Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A NYCC 2008 Pictorial

Tomorrow my ComicMix column about how this year's New York Comic Con affected me will be posted, but it's easier to post photos and talk about general stuff here, so enjoy the pictorial. Clicken to embiggen!

One of the first things we did on Friday was look for Jamal Igle, not only because Rob is inking him but because I wanted to find out if Karine has had the baby yet. Not by the end of the weekend! Although it really will be any day now. Jamal was amazingly calm for a first-time dad-to-be. Here he and Rob actually talk shop.

It's always terrific seeing Joe Rubinstein, who greeted me with a terrific hug-from-behind while we were at Danny Fingeroth's table in Artists' Alley. Being a part-time actor as well, Joe's always happy to pose for the camera! I really miss him since he's literally gone Hollywood (i.e., moved to the west coast for good).

Look at how cool the stairwell is decorated! I still don't know how they do that.

Alitha Martinez and son Michael were there. I'm so happy Alitha had a booth, she's been convention-shy until now and it's good to see her getting herself out there. Self-promotion is so important, particularly for women in this business.

Ah, the aforementioned Danny Fingeroth, to whom I will point every time Mom says "so I saw this article about Jews and comics..." I'm eager for his newest book Disguised as Clark Kent to come out in paperback.

A couple Canucks! Here's Janet Hetherington, the queen of horror romance...

...and Leonard Kirk, the king of Leonard Kirk's Balls (which comic strip will doubtless return once he gets his blog up and running again) and of course Rob's penciller on Supergirl for 4+ years. He and Rob also share a birthday.

Phyllis Novin is still inking Bongo books but has a lucrative second career in jazz and blues music. She's one of the most ebullient gals I know, a long-time friend from our Lulu days.

Speaking of Lulu, here's me and Val after the Lulu-sponsored Women in Comics panel. Which of course gave rise to tons of blog-whining about how we don't need a Women in Comics panel any more. Horse-hockey. To quote Melissa Silverstein, "we don't live in a post-feminist world. We live in a sexist world." As soon as women are reading and creating comics in the same numbers as their percentage of the general population, as soon as male artists stop drawing female characters to emphasize sex while male characters get to emphasize strength, as soon as the very many things that give rise to all the thoughtful feminist comics blog posts stop happening, then maybe we don't need a Women in Comics panel any more.

I didn't get any photos of the incredibly well-attended Women in Comics panel because my camera and I just weren't well-situated. I always seemed to arrive late to the panels, which meant all the good seats were taken, and the first three rows were "VIP reserved" so nobody could take those spots unless they overpaid exhorbitant amounts of money. This was the closest I got to the online comics journalism panel, featuring Heidi MacDonald, Matt Brady, Jonah Weiland, my ComicMix news boss Rick Marshall and a couple other guys I didn't know that well.

And this was the Black Panel -- left to right, Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Rashida Lewis, my ComicMix EIC Mike Gold, and my fellow ComicMix columnist Michael Davis moderating. None of the photos I took after Denys Cowan joined the panel came out, I'm afraid. It was 7:30, the last dang panel of the day, and we were all pretty tired. Michael was even low-key, for him. I wish the panel had been earlier, around 4 PM or so, so we could have had enough energy to attend the DC freelancer party that Heidi told us about.

Saturday was a lot more crowded than Friday, as you'd expect. I loved watching the fans stream westward from Penn Station; it was like watching a pilgrimage. A pleasant day to walk to the Javits, but not after the Friday we'd had. Here's the view from artists' alley as things were starting to get uncomfortably crowded.

Fortunately we discovered a sort of lounge set up specifically for pros (and the "press" badge people who love them!), where we found Val and Dave Gallagher on the couch and Bryan Hitch on the right side. Amusingly, although Rob's known Bryan for ages, since their days at Marvel UK, he didn't even notice him until about 5 minutes later. Guess he was too busy posing with Val. It was so great catching up with Bryan, we had a nice long talk with him. I hadn't seen him since... when did the third Harry Potter book come out in paperback? I'll always remember it because Bryan's the one who turned me on to the Potter books, which he says he got into once he heard the audio version done by Stephen Fry.

