All written content ©2013 Mike Pascale. Visual content ©2013 its respective owner(s).
Better late than never…and anything not “live” with Comic-Con is always late anyway, so whether it’s a day or a week or a month, it’s all the same. So here’s a quick wrap-up from a comics perspective:
PANELS (separate posts to come about each):
Spotlight on Gerry Conway
I don’t think I ever met Gerry or saw him in person so this was a blast. It was just him on the dais fielding questions from the audience. I asked several and he answered them all. Everything about the Gwen Stacey/Green Goblin/Clone Saga you’d ever want to know, plus insights on his impressive, successful tenures on Marvel, DC and TV’s LAW & ORDER. (Biggest irony: He broke into screenwriting with Roy Thomas, co-writing the CONAN THE DESTROYER Schwarzenegger sequel. But when the wave of blockbuster superhero flicks hit Hollywood, he was all but shut out for being a “police procedural writer”. What would Gerry know about superheroes? He’s only written some of the most popular on the planet! Argh.)
Tribute to Joe Kubert
Only able to attend a half hour of this one but it was worth it. Seeing generations of heavy-hitters like Russ Heath, Paul Levitz, Sergio Aragonés, Marv Wolfman, Tom Yeates and TwoMorrows’ Jon B. Cooke offer praise on my former mentor/teacher was heartwarming. Of course, for a guy who’s career lasted nearly 70 years, I wouldn’t expect less! Joe considered himself the “luckiest man in the world” for being able to make a living doing what he loved most, drawing. And we fans of his were the luckiest to be around to enjoy it.
Comic Book Law School (part 3)
I missed the first two parts due to the ever-present, always-annoying schedule conflicts, but this was the juiciest one. Michael Lovitz and three of his legal compatriots opined and presented on topics from “10 biggest myths of Copyright” to the Siegel-DC/Warner Bros. Superman suit to the Gary Friedrich-Marvel/Disney suit and more. This was Michael’s 20th year of offering this amazing, entertaining and educational experience, and I think I’ve attended at least one panel 17 or 18 of those years. Congrats, Michael!
Lots and lots of free legal info, insights on the lawsuits (the Siegel one ended horribly unless the Supreme Morons decide to hear the case and come to their senses; the Ghost Rider case ended good for Gary unless Disney gets crazy appeal-vengeful) and free resources. Biggest tip for writers: REGISTERING WITH THE WGA IS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. Unless you want to give them 40 bucks. Register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Word.
Mad About MAD
Only saw the second half of this one but still loved it! John Ficarra, Sam Viviano, Peter Kuper, Sergio Aragonés (of course!), Tom Richmond and others talked about the new book, INSIDE MAD and answered questions from the audience while John showed slides and handed out prizes.
Favorite Q & A: A little boy (quite a few kids in the audience) asked, “How long do you think MAD will be around?” [audience laughter]
Ficarra: “No prize for you! [pause, leans over] Why, did you hear something?”
FYI: Next year is the 60th anniversary of the MAD fold-in, and Sergio created a tour-de-force one showing the MAD offices then and now. Can’t wait for it.
That 70s Panel
The ubiquitous Mark Evanier hosted his staple panel of Silver/“Bronze” Age heavyweights. (He used to host separate “Golden Age” and “Silver Age” panels but too many guests have either passed away or are unable to attend. Mark estimated there were just SIX people in the 125,000 there who worked on comics before 1960. That’s sad.)
It was, as always, fascinating and entertaining to hear anecdotes and opinions from this batch, which included Tony Isabella, Val Mayerik, Elliot S. Maggin, Martin Pasko and George Pérez, all of whom have never been on this panel before, at least not together. The tonality of each were telling–some came off as more bitter and pessimistic, others, like George, came off as grateful for their experiences and honored to be where they are. I guess a lot depends on one’s attitude and outlook. (Curious why Gerry Conway was not on the panel, as it would have added quite a bit.) More to come later.
60 Years of Bazooka Joe
To kick off the publication of the new Abrams Comic Arts book, BAZOOKA JOE AND HIS GANG, editorial director Charles Kochman and Topps VP of licensing Ira Friedman presented slides and anecdotes about America’s only bubble-gum comic-strip character. Created by Wesley Morse and Woody Gelman in 1953 and first published in 1954, Bazooka Joe (and the mail-away toys and trinkets) was a staple of millions of American youths (including me) until the comics sadly were discontinued. Revamped more than once by various (and some famous) comics artists throughout the years, the character has seen a few iterations and looks, all goofily entertaining with bad puns and wacky fortunes. (Most famous: “Help, I’m being held prisoner in a Chinese Fortune Cookie factory!”) On the good side, though the comics are no more, the character lives on via the Web and elsewhere. Hopefully, the Topps exec opined, there will be enough public outcry and support to bring the comics back in some form. Fun stuff!
Chatted with and/or met for the first time Alex Niño, Romeo Tanghal, Val Mayerik, Mark Schultz, Tina DeZuniga, Walt Simonson, Mark Sparaccio, Maggie Thompson, John Mankuta, Phillip Moy, TV stars Adrian Paul (HIGHLANDER) and Patrick Warburton (I was probably the only fan of his from SEINFELD and RULES OF ENGAGEMENT rather than THE TICK and other ‘toons) and best of all, my former instructor, José Delbo. (Got super lucky to see José at a table in Artist’s Alley even though he wasn’t listed. So we did get to chat. Unfortunately I left my camera in the hotel room! I bought a couple prints and he looked thru my portfolio out of old times’ sake. He deserves his own article!) And it was bittersweet to have the annual CBG (Comics Buyer’s Guide) dinner as a “dutch” after that venerable publication’s cancellation. But it’s always a blast seeing my pal John LAST KISS Lustig, former editor supreme Brent Frankenhoff and STAR WARS scribe John Jackson Miller (whose next SW novel, KENOBI, will be on shelves this fall). John was pleasantly accosted by fans outside the restaurant and generously signed stuff while waiting for our table. Unfortunately, all were dudes and no Slave Leias. *sigh*
Finally here are some more random fun shots of things from SDCC 2013!
Hope that satisfies for now…More to come. I have enough notes to last months!
P.S.: If you’d like an original art commission of any character, I’m more than happy to provide it for you at a very reasonable price. Just ask Craig here!