Saturday, April 14, 2012

C2E2 2012: Day One

You're in the right place
Though my legs are tired and my wallet is lighter, I've managed to survive a long first day at C2E2. For anyone that is still on the fence about attending this show, let me assure you, it is more than worth the admission price. This would be true even if you only had access to the artist alley. Add to that a wide variety of vendors, panels, and special guests, and you'll be hard pressed to walk away empty handed. Today I spent most of my time wondering the vast artist alley, commissioning sketches, chatting with local creators, and meeting ones from far away. Tomorrow I will be spending just as much time there, but I'll be committing to more purchases. The retail vendors are also just as tempting, and I have several t-shirt, mugs, bags, dresses, and jewelry in mind, not to mention the trades and comic books (I think I'll play the odds and hold out for Sunday discounts on the books). From the looks of it, retailers were not hurting for business and at least one organization I spoke with, Hero Initiative, said business was up from last year. This is a good sign for everyone, especially considering there are still two more days left for fans to buy, with the biggest day yet to come. 
Hopefully he is the G version of the Merc with a Mouth

As I predicted, tearing myself away from the bustle of the main floor was difficult, but I managed to make it to two out of the three panels I hoped to attend. The first, Archaia Presents, focused on the upcoming titles for the next year. The quality of their books continues to blow me away, and it's only a matter of time before they are giving Dark Horse and Image a run for their money as far as the independent market is concerned. I believe what sets them apart is their dedication to creating content that appeals to all kinds of readers, from hardcore sci-fi fans to young readers. Young or old, everyone can appreciate the well thought out design of their books, and creators are gravitating towards this publisher as a guarantee that their work will be presented as a unique and memorable final product. Among the many exciting books they discussed (really all of them sounded fantastic) included a graphic novelization of upcoming free-to-play PC game Hawken. Khang Le (Flight anthology), Stefano Gaudiano (Daredevil, Gotham Central), and Moritat (Elephantmen) will provide the art and Jeremy Barlow (Mass Effect) will provide writing. We'll have to wait a while to see this project complete as the game launches on 12-12-12 and the book will not be released until March of 2013. One book that fans won't have to wait too long for will be the highly anticipated Mouse Guard: Black Axe hardcover. This will include some new material, including a pinup by Mike Mignola. Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 will also be coming soon, with Bill Willingham doing double duty on story and art, as well as a story created by Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), among many others.

"Raise your hand if you want another AvX tie in!"

Though I missed the Dark Horse Spring Fever panel, I was able to attend DC: All Access. There were no big announcements, but I suspect tomorrow's Before Watchmen panel will be the focus for DC this weekend. Some exciting upcoming stories were hinted at, including a crossover between Animal Man and Swamp Thing beginning in issue 11 of those titles. Scott Snyder also spoke highly of an upcoming crossover story within the majority of the Bat books. Though I did not manage to ask any questions during the Q&A, I was sure to approach the editors and show my enthusiasm for Super Best Friends Forever, Lauren Faust's adorable (and hilarious) animated shorts about the adventures of Supergirl, Batgirl, and Donna Troy. There are no immediate plans to expand upon the concept, but DC says it has definitely "stood out amongst the bunch" of the DC Nation Cartoon Block. Apparently I was not the first fan to ask about it this weekend, and I'm sure I won't be the last. 

An enthusiastic fan meets writer Gail Simone
The biggest news of the day came late, with Mark Waid revealing the upcoming launch of his Thrillbent website. It will launch on May 1st and will serve as a space for Waid and other collaborators to showcase work in an exclusive digital format. This announcement is "kind of a big deal", especially considering that it is separate from his digital-only work for Marvel. Could this be our modern day version of the launch of Image? The prospect of expanding the comic market is always exciting, and I hope he is successful in his endeavor to fully utilize the digital medium.

Stop back by the blog later this weekend as I'll continue to post coverage, including photos of my finished commissioned sketches. I already have a Picard by Gary Brown (Irredeemable cover artist), a Batman by Christopher Jones (Young Justice), and tomorrow I will pick up a Wonder Woman by Jenny Frison (Angel cover artist), and a yet-to-be-determined piece by Tony Akins (Wonder Woman). I've gotten a taste for this original artwork thing, so that list may grow by the end of this show.

She may very well embody the overall spirit of this years show.

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