DCU and me, baby

Essays, Art, Videos - all on the subject of comics

So, let me tell you about my experience at Fan Expo Canada 2014.

Let’s begin with my attempt to get Press Accreditation.

I administrate a website called the DC Database. It’s the largest source of encyclopedic information about DC Comics on the internet. For realzies. And while anyone can edit on it, the administrators are a more like volunteer staff than they are anything else.

So, my buddy Jamie Hari, the founder of that website (and the Marvel Database too) put in a request for some press passes for he and I, and we were turned down, because we don’t do much news coverage. Obviously. Because we’re an encyclopedia. We do also run a podcast called Comic Book Showcase on Youtube (which has a surprisingly big following, considering we’re just four losers shooting the shit about comics). We also live-tweeted much of our time at NYCC last October, and write editorials and blogs on the website.

So, Jamie, being a persistent fellow, called them up and argued with them until they agreed to give us passes for Thursday and Sunday - the two cruddiest days of any convention. By some miracle, he also snagged day passes for Saturday and Friday.

I attended Saturday and Sunday - and it was a world of difference between the two, lemme tell ya.

But before I get to that, there’s even more preamble. I am sick right now. All the week leading up to the convention, I had a sinus infection. Fortunately, the worst of it migrated to my chest, and some cough-suppressant helped keep me from hacking away all day.

But I was not ready for Saturday.

That place was packed.

One of the important things to note about Fan Expo Canada is that despite likely having broken its own attendance record and become the second largest convention in North America (behind SDCC and before NYCC) - it is not a comic convention per se. It is a fandom convention.

There were numerous cosplayers, but the vast majority of them were dressed as Doctor Who characters. There’s never a shortage of shitty Harley Quinn cosplay at any convention, but DC’s representation was abysmal. Hardly anyone was repping DC in the costume department.

So, having brought my fo’real camera this time, after slumming it with an iphone at NYCC last year, I had practically no good opportunities to whip it out and snap some cosplay photos. In fact, the only time I did whip out the camera was to take the above shitty photo of the life-size Batmobile as it will appear in Batman: Arkham Knight (and it does look pretty bad-ass). But as I was saying, I was not prepared for Saturday, and the crowds and the heat gave my sick head the woozies, so the best I could muster was an awkward photo of a stationary object.

I had also intended to visit the DC panel for Batman’s 75th Anniversary, but because I had attended the Marvel All Access panel in the same room right before that, I thought I could just stay in the room (like they do at virtually every other convention), but instead we were kicked out, and sent to the back of the line - which of course meant that if you attended one panel, there was no way you could attend the other. So, my bad, but also Fan Expo’s bad.

Previous posts about my visits to convention have gone into detail about my failure to talk to strangers effectively, but I did okay this time. I stopped by Chrissie Zullo's booth, remembering her name from both her stint on a Fables spin-off starring Cinderella and from following her on deviantART. I knew I wanted a print or two, but I wanted to keep a budget and see what else was there, so I briefly mentioned that I was following her on deviantArt and awkwardly wandered away (the only way to leave a booth when you haven’t bought something). But I made mental notes of the prints I liked best.

Eventually, I saw everything I could stand to see, and got sick of being around so many people, and went home to hack up as much chest and sinus goop I could before the next morning.

I slept in a bit on Sunday morning, and arrived just in time to catch one of my favourite panels, DC’s Master Class: Art History, where they get three of their artists to just draw crap for the audience while they talk about their work and their methods.

It was pretty great. No spoileriffic bombs were dropped. Nobody cheered or screamed orgiastically. It was just a lot of interesting information and some cool art made by some cool people. This time, the panel included Yanick Paquette, Francis Manapul, and Jill Thompson. I’d seen Yanick do the same kind of panel in New York, but he kept things fresh, by comparing drawing to composing music - which is something I can actually relate to, since that’s one of my hobbies. (I’m far less good at drawing).

Afterward, Jamie and I caught up for lunch and then I rushed back to Artist Alley in the hopes of picking up some of the prints I had liked. I had been eyeing some of Jill Thompson's prints the day before, but she wasn't around at the time. When I stopped by on Sunday, she was in an involved discussion with another fan about the pitfalls of using kickstarter to fund a project (this one?). So, I had a look through her book of original art for sale, and by golly I was blown away by her art for Delirium’s Party: A Little Endless Storybook. It was beautiful, and I told her so, and purchased a little print of Delirium for myself.

I then returned to Chrissie Zullo, and got into a nice little exchange about being a freelance artist. I mentioned my friend Ashleigh Popplewell again, but didn’t drop her name, because last time I did that, Cat Staggs seemed so disappointed that Ashleigh wasn’t actually at the con that I felt bad for mentioning it. I picked up two prints, and got a third for free (pretty cool, guys). Then I hurried through the comic stacks (which were way overpriced, by the way) and snagged a first edition copy of Doom Patrol: Crawling From the Wreckage by Grant Morrison (that version is out of print now).

After that, I stopped by a trivia game that was all DC questions, and didn’t get a chance to compete, but I knew all of the answers, and would have owned everyone else. Alas!

Finally, I got home, and took the requisite instagram of all the crap I bought, and wrote up a review/editorial about the DC Master Class panel I went to (and you can read that here, if you want!) in the hopes that Fan Expo would realize that we do actually cover conventions, when we go to them.

