FallCon Report

Well, here it is! My full report of the shenanigans I had at Minnesota’s FallCon, the biggest comics convention that Minnesota has to offer. No big news gets announced at places like this, but it’s nice and small and geeks like me have a great time just yacking it up like we do on the internet about Spider-Man’s deal with the devil or what the hell is up with Batman: RIP. It’s also to see what sort of costumes people came up with and to get the direct opportunity to talk to creators about their craft and how they got started and what they’re working on or what’s coming up.

Let’s allow Keith Champagne to welcome us:

Read the full report behind the cut! (WARNING: IMAGE HEAVY!)

Let’s start off with the cosplayers. Since I took all the photos on the second day (curse me for forgetting my camera!), there were quite a few I had missed from the day before, including a black-costume Spider-Man, an adorable little girl in a wonder Woman costume, a Pixie costume, and a great Superwoman outfit. Still, the ones we got here are fantabulous.

This was helped by the fact that a group of them, including Superman (who I’ve met several times before at other Cons. He’s a great guy and has a few different versions of the outfit), Wonder Woman, Thor, and Batman & Robin down there are the Heroes for Hire. Supes, AKA Greg Carlson, can be reached at supermangregmn@yahoo.com

And how can you NOT do the wrist-bracer thing when you’re with Wonder Woman?

And like all previous FallCons, the Batmobile was there.

“Hail, citizen!”

While sadly Planet Doom Studio’s website seems to be out-of-date, their comics are not. They sadly didn’t have any free stuff this time around, but I highly recommend trying to hunt down Peep and Peep Lite. Just both cute and horrific at the same time or separate.

Adam Hughes was the last person I met at the Con, though he was mostly busy with his commission so I didn’t bug him beyond the picture and asking when All-Star Wonder Woman was going to come out (next year, by the way).

Keith Champagne is just a great guy. He’s friendly, more than willing to talk about the industry and his thoughts about books he’s read, I met him at last year’s FallCon and have been following his work since. I spent a good chunk of my time just chatting with him, getting advice, and discussing his upcoming work (including a Ghostbusters comic that’s being previewed right now on Newsarama). A great inker and a great writer, I’m glad I got to talk to him again.

Plus he let me watch his booth (which had comics and artwork that could’ve been stolen) while he went to get lunch. I told people who stopped by that I was an alternate universe Keith Champagne. I think they bought it.

James Kakalios is the author of The Physics of Superheroes. I met him two FallCons ago and got my hardcover version of the book signed by him. Just another swell guy, though I fear I look fatter in a few of these picture than I really am. I blame it on my awesome corduroy jacket, which adds a few pounds, methinks.

Dan Jurgens – the creator of Booster Gold and the coming permanent writer of the book, as well. He’s nice, professional, and was perfectly willing to take a look at some of the initial pages from Revolution of the Mask at MicroCon several months ago when he was in town. It should be noted here that I felt really bad for the creators who had to sit in these chairs, because they really bring you down and make it seem like everyone is towering over you.

Speaking of really awesome people I met at MicroCon, this is Melissa S. Kaercher, letterer and colorist. Noticing a pattern of how nice and wonderful these people are? Seriously, I didn’t meet a single rude or dismissive person at the Con. Still, Melissa is just sweet and she also gave me some lettering advice back at MicroCon. Colorists and letterers don’t get the praise they deserve and I’m just glad I got to meet her again. You can find her at Tin Lizard Productions, and among her work you’ll find the hilarious Dr. Blink, Superhero Psychologist.

Also I let her wear my hat. Because everyone loves my hat.

See?! Even Christopher Jones loves my hat! For those not familiar with Christopher Jones, he’s a good friend of Melissa’s plus the artist on The Batman Strikes as well as a few of the old Justice League TV tie-in comics. Another classy guy and you can find his work at his website.

Ah, jeez, I fear I scared Dwayne McDuffie with my almost-encyclopedic questions about JLU. It was fun, though, since he still remembers a lot of the stuff I was talking about. Apparently it was a deliberate choice to make the JLU Question start out as the Ditko-style one and end with him as Rorschach.

I admit I didn’t talk much with Tom Nguyen, but only because I’m not familiar with a lot of his work. Still, he was a nice guy and he brought along two of the models he uses for his own drawings. See, Greg Land? This is what real artists do – they have models of their own they use to base some of their pictures on, whereas you simply trace over other people’s work!

Peter Tomasi is also a blast, though sadly won’t give away any details on what “Battle for the Cowl” is going to be about. Still, he’s doing a great job with Nightwing, and while teh last issue (#149) was on the violent side, I don’t exactly liken it to the same degree that was used in the Teen Titans issue that I had some issues with. Can’t wait to see what else he’s got in store for Dick Grayson!

While I met Norm Breyfogle back at MicroCon a few months ago, I’m sorry to admit that I wasn’t entirely familiar with a lot of his art. However, unknown to me, he did in fact draw the Titans story in the Young Justice: Sins of Youth Secret Files and Origins issue, so next time I see him I’m going to get him to sign my copy of the trade. He also does commissions for any price, but he warns that how much is given to him affects how hard he’ll work on it. Here’s a two-dollar sketch of Batman:

While I’m on the subject of commissions, I purchased this Power Girl from Gene C. Kook III. A little cheesecakey, but hey, I love Power Girl.

Erik Burnham rocks. While I had only met him at FallCon two years ago and gotten a Lightbringer commission from him, it turned out that we both hung out at Gail Simone’s YABS forum, so we both knew we were coming to FallCon and this year he was kind enough to give me a free sketch of whatever I wanted. Since I was also there to promote Revolution of the Mask, I had him do a Mystery Man sketch:

What’s funny is that anyone who has read the book knows that Mystery Man really does like to use the word “Mystery” a lot. Check out Erik’s site, Burnhamania.

