Archive for the ‘NYCC 2011’ Category

NYCC 2011 Retrospect Part 3

Posted by admin On August - 14 - 2012

Drawing Lines: 2011 saw video game industry exert its muscle towering over the Comic book booths like skyline of NYC. The effect gives credence to hybrid geeks and nerds. Good or bad? Depends on your interests.

NYCC 2011 Retrospective Part 3: One Old Comic Book Fan’s Opinion by Ronald Hugh Pollock

For over thirty years, I’ve collected comic books. I spent my Summers at my aunt’s flat in Brookline, Boston during the late 70s to early 80s. My cousin Joey attended Boston College for undergrad and he took me to my first comic book store. I don’t remember the name of the first comic book store I stepped into with my cousin Joey. I remember the smell of stale newsprint and endless rows of comic books. Every thing felt old, worn, and faded. My first book bought by my cousin Joey in Boston. It was Wolverine #1 (limited series). I also bought Daredevil #183 and Invincible Iron Man #100.

Saturday Night Fever: Thanks to several hundred friendly exhibitionists, Cosplay has delivered the Disney effect to Comic Cons that 20 yrs ago was virtually nonexistent except for Star Wars. Where else can Optimus Prime break dance for free?

Back in Detroit ,  I discovered a comic book store, Comic Kingdom was open a few blocks away from where I went to school. My routine was set after 2nd grade. I would walk and buy a slice at the local pizza parlor that had 5 inch thick bullet proof glass ceiling to floor, drop my money in the metal box, and then the slice would appear, go two doors down where iron bars covered the doors, windows of the shop and added Avengers, Batman, Superman, and Justice League of America to my reading list. The owner reeked of alcohol. Didn’t deter me, all I wanted was on those shelves. The stack of books I would buy for $5 would keep me entertained for days. Couldn’t wait for the next week. Over the years, the shops have changed but the routine remains the same. Today every Weds at 0800, I wait outside Midtown comics branch on Fulton Street to open for my books.

 

Star Power: Feeling a part of the Con is an integral part of the experience.

My first Comic Con cost $6. It had maybe 1-2 signings and vendors selling back issues, bootlegs to Japanese anime on bootleg that were on beta. VHS was more expensive and rare. Laser Discs were the most commercially successful at the time. There were very, very few women per 100 nerds and geeks. No “Cosplay” or costume play kids were in attendance. If you didn’t know better it was a retiree party with no music or pulse but zombies moving around from table to table with a few dollars to haggle.

Magic Carpet Ride: Wonder what would nerds and geeks would say today if they looked at what comic conventions were.

 

Times have definitely changed. Comic Cons are the modern day State Fair. They cater to the modern nerd or geeks, which are hybrids of the purists that I grew up with. Hybrids are like Midwesterners at a buffet table of geeks that spent their money on a percentage of interests. Video games, movies, TV shows, blu-ray, costumed dating games, and card games have eaten into the amount of disposable income available for comic book creators. In 10 yrs, I have to wonder if comic books will even be sold at these massive entertainment extravaganzas that are coming more like mini film festivals. No longer a convention for the socially inadequate, mainstreaming has embraced comic books and it’s marketed as something anyone and every one can feel perfectly normal. In a way, that takes away the intimate feelings the die hards enjoy. One wonders what will happen of the last remaining rag tag group of misfits?

 

Rock Stars: Celebs are unaccustomed to rabid NYers who like to challenge and interrogate the privileged. The expression on Doc’s face when a question asked, “What did you do as real jobs? (before you hit it big)” was priceless but when the audience isn’t into it, a panel fails to bring the audience into the conversation.

The best way for an old school comic collector is to share his experiences with friends old and new. It’s no longer how much you can buy, get for free, or exclusively share or own. It’s learning about how the new generation enjoyed their experiences to keep this oasis of fantasy.

Geek becomes sheik: Enjoying company and exchanging experiences, building memories is the BEST way to enjoy Comic con.

NYCC 2011: Retrospect Part 2

Posted by admin On August - 12 - 2012

Ringmasters: Like intimidating structures from George R.R. Martin novel, video game set ups surrounded and suffocated the comic book booths.

NYCC 2011 Retrospective Part 2: The New Kingdom. Video games are the current narrative to story-telling. Can comic books capitalize on their popularity in order to proliferate the industry to a new generation? 

by Ronald H. Pollock

Are video games the new comic books? Like massive constructs from Lord of the Rings, the booth set ups for Mass Effect, Max Payne, Uncharted, and Star Wars towered over the comic book booths to the point where entering the grounds of NYCC looked more like E3. Video games are not necessarily a bad thing for the comic book industry. In many ways, they are playing an important role in sustaining and a key component in proliferating the comic book industry.

 

The constant feed of media has changed the medium from newspapers, books, magazines to tablets, smart phones, and lap tops that weigh less than 5 lbs. The next potential generation of comic book fans are more comfortable with swiping, tapping, and other multi-digit interactivity. They are used to a constant feed of new information. Video games offer a more personalized format of story-telling in a more motion oriented 3-D format.

 

Whiz kids: Media is the new tool of story telling that allows a sophisticated “choose your own adventure” something that comic books do not allow the reader control over.

Video games are already the future of comics. The success of Arkham City proves that an entire graphic novel can be faithfully adapted unlike over marketed movie adaptations and TV budget roadblocks. Green Lantern is a prime example of a property that was unsuccessful adapting on the big screen due to the complexity of its story but on a video game format, the entire Sinestro Corps war can be adapted with greater control over GL’s universe.

 

Video games have taken the best aspects of comic books and learned how to make their stories epic. God of War borrows a lot of its action and epic nature that would easily be the inspiration for Walt Simonson’s Thor or the new 52 Wonder Woman game. Max Payne definitely would be a template for a Punisher MAX game. There’s so much possibility because video games unlike movies or TV shows don’t have so many chefs in the kitchen to where a new reader can go from video game to the comic book without losing a page of story.

