Outhouse Correspondent Zechs takes a look back at this year's C2E2 2012.
Well another C2E2 has come and gone. It's funny how the darn con just runs by and before you know it ... BAM it's over! This was my second straight year attending this con. I had only missed the first due to a commitment on trying new cons out of state (Sakura Con) and alas a Chicago Con wasn't in the cards at the time given the funds I poured into the other convention. However, after hearing how spectacular and superior C2E2 was to Wizardworld Chicago, I promised myself I would attend it. After last year, I was hooked and going to the now renamed Chicago Comiccon (though I like to refer it as Chicago Trek Fest Mark II) and being disappointed in that, I went all out this year to enjoy C2E2 2012.
Of course, this year I had to juggle being the only Outhouse Reporter there. Last year I had the amazing David Liss, current writer of The Spider assisting me. So I had to brunt as many panels as I could. My original ideas were to balance the two major companies: Marvel and DC, but also give some love to the indie companies (last year it was Dark Horse, this year IDW).
However, over the course of the con, things changed and my whole scheme fell apart. Why? The sour taste I had after leaving the DC All Access Panel. The whole panel just didn't set well with me at all with DC Editor in Chief Bob Harras. He treated a Wally West fan horribly. Yeah the Wally West fan didn't help his side either declaring he was a friend of the person who asked about Wally West at SDCC, but Harras could have answered the question better. He could have gone the usual route DC gives fans of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie with the "WE HAVE PLANS" excuse and just leave it at that. Even more, he should have had Geoff Johns, who has written Wally West in the past, answer the question for him. But he didn't and that was the first thing that didn't set well with me.
Another thing Harras did was show how out of place he was in the panel. His comment to David Finch on the Dark Knight book just made me facepalm and just couldn't believe how easily he forgot this. Paul Jenkins, the first arc co-writer was replaced and Judd Winick was going to fill in for an issue or two before Gregg Hurwitz would take over as the new ongoing writer. Seeing the Editor in Chief fumble around and not even realize this fact was bad on his part.
Some DC fans I know once compared Dan Didio to a car salesman. I agree with that assessment. That he does anything he can to get you to like this brand new car. However, he knew how to win you over to buy that car. Bob Harras on the other hand? He reminds me of a sleazy used car salesman. You can't ask actual questions for fear he get all offensive of the claims his used car isn't good enough for you. However if you ask DC question he likes, you'll get rewarded, as Mr. Harras was giving out DC merchandise at the panel.
Comparing this to the DC Direct panel I had previously attended was like day and night. Geoff Johns PERFECTLY handled himself and the company showcasing all the goodies the now renamed DC Collectibles had going on. He made you feel the direction DC was going in was good. Bob Harras, not so much. It felt like this product of theirs was dying and fans calling DC out on doing anything about the negative were squashed.
In my heart of hearts, I bleed DC. I bought eight Batman trades this weekend. Hearing artist Chris Burnham speak so passionately about the book and express how it's a perfect mish-mash of gritty and Adam West era of Batman hooked me into buying the first few issues. Amanda Conner is a trooper, watching her do all those sketches for fans and more. My poor friend accidentally left his iPad by her booth at the close of Saturday night. Being a good person, she kept the thing safe when I had to run back in telling security, "Just give me five minutes. I have to get something my friend left behind." Seeing her STILL sketching this art for a fan while also holding onto the iPad and giving it back to me shows that she really is VERY awesome human being. Seeing Geoff Johns himself become a wide-eyed fanboy and love the possibility of a Mogo-themed beach volley ball was great. Same goes for Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins, both amazing writers that DC should ankle lock to their respective Bat-related books. Seeing these things did make me proud of them for being a part of DC.
However, I know Herald is going to jump on me for this: they need Dan Didio or Geoff Johns heading these panels (I say the later. He was amazing at the DC Direct one). Bob Harras cannot do these panels or should take a shadowy backseat to them. Because what he did at C2E2 and other conventions isn't winning fans over. He's becoming the symbol for me at least as to why I've found myself alienated from DC. Due to that, their rival Marvel was all too eager to take me in.
For me, Marvel was the real star of this convention. The way they handled their panels was VERY appealing for fans. I'm a passionate fan that loves the characters. The story or movement comes later. These panels Marvel had were like bliss for me. They answered to the best they could fans' questions and indulged some lucky fans by reading AvX Versus #1. Yeah, the Avengers vs. X-Men panel wasn't too newsworthy, but seeing the passion Joe Quesada had for the digital product and then seeing said product from my friend's iPad, I GET the excitement. In a few years, this truly can be something really golden and the future of comics. I also understand how the price hike is somewhat worth it now given the Android or iPad extras you'll be getting when you unlock the digital content.
Really though, the whole point of this con was only one thing: to meet Dan Slott. I made a promise two years ago if Slott would come to Chicago for a convention I'd see him and I'd ask him a question that has been nagging me on the Hobgoblin. Part of me HUNGERED to go up in front of that Amazing Spider-Man panel and ask Slott that question. However, a part of me also knew if I did, it wouldn't be fair to this website. I didn't want to be that crazy fan, even if I probably am. But I don't want to be the fan that is a total idiot or comes off totally creepy. I was representing the Outhouse and had to squash my inner nerd-dom. At the end of that panel I got what I wanted. A fifteen minute interview with Dan Slott, though I'll probably regret it later on via the teasing I'll be getting from the interview. And what an interview it was! I still wonder how Slott found me out. It had to be that I gave too much away and he knew I was the only Outhouser in Chicago who'd dare approach him or care enough to. Even though, he did put a favorite character of mine in limbo (FOR A TINY BIT! HE'LL BE BACK! I KNOW SLOTT IS DOING THIS TO TORTURE ME! SLOTT!!!), hearing the man talk and his passion for the industry, you can't help but enjoy being around the man. Hearing him tell tales of one time being side-by-side in a booth with Clive Barker was amazing to hear. The man is a great story-teller.
Slott, you probably have a grin on your face and are probably fiendishly rubbing your hands while you're reading this. Go ahead and post. ENJOY THIS MOMENT! For in the end I know I'm right! The original Hobgoblin will return in your run!! Fully alive and with head intact!!
As for the artistic goodies, well C2E2 continues to please. There's such a wealth and pool of talent in artist's alley you could easily drop over thousands of dollars. I fully regret not getting the art of Andie Tong (who drew a wicked Wolverine sketch for my friend), Terry Huddleston, Wyatt Morgans, Nick Meccia, Clay Mann, J.K. Woodward, Stuart Sayger, Shawn Alleyne, Jim Polpiboon, THE Dirk Manning, and so many others. Yeah I had bad luck with a Marvel artist there who held onto a blank cover for most of the con and was the first person I visited there. I get that some big artists are given so many sketches to do. But when you have someone like Amanda Conner just drawing till her hand falls off and this artist just leaving me high and dry after saying, "Yeah it'll be done." was disappointing. Still their loss was another artist's gain.
Overall, I really much enjoyed the experience of C2E2. If there is one great complaint I have of it, besides my issues with DC, is the fact it ends too soon. This is the only edge Wizardworld Chicago has over it. You have four days of convention time compared to a simple three. And when they're up, they're up. The time just goes by way too fast. Not to mention the floor hours are just insane. Although, to find the trades I did there, get such a wealth of art and hear writers talk of their product, I cannot help but say I cannot wait until C2E2 2013.
Written or Contributed by: Zechs