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!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

FCBD 2010

Hang on to your capes true believers! Free Comic Book Day is almost upon us. Egad, where does the time go? It feels like just yesterday that Skottie Young and Chris Mitten where on hand to help us celebrate Free Comic Book Day, but that was a whole year ago! What is happening this year? Let me tell you all about it!

This Saturday, May 1st
at ALL four Amazing Fantasy locations
(Frankfort, Lockport, Tinley Park, and Calumet City)
from 11am-7pm
Come get your FREE comics!

Tons of to titles to choose from, all yours for FREE, no purchase necessary!
{Please Note: Some limits apply, and limited quantities available, so arrive early to avoid disappointment}

Special bonus at the Frankfort store only, in store appearances from 11am-2pm:

Andrew Pepoy
Andrew is the Eisner-winning, Hugo Award nominated artist from Fables, Jack of Fables, and the Simpsons, just to name a few. His work is also featured int he FCBD 2010 Bongo Comics Free for All! He'll be on hand to sign and sketch for his fans!
(Time permitting)

Bill Reinhold
Bill is a long time comic artist, inking many of the major characters for both Marvel and DC, including Earth X, Punisher, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Hulk, Batman, Green Arrow and most recently, Wolverine Origins. His work is featured in the FCBD 2010 Doctor Solar/ Magnus: Robot Fighter flip comic. He'll be on hand to sign and sketch
for his fans as well!

(Time permitting)

And in honor of FCBD, there will be Sales and Specials all day long
at all four stores!

Hope you can make it. FCBD at Amazing Fantasy is an event not to be missed!

C2E2 Very Late Thoughts and Impressions Part 1

Yes, yes, I know I am WAY behind the times here. I'm just getting around to blogging about C2E2 NOW. Things have been busy around here, and I apologize.

So let's see. The con IN Chicago, the very thing many industry folks have been crying for for years, literally. FYI: I was there as an exhibitor for our sister publishing company, Moonstone.

Let me give you a few general impressions I had leading up to the show. As a retailer, Amazing Fantasy Books and Comics, all four of our locations, pre-sold tickets for the show. We did VERY well. We sold MORE C2E2 tickets than we have for Wizard in the past few years. That alone was impressive. Something I really appreciated, again as a retailer, was how easy it was to get in contact with the show people, Reed Exhibitions. I would make a phone call, and either A) get my guy on the phone the first time around or B) leave a message and my guy would call me back in a timely fashion. This is the way people organizing a show should be, you know professional. Made me very happy. You know what else was cool? Reed sent out a very snazzy digital count-down clock for each of our locations. Very eye-catching. And it really did the trick, people would come into the shop and ask "What is that clock counting down TO?" And then we would proceed to give them the scoop on the all new C2E2 convention coming to town. Did I mention that Reed did not charge anyone for these cool promotional items, and that these clocks are RE-USEABLE? I'm using it right now to count down to Free Comic Book Day at the Frankfort store.

Upon walking into the convention hall, the thing that struck me first and foremost was the NATURAL light coming in through the windows, and did I mention the beautiful Chicago skyline visible from the con floor? Wow. Amazing. The ceilings were way high and maybe that was why the second thing that I noticed right away jumped out at me: NO con smell. Not even on day three. How is this possible? Maybe it was the high ceilings? Maybe it was the con organizer's not so subtle hints that all attendees should take a shower before attending the show? Honest to God, I think it was mentioned on C2E2's official website for "how to get ready for the show" or something to that effect. And I saw it in the official program book also. I can honestly say that was the first time I've seen a convention organizer come right out and say what everyone has been thinking for years. To be fair I think they also mentioned "eat breakfast, and get a good night's sleep before the show" in the list of things to do before the big con. Cute. Made me giggle too.

The hall itself was very spacious with SUPER WIDE aisles. Again, weird. I'm so used to tripping over people with strollers. And at every show I go to, I feel just awful for people in wheel-chairs, they get shoved and pushed, etc. Not so at this show, the aisles were wide enough for multiple wheelchairs and strollers to be able to pass each other without a problem! Will the aisles always be as wide as this year's show? Hard to say. Over time, in theory, the show will grow every year, so eventually those aisles will eventually become the more condensed versions we are all used to, but until then I'm going to enjoy the space. Because of the wide aisles, this was the first year at a con that I can recall, that we didn't have at least one of those moments that someone decides that our booth is a good place to set all their shit down to stuff something or other in their backpack or rearrange their bags of purchases etc. Do you know what I'm talking about? If you've ever been a vendor at a show, you know what I mean. Some people are oblivious to the world around them. At an average comic convention, any flat space, with or without product on that space mind you, becomes a "table" or "counter" for the average attendee to use as they see fit. Check off two great NON-problems at this show.

Reed reported attendance to be about 27,500. Not too shabby considering that the New York Comicon's first show was under 20,000 I believe. Wizard Chicago normally pulls about 40,000. I've seen some reports of Wizard Chicago attendance to be as high at 70,000, but I'm in disagreement on those estimates. I've been to San Diego with attendance over 100,000, and Wizard Chicago has never felt even close to that, but I digress. This attendance number is very respectable, and will only grow in the years to come. Any bets on what next year's C2E2 #'s will be? I'm thinking about 50K.

Signing and directions to C2E2. I have to admit, my experiences at McCormick Place prior to this show were scanty at best. I think I've only attended one show there in recent memory and that was the National Library Association show that I went to last year. So, granted, I had no idea where the hell I was going, and it showed. I ended driving into the wrong garage one day, and boy was that fun trying to get to the right one. Dear god, I won't make that mistake again, I think it took me ten whole minutes to navigate between the two. Ok, once I managed to get INTO the correct parking garage, where to go? They really need some signs in the parking garage with arrows "C2E2 this way" or something. Thankfully, on day one I ran into someone who told me that there was a Kitchen and Bath show happening in the other part of McCormick Place, so I was able to walk in the right direction at least. Even after getting to the right area, the space is so huge it was hard to know exactly where we were suppose to go. I figured it out eventually, I just felt like a complete moron until I did so.

As a valued member of the Moonstone Team, I participated in TWO panels this year. Lots of fun! I will post about those tomorrow, time permitting.

I hope everyone who had a chance to attend C2E2 enjoyed the show and plan to attend next year!

Friday, April 2, 2010

More Moonstone Panels at C2E2!

Just found out we are involved in two more C2E2 panels!

Outgrowing Your Toys
Friday 2:45-3:45pm
Room: E352

We all have a favorite toy. What's yours? From GI Joe to Stretch Armstrong, to Transformers, pop culture has enthusiastically embraced toy nostalgia. Join self-styled retropreneur Ed Catto (Captain Action), Zeroids writer Aaron Shaps, and a panel of toy enthusiasts to explore the 2010 version of the truism "everything old is new!"

Pulp Fiction
Saturday 4:00-5:00pm
Room: E350

The pulps is where it all started - the first glorious synergy of lurid pictures and purple prose! How has this unique art form survived and why is it thriving now? Join creators behind DC's First Wave and Moonstone's Return of the Originals pulp line and more for a look backwards and a glimpse of what's to come. Featuring writer Brian Azzarello, writer Joe Gentile, writer Mike Bullock, and pulp expert Jim Alexander for this in depth look at the pulp genre!

This con is just looking better and better every day! Hope to see some of you at least one of these great Moonstone-related panels. You now have FOUR to choose from. (Check my earlier post for info on the other two panels we are involved in!)