NYCC 2011: Retrospective

Posted by admin On August - 12 - 2012

Rock Stars: Annual Walking Dead panel continues to grow at NYCC but no longer the sole headliner as the Avengers and a rash of video games previewed have transformed the largest purist con into a state fair of geek buffet.

NYCC 2011 Retrospective Part 1: Times are a Changing by Ronald H. Pollock

Every morning at 0715 at Midtown comics, I stand with 4 middle aged men of various successful professions discuss comics. We don’t know anything of each other. We only discuss comics. It’s our unwritten rule. The days of purists are over as “Comic Cons” have become less and less about comics and more of a modern state fair. It’s a reflection of the times, geeks are hybrids of hobbies. Is it better direction? Perhaps for the survival of Comic Con it is but every movement has consequences.

Are video games the key to adapting comic book arcs for purists? If Batman Arkham Asylum series is any indication, it’s the key to the introduction and survival of American story-telling for a new generation.

As NYCC grows and grows, 2011 Comic Convention noticeably shifted more towards media entertainment. The massive billboards, banners, and sets for the franchises of Mass Effect, Max Payne, Uncharted, and Star Wars respectively overshadowed the comic book industry on the main floor like the Towers from Lord of the Rings. Indicative of the times changing. What are Comic Cons today and what does that mean for fans new and old? Is it all bad for the comic book industry or is there something mutually beneficial?

There is No School like the Old School:

The comic book equivalent of Detroit’s Big Three in the American Auto Industry, Marvel and DC resumed their annual dominance, jockeying for position during their expose’ panels. For the 2nd year in row, DC acknowledged and addressed their solution to problems in an industry that has noticeable age lines and receding hair. Fortunately nerds and geeks have maintained their affinity for the elderly who still have stories to tell.

Double Dragons: Jim Lee (left) & Geoff Johns (right) architects of the DCU relaunch new 52 that once again, one upped Marvel comics in creating buzz, controversy, and dissension amongst fans.

In 2010 at NYCC DC addressed rising cost of comic books and launched their “hold the line” campaign. At the cost of 2 pages of pay per issue, all DC titles were kept to $2.99 in an effort to increase or maintain # of units sold. To build on top of “Hold the Line” DC followed up in 2012 with new 52 relaunch. Citing problems with new readers finding it extremely hard to afford a library of knowledge built on stories harkening back to their grandfather, the new 52 relaunch was a call to shorter arcs, less dialogue driven and more artist oriented visual language, and new entry way points with a tweaked characterization that a new facet could be constructed. Most importantly the new 52 gave comic shops the option of refunding certain titles if their sales dipped below a set market value. Unfortunately I found roughly 12 of initial 52 titles to be new reader friendly: Action Comics, Aquaman, Animal Man, Batman, Batman & Robin, The Flash, Green Lantern, Justice League Dark, I Vampire, OMAC, Swamp Thing, and Wonder Woman. Many of the titles suffered from opaque writing styles that either tried too hard to reinvent the wheel or were just plain ugly. Regardless overall sentiment from the fans was positive. While such a bold move, won’t stop collectors from hording free copies like pigs at a trough when the floor opens in the morning each day at Comic Con, I appreciated that DC recognized the elephant in the room.

On the other hand, like a MAC Expo Marvel continued to push forward their new products without blinking or bowing to negativity. They accentuated on the positives, most notably the success of Marvel Studios, the fresh take on a biracial Spider-man and its implications on the industry, and its next releases without any concern over their rising cost or books and products. The excess seemed clear to me, Marvel believed kids have no less disposable income than before. I couldn’t disagree with their methods. Marvel’s business model “Give the fans whatever they want, they’ll spend their money” hasn’t shown to be faulty by their sales records. If Venom or the Scarlet Spider sells 5 times more than secondary character driven titles, why would any businessman deny an addict their methadone in print? The only consequence being, older fans like myself who have collected comics over 30 years felt a little alienated by all the sudden, whimsical changes for the sake of movies that have no consideration for continuity. Their methodology was abrasive but poignant. Counting down to NYCC 2012, once again Marvel boldly shakes up the team rosters of both Avengers and X-men titles. Will this rude shake up detract collectors or their loyalty? Don’t count on it.

What me worry? Quietly, Robert Kirkman and Image comics continues to be the most progressive comic book company in the business, proving the business model you don’t have to draw the largest % of the market but the most loyal.

Lost in the shuffle for who can over saturate the market with Batman and/or Spider-man titles, Image Comics continues to be the most unsung progressive comic book publisher operating today. In 2010 Image comics pushed the envelope with more strong female protagonists in their line of comics. The additions of Hack and Slash and Shinku complimented the heroines in the Walking Dead, Bomb Queen, and Morning Glories. In 2011, Blair Butler crossed the lines of journalism to help promote the freedom of owner driven comics with Heart. The additions of Scott Snyder’s (Batman) Severed, Nick Spencer (Thunder AGENTS) and Kirkman’s (Walking Dead) Thief of Thieves, Johnathan Hickman’s (Fantastic Four) Manhattan Projects and Teeth, and Ed Brubaker’s (Criminal, Captain America) Fatale and upcoming Grant Morrison project will make 2012 Image panel to arguably be the most star studded since the company began more than 20 years ago.

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Thoughts on Cinema is dedicated to film reviews. An uncompromising opinion on the intellectual, artistic, and entertainment value to the consumer. With rising ticket prices, we dedicate ourselves to present to you content regarding what you should or should not be viewing. -Ronald H. Pollock Founder and Editor in Chief

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