NYCC and WonderCon Fotoz

A quick break from promoting Star Trek: The Last Generation to share some photos of myself and some friends at the New York Comic-Con and Wonder-Con in February.

nyccThe New York show was great–not only had time to see some friends and fam, but the show itself exceeded everybody’s expectations, sold out and betrayed not a flicker of recession inside the convention halls. A very good sign for the industry during this freefall economy.

The show itself is also now the fastest-growing convention in the world, easily the size of the San Diego convention from the early ’90s, when I first started attending, and fast becoming the East Coast alternative to the SDCC. Hopefully, it’ll relieve some of the pressure from the San Diego con, which has now become a lumbering colossus ready to collapse under its own weight. (Or, at least, Hollwood’s–thankfully absent from most corners of the New York con.)

wchdr_r2_c1WonderCon was great as always, a true comics convention rather than a multiplatform film, TV and video game expo. It’s an outstanding chance to talk to fans, one-on-one, at a major show that never feels unbearably crowded.

Plus San Francisco has a great vibe, which plays directly into the atmosphere of the show. The comics lounge Isotope, as usual, threw the best party, at its quirky space on Fell Street that attracted some of the top luminaries in the business.

Most of the artists take turns drawing in marker on toilet seat lids, which then adorn the walls for the rest of the year. (“The world’s only museum dedicated to original art on toilet seats by comic creators!”) Best sketch: my IDW pal Ben Templesmith’s, of a voracious, jagged-toothed vampire dude coming up the pipes to bite you on the…well, you get the idea. Ben’s got this genital fixation that some wives would find distressing, though apparently Lorelei doesn’t mind.

Most of these pix will take up residence on the permanent photos page, if you’d like to go back to admire them later on down the road.


JIM STERANKO

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Jim is one of the classiest fellows you could ever hope to work with, and I don’t just mean his dapper dress. A true comics legend in every sense of the word, he remains one of the most down-to-Earth icons of the industry, a humble and magnanimous guy happy to give fans his sincere attention. He’s also sharp as a whip, able to hold conversations on seemingly any subject. It was a genuine thrill to have him work on my Hercules books at Radical.


ROSS RICHIE

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BOOM! Studios Publisher Ross Richie is one of my oldest friends here on the West Coast, dating back to the days when I was writing for a fledgling Wizard Magazine and Ross was a marketing dude for Malibu Comics–with a waistline, no girlfriend, and… hair. (What kind of hair? Middle-of-his-back, crazy wildman Ramen-noodle hair. The kind of Jheri curl that makes Rick James say, “Gahdayum, motherfucker, those are some Jheri curls.”) Since then, Ross has lost the afro and gained the hand in marriage of the beautiful Johanna Stokes, writer on some of the best books BOOM! has published to date.

Despite that, Ross still enjoys the occasional snuggle of his man-boob, nostaligic for the days of our torrid slacker bromance, which ended tragically when I killed his D&D character–who was a giant man-turtle, and a pirate, and spoke with a Mexican accent from the 1950s. So, yeah: sorry, Jose Miguel Rincon, but you had to go.


ARTHUR SUYDAM

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Arthur’s a true superstar of comics, virtually singlehandedly launching an entire industry trend with his sensational Marvel Zombies work, though he’s an accomplished writer as well. In addition, he’s an athlete, scholar, professional rock star, and–if I’m not mistaken–also a secret-agent brain surgeon who test-drives rocket cars. Arthur did covers for my Hercules and Aladdin books, and they’re some of the most atmospheric and provocative images I could have hoped for. A true class-A talent.


RICK REMENDER

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Mugging for the camera with Rick Remender–one of the busiest writers in  comics, and deservedly so. Rick’s doing a great series for Radical called Last Days of American Crime, and I had the chance to work on its early stages, including some very cool initial character designs. (Rick also worked on the early drafts of the first-ever Star Trek issue that I edited for IDW, so I was happy to return the favor.) I once called Rick from the office to talk over his series, and he had such an intuitive grasp of character and story that it makes you realize he’s going to be one of the most notable comics writers of his generation.


KEITH R.A. DeCANDIDO

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KRAD and I go way, way, WAAAY back, to when we were both nobodies and looking to break into the industry. As I like to say, he’s now a disturbingly prolific big-shot novelist, while I’m still just nothin’. (I told him I’m now working on a murder mystery; it’s about a writer who gets killed at a comic book convention after sucking up all the best assignments from his fellow starving authors. Keith laughed. Yeah, ha ha ha, motherfucker.) While the Star Trek editor at IDW, however, I did hire Keith to write a Klingon issue for me–a courageous, out-of-the-box decision, to be sure–and he of course rewarded my bold creative intuition by knocking it out of the park. So, OK, maybe I’ll let him live.

