By Scott Tipton
So I'm freshly returned from my inaugural trip both to the New York Comic-Con and New York City itself, and I've got to say, I came away very impressed. Quite possibly the best convention experience I've ever had, although that came not so much from the convention as the company, but I'll get back to that in a bit.
The lobby of the Javits seemed quiet enough, and a departure from the usual masses of crowds you see in the hours before the San Diego Comic-Con. What I didn't realize was that Friday was only open a half-day for fans, with the first half reserved for exhibitors and professionals, a custom I wouldn't mind seeing San Diego return to.
However, the quiet didn't last long as I tried to get my badge, and was met by the longest professionals line I've ever seen at a convention. Maybe it's the fact that Marvel and DC are both New York-based, or maybe this show just has a more generous definition of "professional," but ay caramba, that was a long line.
Credit where it's due, though: the line moved pretty fast, and after only about 20 minutes or so, I had my badge and was on the show floor.
Mattel had the primo spot on the floor right by the front entrance, and even staked out the main entrance with a statue promoting their show exclusive, "Faker," from their Internet-only He-Man line. I can't count the number of times I overheard people asking "Why is He-Man blue?"
Mattel had the biggest showing of new product among the few toy companies that attended, including this premiere of the latest line of DC Classics figures, with a fantastic-looking Green Arrow and Black Canary in the mix, and of all things, a Chemo Build-a-Figure. Nice.
There's also a Silver Age Superman/Brainiac two-pack in the works, which will feature the classic Brainiac with his tiny, tiny shorts.
They also premiered this summer's San Diego exclusive, an Anti-Monitor for their 3 ¾-inch collection. Even crazier was the news that every day of the show they'd be raffling off one of these colossal-sized versions of the same figure. Wow.
Mattel will also be continuing their JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED line with assortments available only on their Web site, such as the Legion of Superheroes...
...and the Marvel family, including the Old Wizard Shazam himself.
Mattel's other big premiere at the show was their new line of GHOSTBUSTERS figures, which, I have to admit, impressed the hell out of me. I'll be getting all of these for sure.
Someone made the observation that the folks who came in costume here at the New York show didn't quite have the confidence of the cosplayers at San Diego, but there were a few who more than made up for their slightly sheepish brethren in the confidence department. First off was this hilarious Deadpool, often seen hamming it up around the Marvel booth.
This J. Jonah Jameson was a crack-up.
And this giant Hulk made up for its somewhat off-putting angularity with its sheer size. Plus, it kinda looks like a Sienkiewicz drawing...
Marvel was clearly showing where their toy emphasis would be in the next year: their upcoming 3 ¾-inch line. While I'm not eager to start yet another collection, I have to admit these look pretty sharp.
DC Direct didn't have a whole lot new to show off, either. This one-sixth scale Jay Garrick was impressive (especially the helmet).
And the upcoming spectrum of new Lanterns looked pretty sweet as well.
Although they'd been announced for a while now, the History of the DCU figures were also impressive up close, particularly Blue Devil.
I was only on one panel this time around, IDW's 10th anniversary panel:
If you'd like to hear full details on the panel, you can read all about it here and here. And there's even some video of it to be seen here, although it's been edited with a focus on the ANGEL comic-book news, which means all you'll see of me is just my laughing at Brian Lynch's jokes. Which, coincidentally, is not far removed from how the full panel went. Damn.
The overall vibe seemed to be that the show was quite a success, with tickets sold out for Saturday and Sunday, and reports of healthy business on the floor for the exhibitors, recession or no recession. From my perspective, it felt like the San Diego Comic-Con did about four years ago, before the Hollywood monsters came in and took it over, and brought the mainstream media masses with them. It felt much more like a comic-book show, and damned if that didn't feel pretty good.
IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall and I meet up with ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL artist Franco Urru, my good friend (and longtime collaborator on nearly all of my comics) David Messina, artist Federica Manfredi and GHOST WHISPERER artist Elena Casagrande.
Another group shot, this time with me, David Messina, Franco Urru and artist Stephen Mooney, who's illustrated books like Brian Lynch's ANGEL and Josh Jabcuga's THE MUMMY: THE RISE AND FALL OF XANGO'S AX. Stephen and I are currently working on ANGEL: NOT FADE AWAY, an adaptation of the series' heartbreaking final episode.
Artist Sara Pichelli is currently doing some work for Marvel, and provided artwork for my ALIEN SPOTLIGHT: GORN one-shot and issues of several of my other STAR TREK miniseries. She's also insanely entertaining to be around.
Elena Casagrande provided the art for my STAR TREK: ORIONS spotlight issue, and is currently contributing to my ANGEL: SMILE TIME series as well. Look for several new projects from Elena and me to be announced in the weeks and months to come.
David Messina presented me with this page from the upcoming second issue of our series ANGEL: SMILE TIME, from one of the new scenes we were able to add to the adaptation. Just the sight of the angry Angel puppet kicking ass makes me happy. David and I also have some new projects in the works for later in the year that we can't quite talk about yet.
And finally, Elena Casagrande created this marvelous piece for me right before my very eyes. Just fantastic. It's currently hanging in my office, so Zatanna is always throwing her top hat my way.
Working in comics nowadays, particularly as a writer, can be a pretty solitary business, with most if not all of your interactions with your collaborators taking place over e-mail. So what a pleasure it was for me to discover that the insanely talented artists who have been drawing my books for the past several years also happen to be some of the coolest, friendliest folks I've ever met.