Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Tuesday Miscellany

One of the real problems with being an amateur blogger is that I have various professional and personal responsibilities that keep me from writing as much as I'd like. There is always something else that happens that I think, "Huh, that would make a nice short piece," or, 'People should really know about that." So, to wit, I'm writing this post that will have a few small items, and I can't for the life of me remember if I actually posted about this here or not, so I'll once again, or for the first time, say that The Matt Signal is now on Facebook. Go, like the page, and I'll try to put some more content up on there. I've put some stuff beyond just links to these posts already, but I'm hoping to get more up there regularly.

- This past week was Will Eisner Week, and alas, I didn't get a chance to write anything about the American father of modern comics and graphic novels. It can't be stressed how important Eisner was to the development of comics. I just found all of my Eisner graphic novels, and so I will at some point hopefully before next year's Will Eisner Week be writing about some of those Eisner graphic novels. But suffice it to say, whether it was the stylish use of logos and non-traditional plots of the best of his Spirit strips, the early American graphic novel A Contract With God, or the inside autobiography The Dreamer, Eisner was a true master of the form and someone who should be studied.

-It felt like last week was Maestro week. The Maestro, for those of you who don't know, is an evil future version of the Hulk created by Peter David for his mini-series, Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect, a story voted by Comic Book Resources readers as the Greatest Peter David Story Ever Told. Gerry Duggan has been teasing Maestro in his recent Hulk arc, and David brought him back in Spider-Man 2099 two weeks back, but if that wasn't a bounty on it's own, it was announced last week that Maestro would be added to one of Marvel's on-line games, Contest of Champions, and headlining one of the Secret Wars tie-ins, appropriately called Future Imperfect, written by none other than David himself. And to top it all off, Sunday's episode of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. featured the animated debut of the character. Agents of S.M.A.S.H. has been hit or miss for me, but this was a solid episode, and I have to give a lot of credit for that to Fred Tatasciore, who did a great job voicing both Hulk and Maestro. An evil version of hero isn't a unique concept, as a matter of fact it's about as old a chestnut as comics have. But the Maestro was such a terrifying character partly because that rage and evil always seems right below the surface for the Hulk, and Future Imperfect was such a memorable introduction. I think writers since have always felt they can tease the Maestro just around the corner for the Hulk, and it's nice to see that one of the best aspects of one of the best runs on any Marvel comic ever still resonates. And, as one of those fanboy ideas, wouldn't it be cool to get a Peter David/Jim Starlin co-plotted, David scripted, Starlin drawn story featuring The Magus, dark future version of Adam Warlock, coming to invade an Earth ruled by The Maestro, dark future version of the Hulk? Just saying...

- This weekend marked the second Camden Comic Con, held at the Camden campus of Rutgers University. This is right in my backyard, so to speak, and it was a free Con, so I figured what the heck, let me give it a shot. It had a nice guest list, and a good variety of vendors, so I figured the worst that would happen is I'd walk out with a bunch of back issues. I did that and more, as I found it to be a well organized and very pleasant con.

Wandering the floor, I was pleased to see a variety of creators, most of whom were local and small press. One of the great things about this type of con is that, while you don't get a ton of creators from Marvel and DC, you do get to see all kind of work you usually wouldn't. I did spend some time talking to Adam McGovern, whose Nightworld came out from Image earlier this year (full disclosure, Adam does shop with us at Dewey's and has made store appearances, so I knew him going in). I got three sketches for my ever growing sketchbook, the first of which was an AzBats from Bun Leung.

AzBats should have been one I expected to get or ask for, but it never occurred to me, and that's why I usually tell the artist to draw what he or she wants. You never know what you're going to get that way. Among the other creators I spoke to over the course of the day were the guys from On The Square Comics. I picked up the two self published books they had on hand, Opposing Forces and Centralia, and artist Jay Taylor added a nice Batman to my sketchbook.

On the back issue front, I was finally able to complete my run of the Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson Classic Star Wars newspaper strip reprints, as well as moving closer to completing the run of 80s Infinity Inc. I also stumbled across a 90s prestige format one shot from Marvel called Dr.Strange: What is it That Disturbs You, Stephen? by Mark Andreyko and P. Craig Russell, which I had never heard of. That's one of the real joys of diving through bins at cons for me, finding those gems that you never knew existed and that you just can't resist picking up. And the prices are usually so reasonable that you can't help but take a chance on them.

I didn't make any of the panels, as I was too distracted by chatting with creators and digging through back issue bins, but it was an impressive assortment. There was a symposium on female creators, characters, and fans. And there were a bunch of how-to workshops, from self publishing to cosplay.

So, all in all, I had a great experience at Camden Comic Con, and I look forward to seeing what they have lined up for next year.

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