Friday, April 18, 2008

New York Comic Con

Today is New York Comic Con day. I get a free pass today to wander around and look at graphic novels. Hopefully, I will get a chance to pick up some free graphic novel donations as well as numerous catalogs and bookmarks. We like to get bookmarks to give away for the teenage programs. Last time I was there they had free DC and Marvel bookmarks which we gave to the teenagers. Hopefully there will be some free manga material we can use in our manga program at the library.

I am going to get a chance to see a lot of people that I recognize or know when I go this morning. My pass is ready. I have to pick up a convention book. There is a screening of a film on Will Eisner which I want to see. I'll probably walk the whole convention floor. The last time I was at the show, there were also several science fiction publishers, a few gaming publishers, and a few oddball exhibits.

I am a bit tired from the workshop yesterday, but I am really looking forward to this convention. I hope they have a lot of freebies. I actually bought a few things last year.

I am going to concentrate on writing my experience at the convention today. I already have finished reading the Rabbi's Cat 1 & 2, and am about to start reading The Ten Cent Plague. However, I think it might be interesting to write my experience of seeing the big convention.

Hopefully a few of you people will be there. Look for me anonymously. Anyways, I am off to start my day. The Jacob Javits Center where the convention is being held is positively enormous. It will take me the whole day to look around.

I never did see the film on Will Eisner, I did get to see some other panels, though. I got there at nine o'clock a.m. The floor did not open until 10 a.m. I spent some time organizing which booths I would go to by floor location. This way, I could visit the booths I wanted to see first then wander. Here is the order
Darkorse (Comic Book Company) #823
Activision (Game Company) #1048
Wizard (Magazine) #1056
Marvel Comics #1141
Publishers Weekly #1164
Diamond Comics Distributor #1231
Tokyopop (Manga) #1321
Image (Comics) #1407
Oni (Comics) #1413
Tor Books #1533
DC Comics #1627
Nickelodeon #1657
Harper Collins #1814
NBM #1917
Penguin #1941
Random House #1920, 1921
Fantagraphics #1948

I basically was looking around to see what they had which we might get for our library. I was surprised by the number of publishers that said that I should look at their website, they no longer sent out catalogs. I ended up giving my address and name at six different places to request paper catalogs and free samples of material. I also picked up a variety of free items which will most likely be added to our collection. I picked up two hardcover books, a dozen free paperbacks including a star wars and several star trek paperbacks, the 30 Days of Night Adaptation to novel form from the movie, and four graphic novels.

This is nothing like Book Expo America, last time I was there I paid to ship 100 pounds of free books and material back to my library. Compared to the book industry, the comic book industry is quite parsimonious. Most of the time they ask you to pay for things at a discount.

I found a really interesting press, Dorchester Publishing which was displaying the hard case crime series, I ended buying a Max Alan Collins Paperback, Deadly Beloved, The first ever Ms. Tree Novel. Ms. Tree was a famous syndicated hardboiled mystery cartoon written during the 1980s and 1990s. It is one of the better black and white mystery noir comics that I have seen. Max Allan Collins also wrote Road to Perdition which was turned into both a graphic novel and a movie. I rather enjoyed the graphic novel.

I ended up walking around for some four hours total. I looked for something to eat, but a sandwich costed $8.00 and I decided it would be better if I just ate when I got home. Drinks were still $3.75 for a soda which was a bit outrageous.

After walking around for quite a bit, I sat down and rested my feet. By that time it was 2:00 P.M. I decided to go and see a few of the panels that they were doing. The First panel was a Choosing The News, The Changing Face of Online Journalism:
Quoting the catalog description:

It's a fact - journalism has changed. With more outlets than ever, more demands from news sources, and comics increasingly covered by the mainstream, how do comics news sites navigate the uncharted waters? Join Matt Brady (Newsarama), Richard George (IGN), Rick Marshall (ComicMix), Brian Heater (Daily Cross Hatch) and others for this engaging discussion, moderated by The Beat's Heidi MacDonald.

Most of the discussion was not focused so much on actual news but what the process was. They said basically, you have to put out news every single day, those who work harder are the ones who win in the end. Also, you have to produce more original content, it is too easy to just take a press release and stick it on your site. This is really a waste of time because it does not have any unique opinion. They pointed out that hype is read a lot more than real journalism, people basically want to be entertained more than get good criticism. Also, you have to watch viral announcements, it is like giving away free advertising and you don't want to do that necessarily.

The next panel which I saw was at 3:00 P.M. It was a set of comic books legends. I am going to list and summarize what I think each one said from:

Joe Simon: Joe simon is most famous for creating Captain America with Jack Kirby. We should bring back the spirit of Captain America without his shield and all the extra gadgets just like he was before. Captain America is the symbol of American spirit and we really need that right now. My brightest student was Stan Lee, and Stan Lee andJack Kirby were the best team together.

Joe Sinnott: The greatest person is Stan Lee I have been working with him for over 58 years. My favorite comic book work was on the Beatles and Babe Ruth.

Murphy Anderson: I worked in the production department in DC comics. I think the greatest comic book artist was Will Eisner.

