New York Comic Con 2011 Overview Part 1

To get a clearer idea of where my head was in a jumbled state and the factor of this being possibly a serious mishmosh, let’s set some background.

I’m working from memory mostly, with the notes of my schedule for reference. Twitter and Facebook were impossible to get onto while in Javits. I tried, and was successful sometimes, but mostly nope, so my notes are photos, videos, what I bought, sketches and my good ol noggin. Another thing to note is that on Wednesday my mom admitted herself back into the hospital. She was there throughout the weekend and is still there as I write this on Monday night. It is nothing serious and they are getting down to the bottom to various problems she has had lately, but it added a stress factor to what usually is my most exciting weekend I New York for the last six years.

DAY ONE- Thursday

I got to the convention center and down into the press room, registered and ready to hit the floor just around opening at 4. The first person I saw before even getting on the show floor was Steve Talkowski. He introduced me to Tim Jester and I got to see his GibbyGop figure while admiring the Tokidoki car as well.

For this first official preview night where I had no panels or scheduled press interviews or autograph sessions I wanted to hit up so it was all about hitting the floor, getting whatever goodies I could and seeing as much as I could before 7 PM hit and it was time for the Tom Morello concert.

I gave my hand at Dead Rising 2: Off The Record and I’m thinking I’ll want it eventually, although I’ve yet to beat Dead Rising 2. A lot of the game booths pertained to genres I didn’t care about or had no interest in, but at least Ubisoft was there with some Assassin’s Creed and their game for the TinTin film. I played that and found it really fun.

Over at the Rockstar booth they were showing off the 10th anniversary edition of GTA3 which is a port for mobile devices and tablets. I got the feel for it and with some final tweaking it’ll definitely find new life on iPhones/pad/droids/whatever.

They were also showing Max Payne 3 in an early build in a closed off room. I’m thinking I’m probably not even supposed to TALK about the game, but damn it, it’s not video or photos, it’s just some dteails on awesomeness. They showed us a sequence flashback with Max Payne looking like his old self in New York City. In this wild sequence we find out why and how he ended up in the games main part of Brazil. They showed us the awesome mechanics and amazing graphics that are still in process, which means they’ll get even better. They then showed us a section of the Brazil part where Max is running around protecting his girl. The bullet time and final kill shots are just mesmerizing and there’s even SPECIAL bullet time sequences to allow for balls out ballistic kick ass action and Max is way more brutal now. After a dive he can be on the ground and turn around while still shooting. While Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations are going to keep me busy, I look super forward to Payne right now after that preview they gave us.

Walking the floor exploring awarded me seeing various other industry friends and acquaintances such as Dean Haspiel, Chris Miskiewicz, Joe Infurnari, Michel Fiffe and Kat Roberts (aka The ACT-I-VATE Crew) and in the Cultyard, Jared Deal. I also got to see the FIRST comics booth and had a good conversation with the owner of the returning publishing venture. I was also happy to see Jarret Williams, writer/artist of Super Pro K.O. from ONI Press. He was the first of the very few sketches I was able to pull off at the convention this year.

Other things of note were the awesome Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City action figures on display the DC Booth, the Hasbro Announcement of bringing back Jem and The Holograms and while I found the new Rayman game way challenging it looks freaking awesome and that visual standpoint should help it overcome it’s pretty high difficulty in 2-D platforming.

I also really enjoyed meeting street artist/cartoonist Tito Na Roa. When he hit New York City as part of visiting for NYCC he hit up the legends rooftop in Manhattan. I am hoping he somehow finds/found time to hit up more walls before going home, but even if he didn’t at least he solds his books at NYCC and his project is so mesmerizing.

Before the show floor closed on Sunday I was staring at Mattel’s collection of WWE figures, because no matter what I can’t seem to quit this shit. No matter how bad it gets. I’m still not the kind of fan they want though and never will be. My TV’s aren’t counted in market share, I don;t buy PPVs, I don’t go to live events, I don’t buy the toys and I criticize them left and right whenever I can. So I’m an addict, but at least I take my methodrone.

I almost decided to not go to the Tom Morello concert, but I am very glad I did. It was a super enjoyable and fun concert to listen and watch. He did a full amazing set of Night

I fell like I’m leaving out essential information in that the evening before I was off buying an iPhone and while I was about to go home is when my mother called me to tell me she was going into the hospital. She didn’t even know if she was being admitted till much later, which is why I wasn’t worried on Thursday. She wasn’t put into a room into late Thursday.

After the concert I went home knowing that the next few days were going to be intense and brutal.

