Howdy Inter-Webbers. I’m Matt Cohen, and I dig comic-cons.
Where else on earth can a group of like minded folks converse about the things they love without fear of persecution or ridicule?
Thats right… Nowhere (I made some calls.)
What is traditionally a “Uber Nerd” mecca, has quickly transitioned over the years to a socially acceptable activity, maybe even “cool” in some circles. The difference between a con now, and one ten years prior is immense. This is a great thing for con fans, but may have begun to backfire, just a bit. With this sudden “hip” version of a comic con, could we the fan be losing what it is that made Cons so appealing in the first place? Well, I attended a comic con recently, in what is arguably the “Hippest” city on earth (if you don’t count Gorilla City… Grodd knows how to party), and was frankly, shocked at what I found. And what I found, was hardly anything. More after this weeks stand-out picks.
All-Star Superman #10 Yet again, Grant Morrison has outdone himself with the sheer level of ingenuity and quite frankly, brilliance of his writing. This issue is fantastic from panel one to the last page. Episode 10 of the series finds Kal dealing with his apparent and imminent death, and all the ramifications said event will have upon the people and planet he loves. Kal basically flies around the Earth (and beyond) spending all his time trying to adjust wrongs and plant the seed of his legacy. There are some extremely touching and heartfelt moments in this book, which is rare in mainstream comics and even more hard to find in Super Hero books. And though this book is out of current continuity, it doesn’t make the effects of Kal’s journey any less monumental or worth reading about. There is a particular moment with Lex Luthor where Morrison manages to pretty much sum up his entire character without saying one word. Powerful stuff and a great read. Check it out
Teen Titans V.3 #57: With the relaunch of the series (Penned by Green Arrow’s and The Real Worlds Judd Winnick) impending, its about time to clean house and make things fresh for the changeover. Issue 57 served that purpose, and then some. The majority of the issue finds the Titans facing against their new aptly named rivals, The Terror Titans with the focus being on one of my favorite women in all of comicdom, Ravager. Most of the action is mainly with Rose, but there is one panel in particular with Kid Devil that is pretty shocking. This book definitely feels like its leading someplace, and the last page only reinforces that feeling. Something big is brewing for the Titans. And there’s only one place to catch it.
Notable: Spirit V.6 #15, Blue Beetle V.7 #25
New Avengers #39: Ah, New Avengers. At least there is still one Avenger title worth reading (Ive never checked out Marvel Adventures, so no passing judgement). This week we see the aftermath of the teams total dissolution. The Skrull was is nearing and everyone has gone their own separate ways. In this book, we find Wolverine and Maya together, confronting their past and the Skrull invasion. This is one of the more cerebral book in Super comics right now, and this issue is sort of like the Luke Cage/Jessica “talking” issue in its tone, though definitely not in its level of action. Secret Invasion is coming, have no doubt. And this is going to be the flagship book to launch the event. If you have any interest in the future of the Marvel Universe, I strongly suggest you pick up New Avengers. That is, if you’re not a Skrull
*casts suspicious glance in your direction
Wolverine First Class #1: Leave it to Marvel to always try to clone (Spidey Joke!) success, and luckily, this time they succeed. I know what alot of you are thinking, “No way! Not another Wolverine title!” but this one is unique and well developed, and therefore merits checking out. With X-Men:First Class a bona fide hit (and for good reason, its a fantastic book) we knew it would be sooner before later that Marvel tryed its hand at the First Class book again. This time, the treatment goes to perennial favorite (and the definition of over saturation) Wolverine. In issue one, Logan and new X-member Kitty are dispatched to a bizarre town to handle some violent anti-mutant activities. Though this book reads very much like the other First Class titles, it also reads like “Kitty Pryde: First Class” and not a book about Wolverine, as advertised. For the premiere issue its not too big a deal, but sooner or later this book better focus on Logan. A promising new series.
