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Tue, April 15th, 2008 at 2:13pm PDT | Updated: April 15th, 2008 at 2:18pm

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

NEW YORK COMIC-CON: PANELS

Since I'm not attending Comic-Con International: San Diego this year, the NYCC is my one big convention gasp for air. They've packed the programming lineup this year, including echoes of what you get at San Diego.

I'm not going to tear through the entire weekend's schedule here. There's way too much stuff there. These are just some highlights. If you're going to the convention, do consult the scheduling grid on their website. It's jam-packed full of stuff always going on of interest to someone.

Let's start with Friday:

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Professional Room 1E09
CHOOSING THE NEWS: THE CHANGING FACE OF ONLINE JOURNALISM
It’s a fact - journalism has changed. With more outlets than ever, more demands from news sources, and comics increasingly covered by the mainstream, how do comics news sites navigate the uncharted waters?

There's not enough money in it for me to do it full time. That makes me sad. There, that's my contribution to "The Face of Online Journalism."

Maybe someone will podcast it. Doubt it, but you never know. I'm a sucker for this topic.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Teen Room 1E02
USING COMPUTERS TO DRAW COMICS
[...] Meet some pioneers of digital comics artwork and learn the way their processes converge and diverge between traditional and digital means.

Is this panel officially sponsored by Wacom, Adobe, and Mac? It's a lost opportunity for con organizers if it isn't.

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Room 1E08
SPOTLIGHT ON BRYAN HITCH
British artist Bryan Hitch is most famous for his work on Marvel's The Ultimates, along with writer Mark Millar. […]

Hitch doesn't make too many con appearances, as I recall. It would be interesting to hear what he has to say. Sadly, I won't be at the convention on Friday, so I'll trust that CBR will have a full report up afterwards.

Moving on to the Saturday schedule now:

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Room 1E08
MARVEL - MAKE MINE MARVEL
Join Editor Nick Lowe for in-depth, one-on-one chats with some of the hottest names in graphic fiction. Get into the minds of sci-fi mastermind Orson Scott Card, acclaimed crime novelist Duane Swierczynski, legendary Marvel creator John Romita Sr. and a special surprise guest in this intimate look at the past, present, and future of comics!

"Special surprise guest" either means there's a big announcement coming prior to the panel, or that they have one extra chair on the dais and haven't conned anyone into filling it yet. Wild speculation: I'm guessing we're about to hear about another novelist turning to comics.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Room 1E10-1E11
STAN ON STAN!
Elvis is IN OUR BUILDING!!! [. . .] Now the first recipient of the New York Comics Legend Award, Stan explains why comics are still vital in the 21st Century and what he has planned for the future.

Stan Lee. At a comic book convention. In New York City. That's pretty cool.

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Room 1E16
BRAVE NEW WORLD - IMAGE COMICS
Three generations of Image creators, including Image founders (Publisher Erik Larsen), established creators (such as "Dynamo 5" and "Noble Causes'" Jay Faerber) and all-new creators (including the front man of the insanely popular prog rock band, Coheed & Cambria, Claudio Sanchez, who is establishing himself as a writer in "The Amory Wars" and Mark Sable from "Hazed" & "Grounded") will spend the hour in this exclusive New York Comic Con interview.

I love the Image folks. I love the spunk. I love the variety of material. I love the attitude. I'm not always a fan of the finished products, but at least they're trying.

On the other hand, that's one of the worst sentences I've ever read to describe a panel. That parenthetical bit about Sanchez should have been a separate sentence, at the very least.

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM IGN Theater
LIONSGATE FILMS PRESENTS - WILL EISNER'S THE SPIRIT
Lionsgate and Odd Lot Entertainment present an exclusive first look at "The Spirit", based on the classic comic book series by Will Eisner, featuring the world premiere of the film’s teaser trailer. Writer-director Frank Miller and actress Eva Mendes will be on hand to speak about their involvement in the upcoming major motion picture, along with the film’s producers, Odd Lot Entertainment co-CEO Deborah Del Prete and Michael Uslan. The panel will be moderated by MTV News Correspondent Kurt Loder.

This will be the "Hall H Moment" of NYCC, won't it? I somehow doubt that even my press pass will get me near this one. I'm not willing to line up for an hour or two to get into the room, nor attend all the other panels in the same room that day just for this one's sake.

I'm sure this will also be the panel of note in post-con write-ups about security, seating policies, ticketing for bigger panels, etc. Will they clear the room between panels? Do they have time? Will the policies suddenly change just when this panel is coming on? Tune in to find out.