Jerry Robinson: I remember curating a show at The Kennedy Center. They spent $100 for my picture of the joker, and across the room was a pop art picture of the Joker by an artist named Ramos that was insured for $300,000.

Stan Lee: My greatest contribution will be determined by posterity in the future. My real greatest contribution was paying my wifes allowance. Jack Kirby was the greatest comic artist, he had a tremendous ability to tell a story.

Ramona Fradon: There was never any discrimination against her in the comic books industry. But, sometimes it got a little scary in the afternoon in the bullpen when everyone was yelling. Her most important influence was a woman named Linda Fight. She drew aquaman, plastic man, and Brenda Starr.

Dick Ayers: I had nothing left from Marvel or DC, they still had all of my work. I was writing an autobiography because I wanted to write a story, but I couldn't I could only draw it. When I was contacted by publishers to see if I had any work, I ended up producing my autobiography. I started as a magazine editor. Gene Colan was my the best artist.

Irwin Hayson: When I was drawing Wonder Woman, it drove me to go out with a lot of really tall women. Dondi, my syndicated newspaper strip was a labor of love.

Carmine Infantino: John Infantino, my son is doing marvelous work, much better than I ever did. He also got in in time to get the benefits which we never had during the silver age of comics. My greatest influence was Milton Caniff, I tried to draw like him but never could.

At the beginning of the panel, everyone was clapping and cheering for the artists and editors as they were heading to the stage. There were at least five people with cameras shooting footage of the show. In addition people were taking pictures and using their cell phones to take pictures. A few people were on their laptops typing things up.

This panel was truly incredible to watch. It represented from the beginnings of the comic book industries until the present day.

The last panel I attended was from 4:00-5:00 p.m., Weird Tales-- 85 Years, 85 Storytellers. This panel was on the history of Weird Tales magazine. The panelists were several people from the latest incarnation of weird tales. There was also an archival specialist who was working with Weird Tales. Weird Tales was the first magazine exclusively focused on science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Originally, the stories were not called that. They were simply stories about weird things. It was the source of H.P. Lovecraft (Modern Horror), Robert E. Howard (Swords and Sorcery, and Clark Ashton Smith (Fantasy Poetry or gothic tales.)

I would contest this one, I think Sidney H. Sime, although not as well known as Clark Ashton Smith was the precursor for gothic poetry.

Weird Tales has started adding comic book inserts into the magazine. The panelists said that many of EC Comics stories during the 1950's originated in Weird Tales.

They suggested the March/ April 2008 issue was available at Table D 33 for sale for $5.00. I think the lady was worried that I was going to ask for it for free. I paid the $5.00. The issue is kind of interesting. I am looking at the 85 Weirdest Storytellers of the Past 85 Years article on Pp. 24-41. I haven't actually read it yet.

Anyways, I finished the convention and sat down for a little bit. Then I went to catch a taxi. The taxi man wanted $20.00 for a trip from 34th street to 42nd street. I decided to take a pass and walk to the subway. On the way home, I read a little bit of a star wars paperback in one of the bags which I brought home with me.

I got home and sorted the books which I would keep at home and those which I would bring back to work. I put all of my publishers catalogs, nick nacks, and bookmarks in a separate bag for work. I put this bag in my bag with the books I am bringing in tomorrow.

What I have left is a bunch of Advanced Reading Copies which we are not supposed to add to the library. Adding them is forbidden by the publishers. Some of the Advanced Reading Copies or Advanced Uncorrected Proofs are The Dangerous Days of Daniel by James Patterson and Michael Ledgwick, Little Brown, Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link, Little Brown, The Twelve Kingdoms by Fuyumi Ono, Tokypop, Chalice by Robin McKinley, My Incredible Wonderful Miserable Life by Adam Nimoy (Adam Nimoy is the son of Leonard Nimoy), Daniel X Alien Hunter, A Graphic Novel by James Patterson and Leopoldo Gout, Little Brown. This is the first advanced reading copy of a graphic novel which I have seen.

I also received an interesting graphic novel designed for literacy. It is called The Word Eater by Michael Dahl. The RL is: 2.9 2nd grade, 9th month. The main character is a librarian. He is the hero. I rather like this idea. It is quite appealing.


DineometerDeb said...

What did you think of Rabbi's Cat? I liked the humor but I also enjoy any books that provide a glimpse into a time and culture that I am not familiar with. Our library did not have the second. And you mentioned another graphic novel the other day by Howard Zinn that sounded interesting. I plan to look into that one.

Book Calendar said...

I really enjoyed the Rabbi's Cat, the Rabbi's Cat 2 is also very interesting. I was hoping to give my opinion in the next couple of days. The artist really is exceptional in his style.

I have been caught up in the events of work, seminars, and conventions. The graphic novel is A People's History Of American Empire is interesting, however, it is a bit skewed to the left. The writing is however, very enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

But of course, all librarians are heroes, whether helping people to read in a graphic novel or not!

Maybe when I'm a real librarian (so close, so very close), I'll be able to have work days as cool as yours!