It just wouldn’t be right to go to COMIC-Con and not cover comics (hey, we know other “geek” sites don’t; but we DO), so here’s how we rank the very best and worst DC, and Marvel. (Yes, Marvel COMICS decided to make an appearance. How nice of them!)
Let us know what you think @GodHatesGeeks on Twitter, kiddies.
July 18 – Update:
–Fight Club 2
–New DC Universe: Batman
–” “: Justice For All
–” “: The Bad Guys
–Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends
July 11 – Update:
–DC Comics Meets LEGO Art
–New DC Universe: Mysteries in Space
–All-New, All-Different Marvel
DC COMICS MEETS LEGO ART (Thursday) – Sure. Nothing beats the glitz and glamour of Hall H and Ballroom 20 or even the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, but this writer and reporter has done it all in previous year. It is time for “The Goddamn Wu” to return to her comic roots and her wide-eyed childhood wonder for her first official day back to San Diego Comic Con International. The DC Comics Meets LEGO Art panel, featuring brick artist Nathan Sawaya, revealed his The Art of Brick: DC Comics exhibition which will begin in Sydney, Australia then tour to globe. But, to Sawaya, nothing honors comics more than to end his exhibition with a life-sized LEGO Batmobile designed by the famous comic book artist (and co-publisher of DC Entertainment) Jim Lee who–during the one hour panel–proceeded to sketch his vision of the LEGO Batmobile with fans input…
(cont.) Even though the panel which also included production members of the exhibit Brandon Griffith and Tommy Williamson, it was clear that the true focus of fans was Lee at work. He cheerfully described the Batmobile as a shoe with fins and wheels, and proceeded to prove his point by drawing three types of shoes including heels on giant post-it notes and adding fins and wheels. Once the audience Q&A portion began, a geek asked Jim if he had any other tricks, such as the shoe, when creating his art. Lee said that he studied the work of the late Jack Kirby who seemed to take familiar day-to-day shapes and create new characters like salt shakers and spatulas. So, his advice to artists seemed to be to simply look around for artistic inspiration. And, of course, if Kirby and Lee could find characters in everyday items, then I believe that it is sage advice for everyone, especially artists, to stop and look around because you can find inspiration anywhere. The Wu certainly has after this fantastic once-in-a-lifetime experience that made her remember what comic conventions are all about: Comics!
FIGHT CLUB 2 (Saturday) – I have been a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk for years. One of my goals heading to Con was to see what the esteemed novelist was like in person– whether it was him reading from any of his novels or just telling a story. Good news is, I was not disappointed at this panel. Chuck was joined by his Fight Club 2 artist Cameron Stewart (Batman Inc.), who discussed how the face-to-face interaction with Chuck was key for the artwork to come to life; typically, writers and artists don’t have a lot of collaboration time or interaction. Stewart felt like he was going to “go to hell” for drawing some of the things that Palahniuk had asked him to do, seeing how the writing pushed him into some unusual places that Batman never did. The results are beautiful and horrific at the same time. Cover artist David Mack also humorously talked about having to go out and buy a grenade pin for one of the covers.
(cont.) Asked if he would do a Fight Club 2 movie again, Chuck eloquently said that despite 20th Century Fox owning the rights, that the topic also came up when he reconnected over coffee with David Fincher; the Fight Club director was thinking of doing a sequel as a rock opera, with Trent Reznor writing the key songs and main score. 20th Century Fox also owns the characters likenesses — the chief reason Dark Horse had to recreate them to make them recognizable yet different. Also, in case you were wondering, the panel was fun and hilarious. Also announced were scratch-and-sniff bookmarks that will have very distinct smells, to which if you are able to guess the correct smell you can win a special prize. Sounds a bit nerve-wracking, but a plentiful challenge just the same. But…of course, don’t talk about it.
NEW DC UNIVERSE: BATMAN (Saturday) – “I remember when Comic-Con was about the COMICS!” – Every nerd that went to SDCC before 2010
I had trouble separating the comic panels I had attended simply because they were all kind of a waste of time. There were some honorable mentions, but for the most part, if you’re reading an ongoing book, and you know what’s going on, check out some other panel. Now, I’m a DC fanboy from birth, and I really want to be onboard with them. I genuinely love DC’s stories and characters, but the panels are pretty much the equivalent of reading the Diamond Previews ads. GIVE US SOMETHING NEW. We bought the badges, travelled the distance, and are probably paying over $200 a night for hotels on top of it all, why won’t you give us some new stuff!? We want exclusive sneak peeks! We want concept art! Every DC panel had the same 3 covers that have been on the internet for months, and writers telling us how awesome it is to work with their artist and vice versa.
