Emily (foresthouse) wrote,

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Of Conventions and Comics and Other Cool Things

I just got back from Dragon*Con a couple of days ago, and it was crazy awesome! Yes, I'm a convention co-founder and a con-runner and I've been to a fair few cons over the last 6-7 years in one capacity or another, but never one quite like this (since I haven't yet been able to make it to SDCC, which has some similarities). Dragon*Con spans 5 hotels and has a whole mess of specific fan tracks, not to mention panels with TV and movie stars along with the usual fun of comics folks, writing workshops, etc.  It was also the first non-Discworld con I actually costumed for (all costumes I've worn before because I didn't have time to make anything new, but I settled on Black Canary, Seamstress, Interrupted, and The Absinthe Fairy and they worked out well). AND it turned out not only did I get to see and room with my Discworld roomie (and #1 Minion) Erica, but also laurelin_kit was there and roomed with us and is AWESOME, and several other Snarkers and LJers were there, too (one I'd met before and a few I hadn't) and were AWESOME as well. (And I finally got to meet doctoraicha!!! She is great! :D)

Anyway, despite the fact that I'm actually still (two months later!) recovering from NADWCon2011 (seriously; Chairing that con took more out of me than law school, I tell you what), I'm trying to get back to blogging a little about all the fun stuff now that things aren't *quite* so busy thanks to retirement from NADWCon organizing. So a Dragon*Con recap will be next on the list, but first, here's a bit about my adventures at Baltimore Comic Con, which I managed to get over to 3 weekends ago. It was a lot of fun. :)

In brief, things I did:

- I got to catch up with a lot of my comic-y friends, like Barry Kitson, John Tyler Christopher, Clayton Henry, Reilly Brown, Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, Francesco and Lisa Francavilla, John K. Snyder III, Franco Aureliani, Jamie Cosley, and more, all of whom are super;

- I got to meet some new cool folks, like Charlie Adlard (stop making weird faces at the camera, CHARLIE), Ivan Brandon, Charlie Kochman, Michael Finn, and more;

- I got to chat with Stan Lee again (bless! He's awesome, not like anyone who knows who he is needs telling);

- I got to go to the Harvey Awards (and, oh yes, sit at Stan Lee's table, hahaha!) which, despite all the groans I heard about how loooong they were, I liked just fine (and the soup was excellent);

- I got to meet TWO costumed Deadpools, one of whom had an AWESOME Pirate Deadpool costume;

- I got to see all the pretty thingssssssss and wander around and just generally BE at a comic con again, which was nice because it'd been awhile. I love comic cons. They are good for my geeky soul.

Things I didn't do:

- See every person I meant to;

- Go to one single panel (I always MEAN to);

- Shop for stuff even though I meant to look around at t-shirts at least;

- Take enough pictures (I'm usually better about remembering to do that).

But I DID take these pictures HERE, and also picked up some neat art (pictured). Woo! So check that out!


Speaking of neat art, Jen (eldest sister extraordinaire) was in town the weekend before Dragon*Con, and saw a flyer for the new creator-owned comic artist Reilly Brown is doing with writer Kurt Christenson, Power Play. She loved the Gowanus Pete character design to the point where she made me pull up one of the sketches of Gowanus Pete online. Which reminded me I told Reilly at Baltimore Comic Con that I'd check out the preview comic (the actual comic starts coming out this fall), and so, voila, on lunch break today, I did. Here are my thoughts:


The preview comic, which you can get on ComiXology and download on their smartphone apps for free, introduces the characters and the concept for the coming storyline. It's written by Kurt Christenson and drawn by Reilly Brown. Here's the blurb:

Extreme sports just got an upgrade! No more skateboards, rollerblades or BMX bikes, when these superpowered kids take to the streets, there's no telling what they can and will do in this underground, full contact, no-holds barred sports league. From all across NYC they come to do battle, pitting their powers against one another in do-it-yourself style Olympics. They fight for fame, they fight for glory, they fight to be the the Power Play champion--and in the middle of all of this is Mac, a college student looking for direction and purpose in the big city. Who will be crowned King of the Five Boroughs? Power Play, the super-powered street games starts here!