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room 1E09
BOOM! STUDIOS PANEL
The BOOM! Studios team�"Mark Waid, Ross Richie, Michael Alan Nelson and Chip Mosher, take to the stage for a full hour. Surprise announcements will be made. BOOM! Studios promises to make your head explode!

I like "surprise announcements," and Boom! puts out some cool stuff.

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room 1E16
QUICKSTOP ENTERTAINMENT
Join us for an exclusive preview of Kevin Smith’s upcoming "Zack & Miri Make a Porno", starring Seth Rogen & Elizabeth Banks, as well as a few additional surprises sure to wow you, straight from the fine folks at QuickStopEntertainment.com. If that weren’t enough, we’ll also be featuring a live performance from cyber-troubadours Jonathan Coulton and Paul & Storm.

Some may look at this listing and think, "Kevin Smith is played out. He's dead to me." I say, "JONATHAN COULTON! COOL!"

I can't get "Tom Cruise Crazy" out of my head these days. I wonder if he's doing a full concert over the weekend? With this many pop culture and internet geeks in one location at one time, it's a perfect opportunity for a Coulton concert. I know Coulton has a tough time attracting crowds in New York City, but this is his chance!

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM Room 1E12-13-14
MARVEL - CUP O’ JOE
Join the EEK himself, Joe Quesada, as he unveils what’s in store for all your favorite Marvel characters & creators, makes some surprising announcements, and takes on any and all questions!! As always, this is the one, no-holds barred panel that everyone’s gonna be talking about, and the one panel you don’t want to miss!!!

This panel is always worth it for the useless, yet awkward, questions that come from the crowd during the Q&A portion. Expect round five thousand of Spider-Man marriage talk.

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Room 1E02
THE REBOOT PANEL WITH GAVIN BLAIR AND DAN DIDIO
"ReBoot" was the first CG animated series on television. And now, it’s making a comeback. For the first time in America, "ReBoot" Co-Creator and head writer, Gavin Blair joins former "ReBoot" writer and current DC Executive, Dan DiDio to discuss the making of the ground breaking animation series. Gavin has some great stories to share about the formative years of CG animation. He will also share his thoughts about the new "ReBoot" 'revival'. A must attend for all fans of "ReBoot" and animation!

I need to attend this panel, if only to take a picture with my relatively new camera that was partially funded by selling my "ReBoot" DVDs for big bucks.

I wrote an animation-related column in my college newspaper for one semester. The first column was a review of "ReBoot." It's hard to think that it all the way back in 1994 when they were doing CGI on Saturday morning. Now it's all CGI or anime. We really did have a golden age of animation in the early 90s that I don't think has been since equaled.

Also: Tiny Toons is coming to DVD, at last, this summer! Yay!

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Room 1E07
WILDSTORM: REVELATIONS REVEALED!
Get the inside scoop on what’s upcoming from DC’s wildest imprints from DC VP Sales Bob Wayne, WS VP Hank Kanalz, and WS Editor Ben Abernathy, as they are joined by Scott Beatty ("WildStorm: Revelations"), Leandro Fenandez ("Stormwatch PHD: Armageddon"), Keith Giffen ("DC/WildStorm: Dreamwar"), Christos Gage ("WildStorm: Revelations"), B. Clay Moore ("Casey Blue: Beyond Tomorrow"), Walter Simonson ("World of Warcraft"), Joel Gomez ("Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs"), and of course, superstar artist Jim Lee, Editorial Director�"WildStorm. The Armageddon has come and gone, but in its wake are untold REVELATIONS that will affect your favorite WildStorm teams.

"No, really. This time -- this revamp -- we mean it. And it might sell well, too!"

I'd like to believe. Really, I would. It's sad to see a once-great line be whittled down to a skeleton of its former self like this.

Sunday features the "Kids Day!" schedule of events, including "Sticky Pages: New York Comic-Con Super-Queero Edition" and a panel devoted to the "Witchblade" anime.

There's also this one:

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Gaming Room 1E15
VIDEO GAME JOURNALISM
Think making a living talking about video games is easy? You'd be surprised. Some of America's most respected video game journalists tell it like it is.

In light of the recent Gamespot controversy (long story, short: a negative review of a major advertiser's game got spiked) and the flood of people leaving that site, there's some renewed interest in the topic. The comics press hasn't been hit with a controversy anywhere near as that. This is a nice bookend to the comics journalism panel.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Kids, Teen Room 1E03
AMELIA RULES!: THE MUSICAL
Enjoy a screening of scenes from the show and find out how this best-selling kids’ comic went from the page to the stage. Featuring Amelia Rules! cartoonist Jimmy Gownley and composer Michael Cohen.

