If you’re ever suffering from a case of fan malaise, find the nearest comics/sci-fi/fantasy/anime convention and go. You won’t regret it.
As Megacon reminded me, there’s nothing quite like a con to reconnect a person with the joys of fandom. Spending a few days surrounded by happy people in costumes and talking to the creators who make Wednesdays special are two things that deserve spots on your bucket list.
Some highlights and observations:
Some DC creators are genuinely stoked about the New 52
At Saturday’s DC panel, Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver and Paul Pelletier expressed nothing but enthusiasm for the relaunched DC Universe. They said they relished the opportunity to take a fresh look at everything and are not being suffocated by editorial mandates. That was a pleasant surprise, given perceptions to the contrary on the other side of the fence.
“Everyone is on the top of their game,” said Ethan, a man who sounds like he really, truly loves his job. “It’s a pleasure to be there right now.”
Gail noted that the relaunch has opened the door for new characters to come into the fold via projects like The Movement, a series she’s working on with Freddie Williams II. And while certain incarnations of characters are not in the New 52, that doesn’t mean their spirit is gone.
“Oracle is what Barbara has the potential to be some day,” Gail said.
DC readers are still coming to terms with things
The fan comments about the New 52 weren’t antagonistic, so it seems that we’re at least approaching the acceptance phase. However, you could tell that some readers miss elements of the old continuity and characters who didn’t survive the transition.
Fandom is for all
Anyone who doubts that our ranks are swelling with diversity needs to go to a con. I never get tired of seeing the evidence that fandom extends across the spectrums of age, race and gender. There were whole families of color geeking out at Megacon, kids cosplaying their little hearts out, and a whole lot of women. I ran into this lovely, well-known cosplayer after the Gail Simone panel but was so busy soaking up the happiness that I forgot to ask her name. If you’re reading this, Wonder Woman, please say hello!
Rock on, Archie
My 8-year-old daughter gave me specific instructions to tell Archie writer/artist Dan Parent that she loves his stories and to get his autograph. I happily accepted the mission because I’m a big fan of his work, too. Sure, I kept saying things like “My kid is a huge Kevin Keller fan,” but I think he was on to me.
As the Archie panel made clear, there is plenty of adult affection for Riverdale. I could have asked a dozen obscure questions that probably would have made my husband squirm with embarrassment, but what I really wanted to know was whether Archie and Valerie would ever reunite.
The answer is yes. Dan said a new four-part story about those two will drop sometime this year, so … yay!
“The Archie-Valerie relationship definitely has legs,” he said. “She’s the first real threat to Betty and Veronica, even more than Cheryl Blossom.”
I repeat: Fandom is for all
At one of the gigantic vendor booths, I saw a young woman hunting in vain for a certain superhero shirt in women’s sizes. This was while I searched, also in vain, for a Nightwing shirt in women’s sizes. Female fans are into all characters. It’s frustrating enough to find that all the Boba Fett tees at Target or Old Navy are cut for men, but I expect better from sellers at fan conventions. Listen up, vendors: Take a page out of Her Universe creator Ashley Eckstein’s book and supply more stuff for the ladies. You’ll sell it.
Holy crap, we met Gail Simone
So, you might have heard that we met the woman who has a lot to do with our love for comic books and is one of the best ambassadors the industry could possibly have.
V. — who had already met/hugged Gail on Friday — and I were strategically positioned at her booth on Saturday as she made her way back from a break. Not long after that, her delightful husband appeared and said, “I know who you are!” And then he and Gail proceeded to be warm, kind and thoroughly awesome.
Cons are busy and demanding events for creators, who spend hours interacting with their fans and signing stuff. That has to be overwhelming, especially for someone like Gail with such a big and loyal following. So getting some love from our favorite writer in the midst of all that was just plain wonderful. The trip was worth it for that moment alone.