Wizard World Philadelphia – The calm before the storm. San Diego’s Comic-Con International is just a little over a month away and while the comic book crowd is gearing up for the madness that will ensue, it seems like WW Philly has been forgotten. It almost makes me want to start singing, “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” by Paula Cole, but then I remember...that song sucks. Almost as much as me leaving my sketchbook at home, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Barring that, I did manage to have a lot of fun at my second WW Philly convention. I saw some great costumes, attended four very entertaining panels, got a sweet kiss from Doug Jones, a hug from Edward James Olmos and made a new best friend in Ted Raimi. Oh and I told Colonel Saul Tigh he was a “handsome devil.” Beat that!
I’m not a morning person. This is a proven fact. So I blame my 7:00 AM alarm for me not remembering my sketchbook until I was already zooming towards artist alley. If there hadn’t been children walking directly in front of me, an expletive would have been heard from the con floor to the panel rooms. Such is life. The next item on my agenda was to head over to the DC Comics booth and say hello to whomever was hanging out there. “Hmm, that’s strange,” I thought to myself, “I can’t seem to find it. It’s usually not hard to miss. Let me take another spin around the floor. Wait a second, why don’t I see a Marvel booth either?” Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s because there wasn’t any. I get that WW Philly was sharing this weekend with HeroesCon down in North Carolina but damn, I got up early for this? Needless to say, my hopes were not high for WW Philly Round Two. Luckily it wasn’t too long before my mind was changed.
The first panel I wanted to check out was Archaia Comics’ “Archaia Returns!” David Petersen, creator of one of my favorite comics, “Mouse Guard,” was not going to be in attendance but since Archaia recently went through a restructuring, I figured this was a great time to see what other books they have to offer. Sure, publisher Mark Smylie was stuck in traffic somewhere in Philadelphia (always remember to lock your doors kids!), there were only about 8 people in the audience and two of them were waiting to yell at Dan Didio for not telling them Superboy was coming back at the DC Nation panel FOUR HOURS LATER, but it was a blast!
David Rodriguez, writer of “Starkweather: Immortal,” Alex Eckman-Lawn, artist of “Awakening,” and Nick Tapalansky, writer for “Awakening,” were our gracious and casual panelists for the afternoon. Rodriguez’s book has a very interesting premise. The main character, Starkweather, is a descendant from Jesus’ disciples who were all given a portion of his power at the Last Supper. Starkweather becomes too powerful, and what remains of the disciples’ progeny are forced to remove his powers and his memory of ever having them. “The story is about him discovering who he is and then learning about this world that he’s also part of, but that’s also kind of falling apart,” said Rodriguez. Another order exists to hunt down any remaining members of the bloodline, which doesn’t make things easy for Starkweather, whose powers are beginning to reemerge. The first three issues have already been released (now available at a discount!), and a hardcover will be arriving in October.
Eckman-Lawn and Tapalansky’s “Awakening” is a zombie noir (first time I’ve heard that one), “which may or may not feature zombies at all. That’s the mystery of the book,” said Tapalansky. The town crazy is the only one who seems to have witnessed who or what may be involved but the mystery slowly develops over a year’s time. “We actually have characters where we can explore existential conflict, like science versus religion, and reconciling old mistakes as the situation escalates.” Definitely not your run-of-the-mill zombie tale. Actually, it sounds like the opposite of “Zombies for Dummies.” Feel free to follow the “Awakening” crew on Twitter, though Tapalansky queries, “When you have to distill your thoughts to 140 characters or less, I mean, is that the death of conversation?” I certainly don’t think so.
Back on the convention floor for a bit, I took a stroll near the autograph section. Sure, you have your mainstays like the former Hulk, Lou Ferrigno (if you haven’t met this man yet, you’ve been living under a rock), but there was one distinctive addition at this convention. I’m speaking, of course, about Master of Movement, Doug Jones. You may know him better as Abe Sapien or the Silver Surfer, but his "Pan’s Labyrinth" characters will forever haunt me. But that’s a good thing. I was just planning on taking a picture of him, when he asked if I wanted one together. Obviously. We took a super cute picture that my mother said made us look like we were dating and he gave me a peck on the cheek. No way would I ever let Ferrigno get away with that.