It's now the Eisners-nominated "Amelia Rules", by the way. Congratulations to Gownley on that.

Most of the rest of the day is set up with Comics 101 for the kiddies. It'll be a good day to peruse the con floor.

To sum it all up: Saturday is the busiest

ONE QUICK REVIEW

We all knew that "The Walking Dead" would be changing a bit with the current story arc. The cast of characters has always been in flux, after all, and the stay at the prison was feeling almost too safe, wasn't it? I had my theories on who might live or die in the current "Nobody's Safe" arc, but -- holy crap. Page 10 of "The Walking Dead" #48 was not a theory I held. It's been a long time since I stopped in the middle of a comic to stare at a page and mutter, "No. He wouldn't. Wait. He did. Holy crap. No way. I can't believe it." I literally stared at that page for thirty seconds before I could move to the next one.

Robert Kirkman, you bastiche.

I'm not going to spoil anything in the issue. I know there are plenty of people who wait for the trades on this series and I don't want to ruin it for them. But just when you think that even the left turns you know are coming might be predictable, Robert Kirkman knows to make a hard right on you, while skidding on ice, just next to a major pothole that will break your car's axel.

There, I thoroughly wrestled that metaphor to the ground.

There's something else, though, that gets too often overlooked in the shock and awe of the big cliffhangers and upsets to the status quo in this series: Charlie Adlard's art. it's perfect for this series, isn't it? He juggles an insanely large cast of normal humans (not easily identifiable brightly colored spandex-clad creatures) without ever getting them confused. I can't remember the last time I wasn't sure of who a character was based on their physical appearance in the art. There are reality shows I get characters confused on, and they're live action -- real! With Adlard's art and Cliff Rathuburn's wonderful toning work, you never have that issue. "The Walking Dead" greatly benefits from a stable art team, even more than the book suffers from its oddball publication schedule.

If you have an iron clad stomach and are looking for something wonderfully human and occasionally shocking and gross, give "The Walking Dead" a shot. Thankfully, it's available in a well-designed set of trade paperbacks and hardcovers. Jump in at the beginning and watch the saga unfold for the first time. You'll be glad you did.

TWO QUICK NOTES

In "Marvel Adventures: Hulk" #10 this week, Bruce Banner is on the run with "Y The Last Man" and his pet monkey. It's really Rick Jones, but I can't be the only one who thought, at first, that this was a special cameo, can I be?

Happy Birthday to Francois Schuiten, aged 52 years on Sunday. In his honor, go track down a copy of "The Art of Francois Schuiten" and drool away today! (Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for tracking such dates.)

LAST WEEK'S TOP TEN LIST

With technical difficulties still forcing THE PIPELINE PODCAST off-line, there's only one real way to get the information out there: I'll be accepting your phone calls to my personal cell phone, wherein I'll faithfully reproduce (live) what the podcast would have sounded like for every person who calls me.

Wait, no. That won't work. I have a better idea. Why don't we just go through what the Top 10 list would have been last week, instead, and I'll discuss it where I can. As always, you can see the full release list each week at ComicList.com

10. "Captain Carrot And The Final Ark" TP

This is Scott Shaw!'s return to the DC Universe, with his much beloved 80s anthropomorphic characters making a big return before being victimized by a multiple earth. Or something. I'm going by what I read about the mini-series conclusion here. I haven't read the whole thing yet, myself. The trade collects the three issue mini plus the appearance in that "Titans" episode that happened previous to it.

9. "Terry Moore's Echo" #2

Terry Moore can still draw and the story is just far enough out there that I'm looking forward to seeing where he goes with it.

8. "Little Gloomy Super Scary Monster Show" TP Vol 01

I love this book. The cartoony all-pencil look to the art is in stark contract to the bleak gothic humor of the whole thing, which varies from cute and cuddly to slightly sinister. I like it a whole lot. If you missed the issues, do yourself a favor and sample the trade.

7. "Aqua Leung" GN Vol 01

Kevin Church gave it a five star review for CBR Reviews last week, and the creative team stopped by to do a Commentary Track. On the off chance you missed their appearance on every comics-related website known to man last week, you can catch them there.

6. "Chickenhare" TP Vol 02 Fire In The Hole

I want to support more anthropomorphic graphic novels. There are a lot of them this week.

5. "Foundation" #4 (of 5)

I'm really enjoying this mini-series from Boom! Studios, about a group dedicated to following up on Nostradamus' predictions, often with gut-wrenching moral decisions.

