MEGACON - SATURDAY FLOOR REPORT
By David T. Allen & Todd H. Latoski
There is no doubt that MegaCon expanded in 2012. More floor space. More vendors and creators. More aisle space. But above all else, more fans! Saturday sold out, and according to Beth Widera, who runs the show, that was event after ordering 6,000 additional wristbands to cover the anticipated additional attendees! There were extraordinarily long lines to meet comic icon, Stan Lee, and Harry Potter star, Tom Felton, and the other comic and media celebrities present certainly had no shortage of fans at their tables. The vendors were selling wildly, and, as ever year, there were numerous attendees in costume - ranging from the Superman family to the many Lantern corps, from Doctor Who to Aliens, from the Avengers to the Titans, and so many more. Out on the floor, ComicRelated was once again able to talk with many of the comic creators and get a few words about their work.
Billy Tucci, known by fans as the creator of Shi, is a MegaCon regular (having been coming to show since 1995) and is always willing to share some news. Tucci started off with the comment that he has a project coming up, about which he can't talk about (which seems to be the common response from many creators). Tucci explained that "they" want to make the announcement, and you certainly don't want to upset the powers that be. Tucci did say the project is really cool, a bit controversial, and he is very excited about it. Tucci is also excited about his recently published A Child is Born, a comic story re-telling of the Christmas story. It was a lot of fun, and Tucci said it has been his dream project and something he always wanted to do. He hopes his fans will think he did the story justice. He did not take the story lightly, but he said he had a lot of fun with the research. He worked with nativity scholars and priests to try and get the most genuine and honest interpretation of the birth of Jesus. Tucci said the book seems to be really catching on. The regular edition of the book sold out, and they still have some variant editions (which he found amusing, that the regular edition sold out before the variant). When asked if there are any projects he would really like to do, Tucci replied that he wants to return to Sgt. Rock, which he knows he will. "But," he added, "I am really excited about the pre-Watchmen book. I would love to tackle the Silhouette and tell her story. With her history, and the fact that her character was in a concentration camp, she fought Nazis, and the way she died. What a tragic story." He thinks it would bring tears to people's eyes, and Tucci said he would really love to tell it. Tucci said this year's show is great, and he's so happy that Christine, Beth, and everyone invite him back each year.
We managed to sneak in a few minutes with Nelson DeCastro, who is currently inking Venom for Marvel. He has been working on that book for the last three issues. Besides that, he has been teaching at the School for Visual Arts in New York City, where he has two classes - one undergraduate class and one continuing-ed class. He has also been doing some voice-over work, and recently narrated a couple of projects for the Discovery Channel. On top of all that, DeCastro is also doing a record for a band called Megadroid, where he is finishing the vocals on that. He hopes to see that come out this summer. He has been staying busy. Bringing the conversation back to the comic realm, we asked if there were any projects coming up after Venom. While there are a number of comic characters he would love to work with, DeCastro likes to stick with a book for a while, as he believes it is important for a creative team to stick together so that fans can get used to it. "Especially now a-days," he said, "when books get cancelled quite often. I kind of feel almost obligated in many ways to stay with a book until you get fired. As long as Marvel will have me on Venom, I'll stay with it. It's a fun book, the story's good." If he had any other opportunities, DeCastro said he wouldn't mind doing a Wolverine mini-series, perhaps. At DC, he'd love to get back on the Green Lantern Corps, which he did for a while. He likes doing aliens and monsters, so the Corps was a fun book for him. DeCastro closed out the interview by saying that MegaCon has always been one of his favorite shows, and "Beth and the gang" really know how to throw a good show and take care of the creators. He always has a great time, and he's happy to see all the Florida people coming out in full force, with some really great costumes. He also likes the fact that MegaCon still has a lot to do with comics. "It's not all these media companies coming in," DeCastro said. "San Diego, I don't even know what that is any more. That's all Hollywood. It's video games and movies." But MegaCon, he added, is about the comics, and that's why he loves it here.
