20130609 heroes-21

Photos ©2013 Marnie Ann Joyce

Heroes Con took place in Charlotte NC the weekend of June 7th, filling the city's convention center with creators, retailers, and fans, all joined together to celebrate the art and culture of comic books.  And while many of the usual elements of comic conventions were in evidence, Heroes just feels different than most events of this size and nature.  While there were numerous fans in costume, there were far fewer storebought ensembles, and far more homemade labors of love: a construction paper Batgirl mask, crocheted horns on a Homestuck Troll, hand-drawn logos and details.  They're not dressed up to show off, but to share their love of these characters. Read More...

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The 31st annual Heroes Convention was held in Charlotte, NC this past weekend, bringing together thousands of fans and professionals to celebrate the art and culture of comics.

I've been hearing about Heroes for decades – it's one of the best-regarded comic cons in the country, acclaimed for its focus on creators over companies, and for putting the art and culture of comic books and strips ahead of Hollywood interests and corporate franchises.  One of the most common descriptions of the convention is "it's a show that's actually about comics", but I don't think that's exactly true: it's a show about people.  People who make comics, people who collect comics, people who live and breathe comics, people for whom it's a spare-time hobby, people who are just discovering the wonder and potential of the medium.  People in costume.  People in t-shirts.  People in business wear.  Kids looking for their favorite characters.  Grown-ups looking for bargain back issues.  And toddlers in strollers and backpacks, wide-eyed at all the excitement. Read More...

If I had to pick one series out of DC’s "New 52" I'm most looking forward to, it would probably be Wonder Woman #1 -- out this Wednesday 9/21!  -- from the team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. For years, Chiang has been turning in some of the best comic book art ever, with a unique look characterized by thickly inked lines, and clean simple compositions. And fans have responded, snapping him his always welcome mash-up drawings (Teen Titans as The Breakfast Club! Batgirl on the Purple Rain poster!) and Con exclusives like hotcakes.

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MTV Geek chats with the writer/artist behind Parker: The Hunter and The Outfit about adapting Richard Stark as well as some of his own upcoming work.

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Skottie Young is a busy man at conventions. From the moment the floor opens, to the second it closes, the popular artist of Marvel’s Oz adaptations is sketching and drawing non-stop. Luckily, he was able to take some time to sit down with us before the Con floor opened to chat about returning, once again to Oz, why drawing chickens is easy, and the future of digital downloads.

Yes, I know, every interview on MTV Geek ends up being about chickens and downloads. Just read the interview:

MTV Geek: Every time I’ve passed by your table here, you’ve been swamped… What, generally, is a convention like for you?

Skottie Young: A lot of drawing. Mostly a lot of drawing… And a lot of talking. [Laughs] Since I’ve been doing Oz, there’s been a nice influx of new audiences, younger people, a lot of females… A lot of nice new people who are getting excited about comics, so it’s exciting to kind of just sit and chat with those guys.

But the first thirty minutes of a show, I get a list of about seventy people [laughs] wanting sketches, so you spend the weekend doing that.

Geek: Well, let’s talk Oz. You’re starting to wrap up Ozma of Oz

SY: The seventh issue came out this past Wednesday, and I finished inks and John’s almost finished colors on eight. So we’re all wrapped up on the art duties for eight, and I just finished the first cover for the next run.

Geek: Do you feel like your style has progressed at all as you’ve gone through the Oz series? Have you gotten more comfortable in the world?

SY: I feel like, just like when you do anything for any amount of time, you’re going to get better as you go. But I felt very comfortable almost right away, since it felt so natural to begin with. I was talking to a friend the other day… I pulled out the original hardcover, and was looking how loose and frantic everything was, and realized over time… My brush work had gotten tighter. I found myself having to intentionally get looser to match what was pretty loose to begin with. Over time, you just get so used to the tool. Read More...

