Well, that was awesome.
From our arrival inside the festively geeky Marriott Marquis lobby to our departure with trade/artwork-stuffed luggage, V. and I had ourselves a blast at Dragon*Con 2010. If you’re a comic book and sci-fi lover, there’s something incredibly energizing about being at a con, surrounded by so much creativity. Now that we’re back and (somewhat) recovered, it’s time to clean out the notebooks and memory cards to recap all the shenanigans.
Viva La Cosplay!
While the panels and official activities were great, just sitting in the hotel lobbies near the con was grand entertainment. People take their cosplay seriously at Dragon*Con, and we saw some pretty amazing costume craftsmanship and commitment to character. I’ve never wanted to wear Spandex so badly. A few of my favorites:
I love me some Bruce Wayne, so I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to hear Neal Adams, Paul Dini, Tim Sale and Brian Stelfreeze talk about their Batman work during the Dark Knight panel. Adams was a straight-up hoot. He’s like the unfiltered, bawdy uncle at the family barbecue who just says whatever the hell comes to mind. My official Newsarama article is up, but here are a few more choice quotes:
Adams: “Batman hasn’t changed from the beginning. We all know who the character is. We know you can’t sneak up on him and hit him over the head, because he will turn on you and bite your throat out. We all know he puts up with Robin, and Robin is kind of an asshole. We just don’t know which Robin is being an asshole.”
Stelfreeze, on why Catwoman is Bats’ biggest villian: “She’s the quintessential bitch. She’s everybody’s worst ex-girlfriend, but the Batman is vulnerable. He’s like, ‘I hate you. I want to push you away. You have a vagina.’ ”
Dini: “He has to be the naysayer. If there’s gonna be a guy who’s going to pull the plug, it’s gonna be (him).”
Adams on his new series, Batman: Odyssey: “I looked at what everybody else did on Batman. I’m not doing what I did back then. I said, ‘I’m gonna shoot him in the face. No one has shot him in the face before.’ ”
Dini on his favorite Bat-moment: “Shirtless, but still masked Batman going, ‘Raaaa’s!’ ” (From Batman #232)
I knew Adams was a big deal, but after hearing just how much he and Denny O’Neill influenced comics, I’m on a mission to acquaint myself with their 1970s Batman ouvre. As for Sale (a cutie!), I saw him in intense artist mode, doing a beautiful ink-wash of Batman for another con-goer (our friend, The Antagonist), and I am radioactive with jealousy. On the other hand, I got to meet this guy:
Artists’ alley was crawling with talent. The comics medium has an embarrassment of riches as far as illustration goes — people like Andy Price, whose giant Robin homage made me giggle every time I walked past his table.
Despite the exhausting pace of a con, the creators I met came across as genuinely nice people who were stoked to meet their fans. Amanda Conner is a peach, and my daughter is very excited to have this signed Supergirl print for her room. (Who am I kidding? I’m probably more excited than she is!)
All about icons
Speaking of Conner, she was on a good Monday panel with Mark Bagley and Georges Jeanty on the highs and lows of illustrating an iconic character. Conner recently ended a fabulous run on Power Girl, and she took the character’s outsize assets and ran with them. (A little bit of triva: PG’s boots were based on a pair that Conner actually owns. She just changed the color to blue.)
“With Power Girl, I was just trying to do Wally Wood proud,” said Conner. “I had a few people who came up to me and said, ‘Why don’t you make her boobs smaller?’ Because she’s Power Girl! She has big boobs.”
Jeanty, who illustrates Buffy the Vampire Slayer and also worked on X-Men titles, talked about the challenges of drawing Gambit — a character who wears a trench coat. In hot-ass New Orleans. Since the coat is such a big part of Gambit’s look, Jeanty gave a nod to reality by occasionally drawing him without the coat on, and in short sleeves. But when you take pains make a character your own and labor over the details, it can be hard to relinquish him/her to others.
“It was probably good for me to get off of the book, because I was becoming very possessive of him,” Jeanty said. “He’s my ex! I can’t get over him.”
Bagley had a funny anecdote about his artistic decision to relieve Donna Troy of her tall boots, which resulted in a request from editorial: “They said, ‘Mark, can you put her back in the high boots? We’re getting a lot of grief from the gay fans.”
The artists were very diplomatic when asked whether a certain Amazon’s new duds are suitably iconic, saying that the current costume is well-designed and arguably more practical. But the general consensus was that nothing says “Wonder Woman” quite like the classic, star-spangled bathing suit.
Since general pop culture is a big part of Dragon*Con, there were several non-comics/sci-fi events going on. Out of pure nostalgia, I went to see the “I Dream of Jeannie” cast — Larry Hagman, Bill Daly and Barbara Eden — talk about the classic sitcom. The show was well into reruns when I was a kid, but I was awfully happy to be in a room with those three. Daly, also a “Newhart” alum, still has excellent comic timing, and you can tell those guys have a great deal of affection for one another. And there was one comics connection: Before he became J.R. Ewing, Hagman had a bit role in the 1978 “Superman” film.
Phew! Watch this space for V.’s take and more pictures, and be sure to ask her about getting a lift — literally — from Bane. And bumping (again, literally) into Stan Lee.