Brandon Peterson was more than willing to take some time and talk with us about his current and upcoming projects. He is just returning to work after taking some time off due to his own health and that of his father, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away. Peterson returned to Marvel at the end of last summer, and he did an issue of Uncanny X-Men, a couple of issues of the Ultimates, and he just did Avengers 24.1. Ultimately, Peterson said it seems promising that he might become a regular on one of the X-Men books by the end of the year. He won't be involved in any of the Avengers vs. X-Men titles, since projects like that are usually planned a year in advance, and last year he was just returning to work after all of that had been planned. He is involved with the re-introduction of the Vision in Avengers 24.1, which should be out in another month. Peterson said that fans will see Vision get caught up by She-Hulk on all of the events that have happened since the "Avengers: Disassembled" story, where the Vision was literally disassembled. This takes place just before the Avengers vs. X-Men, in which Scarlet Witch plays a large role. Peterson believes the 24.1 issue is a very good lead-in into the events that occur within the Avengers vs. X-Men story. Peterson admits that this was the first time in his 20 years of drawing comics that he has ever taken a break. He has always had something on the board for the past two decades, but by taking the time off, he was able to re-charge his own batteries. Now he comes back at it with the "Cool, I'm drawing again" attitude. When asked about the Crossgen properties that Marvel now has, Peterson said he thought the Mystic premise was very clever. "They took more of a steam punk direction with it," he said, "and that was a very clever voice. It's nice to see some of those non-superhero concepts introduced." He would like to see some of the old Crossgen work collected for readers today. Peterson said he has been coming to MegaCon since 1996, and he always has a great time. For him, MegaCon is in his backyard, and he has seen it grown over the years. He attributes the growth to Beth Widera, who ran the show back when CrossGen owned it and bought it before things fell apart with CrossGen. Peterson feels she has been incredibly insightful in making the show grow naturally and has been very careful to treat all the guests well, particularly the comic book guests, and that is part of what makes it so enjoyable for him.
Another former CrossGen creator and MegaCon regular, Tony Bedard, was signing books and greeting fans (and debating whether to buy his son the sword he was wanting). Bedard is writing Green Lantern: New Guardians, which he says is right in the middle of the overarching storyline that is running through all the Green Lantern books. The books have been kept separate with their stories, but there's a situation in the background where the Guardians have basically turned bad and are looking to replace the Green Lantern corps. How that all plays out will affect everything that's going on in New Guardians, as well as the other titles. New Guardians will be most affected, since it has members from all the various corps. "They don't want to just get rid of the Green Lantern corps," Bedard says, "but they want to see all of the corps go!" Suspicious things have been happening to the other corps, and it's all going to come together once they start connecting the dots and realize whom they are up against. Also, the mystery in the New Guardians, where in the first issue, Kyle got all the different rings, and he's still trying to figure out why that happened, who sent the rings to him, and that will be answered by issue 12, and that will lead into some more stuff. Bedard says the book will have a crossover with Green Lantern Corps with issues 13 and 14, and there will be a crossover with Blue Beetle in issue 9. Throughout it all, Bedard promises readers will see Kyle continue to grow in the other shades of the emotional spectrum. Kyle's capable of more than any other Lantern, Bedard says, but he doesn't realize it yet. This whole series is about him growing. Over in Blue Beetle, Jaime will be running away to New York City in issue 7, where he runs into other people in the DCU.
Basically, DC wants to show readers that Blue Beetle is important to the rest of the universe, and not just off in his own corner. With regards to the relaunch, Bedard says that the extent of changes and "reboot" that occurred varied from book to book. It all depended on the success of the book. "If it wasn't broke, we didn't try to change it," he said. Green Lantern is a popular franchise, it's on a roll, and there was not a lot of reason to mess with that. Batman is always popular and very accessible, and accessibility is what drove a lot of changes. Bedard used Blue Beetle as an example. "Even though it's the same character we saw in the last series," he said, "he was previously introduced in the middle of a mass crossover (Infinite Crisis), and his origin had a lot to do with the previous two Blue Beetles. Basically, if you're a new reader coming into that, not only if you want to enjoy Blue Beetle, you have to get up to speed on all that other stuff. So we retold his origin in a much more streamlined way, where it's just Jaime and the armor and that's it. You don't have to know about his crossover or anything else. That's the kind of criteria that went into these decisions." A lot of the changes were to make it more new-reader friendly.
