Words of Questionable Wisdom – Baltimore Comic-Con Recap

What a weekend. I literally had a blast.

(I’m sorry that I’m writing this on Monday, but this weekend also happened to be Homecoming, so not only have I been busy, but recuperating as well. )

Granted, it didn’t start on a great note; the Baltimore Marathon was run on Saturday, which completely screwed up the mass transit system as bus lines were blocked to make way for the runners. It resulted in my getting to the con an hour and a half late.

I don’t know exactly what happened behind the scenes at the con, but it’s usually held at the end of August. Apparently there were some scheduling conflicts and the conference rooms were booked, because the panels were held on the convention floor in areas that were partitioned off but lacked a ceiling. Thus panels and/or panelists were occasionally drowned out by the roar of the convention floor.

A couple things surprised me. First was the lack of a Marvel booth. You’d think that a company flush with cash from being bought by Disney could afford to have a presence at the con. The second was the lack of a Wizard booth, but then again, given how creators and fanboys have been turning on the magazine, that one may have made some sense.

The first panel I attended with the DC Nation Panel. It was standing room only when I arrived. Again, I cannot stress how awkward the set up of the “panel rooms” were. The sound system was less than tolerable. In fact when those attending the panel had questions they had to line up in the middle aisle and wait their turn at the microphone that was shared by Ian Sattler.

Some of the highlights and tidbits of this panel;

Paul Dini’s Zatanna title might see the light of day in 2010.

While Dini’s name might not be in every advance solicit, he’s not going anywhere, he’s just a busy guy with things outside of comics taking some of his attention.

The current company focus in on brand building.

Pete Tomasi announced, with much sadness, that The Mighty was ending with issue #12.

When asked by a fan about the Multiverse, the official word was that something was going on with it, but Grant Morrison was doing it.

(In fact it was hilarious to see the panel squirm any time something that Grant wrote came up. The body language literally said “um, you’d really need to ask Grant that yourself.)

Another fan asked about more villain-centric books, they were pointed toward Secret Six and the upcoming Arkham Reborn.

Deathstroke’s role in the upcoming Titans storyline ties into more than one DC book.

The Red Circle books are building to something. (My thoughts; something = imminent cancellation.)

The focus of Superman/Batman will be shifting to telling stories “between events.”

Ian Sattler announced that Geoff Johns has plans for The Rogues.

Trades for DC’s Co-Features will contain a years worth of stories.

Vic Sage and Ted Kord will be Black Lanterns very soon.

It’s also worth noting that Pete Tomasi does a decent Grant Morrison impression.

Before the panel let out Ian stressed that he really wanted people to pick up Brian Azzarello’s upcoming Batman/Doc Savage Pulp Earth one-shot.

The next panel that I attended was the Wednesdays Comics Panel. It was there that I realized exactly how bad the sound system was. The panel included John Acrudi, Mark Chiarello, Joe Kubert, Kevin Nowlan, Walter Simonson and Brian Stelfreeze.

This panel mostly consisted of trading anecdotes about the actual process of creating Wednesday Comics. Stelfreeze detailed how trying the process of drawing in larger dimensions was. Nowlan lamented he didn’t get to ink Jose Luis Garcia Lopez on a script that catered more to Garcia-Lopez’ strengths.

Acrudi was astounded by the nuance that Lee Bermejo added to each strip. Stelfreeze was astounded by the diversity of styles that Wednesday comics contained. Chiarello concurred with Simonson that while there’s room for comics aimed at adults, some properties and characters should remain all ages.

Unfortunately most of what Joe Kubert contributed to the panel was heard only by those on the panel as a result of poor mike placement and Kubert responding to a fellow panelist rather than talking into a nearby mike.

Some other tidbits from the panel;

Wednesday Comics was a financial and critical success. It will undoubtedly have a sequel.

It’s likely that the follow-up will not have any returning creators.

The collaboration with USA Today was successful, expect something similar but to another degree the next time around.

Chiarello almost nabbed Harlan Ellison and Walt Simonson on a Dr. Fate strip.

John Byrne was offered a slot but turned it down.

Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson were almost locked in for a Swamp Thing strip.

Wonder Woman’s strip was the most divisive; fans either loved it or hated it.

Metamorpho and Supergirl’s strips were universally praised.

The Demon/Catwoman story was done “Marvel style.”

Chiarello didn’t tell creators to experiment with the format, they just naturally did.

That’s it. The panelists were clearly perturbed by the quality (or lack thereof) of the “room” which made things tense at times.

On Sunday I attended my final panel, which was DC Conversation with Ian Sattler. It really was a conversation. But there were some nuggets dropped;

Booster Gold with undergo changes in 2010.

The Suicide Squad will be showing up in Secret Six in the future.

Len Wein has something great and top secret on the horizon.

The current Superman saga involving New Krypton is at the halfway point. Ian pointed out that it began with a bottle and at the halfway point it’s got a planet, thus implying that things with extrapolate from there.

And that’s pretty much experience, panel-wise at the tenth annual Baltimore Comic-Con.

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