Thor's hammer makes an appearance. Again, all I can say is "Oh my frickin' god!"

C2E2 Panel Report

(The above picture is from the Big Moonstone Panel, that I discuss a bit further down the page).

The first panel I was part of was the following on Saturday afternoon:

"Do We Still Need a Women-in-Comics Panel?" Panel
Saturday E353
C2E2 focuses on the brilliant contributions made by the best and brightest women who continue to show everyone how it's done. Join Marvel Editor Jeanine Schaefer (Girl Comics, X-Force, Wolverine), Harvey Award nominated Lora Innes (IDW's The Dreamer), Comics Buyer's Guide Editor Maggie Thompson, Moonstone Editor Lori Gentile (Chicks in Capes, Domino Lady) and Renee Witterstatetter, editor, writer, agent and co-producer of the documentary series "Creator Chronicles." Moderated by Ed (Captain Action) Catto.

The turnout wasn't half bad for this panel. It was in a HUGE room, which really surprised me. I found out later that ALL of the panel rooms were HUGE, so even things like DC Nation didn't full up an entire room. This panel was a lot of fun. I was very nervous at first, but once I got over being microphone-shy, I was quite chatty and opinionated. Surprising I know. If you've ever met me or shopped at my store you know that give me half a chance and I'll be spouting opinions on just about any comic-related topic. (Case in point, this blog.) All of my fellow panelists were very cool, I'm glad I had a chance to meet and chat with all of them. Unfortunately, Maggie Thompson was unable to attend the show so therefore she wasn't on our panel. We did have two panelists that were not in listed in the original line-up: Dark Wolverine and Black Widow writer Marjorie Liu and artist Jenny Frison. The entire line-up made for some interesting dynamics and conversations, because four of the panelists are on the young side (20-somethings if I'm not mistaken), then there was me (39 going on 40 god help me) and Renee (not 100% sure of her age, and I'm not one to guess ages, but she was editing at Marvel when I was still reading a ton of Marvel comics, so let's just assume she's a little bit older than me). I can't thank Ed Catto enough for twisting my arm to be part of this panel.

The other panel I was involved in was the BIG Moonstone panel:

New Moon Rising: Moonstone Publications
Saturday E350
You may have seen them recently in USA Today, but did you know that Moonstone is celebrating a second decade of publishing? Publisher Joe Gentile is joined by top writers and artists for an exciting look ahead at Moonstone's exciting summer plans - The Return of the Originals, Chicks in Capes, Captain Action, and a "honey" of a comic!

It was great to be part of this panel! Many Moonstone regulars were on hand to discuss our upcoming projects: Joe Gentile (EIC and Co-Publisher of Moonstone), Dave Ulanski (Art Director and Co-Publisher of Moonstone), myself (Moonstone editor), Mike Bullock (Moonstone editor and writer), Len Kody (Moonstone writer), Jeff Limke (Moonstone writer), Aaron Shaps (Moonstone writer) and J Anthony Kosar (Moonstone artist) and Ed Catto (Captain Action). We showcased covers from many of our upcoming projects including: Phantom Detective, Black Bat, the NEW ongoing Buckaroo Banzai, the NEW ongoing Captain Action, the New Lost Tales of Sherlock Holmes, the New Honey West comic, Air Fighters, and many more! A nice lively discussion of all of these upcoming projects followed. This panel wasn't as well attended as it could have been, again we were in a HUGE room,this time with stadium seating, but at the very same time the BIG Neil Gaiman fund-raiser/appearance was going on next door, but we had a nice size crowd that seemed very interested and excited about all of our upcoming projects. Our thanks to everyone that stuck around after the show for this panel.

Moonstone also participated in two other panels that I was not part of, but thankfully there are online reports about both of those panels:

The Pulp Panel

The Outgrowing Your Toys Panel

Many many thanks again to Ed Catto (of the now famous Captain Action Enterprises) for making all of these panels possible!