Saturday, April 19, 2008

Armageddon, Day 1

It's convention time again! Here are my thoughts on day one.

Wellington managed to turn on an awesome day....

Marv Wolfman remarked during his panel that it was a bit colder than he was expecting. He wasn't the only one that felt that way. I risked it and didn't take a jacket, since I didn't want to carry it all day, and thankfully it had cleared up by late afternoon.

As always, I aimed to be there by 8:20, which again proved to be a good time. This is all I had in front of me:

As it turned out, I probably would've been just fine coming 15-20 minutes later, since the weather seemed to keep the early-birds down to those of us that are really stupid (did I mention it was cold?). I didn't see how long the line ended up, since it wound around a corner not far behind me, and I wasn't leaving my place to go and check :p

The wristbands introduced last year made their welcome return. Hot Pink is not really my colour though heh

To be honest, the event seems quite small this year, in terms of the number of stalls. It's pretty much like it was last year, which was a step down from previous years. The comic range seemed way down, with only 3 stands having significant stocks of back issues. I'd gone through two of them by 10:00.

One place that was booming, was the Madman anime/manga area, which was chaos the entire day. I managed to push through and pick up the Fafner* box set for $35, plus a few other cheap titles, but it was pretty much the place to avoid all day. That stuff is popular.

The comic guests, Marv Wolfman and Nicola Scott, landed at 10:30. Their area was off to the side with lots of access room, for the public atleast. Marv spent much time moving around the scripts/books/comics he brought with him, lamenting the small space he had to operate in. I hit him up first, getting a few issues signed

Plus some artwork

On to Nicola Scott. She was very talkative, dropping hints of her new upcoming project, but being hesitant to get specific, since the announcement was being made in the USA that night at some convention. First things first, get some things signed:

She had a ton of BoP pages with her for sale, and awesomly priced too, only $100 for standard pages, and not much more for splashes. A total bargain compared to the asking prices Jimmy Cheung had for his art last year. She seems to be one of those people that lacks confidence in just how impressive their given talent is, which blows me away since she's the only reason I haven't dropped BoP since Gail Simmone left. Just the impression I got from how she was deciding what her prices would be.

It's funny, going through my collection the day before to decide what I wanted signed, I flicked through the BoP/Secret Six issues thinking "It would be awesome it there were some of these pages available from her". Well lo and behold, there were lots of them. I chose this one:

Mainly because it's got an absolutely gorgeous shot of Ice in it, but it's a neat page in general. That was going to be it, but then I saw this:

...and well, I've mentioned before I have no will power. Huntress in full flight is just too much to resist. Some lucky guy managed to pick up the 4-page spread from Simmone's last issue (you know the one if you read BoP), for $1500. Nicola mentioned that Gail had suggested she charge $3000 for it, but well, see previous comments on Nicola under-rating herself.

Last year I had a bit of a gripe about the general layout of the event, mainly the independant comic artists that were seperated off from the rest of the event. Problem fixed this year, everything flowed nicely. I'll take some pics of general stuff tomorrow, I had a bag full of comics today and was in no position to wander around with a camera.

At 11:15 I found myself with nothing to do, so I sat in on Tracey Scoggins' panel. I hadn't been planning to go to it. I like Babylon 5, but hated the final season (nothing to do with Tracey). It turned out to be really cool, she was funny and just nutty in general (in a good way). A slightly awkward moment when someone asked her about some B5 cast that have apparently died (I have no idea who) and a few tears were shed, but then it was back to being fun. I'm considering getting her autograph on the strength of that panel.

I didn't see any other of the guest panels. Armageddon had horrendous luck with their major drawcards this year, losing 4 of their announced guests. Replacements were found, but not from anything I'm particularly interested in (used to love Stargate, but haven't seen it in years since they took it off prime time), so I gave the rest a miss.

Marv Wolfman had his panel at 1pm. This was a bit of a break from tradition, normally it's the comic panel that kicks the event off at 10, which I always liked since it seemed like a laid-back way to break the ice. Instead of getting the main stage, it was stuck in some tiny room with the air conditioning system (which was noisy), and cold. But Marv was great, he basically took questions and went from there, lots of interesting insights about how he views writing. A minor bummer Nicola Scott wasn't involved, since I'm not really the type to strike up a conversation but like hearing what the pros have to say. Marv had no trouble filling up the hour on his own though.

Oh yeah, it was funny when Marv and Nicola (yeah, first name basis and all, but I think we can all accept who I'm talking about without me typing their full names every time) found out how much we pay for comics here. Marv had a bunch of his recent work to sell, but didn't want to undercut the retailers at the con. His jaw hit the floor when I told him we pay almost triple US price, and Nicola met that with a "Whaaaat?"

I ran out of things to do by 4pm, so went home a bit earlier than I'd planned. All that was left was the kiddie events, and as I've mentioned before, screaming kids are something I can do without. Tomorrow I should have a much lighter bag, so plan to get a few autographs, maybe some sketches if there's still people around doing that. Nicola is charging $50 for sketches, which is a break from the usual "free head sketch" previous guests have offered. A little steep (not that she's not worth it, and I have no problem with her doing that), but still something I'm considering.

*totally unrelated, but I've always avoided Fafner, simply because I hate the name of it. It looks interesting, but "Fafner"? Faf. Ner. Something about it just bugs the hell out of me, and now it's going to be sitting there on my dvd rack, silently mocking me...

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