Tag Archives: Comic-con

Vertigo Crime and Comic Con day 1

Yesterday I headed down to San Diego for Comic Con…there is absolutely no rest for the wicked and it sometimes makes me sad! I drove down with my co-editor in crime on the Switchblade Imprint, the indescribable Gary Phillips. The coversation was smooth, and involved a lot of speculation on the extraordinary New Jersey corruption case that broke yesterday morning, involving the arrest of three mayors, multiple rabbis, and 2 state assemblymen on charges of bribery, money laundering, and even organ trafficking! I’m sure both of us were wishing we had written such a fucking great story, I certainly was…

Comic Con is just as immense, sprawling and overwhelming as ever, sprinkled with characters in amazing costume and an incredible diversity of nerdiness that I really love. But it makes you tired quickly, it is too much to take in. We wandered, talked to people, and then I sat in on Gary’s panel, Vertigo‘s announcement of the upcoming work for 2009 and 2010. And was amazed. I love the edginess of Vertigo, they have published Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore and Grant Morrison and…the list just goes on and on. And sitting and listening to all of the amazing stuff they have newly in the works was a joy. I’m just not sure how to fit the pleasurable reading of each of the new series into a life already crammed full with pleasures and much work. But I am sure I will find a way.

Karen Berger created the imprint within DC comics, which I hadn’t known until I met her briefly yesterday and Gary told me the story. To find a woman as the head of such an amazing dark and gritty series of crime, fantasy, and horror made me happy…funny how the genres I love most are very dominated by men. The broad preferences of different genders in reading and writing are patent, I shall save speculation on why and how that happens as I am still thinking through it. But in only the short time I have been working in publishing I have run into a couple of good ole boys and felt treated very much like a secretary rather than a creative partner. It was a bit shocking to me coming from my small world of organizing where such things were at least much more subtle, officially called out and censured. And I was always a force to be respected and feared. To discover it so blatantly in the literary world was much sadder than the shock of being talked down to and patronized when I worked in the bra shop two years ago now on my…er…sabbatical, I hated it as much, but everyone knows that shop ‘girls’ get disrespected all the time. I was somewhat prepared for that, though the fury it inspires was just as grand.

So cheers to Karen Berger.

And cheers to Vertigo Crime, announced at Comic Con last year and the fruits soon to be available in the first two black and white hardcover graphic novels, Brian Azzarello’s Filthy Rich and Ian Rankin’s Dark Entries. Gary is writing a graphic novel called Cowboys, which traces the collision of two very different men, it starts with them holding guns to one another’s heads and disbelieving each others’ claim that they are working undercover. We went out to dinner with a great group of writers, at my end of the table was Jason Aaron who writes Scalped, (which I sadly haven’t read but that should be recitified in the next few days), Jason Starr, author of a number of novels for Hard Case Crime, and Max Allen Collins, who wrote Road to Perdition amongst many another great book…they all have new stuff coming out soon, judging from the previews they should all be read as soon as they are released!

And just one of the interesting tid-bits of conversation that made me think…the claim, would anyone still read Dashiell Hammett if they hadn’t made the Maltese Falcon into a movie? James M. Cain without Double Indemnity? Chandler without the Big Sleep? Max always thought that Kiss Me Deadly was a great movie that kept the name of Micky Spillane alive to readers…an interesting thought and very possibly true, and something I instinctively rebel against, and yet…

Comic-con Community 2008

Jokers…there were jokers everywhere. They outnumbered the batmen and I believe that says a great deal about good and evil. I saw superman: a device blasting out his theme song was hidden somewhere in his costume…I saw an everyday superhero with a boom box blasting James Brown’s Sex Machine…my kind of superhero. He wasn’t wearing tights. At least 30 people dressed up as ghostbusters stood on the steps of the San Diego convention center with some really authentic looking equipment, i don’t know how they fared against the Star Wars crew…there were plenty of storm troopers. Most of them were shiny and new, but there was one old battle scarred veteran who looked like he had fought through all three of the original movies and survived. A couple of luke skywalkers. Not a single damn Chewbacca, such sadness! Jose had promised to tackle the first one we saw. And I stood beneath the hallowed portal of Castle Greyskull!! God damn! If the power were invested in me, there would be a real Castle Greyskull and not a fake portal to merchandise land, and perhaps I might have foregone the massive fake bronze statue of He-Man himself…it might have been a bit much really. Plenty of goth kids, a couple of girls with flying toasters on their heads, Bender, Link from Legend of Zelda, the vampire league flyering people outside, a few manga characters, miles and miles of comics, drawings, art, action figures, T-shirts…more booths than you could imagine.  And a crowded program of talks, the only one we managed was Steven Moffat and Julie…hmm, just Julie, the writers from the new Doctor Who series, they were brilliant and witty and some of the questions were even good. But most started with “you know the (insert episode title here)? So when the Doctor does…” at which I just had to shake my head. And one old guy who was really convinced that all of the doctors HAD to be brought back in one episode for…well, I won’t tell you in case it happens. There were no spoilers sadly, but I enjoyed myself.

It was all a bit much really, hard to know how to even begin to describe it, and you might be wondering where the pictures are…I wish, I really wish I had them. I left my camera battery in my bag (left untouched from my trip to Tucson, serves me right for gadding all around about the country I suppose). So the only picture I have is this one of me, Sergio Paez was kind enough to draw it for me and give it to me for free as we wandered up and down the artist tables looking at people with talents I could only dream of. It’s very nice though:

I do quite like it…we stayed over with Cici and wandered Balboa Park and talked shit in Hamilton’s over a grilled cheese sandwich and hard cider, then came back home on the train.

And today I bowled. And I won. It was unprecedented and gives me great hope for the future.

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