Ethan Van Sciver can’t talk about Firestorm. Like, really, really can’t talk about it. The first issue of DC’s relaunched Fury of Firestorm series finds the acclaimed artist back in the writer’s chair for the first time in nearly two decades (with one exception we’ll get to in a second). He’ll be co-plotting the book with Gail Simone, bringing a new vision of the teen hero to the DC Universe. Except he can’t tell us how, or why, or any of the details.

Don’t think we didn’t try, though:

MTV Geek: What’s it like getting back into writing after such a long time?

Ethan Van Sciver: Well, I’m going to take it very slow. I wrote seven pages for Blackest Night last year all by myself, and it was fun, but it was a little bit stressful. Working with someone like Gail Simone who is a skilled, and very, very talented writer, I think I’m going to learn a lot. And hopefully – maybe next year – use this as a launching pad to write something myself.

Geek: Now you and Gail have been rumored to be working on something together for a very long time. Is this that thing?

EVS: [Laughs] No, no, this is something else. We’ve been working on something that I’ve been drawing and inking for about six or seven months now, so we have been working on that. But in MegaCon in February, Dan Didio, who’s the Co-President of DC Comics, came to me and offered me a number of choices that I might want to do for this big DC relaunch.

So I said, “I’d kind of like to do Firestorm covers?” And Dan said, “Firestorm covers, are you kidding me? Why don’t you take the whole book?” And I had no intention of doing that until I talked to Gail Simone, and the two of us, we came up with a really cool, new concept that actually got us excited to make that pitch to DC. And it really is… It’s different. If you’re a Firestorm fan, it’s going to be a little bit different for you, but we think that you’ll like it. And if you’re not a Firestorm fan, this is the perfect time to check it out and become a Firestorm fan. Read More...

After getting hammered on Saturday night, I headed off to the “It’s Hammer Time!” panel at HeroesCon on Sunday, where… Okay, I can’t think of a third hammer pun, but point is, a relaxed crowd flooded the Charlotte Convention Center on Sunday – the last day of the Con – with a good chunk of the attendees turning out for a spirited discussion about Marvel’s God of Thunder, with three of his most recent writers.

Before we get into the recap, in case you don’t know them off hand: Matt Fraction has been writing Thor in the pages of The Mighty Thor, as well as Marvel event Fear Itself; Jonathan Hickman wrote an excellent mini-series called Ultimate Thor; and Roger Langridge wrote the critically acclaimed, all ages title Thor The Mighty Avenger. And now, on to the panel!

Actually, just two quick notes: before the panel started, Fraction and Hickman were having a discussion about creating a pill that can turn you into a Senator; and before he sat down at the table, Roger had never met Jonathan Hickman. Fun facts!

Starting off, the moderator asked what the panelists thought of the movie. Langridge hasn’t seen it. Fraction thought the Asgard stuff was great in the movie, but there wasn’t enough time for the Earth stuff to cook. Also, “What the hell was that big round building at the edge of town? I had more problems with that than the rainbow bridge… And astrophysicist Natalie Portman.” Read More...

There’s one thing vitally clear about HeroesCon, Charlotte’s biggest comic book convention: it’s all about the art. Or more specifically, it’s about fans getting original art from creators, chatting as they draw commissioned sketches – and everything else is a far second.

Ming Doyle

This was my first time down at HeroesCon, and while I wasn’t expecting a larger, media-centric convention like San Diego or even New York - heck, they even plug their laid back, family friendly atmosphere on the website’s banner – I was surprised how squarely the focus fell on original art, and nearly nothing else. Sure, there were panels, we even covered a couple of them, and they were spirited, lighthearted discussions. And the floor was pretty evenly split between comic book dealers and Artists Alley, so you’d think your focus would be split too. Read More...

No, not the guy from Six Feet Under and Parenthood; the other Peter Krause, the infrequent comic book artist who has cemented a landmark run on Boom! Studio’s hit title Irredeemable. For the past (over) two years, Krause has been as integral a part to the series about a Superman-level hero gone very, very bad as writer Mark Waid. Now, with the release of issue twenty-eight in two months, Krause is moving on from the series to focus on some non-comic book work:

MTV Geek: Let’s talk about Irredeemable… You’ve just dropped a bombshell on me, who apparently doesn’t bother to read the news, but you’re leaving the book. Why’s that?

