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AICN COMICS CON REPORT: Nutmeg reports back from the Boston Comic Con!

Hey everyone, Nutmeg here. Convention season is in full swing, as Matt and I made our way up north to the Boston Comic Con. Though we only made it in for Sunday, Boston was filled to the brim with all sorts of characters.

The first panel we attended featured an array of Marvel Comics artists including Mark Bagley, Brandon Peterson, Mike Choi, and David Mack. These artists spoke about how they got started in drawing and where their chosen vocation has led them.

Mike Choi didn't attend college for art, but rather computer programming. However, he was a big fan of what Top Cow was doing, and started working there first in the marketing department, and later drawing backgrounds, eventually graduating to a full-fledged penciller and then landing a gig at Marvel. Choi eventually moved to doing art for video games. He mentioned that he enjoys drawing for video games because he can appreciate both the artistic and technical sides given his background.

Brandon Peterson went to college for art, where he earned a bachelor's degree. Peterson talked about his work on the recent AGE OF ULTRON miniseries, and answered some fan complaints about the way that story developed, explaining that in talking to writer Brian Bendis, Bendis revealed that he was deliberately going against fan expectations in order to create a story that people hadn’t seen before.

Mark Bagley has been drawing comics for 30 years, ever since 1983’s MARVEL COMICS TRY-OUT BOOK. He explained he thought it was just a gimmick at the time, but a friend convinced him to enter the contest, and he won first place, leading to a career at Marvel that continues to this day. He did have a brief stopover at DC, an experience he described as unpleasant. He works extreme work hours, sometimes 20 hours days on only 4 hours of sleep, to maintain his prodigious output. He mentioned that he catches up on his sleep when he's on vacation. Bagley also answered a question from the audience about a possible merging of the Ultimate and regular Marvel Universes. “I don’t know if that’s necessarily the direction they’re going in,” he explained. “There are a lot of things they could do short of that.”

David Mack had been involved in all different disciplines of art before settling on comics. He was fascinated by the style of comics. In school, his art teacher allowed him to choose the format of his final project, and he chose to create his own comic. Mack wrote and drew his own 55-page comic book, which led a bemused Bagley to ask why he chose such an odd page number. “I knew nothing about the standards of comics at the time,” Mack confessed. Mack also related how he came to Marvel, when Joe Quesada, who had been very impressed with his work on KABUKI, asked him to draw a comic at his new Marvel Knights imprint, but Mack’s schedule was simply too busy to draw another comic. However, he did take over as writer after Kevin Smith’s run on DAREDEVIL concluded.

Matt and I got to very end of the DOCTOR WHO panel, featuring the creators of the IDW comic series, Blair Shedd and J.K. Woodward. The audience was awaiting the news of who would be playing the next Doctor, which was scheduled to be announced at 2 PM. The crowd in the room was so excited that they actually began counting down the seconds in unison, leading the panelists to laughingly point out that it wasn’t like someone was just going to shout out the name at 2 PM on the dot (as I’m sure you all know, it turned out to be Peter Capaldi). I was not only shocked to see the amount of fandom in the room, but by the way all the girls in the room screamed and mobbed the creators at the end of the panel. Those Doctor Who fans are craaaaazy!

Following the Doctor Who panel was a very informative panel on “How To Get Your Comic Published” hosted by Anthony Del Col, co-writer of the indie sensation KILL SHAKESPEARE. Anthony explained the intensive process he and his collaborator went through to get KILL SHAKESPEARE on shelves.

Del Col detailed the arduous task of getting publishers to pick his idea out of the many they have thrown at them. He explained that you need to create a pitch packet. A pitch packet is what you show to when pitching your idea. It's designed to explain your idea, the characters involved, an outline of where you want to take the story, and concept art if possible.

Even if the comic is picked up, you still need to market it to make it a success. Del Col mentioned being lucky because he already had a big network in place. However, he mentioned about branching out through word of mouth, using the internet, or even paying for advertising if you have the means to do so. As I was listening to Del Col, I was trying to imagine the agonizing frustration that must come with all this, as the path to success is surely not a smooth or straightforward one. I can't imagine how many times you would face rejection before finally gaining that coveted acceptance. At the moment, I don't have a comic of my own that I would go through that process with. However, I felt like the panel was very interesting and informative, and what I learned will definitely help should I ever go down that route.

We also caught the very end of the LOCKE & KEY panel, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a photo of the creative team. Thank you, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez for taking a few moments to pose for AICN. It’s funny, but if you look at some old pictures of Stephen King with a beard, Joe Hill is the spitting image of his father. Of course, he is a talented author who has carved out his own well-deserved reputation.

Now comes the moment I know you were all waiting for; because let's face it, no convention is complete without some cosplay. That's right, I'm talking about another Costume Contest. For some reason, we in fandom seem to have a love/hate relationship with cosplay. There have been a lot of comments left in past articles, and I'm fascinated to learn more about your views on the subject; what you like, what you don’t like, what you want to see more of, and what you think is just plain ridiculous. As I have said before, I love Halloween and those dressing up at the conventions have more guts than me. So I especially have to give props to the kids and adults who dared to pose for judges. Well, most of ‘em.

My favorite part of the contest was the kids' costumes. They weren't just adorably dressed, but their personalities stole the show. A few them had me giggling and a few of the costumes amazed me at what their parents would do for them. I often wonder what the judges are thinking when they choose the winners. From the few costume contests that I've been to, I'll often see an original costume that not only stands out, but is totally different than the rest of the crowd. Yet, it's never the winner. In fact, they usually turn out to be the honorable mention at best. I wonder what really makes a costume so different that it stands out above the rest. What makes them the victor over everyone else?

For instance, the victor at the contest was a Bane costume. This Bane costume was one out of several of the same costume, as Bane is a very popular character. To me, that takes points off for lack of originality. The only difference was that he had a voice changer similar to Tom Hardy in the movie. If the costume contest was based on originality and work that went into the costume, it would have gone to the Steampunk Batman costume that had actual wings that at a push of a button, unfolded to a huge wingspan, wide enough to take up almost the whole stage. I guess we’re all judges in the end!

After a summer of crazy convention experiences, I'm now prepared for October. Thank you BCC for some fun times. Next up, NYCC. You better be ready, Nutmeg is about knock the doors down!

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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