All in all, my experience on Sunday made me forget just how trying and unpleasant Saturday was, but I’m still disappointed at just how little presence I felt from fans of DC this year.

zillylilly:

How was your day? Mine was filled with DC Bombshell Batwoman awesomeness. #dcbombshellsbatwoman #dccomics #dcbombshell #batwoman #cosplay #fanexpo

Some nice Bombshell Batwoman cosplay from FanExpo 2014 that I saw, but was too wimpy to take pictures of myself.

zillylilly:

How was your day? Mine was filled with DC Bombshell Batwoman awesomeness. #dcbombshellsbatwoman #dccomics #dcbombshell #batwoman #cosplay #fanexpo

Some nice Bombshell Batwoman cosplay from FanExpo 2014 that I saw, but was too wimpy to take pictures of myself.

Martha Wayne being a bad-ass mom.

These pages are just meant to illustrate a point I wanted to make in response to (and agreement with) this post.

I think, historically, it has been true that Martha ends up being played off as more of a “how horrible it was to lose a mother!” scenario than “how horrible it was to lose that mother, of all mothers!” - which is what we should be feeling.

I think jamesthefourth and Scott Snyder did a fine job of portraying Martha as a real person in unexpected ways during the City of the Owls storyline and especially the backups featuring Jarvis Pennyworth (which were actually my favourite part of that story).

She’s presented as a woman who has to fight for the opportunity to be charitable in a world that wants to let those less fortunate simply go unheeded. She comes off as a mother to Bruce - a busy mother, but a caring mother. She’s a little sassy, which is what I meant by unexpected.

She seemed real.

I’d like to see more of that in future depictions of Martha Wayne, and I’d like to see more of her in general. Especially her relationship with the Kane family. That is an area that hasn’t been explored deeply enough.

The examples above come from the backups in Batman #9 and #10 of the New 52 series, with lovely art by Rafael Albuquerque.

espanolbot:

Martha Wayne needs to be in more comics. A lot of writers seem to focus more upon Bruce’s dad Thomas, with Martha forming a nebulous Mum Cloud, on the basis that Thomas was a doctor and a defacto aristocrat and thus influenced a lot of Bruce’s personality in a “help people and be socially responsible with your wealth” kind of way, but there have been numerous portrayals of Martha that show her impact on Bruce too.

For example, in Paul Dini’s Streets of Gotham series, they actually explore the beginnings of Martha and Thomas’ relationship and how it was her influence that caused Thomas to actually START being the socially responsible person he later became. In addition to giving her an actual personality and backstory.

Or in Geoff John’s Batman: Earth One they merge her with the Arkham family, and make her an advocate for the mentally ill in addition to trying Bruce directly to what would later become Arkham Asylum.

A lot of the time writers instead seem to focus more on the fact that she was killed rather than her life… which is actually kind of depressing. In Greg Rucka’s Death and the Maidens, for example, when his parents’ ghosts/hallucinations claiming to be ghosts appear Martha has most of her face shot off as that’s the only way Bruce can remember hero. Or in Grant Morrison’s Batman run where she doesn’t appear at all, but is used more as a pawn by her family (who think Thomas was a bad influence) or as a means to hurt Bruce (faking evidence that she was a drug addict who Thomas pimped out to his friends).

Martha Wayne can and has been a very interesting character in her own right, but we’re in a situation where she’s left more in the background. Like in Batman Begins I don’t even think that she had any lines, with all Bruce’s parental advice coming from his Dad or Alfred.

Which, again, is kind of depressing.

Martha Wayne one-shot, evilmarguerite.
Pitch it til your arm hurts.


I think, historically, it has been true that Martha ends up being played off as more of a “how horrible it was to lose a mother!” scenario than “how horrible it was to lose that mother, of all mothers!” - which is what we should be feeling.

I think jamesthefourth and Scott Snyder did a fine job of portraying Martha as a real person in unexpected ways during the City of the Owls storyline and especially the backups featuring Jarvis Pennyworth (which were actually my favourite part of that story).

She’s presented as a woman who has to fight for the opportunity to be charitable in a world that wants to let those less fortunate simply go unheeded. She comes off as a mother to Bruce - a busy mother, but a caring mother. She’s a little sassy, which is what I meant by unexpected.

She seemed real.

I’d like to see more of that in future depictions of Martha Wayne, and I’d like to see more of her in general. Especially her relationship with the Kane family. That is an area that hasn’t been explored deeply enough.

(via evilmarguerite)

Cover art for Harley Quinn #10 by Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts.

Cover art for Harley Quinn #10 by Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts.

brianmichaelbendis:

Batman, Green Arrow, and the Question poster by Denys Cowan & Bill Sienkiewicz.This piece was created for a retail poster to promote the 1988 three-part “Fables” story arc that ran through Detective Annual #1, Green Arrow Annual #1, and Question Annual #1.

brianmichaelbendis:

Batman, Green Arrow, and the Question poster by Denys Cowan & Bill Sienkiewicz.

This piece was created for a retail poster to promote the 1988 three-part “Fables” story arc that ran through Detective Annual #1, Green Arrow Annual #1, and Question Annual #1.

(Source: alexhchung, via evilmarguerite)