Last but certaily not least are Kim and Maciek Smuga. Now before the collective “Who?” that everyone asks, they’re independent creators who really charmed me with how nice they were and some interesting story ideas. I was so impressed that I decided to buy one of their books called “Temping for Evil.”

It’s a cute and funny little comic. I highly recommend it, even if it is a little brief. But it’s certainly a step-up from a lot of what the mainstream has to offer these days.

Temping For Evil and other stories can be found at Studio Anti Thesis.

One independent comic I got but didn’t get a photo of the creator of was Satellite State by Todd Gnacinski. Sadly, I only got the first issue so I don’t know how it continues, but it’s an okay comic. The problem is that the first issue is all set-up: three alien devices land in Washington, D.C. and blast apart anything within a 2-mile radius. That’s pretty much it.

My one real complaint about it is that we get two pages straight of the President’s head where he makes a speech, seriously – it’s 32 small panels of the President’s head, ocasionally zooming in on his eye or his lips. This is what people refer to when they say “Talking Heads.” It’s just dull, as if someone made “Extreme C-Span.” However, he makes up for it in the successive pages, especially when we get this awesome shot of a giant robot.

Because, like monkies, giant robots make everything better.

I’d like to report on the panels… but sadly the way the Con was set up this year neglected to utilize the second floor, so the panel area was just an area set aside behind a curtain. As such, you couldn’t hear anything, so I never bothered to attend. In any case, FallCon was fun, creators are awesome, Indies rock, buy Revolution of the Mask, and thanks for reading.

NOTE: I wear baggy clothes, dang it!

Yeah, I’ve been busy the last day or two, so I haven’t gotten around to writing up my FallCon report, but I’ll try to get it out ASAP (including pics). Still, there was something that caught my attention at a table – Peter Krause’s table, which he sadly wasn’t at both times I stopped by, with Power of Shazam #40 on it. It doesn’t compete with The Spectre riding a dinosaur made of flames, but still I think it’s neat. And what is featured on this cover and the interiors?

Mary Marvel shooting a big ray gun at Mr. Mind inside the white house.

Remind me again why they made her evil? Also, I love the ominous hummmm.

So, while I did attend FallCon in Minnesota today, I sadly forgot my camera. But that’s fine, since it’s a two-day Con and I’ll be happy to show myself hob-knobbing (or, as it happens, just standing there next to a creator and asking someone nearby to take a picture) with some stars of the comic industry as well as giving some thoughts on a few indy creations that I acquired there, since I need to promote other Indy creators just as much as I need to promote THAT BOOK THAT’S NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AT A PALTRY $0.72 called Revolution of the Mask.

However, while I was scouring the back-issue boxes for some new fodder for the blog (yeah, I know, I’ve been lax in my reviews as of late), I happened upon a couple of things. The first was the start of the Spider-Man Clone Saga (which I have subsequently decided to collect in its entirety), and this happy comic:

Spider-Man #351 was the very first comic I ever remember reading as a little kid. It features Spider-Man and Nova fighting against a robot that was mystically created by the Norse Trickster God and has three heads and six arms and Spider-Man originally defeated it when he had cosmic powers.

And only in comics can I write a sentence like that.

Issue 1 of Revolution of the Mask, my e-comic released through Brain Scan Studios, is finally being released! The first of a 12-issue maxiseries, I’ll let the official solicit set the stage:

After a Final War that decimated the planet, Earth’s population now exists as ‘The All.’ Individuality is irrelevant and everyone belongs to everyone else. However, a revolution is coming – not of murder and mayhem, but of capes and costumes. This is the Revolution of the Mask. This issue: Designation Gamma-117 knows there’s something wrong with the world, but only someone Wonderful can tell him what it is.

Revolution of the Mask will be available in e-book format on Oct 1st. Visit the Brain Scan Studios website for more information.

So, yeah, needless to say I’m excited that it’s finally out. Hopefully it’ll enjoy more success than that poorly-drawn superhero webcomic I write for. Seriously, who draws that? …oh, wait…

So, I tend not to post on a few things coming out as new news, either because of apathy or because other people tend to communicate my thoughts more effectively. One such debacle is DC’s recent fiasco with an issue of All-Star Batman and Robin (or, as long-time readers of the blog may remember it, “That book written in Idiot Pentameter”) where Frank Miller wrote out the swear words “so that the editor could space them correctly” and then black bars got put under them. In a printing error due to the different shades of black on the computer screen, the words ended-up being perfectly visible behind the black bars when printed. DC fixed the error, but not before issues had already shipped out with the swearing, including the use of the C-word.

Now the reason why I bring this up is because according to a statement made by DC on Newsarama, DC is instituting a new review policy of their books after their printed to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again, as well as not using the actual swear words beneath black bars again like that.

Well why the heck weren’t they doing this in the first place?! Are you telling me that at comics companies, people just print the books up and no one picks one up and takes a look to make sure the pages weren’t put on backwards or something?! Maybe this explains ASBAR in its entirety – no one actually paid attention to what Miller was doing and never picked up the book because they were too busy reading the awesomeness of Blue Beetle.

Furthermore, they were using the actual swear words “for correct spacing?” Oh, that’s complete horse crap. It’s four freaking little letters. One could easily have written “cant” or “dann” under the bars and had the same effect. And whatever happened to just using ampersands and pound signs for swearing? It worked for Judd Winick’s Outsiders.

Of course, while it’s certainly DC’s screw-up, I think blame for all this eventually comes back to Frank Miller for feeling the need to include this crap in a Batman book in the first place.