How can something “MINI” be “MEGA”? Comic and sci-fi fans found out today when they flocked to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida for the first ever “MINI” MegaCon! For more than a decade, MegaCon has always been a late winter/early spring convention, but in response to the many requests from fans and vendors alike, MegaCon opened its doors for the first end-of-summer Mini-MegaCon, and judging from today’s turn out, it’s definitely going to be a success. According to Beth Widera of MegaCon, the numbers who turned out for today went beyond that expected for the entire weekend! Considering the talent in attendance today, this certainly comes as no surprise.
On the entertainment side of things, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer fans lined up in droves to get autographs of Emma Caulfield, Charisma Carpenter, Amber Benson, and Adam Busch, while fans of the British series Dr. Who got the opportunity to meet the seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy! Fans of the recent Twilight film were a bit disappointed that Peter Facinelli and Michael Welch cancelled due to their scheduled filming in the second sequel, Eclipse, but that didn’t stop them from checking out the other stars who were there.
Out on the floor, there was certainly a lot of buzz to be had, and Newsarama was there, as always, to get the scoop directly from the creators’ mouths!
Darwyn Cooke was as popular as ever, with fans drooling over the art he had for sale. Cooke told Newsarama that he’s currently in the middle of drawing the double-sized 50th issue of Jonah Hex, for which he is doing all of the interior art. Otherwise, he said he’s taking it easy, as Parker: The Hunter was a lot of work and has been a great success, so he’s taking some time to relax a bit. After Jonah Hex, Cooke said he would be working on two things, the first of which is a creator-owned project that he’s putting together and will be out in 2010. The second project is the next Parker book, The Outfit, which is also due out in 2010. He has spent a lot of time designing the characters and getting the preliminary work done. He said that adapting a piece of literature that you respect takes a certain amount of time just to decide which way you’re going to go, what you’re keeping, what you’re not going to use, so there’s a lot of prep work. Cooke added that he likes to follow Alex Toth’s philosophy of “think more, draw less,” so he spends a lot of time planning so that when he sits down to draw the book, there are no questions.
Drew Geraci is an Angel, you can tell by the Halo
Across the aisle was Drew Geraci, who is currently working on WildStorm’s Wildcats series, which is written by Christos Gage and penciled by Shawn Moll. Geraci told Newsarama that he is half-way through the six-issue story arc that he is committed to with Gage and Moll, which will keep him busy through October. After that, Drew said he will probably stay with WildStorm, as he and editor Ben Abernathy are “super-tight.” He said Abernathy's wife recently had a child, and joked about his disappointment at not being named the godfather for the newborn. He did hint that he is working on his own project that he couldn’t divulge yet, because it’s “too cool” and he “doesn’t want to get everyone sick of hearing about it by the time it comes out.” He did reveal that Chuck Dixon has been helping him with the writing on this project, “because Chuck’s that kind of guy.” When asked what character he would really like to work with, his immediate response was Iron Man. Geraci said he loves Iron Man, having grown up reading the Bob Layton and George Tuska stories, and if he could ink Iron Man, he’d be more than happy to.
And since Chuck Dixon was sitting right there with Geraci, we got a few tidbits from him about what’s going on in his world. As most fans know, he’s been busy at IDW working on the G.I. Joe series. Dixon said he is enjoying his work on the title, and while Hasbro does provide some directives and mandates, such as “use this character, kill this character, don’t use this character, etc.,” he doesn’t question it, but just goes with it. He indicated that with G.I. Joe, like any other licensed property, you either embrace the crazy, or you run away from it. Dixon said he loves embracing it, doing the wilder stuff. He did reveal that Helix, a character created by the gaming people who recently appeared in a special by IDW, will ultimately become a part of the comic universe, arriving around issue 21 of the ongoing series. She will definitely have a very important place in the book. When asked what his thoughts were on the movie and how it held up with what has come before in the realm of Joe, Dixon said he didn’t feel fans could ask for a better G.I. Joe movie. He said there is a core to the franchise, which is basically Larry Hama’s “code of honor.” That code is in the movie. There are a lot of “nits” to pick with long-time fans. When asked if he would have to bring elements from the film into the comic, Dixon replied that there are some instances, such as when Ripcord appears in the current series, he will be an African American, and things like that, but nothing that alters the core of who and what G.I. Joe is. Aside from that, Dixon is working on The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly for Dynamite Entertainment, and he is also still doing a lot of The Simpsons work for Bongo Comics. Additionally, he is working on some other projects that he couldn’t talk about right now.