The story:

I like the concept - it's fun, it's different, and it has the potential for good character development/interaction/conflict.  The dialogue's snappy so far, and the description of Westside Flame actually made me laugh out loud.  In the preview itself, we get what seems like two snippets of different but related storylines; a glimpse at the sports/competition part of the story, and a glimpse at the personal/character development part of the story (focused on Mac), both of which look good.  The presentation is a little disjointed (going from action to introspection with little transition is a bit jarring), but I give that a pass because it's a preview comic, and I don't think the intention was to put up a complex, integrated story at this point.  Presumably in the main comic we'll get a more cohesive story, and I'm looking forward to it. I'd also love to see more background on the league, which I'm sure will come up along the way.

The art:

I love the art, but then, that's not surprising.  Reilly's one of my favorite comic book artists; I like the dynamic way he draws characters and action, and also a lot of the facial expressions.  I'm enjoying the character designs so far; I have to admit I already have a straight-girl-crush on the Ice Queen character (I can't help it, she's purrrty. And also wearing my favorite color of blue, with SNOWFLAKES. I love snowflakes. I even have tights with snowflakes on them. (See also: butterflies. :D). And I, also, am intrigued by Gowanus Pete (and want to see what else they turn Mac into). Reilly does a great job with the different character designs, matching the style to the personality (as it is so far) and/or drawing a style that exudes the corresponding personality; and I like the idea of the characters resembling the areas of the city they come from. I definitely want to see more.

The digital medium:

This is the kind of thing I geek out about, because it excites me to see the potential of the medium being explored to enhance the reading experience.  Power Play is, hands down, the best use of the digital medium for comics that I've seen to date, and this is only the preview.  In places it reminds me a bit of the Watchmen stop-animation (or whatever it's called) video comics they did around the time of the movie, only I never had the patience to watch all of those, since I'd read the book a million times already and they moved too slowly from one frame to the next.  But having the ability to read at one's own pace, and still get the animation-like effects now and again, is fantastic. Being able to see one or two panels at a time, zoomed in/close up, is great. I love the panning from one part of a panel to another and the fading from full color to monochrome for effect. Having the direction of the screen shifts follow the action is cool; or shifting to follow the narrative/captions.  Also I like how he has the characters in similar poses in a couple of frames, but shifting from one frame to the next gives you the action of a head turn or tilt like in animation.

This is truly the future of how digital comics should be read.  I definitely wish I had an iPad so I could experience it in a bigger window, but with only a smartphone (and especially given my vision issues) this is hands-down the best way to see digital comics on a hand-held device.  For comparison, I downloaded DC Comics New 52 #1 preview, which was free, and tried reading it on my Droid 2. Now, I know on a computer the usual format is fine; but on a smartphone? It's fairly unreadable.  All the zooming in and panning around necessary just to see one page is a total pain, and not something I have the patience (or eyesight) for. The Power Play layout is infinitely better.

I do wonder how easy it would be to translate the comic, as designed first and foremost for digital, to a print version; I know Reilly mentioned they are keeping that option in mind, but would be curious to know more about how much would need to be changed for print, and how much Reilly thinks about that when he's designing layout. (Gee, maybe I should ask him, duh.) My main thought being, naturally, how hard it would be for all writers/artists to start shifting their thinking towards designing simultaneously for both. I'm not advocating that, necessarily; I LOVE print books and don't want them to go away; but I do wonder.


The preview is engaging, the art is great, and the digital format is a joy to read. I'm so getting this when it comes out.