Ha! The lounge had an oxygen bar on Saturday! It didn't strike me and Val as that different than going through a department store perfume area, or plugging in a new air freshener. But it was funny to see it there. On Sunday they had a popcorn machine instead, which struck me as a lot more practical.

Much of Artists' Alley was way too crowded to get through, but we did run into Bob Wiacek and Tom Smith, and got to talk about "our generation" of superstar pros like John Byrne and George Perez, as well as what everyone was up to. I was amused at Tom's reaction to finding out Robin does all his own work; I guess this is the age when more inkers and even colorists have studios and assistants than they used to. Or maybe it was always that way and I never noticed. Tom asked me with incredulity, "You don't even spot his blacks?" Nope. Robin really is that fast, by himself. It's called "working smarter."

By Sunday we'd given up seeing a lot of our friends, and mostly stuck to panels. Here's Amelia Rules creator Jimmy Gownley and his editor Michael Cohen, whom I hadn't seen since his Strange Attractors days, talking about how they'd turned Amelia into a live-action musical. Seriously! Here are some videos from a New Hampshire community theatre production starring a letter-perfect Casey Perkins as Amelia. My favorite is "Fighting Over Me," but I can't find the filmed version Jimmy showed at the panel, which he directed for a whopping $100 and which is absolutely adorable. Jimmy and Michael plan to make the script (with the story based on the book's Christmas issue) available to community theatres and kids' groups throughout the country.

Jewwwwwws in Spaaaaaace! No, not really, it's the "Disguised as Clark Kent" panel, the Bonus Passover Edition, with Arie Kaplan, Al Jaffe and Danny Fingeroth. Jaffe was such a pip! "I came into the business shortly after the Civil War," he began. He talked about how he got the idea for the famous MAD Fold-Ins (which my brother Jay and I used to go crazy over when we were younger) by looking at fold-outs in Playboy, National Geographic and so forth. Hey, if they can do fold-outs, why not parody that with fold-ins? He approached his bosses reluctantly, saying "I'm submitting something that I would personally reject because it will mutilate the magazine," to which Bill Gaines replied that would be a good thing because it meant readers would have to buy an extra copy. It's not often you see someone as quick-witted in person as on paper, and that was a lot of fun. Bonus trivia bit: Jaffe introduced Chris Claremont to Stan Lee.

We decided to spend another hour or so up in Artists' Alley, where I had the chance to capture Joe Staton drawing. I'm always reluctant to snap photos like this unless the artists say it's okay, because the flash can really disturb the eyes, but Joe was fine with it.

Abby Denson and Heidi MacDonald, always two of the most fashion-forward pros around. I heard from Ed Matthews that the Sticky Pages (aka Gays in Comics) panel which featured Abby and a host of others was terrific as usual, but I couldn't go because it was opposite Jews in Space.

The Comics for Girls panel was pretty well attended with a very impressive lineup of panelists. It was great seeing Archie represented and getting their props for always being girl-accessible, and it's always terrific to find out what Barbara Slate (second from the right) is up to. That was our last panel of the day, and we were just about to head back up to the ComicMix office where Vinnie Bartilucci had offered us a ride home (hooray, no more waiting for the once-hourly bus!) when I heard "Elayne! Elayne!"

It was Tintin! All the way in from the Phillipines, to promote her work on the Shakespeare manga line (she drew Hamlet, as you can see). I was so pleased to see her! There were a lot of folks we missed that I regret not seeing, from the many bloggers to a number of pros, but I'd really wanted to run into Tintin, and now I had. It made my con.

So many people and things inevitably go unmentioned from these overviews, but hey, this was a pictorial, not really a report. It is what it is. Hope you enjoyed it!