Jimmy Palmiotti was busy making a number of fans happy doing something he doesn’t normally do at conventions – he was doing sketches! This, of course, came from the fact that Amanda Conner, who was scheduled to attend, was unable to appear due to scheduling deadlines on their Supergirl strip in Wednesday Comics, as well as her work on Power Girl. Palmiotti said she felt terrible that she couldn’t make it to the Mini-MegaCon, but he made up for it with the amazing watercolor sketches that he was turning out for very happy fans. Palmiotti, of course, continues his work with Justin Gray on Jonah Hex, with the upcoming 50th issue in the works. After issue 50, the series will return to the one-issue stories, with various artists lined up, including Dick Giordano, who is doing the art for issue 51. He said they are also working on an original hardcover graphic novel for Jonah Hex that will come out around the time of the movie, which will be done by one of the creators of the character, Tony Dezunga. It will be a 128-page book that should hit bookstores some time in May of next year. Palmiotti also told Newsarama he is wrapping up The Last Resort mini-series, the second issue of which comes out soon, and he’s also writing, with Justin Gray, Time Bomb for Radical Comics, which he described as “a sci-fi/action/adventure/World War II amalgam of a whole bunch of different things.” Basically, when a bomb is set off in the present day that will wipe out humanity, a crew is sent back in time to World War II, when the bomb was created, to stop its completion. The new series is tentatively scheduled to come out early next year. When asked about projects that Conner was working on, Palmiotti responded that she is working solely on Power Girl. She is currently working on issue 5 and is committed through issue 12 of the series, which will take up the rest of the year. He said she’s having a blast with the book. She did design some statues for the Women of the DC Universe line of busts, which fans should start seeing in the solicits.
Tony Bedard, happily promoting R.E.B.E.L.S.
Finishing out the floor buzz today was Tony Bedard, who is still hard at work with R.E.B.E.L.S. for DC. Issue 7 just hit the stores, and right now, he is working on the Blackest Night crossover issues, 10 and 11, which should be out in November and December. He’s really excited about the crossover, as not only will a bunch of new people be exposed to the book, but it has been a lot of fun. Bedard said they are throwing everything into it – two Black Lanterns, the Sinestro Corps, Starro and his Good-Time Gang, Vril Dox and his crew. This obviously raised the question – who will the Black Lanterns be? Bedard revealed that one will be Harbinger (from Crisis on Infinite Earths fame) and the other will be Stealth, who was a member of L.E.G.I.O.N. In addition to that crossover, he said he was thrilled to have worked with his old Route 666 partner, Karl Moline, who drew one off the chapters in the upcoming R.E.B.E.L.S. Annual, which has other chapters by Kalman Andrasofszky, Derec Donovan, and Joe Prado. Beyond that, Bedard hinted that early next year, R.E.B.E.L.S. will be crossing over with one of DC’s flagship books, but he couldn’t specify which, since the details are still being hammered out. Then, after that, he said he is really excited about next year’s big event, which should have fans excited with Geoff Johns and James Robinson at the helm of it. Bedard said he feels very confident about the direction they will give it. He added that both Johns and Robinson have told him how much they are enjoying R.E.B.E.L.S., “which is the nicest thing to hear,” he said with a smile. He also talked a bit about The Great Ten book that is coming out at DC in November. Bedard said he’s happy it is a ten-issue mini-series, as it allows him to provide some spotlight on one member of the team in each issue. Scott McDaniel is doing the art for the series, and he couldn’t be more pleased.
Martin T Pierro
Over in artist's alley, a number of independent creators were showing off their work, and one of them definitely had the crowds – Martin Pierro, whose MegaCon exclusives of the first and second issues of Arthur – the Legend Continues were quickly selling out. Self-published under the Cosmic Times imprint, Arthur tells the story of the legendary King, who left for Avalon to return only when his homeland needed him. In a post-apocalyptic England, that time has now arrived. The first issue premiered at March’s MegaCon, and the second issue premiers this weekend at the Mini-MegaCon. For the event, Dan Mann did a stunning portrait of Arthur, which is split in two – one half appears as the cover for the second printing of issue one, while the other half appears as the cover to issue two. These MegaCon exclusive covers were nearly sold out before Saturday’s show was even half over! Martin said a third issue is in the works, with artist Cristhian Zamora currently drawing the story, which will be ready in time to premier at MegaCon 2010. For Martin, MegaCon has always been his home show, having come to the convention long before he started working on Arthur, so he said it was a thrill to be able to premier his books at MegaCon.
So many creators, so many fans, so much to do, and so little time – Dick Giordano, Greg Horn, Casey Jones, Greg Land, Alvin Lee, Mike Perkins, Brandon Peterson, Steve Scott, Christian Slade, Billy Tan, and so many others. But tomorrow is another day, and Newsarama will be back on the floor, hitting a couple of panels, and bringing readers all the coverage from the MINI-MegaCon!