4. "Criminal 2" #2

Do I need to hype this book at this point? The issue stands alone as its own story just fine, but you won't get anywhere near the full impact of it unless you know where it ties into the first year of the series.

3. "Harlan Ellisons Watching" TP Novel

I've been looking forward to this book for years. I know Ellison did movie and TV "reviews" once upon a time. I know there was once a book that collecting those writings. I've just never found it. I'm guessing it's been out of print for a long time. Now, though, thanks to Dark Horse, I finally have my chance.

2. "Willie & Joe WW II Years" Slipcase

This set looks beautiful. Two hardcovers. One slipcase box. Tons of well-drawn WWII era gag cartoons.

1. "The Comics Journal" #289

This month's big cover interview is with Robert Kirkman. I love it when TCJ delves into the mainstream. They produce interviews completely unlike anything anyone else publishes, whether in the comics fan press or on the internet.

Now if only I could find a copy of the magazine somewhere. It frustrates me a lot that Borders doesn't have the distribution deal anymore, and that my local comic shop rarely has it in stock. With a big mainstream name on the cover like this, I knew I'd never see it.

ORIGINAL ART: TODD NAUCK

The baseball season is upon us once more. As luck would have it, I picked up a few pages of baseball-related comics art a few years back that I can share with you all now. They come from "Young Justice" #27, as written by Peter David and drawn by Todd Nauck. Lary Stucker was the inker for these pages.

We start with the splash page. It's a nice page with the regular cast on it, complete with Li'l Lobo. Poor Stucker had to ink in every single line in the fence behind them.

Two things jump out at me when I look at this page. First, it's the lettering by Ken Lopez. The titles are all done on a computer, printed out, and later pasted on. The word balloon is drawn by hand with the lettering done by hand, also. This page was drawn up in either 2000 or 2001. (Nauck signed it "05/00," but the DC rubber stamp of copyright notification says (c) 2001.)

Oddly enough,the word balloon you see above the characters was originally below them. That's been covered with a nearly see-through white sticker, and then three-quarters obscured by the credit caption, done in the shape of a baseball infield. The word balloon was done on a separate sheet of paper and later glued to the original art, where it's now starting to slowly peel off. ::gulp::

This is page five of the issue. Perhaps the credits were originally set to appear on an earlier page?

There's a great note in the margin from Nauck to the colorist on the book, Jason Wright. Continuity and physics freaks will appreciate this one:

"Secret's hat is a smoke construct. A real one would not stay on her smoky head."

Smart thinking, that.

I love this page, just for the baseball card motif across the top and down the left side. I don't have the energy to retype it all for you here, but there's a verbose note from artist Nauck to colorist Martin in the left margin of the art board, describing (in graphic detail) the color scheme for all the characters' jerseys. That includes undershirt colors, hat details, pinstripe colors, and more. It's all impressive.

Again the captions and fancy title work is done on the computer and glued to the page, while the word balloons are hand lettered on the board.

I love how Impulse's fast ball goes by so quickly that the batter never sees it.

That's it for the baseball theme, but there's one more page I want to add in here. This is one of my favorite pages of all time:

Secret asks Darkseid, with a straight face, "Are you from around here?"

It shows such great innocence and sweetness from the character in the face of brutal evil. I love it.

I don't have much to add about this page from a Behind The Scenes perspective. I just love that panel and had to share.

Next week, some art from a much younger Todd Nauck. In the meantime, keep your eyes pealed for Nauck's return to his creator-owned property, "Wildguard." See the Wildguard website for details.

Then, click on the "sketches" link in the left sidebar of that site and get lost for hours. You can even see a character design for Secret over here.

Next week: I'd like to give you my NYCC convention report, but I'm afraid I won't have enough time to do one by the time I get home Sunday night and the time the column is due. So either the column will be a little late next week, or I'll put off the convention recap for the following week.

The Various and Sundry blog is thriving, including my theory on how Twitter will be spammed to death, my new camera gear set-up, the week's new DVDs, Twitter recaps, more "American Idol," and more pictures yet to come.

If you're really interested in what daily news bits grab my attention in the worlds of tech and comics and more, the best way to track is it at the Google Reader Shared Items. Several items are added to that page every day. I'm an RSS feed junkie.

The only social network I regularly appear on is Twitter. It's a very fun place with low overhead and the least number of annoyances of any Web 2.0 site, aside from an unstable infrastructure.

Everything else: The Pipeline Podcast, ComicSpace, and a Tumblr Blog.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 800 columns -- nearly eleven years' worth -- are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

TAGS:  nycc, the walking dead, todd nauck, robert kirkman

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