Wizard World Chicago News & Views

And we’re back. That’s right, Daron and Chris reporting from Wizard World Chicago for day 2 on the convention.

Getting to the con for day 2 was much easier than it was for day 1. We went right into the parking garage paid our insane $11.00 parking fee, walked over to the convention and went right in. No lines”¦nothing. That was until we got inside, where everything, and I mean everything had a line that was, for lack of a better word, insane.

Now I’m not a big Convention guy, in all honesty I’ve only ever been to a few, but I’ve never seen a system like this where EVERY creator who was signing had a line of 100 or more people. Everybody was packed from the get go, and there was no end in sight.

Realizing rather quickly that we weren’t going to get much done this morning before the first panel, the DC: Mapping The Universe panel, Chris and I decided we should really take care of our most important business at the con this weekend”¦ ogling She-Ra!

Of course, in this weird bizarre version of the con we were at yesterday, She-Ra was nowhere to be found, and our already low spirits were almost to the point of breaking. Luckily right before Chris was about to break down and start sucking his thumb, they announced the DC panel was getting ready to start, so I was able to coax him into taking a whole bunch of notes for the site. This seemed to cheer him (for some reason), and so on we went.

The heartbreak at not seeing She-Ra was intensified by the sheer mass of humanity present. You could barely move in the convention hall! To top off the not-so-great start of the day any of the panels requiring tickets were “sold out” long before we had a chance to procure them. Most specifically Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon, who had hundreds of people in line for tickets the moment the show opened. Not a great way to disseminate tickets. Wizard should not be allowed to advertise on their convention program with the bold headlines “Hang with Jay and Silent Bob” and “Guest of Honor Joss Whedon” when 95% of con-goers have no chance of seeing, let alone meeting these celebrities.

DC: Mapping the Universe
Featuring: Bob Wayne, Dan Didio, Matt Idelson, Peter Tomasi, Dan Jolley, Eddie Berganza, Tommy Lee Edwards, Will Pfeiffer, Carlos Pacheco, and the late arriving Geoff Johns and Jeph Loeb, with Special Guest, David Goyer.

The panel began with a look at Identity Crisis. Bob Wayne mentioned that he received several e-mails concerning the brutal ending of issue #3. He mentioned that those around the office call issue #5, ” the rough issue.” Then it goes further with issue #6. It’s clear that the shocks are far from over with this book. I for one have been enjoying the title and although I’m never a fan of a killing off characters, this series is raising the stakes in the DCU and the ramifications that are being felt are not going to be cheapened. This is one of the few event books that actually is an EVENT.

We were then given a look at the new title Justice, which would feature regular work by Alex Ross. A bi-monthly book focusing on the Justice League co-plotted by Alex Ross and Jim Kruger. The shock was that Ross would be painting each issue. Mixing the bi-monthly schedule with pencils by Dougie Braithwaite will allow Alex Ross to produce his usual brilliant work on a regular schedule. Something many fans have been clamoring for.

The big announcement of the day and one that even Bob Wayne did not know was happening until he read his script was the new creative team on the ongoing Green Lantern title; slated to launch after Green Lantern: Rebirth. The first big news of the title is that it will in fact be Hal Jordan wearing the ring and not Kyle Rayner. Following that was the announcement of the creative team, which is to be Geoff Johns and Carlos Pacheco.

Not long after the GL announcement, latecomers Geoff Johns & Jeph Loeb made their way to the stage. But to say they did so in an unorthodox way would be an understatement. After the two made it to the dais, they both quickly realized that there was only one spot left on the panel. So what do these two icons of the comic media do”¦they race one another to the end of the table throwing each other against the other panelist’s chairs and the table itself as they went. In the end Johns ended up in the last chair, and Loeb ended up on the floor.

Following the hilarity of Geoff vs. Jeph we moved into the announcement of Blood of the Demon by co-plotted by Will Pfeiffer and John Byrne with Byrne doing the art. Pfeiffer said the series was, “Kirby influenced.” Essentially this series would be a throwback to the ‘70s renditions of the character. Rhyming would have a place, more in the spell casting, but it would not permeate all of the writing.

One of the more exciting projects discussed was the recently announced, Deadshot miniseries that’s going to feature the first comic work of Chris Gage who’s a writer on Law & Order: S.V.U. Following on the heels of Identity Crisis, Deadshot is a clear attempt to toughen up the villains of the DCU. Jeph Loeb had the comment of the con when (in reference to the shot of Deadshot’s new costume), “is that a skull on his chest?”

The one aspect of the panel that didn’t sit well with me was Brian Azzarello’s involvement. May I ask why he was on this panel? Each of his comments were virtually incoherent and made fun of not only comics, but, it seemed to me, other creators sharing the panel with him. His most coherent quote was in reference to his feelings on superheroes, “I hate them!” Not the best public relations, but who am I to say anything.

Around this time Geoff Johns learned that the Green Lantern announcement occurred prior to him getting there. He said to expect the relaunched series to be a, “bright, iconic, cosmic-hero book.” Which Jeph Loeb followed with, “And Kyle’s dead!” Was it a joke? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

During the question and answer period Jeph Loeb was asked about the status of the Supergirl currently appearing in the pages of Superman/Batman. All Loeb would say is, “When the story is done, DC will have the one true Supergirl.” Then the ball would be in their court.

