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For the past several years, I've attended WonderCon in San Francisco and reported for the Superman Homepage. Obviously most of our readers visit the site for news relating to Superman. With the potential movie still far over the horizon and War of the Supermen climaxing a two year arc in the comics, there was little to report. All the creators involved remained tight-lipped about the Man of Steel's future. Normally I would attend the DC Panels and take away all the information I could about Superman and put it up for our readers, but sadly that was not meant to happen this year.
Instead of reporting non-existent Superman news, I thought I would share a Cliff's Notes version of my convention experience with the readers.
I exited the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train and attempted to find my bearings to head toward the convention when I noticed I was standing a few feet away from Dan Didio, who I saw a lot of just three weeks ago at MegaCon in Orlando, Florida. We both looked at each other and did a double take. After exchanging a quick hello, I headed off.
Once I obtained my press pass, I headed off to the celebrity autograph section. I usually feel funny since there are always so many celebrities selling autographs that I have little interest in and I don't intend to buy anything.
This year there was one celebrity I wanted to meet: Helen Slater. Having met many movie and TV stars, I don't normally get nervous when meeting new ones, but when I met Ms. Slater I couldn't even bring myself to say a simple, "Hi, my name is Jeffrey." I chose the picture of her as Supergirl in front of Popeye's Chicken and bought her autograph. She was nice enough to take a photo with me for the Superman Homepage as well. That normally costs extra.
Most of the questions revolved around Green Lantern and Blackest Night, although he was asked if he would write a novel at some point. Geoff jokingly responded, "I will probably not do a novel until I retire because ... there's so many words. So many words. It feels like writing a paper to me. I need pictures with my books."
Later Johns discussed that the Justice Society will appear in season 10 of Smallville if he can make it happen. He also revealed that in the Absolute Justice episode that Dr. Midnight was originally written to appear in the hospital scene with The Martian Manhunter, but the scene was cut due to budgetary constraints.
After that, Geoff was joined by Dan Didio and Jim Lee for the DC panel. Dan and Jim have recently been promoted to co-pubishers. Lee discussed that his run on All-Star Batman with Frank Miller will continue in February 2011 and will be retitled to reflect the Miller-Batverse titles. It will now be called Dark Knight: Boy Wonder.
Jim Lee mentioned that he has been testing the DC Universe Online game and that it looks great, but still isn't ready for a release date. Once the game has been online for a while, there will be an effort to keep the content current with the ongoing comic book universe. He also explained that DC is experimenting with digital comics, but that computer and printed comics will still be two separate products.
When asked about lateness in comic release dates, all three stated that it hurts DC on all levels and they hate it just as much as we do. It's just a question of which approach is best for a late product, finding another writer or artist to complete the project on time, or keeping the creative team intact to preserve the quality of the finished work.
After perusing the sales floor one more time, I attended the Kevin Smith lecture. Smith is just awesome at what he does. He fields questions for two hours and has a lot of fun doing it. I had never seen him live before. Apparently the backs of the name placards that WonderCon personnel place where panel members sit say "Remember some audience members may be under 18. Please keep the language and content clean." Smith had attended WonderCon before and this time someone taped over those words for him, which made him laugh.
On Saturday, the first exciting panel included many writers at DC Comics, including Geoff Johns, Jimmy Palmiotti, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Judd Winick and James Robinson. Robinson led the panel asking questions for all the writers, like how did they first began writing comics and what's different about writing for comics versus writing for other media.
Geoff Johns told the audience that writing his episodes of Smallville was easy compared to managing a crossover event like Blackest Night. The biggest difference is that comics aren't slaves to a budget like TV shows and films. If you can write it and the artist can draw it, you don't have to worry about effects costs.
Concerning crossovers, Gail Simone explained that the writers at DC try to work as a team and that when one if them is writing a book that can cross over with another that it only increases the strength of both titles. Her Secret Six crossover with Blackest Night for example was entirely her own idea. "Comics are the only place you can do this," she said.
During the audience questions, someone asked Johns how he handles plot problems when he writes himself into a corner. Johns replied, "I do an annual." Sometimes stories get bigger than planned and more miniseries and one shots need to be included to the story. For instance, the two Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen issues that tied into World of New Krypton.
At the DC Nation Panel, Jim Lee was not scheduled, but arrived unexpectedly. He took the audience microphone and asked the panel when that All Star Batman book is finally coming out, then ran up to the panel and answered his own question.
There was more debate about the value of digital comics and several writers explained that there are exciting prospects behind the new medium. "There's something visceral about turning a page to reveal the action of the next one." A simple click is going to alter the way stories are told.
I got to meet Darick Robertson and had him sign a couple of my comics and draw me a sketch of Wee Hughie with a black eye from The Boys. I also asked James Robinson to sign my variant copy of Justice League: Cry for Justice #1. He had apparently not seen the cover before.
I'm sure there were more people attending the convention this year than last. The crowd gets larger every time. A lot of fun was had and I recommend that every fan find one to go to, at least once.
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