Friday, October 14, 2011

New York Comic Con 2011 -- Friday (officially Day 2; my Day 1)

Attended two panels:

1. Will Eisner's The Spirit and Bob Kane's The Batman with Michael Uslan, Dennis O'Neil, Paul Levitz, and Chris Couch; moderated by Danny Fingeroth.  Ostensibly, a discussion and analysis of the parallels between Eisner's and Kane's careers and each of their iconic most creations.  Because the panelists were seated at the same level as the crowd and I was at the back, I couldn't see all of them and wasn't always sure who was talking.  Early on, I believe it was Couch and Levitz who were dwelling on Eisner's and Kane's business savvy, and I though we were heading off-track.  But when O'Neil took over and asserted how the earliest Batman were clearly pulp-derived, while Spirit stories "read practically like Yiddish fables", I knew we were exactly where we were supposed to be.

I'm pretty sure it was Levitz (though it could've been O'Neil) who was explaining how the creation of the rift between Kane and Bob Finger over their versions of Batman's played out in interviews with and letters from both in fanzines of the '60's.  To contextualize how it was via such venues and during that era that comic creators were first uncovered and celebrated, Levitz (I'm 90% sure it was him, anyway) gave the example of the identifying of a "great funny animal artits who'd created all these characters" dispelled the myth (that the studio deliberately perpetuated) that Walt Disney himself drew all the Disney comics...I was giddy waiting for Paul to say it, and sure enough, "Carl Barks" was uttered.  Right there, my day was mad.e

The Q&A degenerated into persistent inquiries about "who really" created Batman.  Levitz and O'Neil implored that it doesn't matter and isn't that black-and-white, as, from their decades of writing comics, when working as part of a creative team where things are clicking, it's not always clear afterwards how and in what order things transpired.  Levitz censured, "Look, it's fun to speculate and bet on it from out there on the sidelines, but really, that's not what it should be all about."  (Paraphrased.)  This appeared to evoke some offended murmuring in parts of the audience, but I don't think that was Levitz' intention -- Levitz proceeded to beg, "The amazing thing is that 70 years later, we're here, still talking about this stuff"...over and over, several times, with slight variations in the wording.  It started to feel like an effusive, over-the-top, histrionic display of sentiment and idealism, but I was completely on board with what he was trying to say.

2. DC All Access: Green Lantern with Brian Cunningham, Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard, and Peter Tomasi; hosted by Bob Wayne.  As the whole point of the New 52 is to be an unquestionable jumping-on point, I've finally started reading the Green Lantern titles.  But they're still very much informed by what's preceded them, so I'm still sketchy on a lot of the characters and the mythology, so for a lot of the panel, I didn't really know what was being talked about...and, to top it off, the fact that I hadn't slept at all last night finally seemed to catch up with me, and I thought my head was about to just plain drop.  But things really became lively with the sense of polarization when, during the Q&A, when a fan asked about the specifics of Kyle Rayner's retconning, Bedard and Tomasi started extolling that the relaunch has been freeing and has opened up lots of exciting possibilities, advising that fans shouldn't get so hung-up on continuity. 

Bought wayyyy too many comics.  Won't list all of them, or show all of the covers, but here's some choice example's of the day's haul:

Weathered the dealers' floor and had dinner with Joe Torcivia and David Gerstein.  Lots of talking about comics, including, naturally, David and Joe enthusiastically recounting some of their freelance experiences, and David his work at Gemstone.  All sorts of insight gleaned. 

Very much in need of some sleep.  More panels, comics, and hanging out with friends 'til the end of the weekend!

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