One other interesting tidbit concerned a question about the 20th Anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Bob Wayne was pretty evasive pointing out that there are new figures at the DC booth, and that “Psycho Pirate was at the booth babbling about something.” Perhaps this was just clever misdirection. While very cryptic, there did seem to be a hint of the future too. Again, we shall see.

It should also be noted that Geoff was asked if he would have to drop any of his current titles to take up GL as a regular series. Johns’ replied, “I loves all the titles I’m doing,” and went on to explain that he has no plans to drop anything at this point.

Also, in regards to Jeff Smit’s Captain Marvel miniseries, Wayne and Didio explained that the series was still in the works, and that both Smith and Captain Marvel would have work after the miniseries ran its course (though not necessarily together.)

Before the panel was brought to an end, Bob Wayne introduced very special guest star, David S. Goyer (writer of the new Batman Begins movie.) After that, they ran the teaser trailer for the movie, and then took some questions on the movie. Surprisingly, most of the questions that were asked were (to at least Chris and I) very old news. Though David did confirm that a sequel was basically confirmed as well as a third film. In case you didn’t know, the villains of the new film are Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul (apparently a lot of people haven’t heard this news yet”¦I wonder if I should spoil it and announce whose playing the rolls as well?) After the Q&A’s, Wayne announced that Goyer would be joining Johns on his Hal Jordan panel, which would now be the Hal Jordan/Batman Begins panel. Great news right”¦not so much considering that you had to have a limited wristband to attend this particular panel (more on that later.)

After the panel, we went up to say hi to Geoff (keeping up public relations and all). Happily, Geoff knew who we were. We talked a bit about the fact that he was now sharing his panel with David Goyer and Batman Begins and of course a bit about Ben (You the man, Ben!)

Directly following the panel Daron and I walked over to the DC booth to find all the wristbands for the Green Lantern/Batman Begins panel long gone. Once again a panel is made nearly impossible for the majority of attendees to get into.

For a while Daron and I contemplated crashing the panel, but we were distracted by the presence of She-Ra and our ideas of vengeance quickly waned. Cause it was picture time! Yes, that’s right, Daron and I got pics with She-Ra! I’m not certain, but I think the Princess of Power liked me. Perhaps this noble word monkey could have been her He-Man. Alas, it was not to be as my lovely girlfriend, Patti, was the photographer.

It should be noted however (and this will be proven when the pics come out) that the DOL couldn’t help but grab a little @$$! during his photo shoot.

Essentially, the rest of the day was us catching up with some of the creators that we met the previous day. We had a fun conversation about the latest Hulk issue with Gabriel Benson at the Beckett booth and got ready for the expected announcement of the new creative team on Hulk at the Marvel Universe panel. Like much of today, that announcement was not to be.

Marvel Universe
Featuring: C.B. Cebulski, Nick Lowe, Brian Bendis, Mark Millar, Dan Buckley, Brian K. Vaughan, Robert Kirkman, Marc Sumerak, Sean McKeever, and Joe Quesada

I understand there may be some repeated information from one panel to the next, but there weren’t any announcements or new information of any kind here. The group was in their usual hilarious form, with Joe Quesada, Mark Millar, and surprise, Brian Bendis stealing the show with their witty repartee.

Yesterday at the Cup ‘O Joe panel we were promised an announcement on Hulk. What we got was confirmation that Peter David was doing six issues starting in January. While this is the best Hulk news in years, and one of the biggest comic news stories of the year, this news is older than Daron’s DOL shtick”¦did I just say that aloud? He probably won’t notice that this noble word monkey revolted for a brief moment.

Anyway, other than Brian Bendis getting a birthday cake from members of his message boards, there wasn’t much else of interest at this panel.

It was a fun panel (the Marvel guys put on a great show) but considering they didn’t relay any new news info it was pretty pointless.

After the panel, we wandered through the show looking for some creators to talk to, but as with this morning the ridiculous lines for each and every one of them made it all but impossible to actually talk to any of them. Instead, we ended up talking to some of the “Indy” guys in Artists Alley, most notably Ivan Brandon the writer of Image’s NYC Mech, which is excellent and something I highly recommend (more on that later as Chris reviews the first 2 issues of the series, and I might even get in on the action”¦) We also caught up with Forsaken inker Nick Zagami, another interesting Image book you should check out.

And that was about it for today. We’d have a bunch more to report on, but since such a large portion of the con was basically off limits to a large section of the attendees it’s basically impossible for us to report everything. Hopefully we’ll have more luck tomorrow.

For those that may be worried we did win the lottery to have the privilege to purchase and bring home She-Ra, no not the life-size version, 144Anima artist extraordinaire Sean Long. Sean certainly owes us one for having to go back to that blasted Mattel booth repeatedly and ogle She-Ra!

So are you saying I have to return the real She-Ra to the show???

After the show, Chris and I had the distinct pleasure of (finally) meeting up with our good friend and fellow Nexus writer, John Babos. Now I know none of you care about this, but it was very cool to finally get to meet John. We had a nice (albeit expensive) dinner across the street from the con, and had a chance to really get to talk”¦which we did for about three hours (much to our waite’s chagrin.)

Ok, off to bed so we can get up and report all the “big news” that’s undoubtedly going to be announced tomorrow. So stay tuned for that, and if you haven’t already make sure to check out our report on Wizard World Chicago Day 1.