(cont.) Now for the good. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo know how to run a panel. They spoke with us about their process and what it meant to them to change everything about Batman. And the coolest part was, up on the screen wasn’t just a couple of covers and already released interiors; it was the pencil stage, the ink stage, and the color stage changing right before our eyes. The moderator hardly had to ask any questions since Snyder and Capullo spoke excitedly about the direction they’ve gone in and adding new villains and *spoiler alert* the all new Batman in the suit. “[Jim] Gordon wants to know if Batman can be an extension of what’s put in place for people to protect themselves in a city like Gotham,” Snyder explained. “We would never do a story like this ever, unless we believed we had better stories this way than without. We would never do it just to shake things up.”
NEW DC UNIVERSE: JUSTICE FOR ALL: ARE YOU READY? (Friday) – A panel with TWO colons just HAS to be good. This was full of books I just don’t have the cash to add to my weekly pull list, so a lot of it was new to me. Here’s a few highlights from the creators about their books: Cyborg‘s new solo series has our main character questioning his humanity as an overlaying theme. Writer David F. Walker had trouble keeping cyborg’s abilities in the realm of futuristic sci-fi since the present has all but caught up to the future. The book was heavily influenced by the Aliens movie series, and has a creepy horror element to it, while also following Victor Stone’s daily life as a hero with no real secret identity.
(cont.) Wonder Woman’s newest redesign had the panel applauding artist David Finch and thanking him for putting her “in actual armor.” The anime-inspired outfit is much more aggressive with protruding sword-gauntlets, and fits with Diana’s more diverse roll as the God of War, Queen of Themyscira, and of course, Justice League member. Fans can also look forward to the return of Donna Troy to DC’s continuity, but not as a hero! Doctor Fate is one of DC’s newest books and on the surface, it looks fantastic. A young Egyptian hero finds the Doctor Fate helmet and comes face to face with Anubis, the god of death all set in present day New York. With this set up, I can definitely see the appeal, however, if we all recall the beginning of the New 52 relaunch a couple years back, this is almost identical to what made the Blue Beetle pitch sound great. A minority, young, relatable hero comes upon an object of great power and is thrown into the world of superheroes? It’s been done to death, but here’s hoping this time it’s done right.
ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT MARVEL (Friday) – It would have been easier had Marvel just labeled this panel ALL-OF-YOU, WAIT-AND-SEE–because that’s basically what they said after almost every “announcement” made on Friday just after lunch. Thankfully the panel was packed with plenty of news, even if most of it was All-Ready announced via various media publishers the week before. Who’s the Totally-Awesome Hulk? Sounds like TMNT’s Michaelangelo, really, but if Marvel told ya, they’d have to kill ya. I’m just glad Greg Pak is back on the title. Doctor Strange #1 will see the trusty team of Jason Aaron (who also gets an All-New The Mighty Thor on October 7th; this volume will see Jane Foster struggle as Thor with cancel, Asgard’s Civil War, and more Malekith) and Chris Bachalo (Venom) provide “Strange Vision” for one of Marvel’s breakout players on October 7th, equipped with a battle axe. Agent Carter showrunners, Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas, will write the third Captain Marvel #1 in less than 2-years; Carol doesn’t know how to deal with a desk job, and I simply can’t deal with Marvel’s intent to “slowly reveal” Carol’s new corps next week. Isn’t this week COMIC-CON? Again…seriously? Oh, and don’t get me started on Daredevil’s new sidekick. Real life lawman Charles Soule (She-Hulk) and Ron Garney (Wolverine) provide a sleek black uni for Mr. Murdock, who returns to his roots in NYC in Daredevil #1 as a D.A. Mark Waid, on hand for the panel, gave Soule his full endorsement; huge, considering that, along with Fraction’s Hawkeye, Waid’s Daredevil run has been arguably one of the best comic runs of the past 5-years.
(cont.) Waid has bigger fish to fry now, steamrolling Avengers #0 — which beats anything point-one, thank God — this October 14th with a slew of talented co-writers and artists, heading into the titular panel’s Avengers run. Waid promises that the All-New, All-Different Avengers gives him full reign to “get back to the character stuff [and] playing with interactions and how Ms. Marvel will interact with Falcon Cap [etc.]”. Nick Spencer was also on hand to discuss Sam*Wilson, Captain America #1, which will see different priorities for this Cap, as he sticks his nose into thorny stuff–with more humor and levity; Spencer even compares the tone of the comic to his Ant-Man (which will also return this fall as Astonishing Ant-Man with a more 80s, Miami Viceesque vibe) and Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Maybe the most impressive news of All, was seeing Brian Michael Bendis (Powers) on Invincible Iron Man #1. This only makes sense, considering BMB served as a consultant on the Iron Man movies. The title will, once again, feature a new suit, as well as a “new outlook, new villains, new supporting cast, and new headquarters”. Guess Marvel wasn’t kidding about their fall line being All-New.