Speaking of comics, GUESS WHAT CAME OUT TODAY? My latest article and comic over at ReelzChannel.com. They blogged it with a link to the article/comic. wHEE! :D

Here’s the blog link: Deadpool Back on Track? We Might Forgive Ryan Reynolds After All

And the article and comic: Enough with Green Lantern, Bring on Deadpool!

Please to go read ze comic, kind friends? And to go retweet and repost and comment if you like it? The more you do these things, the more I get to WRITE COMICS, which I do so love to do. :)

And if anyone's in the mood to flip through the others I've done (with artist Marc Vuletich) so far, they're all HERE. You should at least check out this one, since it's the precursor to today's comic. :)


Aaaaand that's enough advertising of my own things. Now I shall advertise for others, namely, Made of Fail. My favorite podcast is still going strong, and did some fun episodes recently, on Green Lantern and the DC reboot; Harry Potter 7; and more. You should really go listen if you haven't; because it's FUN (and makes me laugh out loud on the Metro, dammit!). Also, they're doing an open call for a couple of geeky singles to go on the show for geek-relationship and dating discussion. If you're an intrepid geek in need of dating advice, go volunteer!


And in more geek things, some very exciting news about Sir Terry Pratchett and the 39th novel of Discworld, Snuff:

Sir Terry will be appearing in JUST THREE cities in the United States this October for the launch of Snuff!! Make sure you go see him if you can!

He will be in:

Seattle at the Seattle Art Museum on October 11 at 7:30pm;

New York City at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble on October 13 at 6:00pm;

Washington, DC at The National Press Club on October 14 at 7:00pm.

The Press Club event tickets are already on sale, and the last similar event sold out fast, so get your tickets now!!

I'll be attending the NYC event, and attending AND introducing him for the DC event, so let me know if you're going to go, and maybe I'll see you there!


And in a final Sir-Terry-related-thing...I hereby announce that I recently invented authentic Scumble (aka "Suicider"):

foresthouse: Holeeee &%$=! What do you call apple brandy, apricot brandy, Grand Marnier, and orange peach mango juice? I call it delicious.

foresthouse: WORD. RT @lilyhandmaiden @foresthouse Scumble? (It's made from fruit. Well... mostly fruit.)

foresthouse: .@cutebutpsycho @lilyhandmaiden It actually IS scumble you know. http://yfrog.com/kj7tyodtj

RebeccaH83: @foresthouse @cutebutpsycho @lilyhandmaiden Even LOOKS like it should be called scumble!

lilyhandmaiden: @RebeccaH83 @foresthouse @cutebutpsycho It really does! This is a thing of beauty. Official adult beverage of next DWCon?

foresthouse: @lilyhandmaiden @RebeccaH83 @cutebutpsycho76 HELLS YEAH. I decree it to be so. The OFFICIAL scumble. #Discworld #itstasty

foresthouse: Scumble: lived up to its name last night. Zzzzzzzzz. @lilyhandmaiden @RebeccaH83 @cutebutpsycho76

Seriously, y'all; it is just like the real thing. A glass of that the night of the earthquake and I was OUT. And I think it particularly appropriate that one of the main ingredients in it is applejack brandy (100 proof), historically referred to as Jersey Lightning and made right in the county where I grew up.

I think we really are going to have to serve this at the next Discworld Con.:P  
Tags: alcohol, baltimore, comics, conventions, deadpool, discworld, dragoncon, family, green lantern, kurt christenson, nadwcon, reelzchannel, reilly brown, scumble, snuff, terry pratchett

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  • *fireworks*

    Happy Fourth of July, everybody! The holiday wherein there are lots of fireworks (I watched them explode over the Washington Monument, myself -…

  • Weekends, whee.

    Yesterday was a hectic day for me. A friend's mother passed away, I had the NPC new members' lunch, my office was all crazy because everyone's into…

  • Checking in

    Hey everyone! Thanks for those who sent me birthday wishes today (well technically yesterday now. The 3rd.) And thanks also to the anonymous person…