Friday, October 08, 2010

New York Comic Con 2010 Preview

At the end of this week’s column, you’ll find a semi-review I did of the CrossGen comic TPB of Sigil vol 1 – but I honestly couldn’t find that much good or bad to say about it (mostly I was indifferent). So, I decided instead to use this week’s column to give a preview of the things I’m excited about New York Comic Con 2010. I’ll be attending New York Comic Con (NYCC) as a reporter for, along with my kids (age 4 and 6) on Sunday, Oct. 10th. I’ve got a bunch of exhibitors I’m hoping to check out, my kids wish-list to try and fulfill (they’re looking for toys – characters from the Krypto cartoon from a few years ago; specifically Krypto and Batman’s dog Ace), one panel I plan to attend, and another that I’ll try to see. On the Exhibitor front, there are some of the usual Star Wars suspects; Dark Horse comics, Del Rey, DK, Penguin, Her Universe and Titan - but most of the other major publishers will be there as well (EOS, TOR, Orbit). I'm planning on doing a series of articles next Friday; one here at F&SF Lovin' on any book news I find out, one at NJOE on any Star Wars news, and one at on any comic news. Aside from Star Wars comics at Dark Horse, I’m hoping to get some information on the resurrection of Dark Horse Presents (a comic I used to love) as well as news on Jim Shooter’s Gold Key Comics revivals (such as Solar and Magnus). Speaking of comics, Titan’s new The Clone Wars Magazine debuts this week – including a reprint of UK comics in each issue – and I’m hoping to pick up a copy at the convention, as well as talk to them about upcoming issues. DK always has both fantastic kids related Star Wars books as well as more non-fiction oriented Guide books for adults. I’m going to try and ask about some of their upcoming titles (such as their Visual Dictionary of Characters and Mysteries of the Jedi), gush to anyone within earshot about Star Wars: Year by Year (review coming soon), and maybe pick up the Star Wars Blueprints: Rebel Edition while I’m there. Similarly, I’d like to ask Penguin about their upcoming Star Wars kids books (through their Grosset & Dunlap imprint) such as A Jedi Adventure in 3-D and Villains: A Pop-up Storybook. At Her Universe, mostly I wanted my kids to meet Ashley Eckstein the voice behind Ahsoka in The Clone Wars series (the fact that Matt Lanter – voice of Anakin from the show – will also be there, makes me want to find a way to get these two together on the floor of the convention somehow). Like many creators (artists and writers) Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) will be at NYCC, and I’m hoping to spend a little time going down artists alley to see Katie Cook (of The Clone Wars webcomic), Alex Irvine, Pablo Hidalgo, Jim Lee, Jan Duursema, Joe Schreiber – I’m not too sure which ones I’ll actually get to see, but I know the potential is there. I also plan to stop by Atlas Comics (a revival of an old imprint, with some new scifi stories coming out) Boom! Studios/ POW Entertainment (Stan Lee’s new scifi comics), DC Comics (because my traitorous children prefer Superman and Batman over their father’s love of Marvel), Disney Publishing Worldwide (because we all love Disney), EOS and Tor Books (to see their upcoming scifi offerings), IDW Publishing (I still love the Transformers, and so does my youngest), Marvel Entertainment’s booth (they have a sampler comic as well as an Avengers ID my kids can get), Wizards of the Coast (D&D!) and I’ve got to drop by the guys at Midtown Comics, since that’s the store I shop in when I’m in NYC (plus they’re one of the likely places to find those Krypto toys). Del Rey should be promoting a few books I’m already interested in, videogame tie-ins such as God of War 2 and Deus Ex: The Icarus Effect, but of course I’m hoping to find out more about any of their upcoming general science fiction books. Then there’s The Old Republic: Deceived by Paul Kemp – and maybe something about John Jackson Miller’s Knight Errant releasing early next year. Of course, one of Del Rey’s big events is the release of The Making of the Empire Strikes Back, which will be available at NYCC a few days before its official release, and the first 150 people who pre-order a copy receive a limited edition poster as well. Author J.W. Rinzler will be on-hand to sign the book, as well as to speak at a panel on the making of the book – one of the panels I hope to attend. But the panel that I definitely plan on attending is Marvel’s The Next Big Thing. It’s here that I’m hoping to hear some information on the future of Marvel’s cosmic line of comic books, as well as what plans they might have for the revival of Crossgen. I’m a fan of what they’re currently doing with Avengers and Fantastic Four, and will certainly listen to their plans for X-Men and Spider-man – but having been introduced to the Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova through DnA’s work on various cosmic titles at Marvel, that’s what I’m really hoping to hear about. After the current miniseries The Thanos Imperative, other than another miniseries starring Guardians’ members Rocket and Groot, nothing else is known about what might be in store for these characters. I’m plugging for a Cosmic Avengers title personally, but any news would be welcome (I’d also like to hear about the cosmic characters being a part of the introduction of CrossGen into mainstream Marvel, but again – I’ll take any news). Which brings me full circle to the announcement (at San Diego Comic Con) that Marvel will be doing something with the CrossGen comic properties Disney (which now owns Marvel) purchased some time ago. Since I was a fan of some of their titles (most especially Scion) this news gave me some incentive to seek out additional CrossGen comics I never got to read and see what they were like (see last week’s Negation for instance). CrossGen was a bit of a different type of comic company – branching out to cover non-superhero titles when Marvel and DC were focused only on that type of story. At CrossGen you got Fantasy, Steampunk, Kung-Fu, and Science Fiction titles like Sigil. This was one of the first titles CrossGen introduced, meant to be a cornerstone for the entire CrossGen universe, and this volume collects more than just the first story arc, it’s also a record of how this comic came to be – from plotting and art to the initial design and story concepts. How does it all work as a comic story? Reading this book I got a strange sense of déjà-vu – at first I couldn’t place it, and then I realized Star Wars: Legacy is actually very similar to Sigil. Sam is Cade – a washed up pilot who’s given extra special powers (the Sigil - a design branded on him and marking him as a person of power) who doesn’t want the job and would rather turn his back on everyone – except his crew. Actually it’s also similar to Firefly, as a few newcomers join his crew – like the runaway wife (number 13, and all of the others are still alive) of a sultan type guy who leads one of the planets in this story as well as her bodyguard. Also, the ship’s holographic computer that has the personality of Sam’s dead partner/girlfriend… and I’m left wondering what’s really original here. Oh sure, this comic actually pre-dates Legacy and Firefly – but the real problem with this book is that there’s no great story to back it all up. The sultan wants his wife back, the Reptilian race wants its revenge on Sam for the usual host of reasons, Sam wants to get his girlfriend back, they get a super-powerful new ship (why they couldn’t have started with this ship, I don’t know) they hop around a few planets, get into some trouble and beat up the bad-guys. Unfortunately, there’s not too much here to recommend. The art is pretty good, there’s some decently cool looking tech designs and alien creatures – but the problem is it’s rather forgettable. I’m a fan of a number of other CrossGen properties and I’ve read a fair share of duds as well from them. While I wouldn’t say Sigil is bad, it’s not up to the level of the best of what this CrossGen has to offer. If you’re looking for a semi-decent sci-fi read, this could suffice – but frankly there are a host of other better choices out there that I’d suggest before bothering with Sigil.


SQT said...

I'm so jealous. I've never been able to go-- kids in school etc.-- but I told my husband I'm going to Comic Con next year no matter what. I hope you have a great time and write about it here!

Jim Haley said...

Definitely will (both have a good time, and write about it here in next Friday's post)!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm jealous. I'd like to be there.