I went last Saturday and Sunday. The panel on cultural diversity in comics had Damion Poitier (actor and stuntman) and David Williams (artist for Marvel and DC Comics). Both are black. Well, Damion is a bit blacker, and he projected an actor’s voice that needed no microphone. Damion said that writers ought to call him when they have an idea that might be questionable. Like making the new DC Comics Wally West a teen guy of color and (surprise, surprise, I thought it was done to death when I read it) he is in trouble with the law. Sigh. He also said that Luke Cage of Marvel Comics ought to be running some businesses in the hood, not just running another Avenger’s spinoff superhero team. You know what? Much as I like how Luke Cage is done nowadays (the tough guy with a heart of gold, a heck of an improvement over the chain-for-a-belt blaxploitation version from years past), this is a great idea! I asked Damion if he has considered writing. I remember Damion better, although both guys were good. Actors have presence.
The panel for Creating Comics and Book for all ages had Trina Robbins, writer and HERstorian for over 40 years. The secret to all writing all ages books: Write a good story, and leave out graphic sex and violence. You can have grown-up references (Rocky and Bullwinkle, or Powerpuff Girls and the Beatles episode). Bill Morrison of Bongo Comics (Simpsons and Futurama comic books) said that Batton Lash (cover artist for Holly’s Super Bad Hair Day, and artist/writer for Bongo Comics, Batton does it all!) would ask about events in old Gold Key 1960’s comics; as long as the reader does not have to understand the event to understand the story, it is fine.
Trina pointed out that girls did not like that comic books stores (1) were stuffed with boys and (2) did not smell good, but then came manga that girls love, like Far Away (a girl is blown into another world). Trina does an all-ages book called Chicagoland Detective Agency starring Megan, a vegetarian, manga-reading, haiku-writing teen girl. One story had a witch teen girl who was crushing on Megan: Trina was not to use the L word in the book. Trina had one copy left to sell at the convention. I said I got dibs on the L book! It was a wonderful read, I gotta buy more of her stuff! Trina said that kids tend to read up: tween girls read teen girl comics, teen girls read romance. NEVER write just for kids, that is writing down to them. I gave Trina my Holly business card and showed her Lash’s cover art for Holly’s Super Bad Hair Day. She said Holly’s costume looked tight. Yeah, that is part of the joke about how super heroines are drawn, and part of the burden Holly carries. But Trina seemed to like the idea of Holly, a superheroine with flaws. Maybe I should see if Trina would like to read a Holly story. Maybe Holly should meet a Trina character: Holly would like that. She could learn from Trina. I could too.
I asked Morpheus if I should take the blue pill or the red pill. He said it depended on what I wanted.
The presenter did a great job as Zantanna: she looked the part (wow), and she did magic flashes with her hands (WOW). Robocop won the costume contest. He insisted.
I bought a lot of comics and books, figuring that I would not be going to the San Diego Comic Con this year. (I don’t even have a hotel reserved yet!) A few standouts from my purchases:
* The first half of the Bobby London run on Popeye. Excellent.
* Edison Rex, a super villain-turned-hero who gets no heroic respect.
* Terry Moore’s Echo. After I told him that Holly punched her way to the top of my stories, he told me that his character Katchoo took over his comic book series Strangers in Paradise when he had planned on her only being in the few issues. Characters can push the author around. Frank Miller was right about Sin City’s Marv. (Update: I read it all in one sitting, or one lay-in-bedding, lost sleep but worth it.)
I finished by watching The Batman Chronicles, a non-profit fan flick about a younger Batman just starting out, by Actor (he did the Joker, and did a great Joker laugh for us), Producer & Editor Anthony Misiano. Look it up on YouTube, it is worth watching. Anthony said that the Joker is fun to act out because you do not have to hold back.