RETURN FROM THE SAVAGE LAND
Some thoughts on Wizard World Chicago. Bear in mind that this was my first big comics show in a long, long time; forgive my being a rube and staring. Anyway.
1. Didn't see Rick Geerling
, Steve Pheley
, the Doctor
, or Chris Butcher
, or Chris M
. Or rather, I might have seen them and had no idea who they were. Damn secret identities. I'm assuming that it wasn't Butcher walking around in the Thing costume
, but who knows? Not me.
2. For wee little men, James Kochalka and Craig Thompson are pretty much rockstars; but then again, being a dwarf never stopped Prince, now did it? Seemed to be pretty consistent action at the Top Shelf/D&Q booth. At times there were lines that rivaled those at the Image booth (though given Image's status these days, take that how you will). I picked up Clumsy (which my wife has since read--the first comic she's read--and very much enjoyed), Derek Kirk Kim's book, and a copy of 5 is the Perfect Number. I would have picked up Sam Hiti's
new book, Tiempos Finales, there as well but I had already bought a copy from Sam; Hiti was not at the Top Shelf book, possibly because he is far from wee, looking instead like a young Jeff Goldblum on steroids. Jog's review of Hiti's book
is pretty well spot on, by the way.
3. Robert Kirkman looks to be, like, twenty years old. He has at this point seventy eight comics to his name and a growing critical rep. I'm going to go stick my hand in a blender. Thanks for showing us lazy dreamers up, jerk.
4. The pornstars sort of freak me out. I can't imagine what it takes to hand sell nude pictures of yourself to people; how do you look at the buyer knowing that he's going to be whacking off to your photo later that night. What kind of insane willpower must that take? What a creepy life.
5. Man, Gil Gerard has not aged well.
6. Marvel's new Warlock series looks to be interesting; the story opens in traditional SlowMarvel style--the first half seems to be more about art school than cosmic powers--but it's quirky enough to maintain my interest. It's nicely self-aware of itself and the politics of the superhero as well; and the Adlard art is very well done. Speaking of art: I don't buy books for the art, but having read the preview of We3...well, I'd buy it even if Austen was writing it. It's that damn beautiful.
7. Andy Lee
is a super nice guy, and he did a great painting of wife and I from a wedding photo I had in my wallet. Jim Mahfood is swell. So is Greg Titus
, who took my request for a sketch of "The Old Man and the Sea" and really ran with it; I tried to find someone to sketch Moby Dick for me as well, but ran out of time. Oh well. Albert Moy
had some great art with him; I got a Kyle Baker piece for cheap, which is frankly buy of the year for me so far. Also found a great Morse page. The original art is like crack to me, especially now that I can almost afford lots of it. Lots of angel/devil shoulder conversations as I flipped through the portfolios.
8. Bear in mind that I don't have any sort of previous baseline, so take this with a grain of salt, but: it seemed like there was a lot of manga out there. Tokyopop had maybe the biggest booth there (maybe DC's was bigger; I didn't pace them off). There was lots of manga in the vendor stalls. It was still outnumbered by superhero stuff, mind, but you didn't have to hunt to find it. The overall Japanese vibe seemed fairly high to me as well. Tons of anime for sale, lots of Japanese pop ephemera. One booth seemed to sell nothing but funky Japanese candy. Again, makes me wonder: is that general interest in Asian culture a trend driving or being driven by the manga trend, or are they totally separate?
9. The big Bendis/Wayne smackdown was...not felt at all on the floor. At least not by me. Funny thing about the convention that way; it was big enough that it took time to take it all in, time that didn't allow for sitting listening to panels. I found out more about the announcements reading Newsarama
yesterday than I did while I was there.
10. Finally, the crowd. The crowd was what the crowd was; what I expected, frankly. The nerd quotient was running high. Not a lot of people who I'd go out of my way to hang out with, truth be told. And you what? That's cool. I don't have to hang out for them. They can have their taste. It's not hurting me; there are lots and lots of good comics out there--I found many of them at the Convention, as a matter of fact. Something to think about, as well all declaim our superiority to the great unwashed: this has been a great year for comics, measured by the quality of books that have come out so far. Maybe that's enough; maybe it should be.