The conversation then switched over to Marvel's revival of some of the Crossgen titles. Bedard has only heard what's in the solicitations and what's out there on the internet. He is glad they are doing something with the properties, and he wishes them all the best. Since he is exclusive to DC, he can't be involved in the projects. At the same time, Bedard admits it makes him feel nostalgic every time he hears about it, especially since Marvel solicited a Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang project, which is something he worked on with Mike Perkins back at Crossgen. "Oddly enough, that's the one that really got me feeling ';awwwwwwww'" Bedard said. When asked if there were any projects he would love to work on, Bedard, without hesitation, said he's always wanted to work on Aquaman. If Geoff Johns ever gets tired of doing that book, he would love to have a shot at it. "Lobo would be another fun one to do," he said, "but that one may already be in the works, I'm not sure." As with the other creators, Bedard always has a wonderful time at MegaCon, coming as an attendee when he's not come as a guest. He's been really busy over the weekend and says he has met a lot of nice fans.
Rounding out the floor coverage today, ComicRelated spent a few minutes at the Hero Initiative booth, where everything was going well. They collected a little over $22,000 at the Justice League Cover Auction the previous night, all of which will go to helping out creators in need. Hero Initiative still has its Justice League cover book available, both in hardcover and softcover, which collects all 100 covers into one book so that those fans who could not afford to bid at the auction can still have copies of all the covers. The next big 100 project coming up is the Fantastic Four. There was a display of Fantastic Four covers on display at the Hero Initiative booth, and MegaCon is the first time any of these covers have been displayed for fans to see. Fans who want to purchase any of the covers should keep a watch on the Hero Initiative website (www.HeroInitiative.org), because in September, they will start auctioning off the covers, plus they will have the books collecting the covers as they've done with all the prior 100 projects. Hero Initiative is also offering members, where fans can show their support with a 2012 Hero Initiative Membership at three different levels: the Bronze level (for $29) includes a personalized membership card, quarterly newsletter, a Hero Initiative Tote Bag, special members-only advance order privileges at a discount on select 2012 Hero Initiative items, and a Hero Initiative sketch card from a randomly selected artist, including George Perez, Mike Perkins, John Romita, Sr., and others; the Silver level (for $99) includes all of the above, plus a softcover copy of the New Avengers 100 Project and special access code to a premium members-only store where you can get Hero Initiative merchandise at a 20% discount; and an Excelsior! Level (for $500), which includes all of the above, plus a head sketch (your choice of one) from George Perez or Walter Simonson on a special high-quality Hero Initiative illustration board measuring 6.5" x 10". Fans who visited the Hero Initiative booth on Saturday had the opportunity to meet and get autographs from George Perez, Allen Bellman, Phil Hester, and Tim Sale. Outside of MegaCon, Hero Initiative recently had a display of DC Comics cover proofs at Tate's Comics in Lauderhill, Florida, showcasing The Julius Schwartz Printer's Proof Cover Collection. According to Harlan Weinig, the exhibit has been very successful, with 150 pieces having already been sold at $100 each, and more pieces still on display. As the exhibit is also a museum showing, some of the covers will remain on display a while longer.
With so many creators, and so little time, we couldn't get to everyone on Saturday. But Sunday is another day, and with it brings more interviews, more revelations, and more convention fun!
Todd H. Latoski/Writer
Todd was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, but moved to Florida back in the late 1980s. Todd grew up reading comics and have always been a fanboy. Working in the legal field by day and writing his heart out at night (with three published comic stories to date, and one more in the works),Todd has been doing MegaCon coverage for several years and looks forward to doing so for many years go come.
blog comments powered by Disqus