What nobody should ever do, though, is let Keith pick the movie when you’re going to the theater on Christmas Day. I mean, Shindler’s List, Keith? Really? “Happy birthday, Jesus! And thank you, Santa, for bringing so many presents! Now let’s go watch a three-hour film about Auschwitz.” Nice.

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LAST GENERATION nominated for Best Series of 2008!

chronic-riftYow! Since I’m back to blogging, it’s time to announce that “Star Trek: The Last Generation” has been nominated for Best Series of 2008 by the legendary and longest-running SF/comics talk show, The Chronic Rift!

The ‘Rift started out as a cable TV chat show in New York City in 1989, and now 20 years later can be heard worldwide through its podcast edition thanks to the magic of the Internets. Its annual recognition of science fiction, fantasy and horror storytelling, The Roundtable Awards, tips its hat to the top genre films, comics, TV shows and prose fiction of the year.

last-generation-logoLast Generation has been named a “Best Bet” and “Pick of the Week” by Wizard Magazine–sort of the Rolling Stone of the comics biz, for the uninitiated–as well as received stellar reviews from Wizard, Ain’t It Cool News, TrekWeb, Roddenberry.com and a wide array of other top SF and comics sites, but this is the first time that it’s actually been up for an industry award.

From the official blog of the show:

We release the list of nominees for this year’s Roundtable Awards ceremony…

Best Comic Book
All-Star Superman
The Amazing Spider-Girl
Locke & Key
100 Bullets
Star Trek: The Last Generation

OK, let’s see. All-Star Superman is from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Amazing Spider-Girl is the cult hit written by former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco. Locke & Key is the breakout series from Stephen King’s son Joe Hill. And 100 Bullets is from WonderCon Guest of Honor Brian Azzarello. So, yeah…I think you’d need a degree in quantum physics to chart the likelihood that Last Generation will take home the trophy. (Maybe in an alternate universe… *rimshot*)

Joe Hill

Joe Hill

No, seriously, I’ll say it right now, and mean it, that it’s an honor just to be nominated. IDW, which publishes Last Generation, had been developing Locke & Key during my time as an editor there, and even though I had no involvement in producing the series, I thought it was far and away the most impressive thing we had published. Joe Hill himself is an incredibly fertile creator, able to rattle off story pitches like the gavel dude at a farm auction, and yet hold your attention rapt as if he’d already written the entire story in his head.

Tom DeFalco

Tom DeFalco

At the same time, I’d love to see Tom DeFalco get the nod, since an interview I did with him back in 1987 had been my first professional comics work while I was still a cubling journo in college, shortly after he became editor-in-chief and took me on a personal tour of the fabled Marvel offices in New York City.

(Regrettably, I no longer have any copies of the interview myself; though if I have a chance to sort through my parents’ old storage unit next time I’m on the East Coast, I’ll try to track it down. I think it was headlined, “An Interview With Captain Marvel”–oh, so clever.)

Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 1

Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 1

After our conversation, which lasted very nearly all day, Tom even gave me a special thanks in the Acknowledgments of the very first edition of Marvel Masterworks (Amazing Spider-Man) that came out at the end of the year–my very first professional comics credit. He also put it into the concurrently-produced second and third volumes, The Fantastic Four–which reprinted the issues that launched the Marvel Universe–and The X-Men, which became the Marvel Universe’s top-selling blockbuster franchise.

Coincidentally, one of the other names in the Acknowledgments, also just a fledgling creator at the time, will soon be taking the reins at one of the publishers I’ve worked for. (I can’t say who or which, since it hasn’t been announced yet, but you’ll hear about it soon enough. It’s a pretty big deal.)

Is that--can that be?--Yes, it's our beloved KRAD, fresh from his date with Molly Ringwald.

Is that--can that be?--Yes, it's our beloved KRAD, fresh from his date with Molly Ringwald.

Also coincidentally, the very first episode of Chronic Rift two decades ago featured my future pal and celebrated author Keith R.A. Decadido, who I would eventually hire to write Star Trek for me at IDW, but here looking as fresh-faced as the day he cracked open his first comic.  Manscaping advice, Keith: lose the beard that you’ve now treasured for so long–DeFalco and Hill already have you beat.

None of which has anything really to do with being nominated for Best Series of 2008–except to say that being 21 years old, still in college, touring the Marvel offices and interviewing the editor-in-chief, then seeing my name in the credits of a series of deluxe hardcover books that reprinted some of the most seminal issues in comics history…I sure as hell felt like a winner.

It does feel great to be nominated in such prestigious company, so a huge thanks to those involved in the process who held my series in such high regard. For everyone else, the Roundtable Awards get announced at a ceremony April 6, so be sure to send me your condolences. 🙂