Committed: NYCC (Warren Ellis, Talking Shop, & Photos)
As I write this, I’m slumped on the couch having just returned from New York Comic Convention. This was my second time at NYCC and I can confirm that it is a very different sort of affair from its West Coast counterparts like San Diego International Comic Con. Like New York itself, the convention is a little darker and more crowded, with less physical space for a similar amount of people and moodier lighting, the convention has an engaging urgency to it. Underneath all of the brash fun of the comic books, costumes, toys and games there is a definite New York atmosphere which bleeds through. Meeting up with all of my East Coast and European friends and colleagues in person is quite an experience too, since if we do talk, it is usually only talk online.
Chatting to comic book creators and colleagues, I was able to finally answer a few niggling questions. When I met Croatian artists Esad Ribic drawing at the con, I asked him about the beautiful new covers he’s painted (watercolors and gouche) for the re-released Loki series. He said that he hadn’t liked the original covers much. I pointed out that they had a fantastically S&M look to them, and he responded that this was exactly his problem with them. Bill Sienkiewicz showed me some beautiful pages from an upcoming project he’s been inking, (I took photos of a few, which I will post for you as soon as I’m allowed to. Right now it might be a bit early to let the cat out of the bag.) I watched Australian artist Ben Templesmith drawing a very nifty Doctor Strange for someone and discussed his new home in New York while he signed people’s copies of Fell with the Snowtown tag and promised that there would be more coming in 2012. I met Kagan McLeod, discussed his book; Infinite Kung Fu and bought a rather hysterical poster he’d made of the History of Hip Hop (with 460 hip hop artists depicted in chronological order.) Italian artist Sara Pichelli told me that since she’d been drawing the new Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man, she’d been on the receiving end of some very irate fans of the original Ultimate Spider-Man, who felt his death was her fault. “I try to tell them, this is my job! I don’t decide who lives and dies, I just draw him.” she laughingly told me.
On opening night I went to the preview screening of the almost finished documentary Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts by Respect Films. I always enjoy hearing the personal thought processes behind projects, so it was fascinating to hear Ellis and his peers discuss his background and some of his more poignant books. I particularly enjoyed Anthony Johnston’s point that a major influence on Ellis (and other British writers of that generation) was growing up under Margaret Thatcher. Ellis himself said that she had a way of making you feel like any day you’d look out the window to see that she’d put Daleks on every corner. This resonated with me, and helped me to understand one reason why I might be so personally drawn to his point of view. Helen Mirren was (as always) delightful, adding that she thought Ellis was happy with the film Red, though it was hard to tell, since the English can be so reserved about expressing enthusiasm.
A personal highlight was definitely my lunch with Brian Cronin, (our illustrious host here at Comics Should Be Good), who not only took me out of the convention center, but challenged me to eat all of the 6 burgers we each got (ostensibly mini, but they were relatively medium-sized.) In between over-eating, we talked shop, discussing the site and our feelings about comic books and writing. It was enlightening to spend some time together in real-space, and definitely reinforced my enjoyment to be writing here.
NYCC is a great convention to take photos, partly just because it is in New York, where there is something marvelously incongruous about the grey tones of the city against the bright hues of the cosplayers. Walking to the convention center, I often overheard bypassers wondering what on earth was going on, and taking photos of the cosplayers in this senario was a lot of fun. In looking through my photos I also noticed that the cosplayers at NYCC are a lot more diverse, not just in their chosen characters, but also in their interpretations of them. (I only really register this after the fact because at the time, I was often taking photos faster than I could think, just trying to capture it all.) Whether it was Zelda, Darkseid, Jack in the Box or Wolverine, people consistently brought their own personality to the costumes and the result was a very rich visual effect.
The following is a small selection of photos of people that I took at NYCC. The rest of my photos are up on my flickr account, here.
Casual Phoenix in a mini dress.
Darkseid and Superman stop to pose for me.
Italian artist David Messina forgoes energy drinks for an espresso.
Tiny, little X-23 is uncomfortable.
Elektra takes a smoke break.
Bat baby makes dad proud.
Who you gonna call?
Dark Phoenix and Storm pose for me.
Wonder Woman is at work.