Notable : X-Men First Class V.2 #10, Daredevil V.2 #106,
Usagi Yojimbo V.3 # 10: Despite how many decades this book has or will be published it will never get stale. It still is simply, one of the best comic series I have ever read. Its hard to differentiate each issue week to week in terms of level of quality, because in my opinion they are all the same degree of amazing art, courtesy of the genius that is Stan Sakai. This week, everyones favorite Ninja Rabbit is wandering the long and winding roads with his Rhino compatriot Gen en tow and it is a fairly typical issue until about the halfway point, and that is what makes this issue stand out. The turning of Gen. The ensuing battle between Usagi, Usagi (too cool for me to explain and ruin) and Gen is epic and something I will always remember. Things in the Usagi universe are seemingly in turmoil. And then in typical Sakai fashion, everything winds up okay and our rabbit friend lives to fight another day. Very good issue of what is one of the greatest comics of all time, in my not so humble opinion.
Wizard World Los Angeles 08…The Con that wasn’t:As I walked through the big double doors, leading from the parking lot to the main exhibition area of the Los Angeles Convention Center, a strange sight hit my weary, road-tired eyes. “Where is everyone?”. I am a veteran of the annual New York Comic-Con at the Javitz Center, and though its no San Diego the sheer number of people in attendance is usually pretty staggering. Now, I wasn’t expecting quite that, but was quite shocked when I realized that the L.A equivalent was about a tenth the size (and an even smaller percentage of the fun) of its NY counterpart. Im not complaining because of the lack of crowd, heck, Im all for that… Less people equals easier walking and a more palatable crowd odor). What seemed to happen though, is less people means less artists/exhibitors which means less things to keep you busy while walking around the con floor. Upon entering the actual con, a feeling of “This is it?” was hard to keep bottled down. What is usually the grand entrance to the “comic world” if you will, complete with an army of security, was basically one lady sporadically checking badges. Upon entering, where one would typically be greeted with more free handouts then they can carry, I met nothing. Not even as much as a person in costume handing out stickers! What kind of con was this? I thought Wizard had their stuff in order.
Things quickly went from bad to worse when I took my initial stroll around the con floor. “Thats odd” I though to myself, “I can find the Marvel booth but cant seem to locate any of the other major companies… Theres Marvel and theres Aspen, but I cant see anyone else!”. Then I found out the most troubling news of the day… There was no one else.
No D.C, No Image, No Wildstorm, No IDW, No Dark Horse, hell even newbie to the scene Virgin was absent from the floor. If the people who make the comics I come to these things to celebrate dont even bother to show up, why the heck should I be here?
This picture pretty much sums up the vibe of the day.After strolling past the empty front of the con floor, I was greeted with the circus of vendors that usually greet one at this sort of an event. Yet, at an event with no real content, to have this many vendors sort of seemed unfair. Its like all you got with the purchase of a badge was the opportunity to purchase more stuff while inside the con. That is a backwards way to do business.
Artist Alley was unfortunately pretty sad as well. Only about three rows strong and not alot of fans perusing said rows. It was really weird to look into the faces of so many lost and confused attendees, not knowing where to go or what to do to make the price of admission worthwhile. The panels offered were meager and spread out way too far (and Seth Green appeared at 90 percent of them… Not that I dont like Seth Green, but that the dude doesn’t even write comic books!) to be enjoyable, and with hardly any of the heavy hitters in the industry present, most events were made up of unknowns or glorified fans.
The one thing that seemed to actually excite people was something entirely non comic related. Summer Glau’s autograph line stretched the entire length of the space, and seemed to contain at least 80 percent of the people in attendance. When an attractive girl can overshadow the entire rest of your con, you know something is wrong. In my few hours spent wandering the floor, I came to a sad conclusion… No one really cared. The fans, the exhibitors, the artists… It seemed like everyone was just going through the motions. Like this was a shell of a con, it looked like one from all outside accounts, but once inside you quickly find it hollow and devoid of any real substance.
Well, its been real folks. Check back next week for a review of the live comedy taping “Comedy by the Numbers” performed by Bob Odenkirk and a cast of improv and T.V greats.
And as always,
“Keep em’ bagged and boarded”
-Matt Cohen is currently trying to recreate Kandor in a Fresca bottle.
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