Sunday, April 20, 2008

New York Comic Con 2008

This weekend I went to the (3rd?) Annual New York Comic Con! I have to say that I was pretty impressed. I haven't been to Comic Con in San Diego, I'm sure it's bigger and there's more going on, but even so this was a pretty big show, and a ton of people were there. The highlights of the show for me were the previews of Wall-E, and the panel of Battlestar Galactica actors. Before you laugh, if you haven't seen Battlestar Galactica go read all the glowing reviews in the media, it's an amazing show. What we got to see from Wall-E was incredible, so insanely entertaining without any dialogue! It gave the impression that the animators could really play around with entertaining acting choices and it seems so fully owned by the animators. Of course I don't really know, but that's the impression I got by watching it.

Michael Trucco (Anders), Rekha Sharma (Tory), Michael Hogan (Tigh)

I have to say, the Battlestar Panel was one of the best panels I've ever been to (granted I haven't been to many). The actors were so professional, extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to work on a great show like Battlestar, and talked a lot about their craft, their views of their characters, etc. The questions from the audience were overall pretty good too. Michael Hogan is an absolute professional, you can tell by the way he presents himself, how seriously he takes his work, and by just watching him on screen. He's a really amazing actor. Michael Trucco (Anders) was the comic on stage, and I don't think him or Rekha Sharma (Tory) had been to a panel before.

I'm not really a comic book fan, so I didn't know a lot of the artists who were there, but it was still cool to see their incredible talent and to see them draw characters (for a charge) for other people. One of the good things about not knowing a lot of the artists was that I wasn't shy to talk to anyone because I didn't know if they were famous or not! One person I did know and actually got to meet was Peter Laird, one of the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! The 10 year old in me really geeked out, I was one of those kids who watched the old cartoon every week, had a ton of toys, and loved to yell "Kowabunga" :P He was just sitting at a table, very few people around him buying drawings, no big displays behind him or anything. Really friendly guy, didn't talk to him much but had to get my picture taken with him.

Me and Peter Laird

I also met and talked a bit with David Mack, artist of "KABUKI", and, un-beknownst to me, writer and artist of Marvel's "Daredevil". A book he had on his desk, called "The Shy Creatures", caught my eye because of the similarity in style to Dr. Seuss drawings. I noticed the rest of his work was very naturalistic, and he explained to me that "The Shy Creatures" was actually a part of an issue of his comic "Kabuki", where one of the characters reads this book. He actually created the book in the comic, drew it out page by page through the character's point of view. He said that he thought the contrast in styles between the naturalistic world of his comic and the fanciful style of the book the character was reading was interesting. As I was flipping through his other comics, I saw how his page layouts were very creative, not your normal comic panels, one had a blueprint of a house roof and descriptive text outside of the comic panels. He was very friendly, (not all of the artists were), I really enjoyed talking to him and wish I had gotten a picture with him.

I also went to a few of the other panels, one was on "The State of Animation" with J.J. Sedelmaier and another man (I can't remember his name now, he said he has done Garfield shows for the "last 150 years"), and also one on storytelling in comics, with Klaus Janson and Marc Guggenheim. The storytelling one was my favorite, they didn't talk necessarily about story, but about the differences between writing and drawing for comics, and the difference between writing for comics and writing for film. (Marc Guggenheim has been both a writer for comics and tv, most recently co-creator of Eli Stone.) I found it interesting how so much of what they said was the same thing we talk about in animation, just in different vocabulary. Klaus stressed the importance of using reference, Marc talked about finding your unique voice, both talked about the necessity of re-doing work to make it better, among other interesting topics. It really was a direct way for me to see that what we strive for in animation isn't that different from other commercial art/storytelling techniques. Though I have never drawn or written for a comic book, I could relate to almost everything they talked about through my experience in animation. Once again, my lack of knowledge in comics paid off, as I wasn't shy to chat with Klaus for a bit afterwards...not really realizing how well known he is in the world of comics for his work, and his work with Frank Miller.

Anyway, New York Comic Con was a good time, and I was pretty impressed by it since San Diego is the one that gets all the glory. Anyone who's around NY next year should definitely check it out (and get the weekend pass, much cheaper!)

I thought this guy was a great look alike to Obi-Wan ;) It was funny how serious he was when I asked him if I could take a picture. In complete Ewan McGregor tone, he said "Yes, of course..."

Had to take a picture of Mickey!

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

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