“Jimmy and Amanda” was the most creative panel name all weekend. Of course, it featured Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor, who are continuously hard at work on the new “Power Girl” series. It’s a good thing they share the same living space. So what’s it really like in that house? “She does whatever I say,” joked Palmiotti. Connor gave us the real scoop, “He hands me a script, I draw some stuff, he goes ‘that doesn’t look quite right,’ I yell at him, he yells back. I do a little bit of a change and then I’ll say, ‘this doesn’t work for me, can you rewrite this?’ ” “Welcome to Power Girl,” said Palmiotti.
Palmiotti thinks that “Power Girl” really kicks into gear with issue four, but just to one-up him, Connor stated it would be issue three instead. He apparently pushed for a scene where PG’s boob would pop out of the hole in her costume during a fight, which Connor would draw “tastefully.” “Power Girl gets freaked out like, ‘enough with this costume,’ and the next day the villains show up and she’s wearing a full, white suit with no hole in it. She gets in the brawl with these three supervillains and one just grabs her by [the front of] the suit and rips a new hole in it and it’s bigger,” he said. Obviously that was a no-go. All joking aside, they were great at giving honest advice to the writers and artists in the room about how to go about breaking into the industry. Definitely class acts those two. What are you waiting for? Go read “Power Girl!”
It was time to head back out onto the floor for a while and see what I could throw away my money on. If you can believe it, I walked away completely empty-handed. Who does that? After a while I just gave up and decided my time was better spent taking pictures of cosplayers. I saw a few Ghostbusters, Death, Beaker, Two-Face, not one but TWO Hushes, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, but for the first time I saw someone cosplay Ragdoll and he was successfully and eerily portrayed. What I was most excited about, though, was the Spectrum Lanterns. There was a Carol Ferris Star Sapphire with a tiny Green Lantern latched to her leg but even more impressive was the Red Lantern I ran into. I absolutely needed to get a shot of him considering I’m planning my own Red Lantern costume for my first-ever CCI trip next month. By the way, I’m holding an art contest on my blog if anyone is interested in entering. Your art could be on my moving billboard (aka my wheelchair) all five days of the con. The deadline is July 3rd. ::End shameless promotion::
Huge “Battlestar Galactica” fan here. Cast members Michael Hogan (Col. Tigh), Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adam), Luciana Carro (Kat) and Nicki Clyne (Callie) had a Q&A panel with hardly any need for the questions. I have never heard any actors talk so passionately about not only their craft but also the individual characters they portray. I think they love them more than we do. They also are incredibly supportive of one another to the point where they’ve become one giant family. While some other casts may pretend to get along you can’t help but see it’s genuine in the cast of “BSG.” Oh and just in case anyone was wondering Olmos says the visual effects in the upcoming TV film “The Plan,” which he’s directing, are going to be “gigantic.” “I really went nuts and I asked for everything,” he said.
Back at their autograph tables later, I again just planned on asking to take a picture of Olmos, but he insisted on us having one together. He also insisted I put my arm around him and he proceeded to give me a GIANT hug. I totally geeked-out and got teary-eyed pretending Admiral Adama was my dad. Don’t laugh: you would have done the same thing. I didn’t think my little geek heart could take much more at this point, not to mention Col. Tigh is the LAST person I’d want for a father, so I told Hogan he was a “handsome devil.” He called me a “beautiful woman.” Learn from the best, boys, learn from the best.
My final panel of the day was one I’ve come to know very well – DC Nation. I could give you a summary of what happened but why would I when there’s already a great one up on CBR already? The one subject I do want to point out though is “Wednesday Comics,” DC’s new weekly series starting July 8th and running for twelve weeks. I was highly skeptical about this experiment. All of the creators involved are fantastic but I didn’t like the sound of giant, folded comics. DC’s Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne changed my mind when he pulled out an initial test print of the first issue. It looks gorgeous. Sure it’s still bulky as hell but now I could care less.
You may know him from the “Spider-Man” series but he’ll always be lovable Joxer from “Xena: The Warrior Princess” to me. Ted Raimi got a kick out of my blog name, as I hope most people do, but we got to talking and really hit it off. After a while it was almost as if I was on the opposite side of the table because he was the one asking me all the questions. Turns out he literally just signed up for Twitter three days ago. Being completely addicted myself I told him to watch out but he said it was already too late. Now go follow him, help him learn the ins and outs of the Twitterverse and tell him how great I would be in movies.
Don’t know if I’ll be attending WW Philly next year. Not because it could potentially be on it’s way out, but because, really - how do you top this? See you all in San Diego!