SDCC: The Good Bits

Okay, so, nothing like a good rant to kick off the new blog, but I didn’t want to leave the impression that it was all lemons and no lemonade. (Or all Phantom Menace and no Empire Strikes Back; or all Batman Forever and no—OK, right.)

So, I’ll manage to begrudgingly acknowledge some highlights, despite my best efforts:

Cliff Meth, via Neal Adams.

Cliff Meth, via Neal Adams.

Saw some of my pals from over at IDW–notably including Cliff Meth, an East-Coaster whom I had only known over the phone during the time that we were working on his deranged opus Snaked. The project has now been optioned (pre-convention); and, while all the credit goes to Cliff, it was great to have worked on the book to warm my hands on the glow of his madness.

Wil Wheaton, Tweeter.

Wil Wheaton, ex-Wes.

I also moderated the main Star Trek panel, a joint effort between the publishers of Trek comics, novels and manga, organized by my friends over at Pocket Books. Wil Wheaton, now crafting stories for Tokyopop, was hilarious; a really down-to-Earth and charismatic guy who’s become the perfect storm of genre celebrity, hardcore geek and clever writer.

I had reviewed one of his stories as a guest columnist for a Trek website a few months back, and gave it some really positive comments, so it was great to get to meet him and talk with him about writing Trek.

Andy Mangels, via George Perez.

Andy Mangels, via George Perez.

Got also to chat afterwards at length with Andy Mangels, whose work I’ve always admired, and who I had been corresponding with via email during my IDW days.

Scott Tipton, via David Messina.

Scott Tipton, via David Messina.

Other keen folks on the panel included Scott Tipton, one of the most reliably talented writers who worked for me at IDW, as well as David Mack—the Borg guy, not the Kabuki guy—who I owe another dinner to when I get back to New York. Andy Schmidt, who took over my seat as Trek comics editor and has been deviling me of late for Previews Guide solicitation texts, represented for IDW, while Margaret Clark from Pocket Books was kind enough to overlook that I owe her another lunch as well.

The Indy Jones Journal. The white strip comes off to make it look authentic.

The Indy Jones Journal. The white strip comes off to make it appear authentic. Cool!

(And she even hooked me up with a bitchin’ new Indiana Jones pleatherbound hardcover, designed to look authentic as his journal from the movies; apparently, George Lucas even personally picked out the color of the band that ties it shut.)

Also got to host for writing partners Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward, who have a Star Trek: Vanguard novel coming out next year that’s on my list—nice guys, both.

The IDW Panel itself went well, strongly attended and people seemed to really get a kick out of the Days of Future Past homage cover that my buddy JK Woodward drew for me for the first issue of the Star Trek: The Last Generation series announced at the convention. JK has an actual X-Men series being released by Marvel in the coming months, and if you’ve seen his painted work on Fallen Angel, you know it’s going to be great.

Last Generation #1 incentive cover, from JK Woodward.

Last Generation #1 incentive cover, from JK Woodward.

Had a great long lunch with the extremely engaging Gordon Purcell, a veteran Trek penciler and a real fave among the fans who I’m lucky enough to have as my interior artist for Star Trek: The Last Generation. Gordon’s a true pro who’s got stories aplenty from his time in the trenches and some really excellent ideas on the direction of the series. I can’t wait to start working with him.

Also great restaurant conversation was Anthony Pascale, editor on the Internet’s biggest Trek site TrekMovie.com, who’s not only a Trekspert but is a whip-crack observer of politics. Definitely another dinner in order the next time I’m up in L.A. Also great seeing again was Ed Schlesinger from Pocket Books, who I’ll definitely have to spend more time with back in New York, one of the most magnanimous and astute book editors that you’ll ever meet.

Captain Peter David, with his Fallen Angel and some ensigns, via Stephen Thompson.

Got to say hi with a number of people who wrote or drew for me at IDW, including Fallen Angel and Star Trek: New Frontier writer Peter David, Trek cover master Joe Correney, the inexhaustible Tony Lee, the genital-obsessed Ben Templesmith, All Hail Megatron mastermind Shane McCarthy, and award-winning scribe Neil Kleid, who had better see his Transformers Spotlight project put through or I’m going to owe him breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with my amigo Arie Kaplan, a writer for Mad Magazine and Speed Racer who I had a great time with at WonderCon and who’s got a phenomenal new book coming out on the Jewish creators who launched the comic book industry.

Arie via Arie.

Arie, via Arie.

The book collects and expands on a series of articles that he had published in Reform Judaism magazine (circulation of something like a quarter of a million, the largest Jewish mag in the States); and which, by sheer coincidence, was the same issue that my wife Jenn wrote her CNN-captivating story about nominee John Kerry’s long-lost Czech-Jewish grandfather while we were living in Prague, years before I met Arie through IDW.

Also on the didn’t-spend-enough- time-with list: my IDW predecessor, Dan Taylor, who’s now writing two new titles with collaborator Neil Kleid, both of which sound awesome; Dave Crossland, kamikaze penciller for Bryan Lynch’s Everybody’s Dead; and Gabriel Rodriguez, the amazing artist on Joe Hill’s stunning series Locke & Key, who had spent a few days at IDW during a visit from South America and is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

Joe Hill himself was awesome to chat with, incredibly animated and able to rattle off killer comics pitches (um, no pun intended) with the enthusiasm of a born storyteller. Locke & Key has been optioned too, and it’s been tearing up the comics sales charts, so good on him.

Wasn’t able to spend any time at all with Clydene Nee, a former IDW cohort and Ramen noodle aficianodo who had her hands full coordinating Artists Alley for the convention; or another chum, Keith Arem, creator and publisher of the astonishingly good Ascend graphic novel—another L.A. lunch date that I’ll have to schedule to catch up with.

So much catching up and hi-helloing with people that I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone along the way—if I have, then yes—I owe you lunch.

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