SPIDER-MAN & HIS AMAZING FRIENDS (Sunday) – And how amazing are they? It seems like there’s no better time to be Spider-Man than at Marvel NOW! (past marketing joke). With the merging of the universes there are plenty of Spider-Men and Spider-Pals to go around. In the titular ongoing, The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter is pulling a Batman Incorporated and taking his operations global, leaving Miles Morales as our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man in the upcoming Spider-Man #1. “It’s the classic Peter Parker paradigm told through the lens of Miles Morales” the panel reassured the audience, before noting on how well received Miles has been.
(cont.) Books following Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, Flash Thompson’s second chance with the Venom suit, Carnage (think Tomb of Dracula), “The Sinister” Silk, and the Web Warriors (more Spider-Ham!) were all announced, riding that cash cow that is all things Spider-<an, and with the Sony/Marvel Spider-Man movie debut coming soon, what better time?! I kid, I kid. (kind of, not really.) A Spidey/Deadpool book written by Classic Deadpool stalwart Joe Kelly, with art from Ed McGuinness, was arguably the best announcement for Marvel Comics at the Con. This is definitely the “buddy cop” crossover that fans have been waiting for for some time. “They have a complicated relationship…that you will evolve in a very interesting way” Kelly claimed. “I just want to mess with your heads as much as possible–that’s the goal”. Overall it was a pretty nice panel, with the usual “We really can’t say much about this books except blah blah blah”. I may even pick up a few of these myself.
NEW DC UNIVERSE: MYSTERIES IN SPACE: ARE YOU READY? (Thursday) – There’s no mystery: Before Guardians of the Galaxy, DC Comics OWNED in the intergalactic department. After the unthoughtful ginormous reception — and box office success — of those zany Marvel z-listers (and for all those who still have a bad taste in their mouth from the Green Lantern movie), one could argue that DC is now the one behind in the race for Space. So, the mystery here is: How will the company once again build up one of their most cherished domains? With Batman, of course. No–not that Batman. Not even the Batman Beyond you think. Why, it’s Tim Drake, dropping the “Eminem” appearance from Arkham Knight for a new costume that people just go a bit batty over. Seeing how the current issue of Batman Beyond has introduced a key character, Ink, from the classic animated series, Dan Jurgens primary goal is to integrate longtime fans and the new “DC’s Great Disaster” future of the DC YOU, with characters old (Spellbinder, Shriek) and new, such as a 35-years-from-now Barbara Gordon (August’s ish #3). Jurgens’ artist on the book, Bernard Chang, claimed that working in a far future Intergalactic DCU allows his design work to be more fun and more immersive.
(cont.) Former GOTG penciler Brad Walker, who feels he draws the “same smugness” on Sinestro’s face too frequently, also enjoys the thril of sketching the expansive open book of the DCU. “The design aesthetic in Marvel was a little bit more established, so there’s more freedom [in DC] to go balls to the wall.” It’s just a shame, then, that the little more than 1/3rd full panel audience wasn’t as exuberant about the same possibilities. It appears whenever there is a DC Comic panel without a superstar creator (i.e. Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, or Grant Morrison), you count on a number of stone-faced nerds either texting and nodding off; it didn’t help that IGN’s Joshua Yehl was little more than serviceable moderator, no more outgoing or as engaging than his panelists. Leave it to rising star Tom King — who didn’t even realize he was on the panel until about halfway through — to be that “Omega” man to save the panel. The writer labeled his Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns-inspired Omega Men comic as “the great Kyle Rayner book that Brad Walker never drew”.
NEW DC UNIVERSE: THE BAD GUYS: ARE YOU READY? (Friday) – Oh, they all have two colons. And they all end in asking me if I’m ready. Got it. This panel ended about 20-minutes in, but still ran for the full hour. All the creators and artists spoke to a half-empty room about stuff we mostly already knew. Afterwards, one guy walked up to the mic and asked some unmemorable question, and then the cringe-worthy happened: no one else had anything else to say. The moderator began taking literally any question anyone had, relevant or not, and attendees just started raising their hands, or even shouting them out instead of walking to the mic.
(cont.) Jimmy Palmiotti (Harley Quinn) even shouted to the entire room, “Hey, you guys buy comics here at the Con anymore? What comics have you bought?” I then proceeded to hear what books 3 complete strangers had purchased that day. Thanks DC. Nothing of any substance of was spoken, just general ice-breaker style questions like “Who’s your favorite character to write for?” or “Which character would you like to see get their big break in a film?” You would think a panel about DC’s biggest strength–their villains– would get a little more love and attention from both the company and the fans. Regardless, the panel wouldn’t have been more dead even if Joker himself showed up.