BBF2011: Funny Ha-Ha-Comedy in Comics

This panel featured four very talented comics creator with various pedigrees and creators of very different types of comics all that would fall under humor in the format of sequential storytelling.
Keith Knight, a syndicated strip cartoonist he is famous for his The K Chronicles a (th)INK strips. Jennifer Hayden, creator of the strip Underwire which appeared on Act-I-Vate and the upcoming graphic novel The Story of My Tits. Kate Beaton, the creator of the obscenely popular strip and now collected edition “Hark, A Vagrant” and Michael Kupperman, writer/artist of Tales Designed to Thrizzle and the upcoming graphic novel “Mark Twain’s Autobiography: 1900-2010”. It was moderated by The Beat‘s Heidi McDonald.

The panel started out with each panelist talking about their past and why they use comedy in the majority of their work.

Jennifer told about a panel in Underwire which showed the aftermath of her accidentally hitting a deer. It displayed her thoughts on the deers defecation upon death. She received polar opposite reactions to this one panel, some found if it sad & poignant, others laughed out loud non-stop. She loves how one can use humor in comics to hide or explore tragedy easier and also allow one to say the things on the page one wouldn’t/couldn’t say in person.

Kate Beaton detailed how Hark, A Vagrant came out as started out being comics editor on her college paper and having to fill the page. She originally planned to become a professor, but the comics just spiraled. She loves how even though her strips use lots of comedy and jokes people still explore the real history afterward.

Michael Kupperman made the announcement of his and Kate’s soon to regular comedy show at Luca Lounge in Manhattan. This should be definitely something to check out if you can.

Keith talked about his history as a cartoonist and the development of the strip, but the best was his statement that “if it doesn’t make you laugh, at least it makes you think, and it doesn’t make you think, at least it makes you laugh, but when both…”

Heidi’s first official question was if they were the class clown/how did you find out you were funny? Which of course all the panelists found awkward but found good answers to.

Keith kind of dodged the questions, but dropped some pontification. On the other Jennifer stated she was the class clown and the family clown. As a kid she would stuff her dad’s tie in a drink or in his mouth. She grew up around very stuffy people and hated it, so she used humor in way of rebellion.

Kate also said she was the class clown out of necessity. She said she was a pudgy little kid, so the best defense was to be the funny kid. Being the one people looked to for funny gave her power and control unlike anything else she could ever feel and that if someone is meant for comedy they figure it out early on.

Michael just said “What they said”…

Heidi asked Kate specifically (but open to all) that because she handles obscure history if there was anyone/thing that can’t be funny. Kate stated people are always asking for Hitler, she doesn’t know why. She said some people from history are so tragic that you want to try and tackle the story, but it just doesn’t work out. She gave the example of Angelique, the famous Canadian slave accused of arson, who was hanged and burned for her crimes in the 1700′s. She felt that the story could not be approached from a humor standpoint and abandoned trying to make a comic strip version.

I personally would love to see Beaton try to tackle this one again, she could make fun of the fact that in 1700′s Canada was like 1600′s America and so on.

Heidi asked Jennifer abut how her family felt about using them in her strip. Jennifer stated she has to tread carefully and only recently found out her husband didn’t want to be in them and then was flabbergasted when he finally started reading and was “Wait, I’m barely in this anyways! Where am I?”

A story she decided to skip was the the experience of birth control and condoms discussion when her kids went off to college. Find it funny she has no problem telling us in a panel, but not in a strip.

Heidi then asked Keith about the experience of being a very controversial strip cartoonist who has had his strip pulled and banned in many markets.

Keith then went into a very intense and detailed story about a strip he did which made fun about current race relations. This particular strip made an uproar at a university and the university requested he come and talk about the strip. In reaction to the strip a small segment of black students were actually walking around campus with nooses around their necks. He needed to state that at this same university prior to this someone called in a prank terrorist threat on black students, so it wasn’t his strip that caused the problem, there already was one and the politics of that university were prone to that particular strip meant for the whole world. He also finds it funny how in black communities when a situation like this arises the media makes an effort to talk to the craziest person they can find and that’s how you get viral Youtube sensations.

The last question to get any real answers was on Influences.

Kate had stated a few, but she didn’t talk into the mike so it was hard to hear her, but I did catch her state Stephen Leacock, who I previously was not familiar with. He was a Canadian writer and scientist and Kate loves her home town Canada a lot obviously with wanting to write about Angelique and mentioning Leacock. Yup, she’s from Nova Scotia, dontyaknow?

Kupperman cited Monty Python, SCTV and the Smithsonian Book of Comics.

Hayden mentioned growing up on Archie and MAD, but really grew on Doonesbury and also Asterix and as she got older Charles Dickens. She also cited Maurice Sendak.

Knight cited Peanuts, Bill Watterson, Parliament Funkadelic and The Young Ones.

The Q & A and final questions provided nothing further, but it was a satisfying and enjoyable panel with colorful insights.