Peter Krause: It’s just a good time to do it. I do have another non-comics project coming up this Summer that I really have to devote some time to, and it’s a really once-in-a-lifetime type project. I’ve loved working with Boom! and Mark Waid, it’s been a joy working with them. It’s kind of bittersweet. Read More...

Writer Jonathan Hickman has changed the Fantastic Four forever. Not only is one of their members – The Human Torch – dead as a… Dead… Thing… But the group has expanded their roster to include Spider-Man, a group of kids, and even arch-enemy Doctor Doom, as part of the rebranded Future Foundation. Hickman – and artist Steve Epting – were on hand at HeroesCon 2011 to talk about their take on one of Marvel’s most storied franchises.

Shockingly, despite most of the panel being an open Q&A, there were no questions about the Human Torch dying! So weird!

Just kidding, pretty much everybody wanted to talk about that. But first we were treated to a light, relaxed, and very funny conversation between two pros and the audience. I’m going to separate it into some notes below, for easy readin' times:

- In terms of how close Hickman is to his original proposal: the Human Torch was always going to die; but Spider-Man joining the team was new.

- Spider-Man was always going to show up in the book, which you could see even back in Hickman’s third issue. When they started, though, there were three times a month books and multiple teams for Spidey, so there was no way he could have been on the team. Once Dan Slott became the sole writer, it became easier to sit down with one guy, and plan out where things were going. Hickman and Slott both know where they’re going to be about a year out. Spider-Man isn’t going anywhere, and Hickman hopes the FF will keep showing up in Spider-Man’s books. Read More...

Hey, you know what makes things funnier? Talking about what makes them funny. Of course, I’m ironically joking about this, as dissecting any joke instantly drains all the humor out of it. Luckily for the audience at the Approaches to Humor panel at this year’s HeroesCon, you had three truly funny guys dissecting the hilarious art of comic book laughter: Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese, Yo Gabba Gabba!); Roger Langridge (The Muppets, Thor the Mighty Avenger); and Richard Thompson (Cul de sac). The panel was moderated by The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, who has also been known to tell a joke or two in her day.

Starting out by addressing the above, MacDonald quoted the famous maxim, “Talking about humor is like dissecting a frog: everything dies. We’re going to talk about humor, but not kill it. So I’m going to go down the line, and—“

“Timing,” interrupted Evan Dorkin, to laughter from the audience.

By the way, recapping the humor panel also kills the humor. Fun fact!

Anyway, on the subject of influences, all three quoted Monty Python as an influence, with The UK’s The Goon Show being a close second. Read More...

Good news, everyone! MTV Geek will be heading down to North Carolina this weekend for hundred degree weather, eighty percent humidity, and, oh yeah, one of the best darn comics conventions in the country: HeroesCon.

Unlike San Diego or New York Comic-Cons, who have a rep for mixing big media properties and stars with the plebes in Artist’s Alley, HeroesCon is all about the comic books. Not only that, but it’s a family friendly festival, meaning you can still expect to see a Slave Leia here and there, but they’ll be carrying balloons – for the kids!

While the video crew does the heavy lifting, talking to bigwigs like Jonathan Hickman, Frank Cho, and Darwyn Cooke, your faithful blogger will be slaving in the trenches, picking up scraps of funnel cake from the floor, and slowly turning into some sort of prehistoric horror right out of Kamandi. Also maybe covering some panels or something, unclear.

Anyway, since this is my first time down at the lovely HeroesCon, I thought I’d give a preview of some panels, tables, and more that you might want to check out if you’re there. Oh, and feel free to say hello to me, too! I’ll be the guy growling in the corner, his face covered in crumbs and powdered sugar:

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