Denver Comic Con 2018
Cait’s Coverage, Saturday
Now that day one of Denver Comic Con 2018 is in the books, it’s time to talk about all the sights and sounds it had to offer! As in previous years, my focus was on the panels which dealt with comics and comic structure first and foremost, with a few that satisfied my own personal geeky desires. For today, that meant catching a panel on worldbuilding and storytelling, the Q & A with Alan Tudyk and a panel on the influence of Batman in comics. While I ended up with a shorter day than I had originally expected, it was delightful to see how much DCC has grown in terms of the literary panels that it offers and how much it has continued to support education concerning comics. In large part, this is due to the connection between Denver Comic Con and Pop Culture Classroom, a Denver-based non-profit. This collaboration means that the con is able to provide a section called Kids Labratory where the younger con goers can meet and learn from professionals in the comics industry and find out all about the process. In addition, there are many panels which cover using comics in an educational setting for teachers and librarians. As someone who has been a longtime fan of comics, it is really great to see this dedication to education using comics and introducing younger readers to the industry.
Worldbuilding and Storytelling
This panel featured a wide array of authors (largely in the fantasy genre) who talked about how to build a world when you’re writing a story and the kinds of rules and structures that they either pay attention to or dismiss entirely. The panel consisted of Naomi Novik, Kristi Charish, Robert Jackson Bennett, Peter V. Brett and Christina Henry with P. Barclay Jones as moderator. While in previous years the literary panels outside of comics have been small or largely consisted of independent voices, this panel was one of the first that I’ve seen at DCC that pulled in some very well known authors. I was frankly impressed at how well the panel was run and the collaborative and supportive atmosphere created by the moderator and the panelists themselves. It felt more like a conversation than anything else, as the panelists were comfortable being frank about their industry and joking about some of the topics that came up during the panel. In particular, the panelists talked a lot about the research and preparation involved in the process of writing and when to move from research to writing. While they differed in terms of how much they put into their research (Brett commented that he sometimes got lost in the black hole that is Wikipedia for hours at a time and Bennett’s response was that he got into fantasy to avoid doing research), it was eye opening to see how each writer came up with their solutions that depended on the needs of the story. I also appreciated that some of the panelists had different backgrounds, Kristi Charish had a more scientific background which led her to view storytelling as a sort of scientific experiment while Naomi Novik balanced how much detail to reveal in her story based on what she expected the audience to respond to. And in terms of fatal flaws in storytelling, Robert Jackson Bennett had perhaps the best response of the day: “Books are like relationships: if you get someone to love you enough, you can get away with anything.”
Alan Tudyk Q&A
This was my panel of the day that was purely for my own desires. I’ve adored Alan Tudyk since he was my first TV/movie crush as Wash in the television show Firefly (and later the movie Serenity) and I’ve loved seeing him in other roles over the years, particularly in his series Con Man. When Alan was at DCC three years ago, I wasn’t able to make it to the con and have been regretting it ever since. So there’s no way I was going to turn down this opportunity! It was both a strange and a delightful experience. The entire segment consisted of questions from the fans about all the different projects that Alan has worked on and while he was answering questions, he was giving away random stuff that he’d been told needed to make its way out of his house. Some of it was intensely interesting, like the paper that came from Rogue One while it still had its secretive code names, while others were things like a package of Advil. Each item was signed by Alan before being given to the person who asked a question and I appreciated both the silliness of it and the appeal of how he interacted with the fans who obviously love him very much. While I was charmed by Nathan Fillion’s stories at DCC last year, I really appreciated how honest and low key Alan is in person and have to say that I love him even more for it.
Batman in Comics: Part One
This panel brought together a number of artists and writers who have been involved in telling stories about Batman in the last few decades and asked them about those experiences with the Caped Crusader. The panel consisted of Greg Capullo, Tom King, Brian Azzarello, David Finch and James Tynion IV. While I’ve been in love with Batman since I was a kid watching the animated series with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, a lot of these creators were largely unfamiliar to me. Further proof that I’ve got some catching up to do with my Batman stories! I really enjoyed that they allowed a lot of time for fan questions since it meant getting a perspective on everything from the new DC movies to how these creators treated Batman as they developed their stories. While Tom King was unwilling to talk much about his reaction to either Batman Vs Superman or Justice League beyond “my boss wrote it,” it was interesting to get the perspective of people who have spent a lot of time with the character of Batman. None of them would admit to flat out hating either BvS or JL but none seemed to be a huge fan. And it was interesting to hear that Azzarello stays away from superheroes in movies or television because that’s what he does for a living and he wants something different when he’s looking for recreation. I’d never thought of it that way but I could see that potentially being a drawback. Greg Capullo on the other hand, fully admitted to never getting enough of superheroes. I also really liked hearing about how they viewed the Batfamily and supporting cast around Batman and what had drawn them to getting involved with the comics industry in the first place. None of them had exactly the same story for becoming comics writers and artists and it was interesting to hear the different paths that had been taken to get there. As a life long Batman fan, it was a lot of fun to hear from the creators about my favorite superhero. If this sounds interesting to you, don’t miss part two tomorrow!
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next round of panels! I’ll be getting caught up with Frank Miller and we’ll see if DCC can change my mind on Superman!