Thursday, August 21, 2014

Connecticut ComiCONN 2014 - Part II: Panels!

     One of my favorite parts of any comic book convention is always the Panels. Here, we often get to see the top writers/artists/editors in their respective crafts share real experiences, ideas, and sometimes, new stuff in the Nerd Kingdom.

     I believe this is the first year that Connecticut ComiCONN had any panels, but these were some of the best panels I have been to in my many years of comic con panel-hopping.

     The first panel we attended was the Charlton Comics Panel (yes I am a geek about geekdom, and love the old stories about this "great" business). Charlton was a comic book company that was based right here in Connecticut, over in Derby.

      The panel consisted of Paul Kupperberg, who is the guy doing all those wild and amazing things you've been hearing about over at Archie Comics; illustration GOD Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez; Frank McLaughlin, creator of Judo Master; the great Iron Man artist among other things, Bob Layton; and my hero, comic book writer, editor, and general sequential art sifu Dennis O'Neil.

      Silver Age comic book history as told by the men who were there. Tales of cheap editors, dirty deals, and a bunch of guys completely without adult supervision, free to create and develop great characters that are still around to this day. One of those characters happens to be one of my favorite characters of all time, the Question, created by the great Steve Ditko and revisited by Denny in the 80s.

(From left to right: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Frank McLaughlin, Paul Kupperberg, Dennis O'Neil, and Bob Layton)

I finally got to attend one of Arlen Schumer's Panels -- This one was calleed"Art and Comic Book Art," and yes, this man is one heck of a public speaker and he knows art and comic books like nobody else. He entertained and he enthralled as he shared his knowledge and ideas about the various connections between fine are at the greatest comic book art -- and there are many. When the revised edition of his book, the Silver Age of Comic Book Art, comes out, I'll be raving about it.

Moments before Arlen Schumer testified about art and comics. None walked away unchanged.

Then, I got to see Dennis O'Neil and Danny Fingeroth deliver a "
writing for comics" panel -- not a lot of new territory, but listening to masters speak is always a thrill. Many years ago, I took just such a class from Denny at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Danny was the editor of the entire Spider-Man group back in the 80s, which for Spidey fans was an "amazing" time for the character. The term "Amazing Eighties" was not my coinage. It's out there.

      (Denny O'Neil and Danny Fingeroth)           

     Denny O'Neill and I have history. The man, together with Neal Adams, changed my life and outlook on everything at the ripe old age of eight years old when I read the "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" series. It was at that moment I became an anarchist, and that made all the difference. Mix that with Captain America and you get a PATRIOTIC anarchist, so there.
      Anyway I grew up and years later took a class with this maker of heroes, where he got to know me as that pain in the ass who never shut up (ask Mark Mazz over at Atlas Unleashed). Now, years later, it was great seeing him again.
      Of course, most of my writing involves little more than arguing with people on the internet about the nature and function of government in a free society, but hey, the structure of a good argument isn't that different from the structure of a good story, and I learned that from a true master of the art.

Denny and me. Can I be your sidekick?

Next: Art and Celebrities!

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