Aron Head, whose own blog you can check out here, is providing us on-the-scene reports from Wizard World Texas this weekend in Arlington, Texas.
The mighty pop culture expo that is Wizard World rolled into Arlington, Texas today, smack-dab in the middle of Dallas-Fort Worth. It’s the biggest such show to visit Texas each year in addition to being the last show of the year for Wizard.
I love the dealer room at these events, but by far I’m a junkie for the panels. Here’s what I did today…
Angel Medina (Artist, Sensational Spider-Man) gave a session on “The Philosophy of Comics” as part of the Wizard School series. He spoke a great deal on his own personal comics philosophy sharing much about his journey into the industry.
“I was a complete comics nerd,” He said. While in grade school – fourth or fifth grade – he produced his own comic during the Christmas break complete with ads. He’d drawn his own guy-kicking-sand-into-the-face-of-the-weakling. Remember those Hostess cupcake comic ads from the 70′s and 80′s featuring various DC and Marvel heroes? He drew those into his book, too.
“I drew super-heroes eating Twinkies!” He shook his head, “I was such a nerd.”
Mr. Medina went on to mention that dealing with editors has been his most frustrating experience in the funny book business. His recommendation: “Turn it in exactly when it’s due. Don’t give them any additional time to edit.”
He spoke about his days drawing Dreadstar (Created by Jim Starlin, written by Peter David, and published by now defunct First Comics). He got the gig while he was in college. As exciting as working on the book was, he expressed that he didn’t fully appreciate it at the time.
First of all, Jim Starlin was a tremendous influence on him. He grew up with reprints of Starlin’s original run on Warlock and was amazed by the man’s revolutionary painting techniques on such works as Metamorphosis Odyssey and The Price.
“I love Starlin’s cosmic stuff.”
Further, he had a terrific working relationship with Peter David.
“Peter David,” Medina said, “is the biggest comic nerd. And you want to work with the nerds.”
He and David developed a great working relationship, he shared. In fact, he started planting gags in the pages. He dropped a recurring, unscripted character into the scenes – a peculiar bulldog-like alien which wore a different hat each issue.
David never said a word.
While working on Dreadstar, Medina retained his job at Sears. After all, how long can this comic job last? Who gets paid to draw at home?
Almost two decades later, he still marvels at that.
At the next panel I attended, Ralph Tedesco (writer, Grimm Fairy Tales) and Christian Beranek (writer, Se7en: Lust) from Zenescope Entertainment were the featured speakers for “What It Takes to Make It In Comics.” While they recommended persistence, viral marketing and schmoozing to break into the industry, Raven Gregory (writer, Return to Wonderland, The Gift) hijacked the panel crying “ATTICA!” from the rear of the room as he approached the dais.
“There are people who make millions of dollars in comics,” He declared to those gathered, “But it isn’t going to be you.”
A real motivational speaker, that Mr. Gregory.
At the third panel I attended, Greg Pak spoke on all things Hulk discussing those items that have been so well reported on Newsarama concerning the aftermath, or Aftersmash, of World War Hulk. He did reveal a few things:
* His favorite bit of dialogue was in WWH #1 during the Hulk’s battle with Black Bolt. “I didn’t come here for a whisper,” the green behemoth growls after Black Bolt’s explosive “Enough.” “I wanna hear you scream!” It’s a good line.
* Pak reported that Skaar, the Hulk’s boy, will have lots of adventures on his home planet but his story will eventually have an impact on the Marvel U.
* The writer also made a cryptic revelation that next up is “the most disturbing and challenging project I have worked on in any medium.” He is not yet at liberty to formally announce it, though.
The last panel I attended was DC Nation with Dan DiDio and Bob Wayne. Always entertaining, Bob and Dan put on a fun show. I’ve seen Dan at several conventions over the years and I must say that he had an earnestness today that I have not previously observed. Still a smart-ass, but warm and fuzzy, too.
A number of fans expressed concern at how harshly Risk has been treated both in Infinite Crisis (where one arm was ripped off by Superboy-Prime) and in Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Superman-Prime (Where the Superboy-Prime all grown up tears off the other arm). While Risk’s arms may have been tossed away, the character has not. Didio said that his story isn’t over.
At least one member of the audience complained about the return of Kyle Rayner’s crab mask. “It’s recognizable,” DiDio shrugged.
Upon hearing complaints about the delays suffered by All-Star Batman & Robin, Bob said: “We will stop this panel and turn this room around!”
Mark Waid will remain on Flash for at least six more issues.
The Time Masters will be featured in an upcoming Booster Gold arc. Bob Wayne wrote the 1990 Time Masters mini-series – and I loved that! So, I’m a little excited.
Another fan expressed concern that the DCU is always in a state of crisis, nothing is ever resolved.
“If we resolve everything,” DiDio asked, “What’s the next book you’re going to buy?”
“A Marvel book,” someone replied.
Don’t get too sentimental about his recent death. Bart Allen’s story is not over, according to DiDio.
And maybe we shouldn’t be overly bummed about Conner Kent. When asked if there were plans for Kon-El, the answer provided was a coy “Maybe.”
I miss me some Superboy. Come on, Conner!
That was Friday at WWTX. I’ll be back for more on Saturday and Sunday.