Wednesday, April 11, 2012

C2E2 2012: What to do, what to do...

This weekend sees the third annual Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, which I plan to attend, roaming the halls of McCormick Place with my Groo sketchbook and whatever goods I can't keep from sacrificing my hard-earned money for, staring in amusement and/or horror at all the weirdness on display. As has become something of a yearly tradition on the blog, here's a roundup of programming and events that I'm at least interested in attending or checking out, although I'll likely only make it to a fraction of them. If you're looking for a complete list of all the "official" programming, The Beat has a handy all-in-one guide.

Thursday, April 12

3:45-5:15 PM - Neal Adams signing at Graham Crackers Comics: Neal Adams is a guest at C2E2, but he's also doing this signing before the show, in case you want to get more up close and personal and see if he's as crazy as his comics make him seem like he must be.

6:00-7:00 PM - Comic Art and Fine Art: Connecting the Dots: A panel/mini-tour (of the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit?) at the Art Institute of Chicago featuring Geof Darrow, Neal Adams, and Ivan Brunetti, all about comics and fine art. Neat.

8:00-11:00 PM - Magic Show with Jon Armstrong at Challengers Comics: As a pre-show event, Challengers Comics is doing this neat get-together in support of the IDW series Smoke & Mirrors, which is written by Mike Costa and illustrated by my buddy Ryan Browne, the creator of God Hates Astronauts and Blast Furnace. I bet it'll be fun.

Friday, April 13

2:45-3:45 PM -  Archaia Presents: Coming Soon from Archaia Entertainment: This is one of those publisher announcement panels that can sometimes be interesting (or, alternately, a repetition of "and we've also got this coming out, and it's awesome!"), so I could see checking it out, since I do like a lot of what I've seen from Archaia. There's a bunch of their artists on the panel too, like David "Mouse Guard" Peterson and Jeremy "Cursed Pirate Girl" Bastian.

3:45-4:45 PM - Dark Horse Spring Fever!: Another announcement panel, but with no artists, just Dark Horse's Director of Public Relations. I bet they're saving the stars for another thing later in the show.

3:45-4:45 PM - Food and Comics: I guess this is a discussion of where the two subjects meet? Comics don't really have many examples of the kind of "food porn" that you see in movies like Big Night or Eat Drink Man Woman (outside of manga, that is), so I'm not sure if they plan to talk about doing that kind of comic or what. Jill Thompson and Brian Azzarello are on the panel, as is noted fatty foodie C.B. Cebulski, so maybe this could be something. Maybe?

5:15-6:15 PM - ComiXology Open Discussion: Everything Digital!: I met David Steinberger a few years ago, when Comixology was still pretty new, and since then, they've risen to prominence as the top format for digital comics, which is pretty cool. This could be an interesting discussion about the future of digital and whatnot, depending on the identity of the mysterious "special guests".

6:30-7:30 PM - Comics and Pop Music: Another discussion of comics and some other bit of pop culture; possibly interesting? I'm surprised Jamie McKelvie (the artist of Phonogram) isn't on the panel, but Jen Van Meter (creator of Hopeless Savages) is.

6:45-7:45 PM - CSC-3: Black Comix Lounge: There was a good panel on "black comics" last year, and while this one seems to have more of an educational bent, being part of the CSC series of panels/lectures, it will contain information on an event held during the weekend called the "Sci-Fi Spacetastic Ball", which could be fun. I just may check it out.

7:30-8:30 PM - The Geek Girl and the Artist: Women’s Perspectives on Geek Culture, Gender Identity and Art/Media: This one could be hit or miss, considering that these feminist discussions can range from fascinating (talking about women as a part of comics culture, opportunities, sexism, how actual issues affect people) to tiresome (endless blather about how Wonder Woman or other female superheroes are being "disrespected" this week). I don't think I've ever heard of any of the panelists, so that doesn't really get me excited, but who knows, maybe I just need to expand my horizons.

7:45-8:45 PM - Mark Waid’s Digital Comics: Mark Waid has been talking about digital comics lately, and he's apparently launching a new comics site, so maybe this will be the place to learn all about his plans for new motion comics that unnecessarily mess with the way people read. 

9:00 PM - CBLDF/Threadless C2E2 Fashion Show Welcome Party: I guess Threadless is doing one of their lines of "comics-on-tees" shirts designed by Jeffrey Brown, with art by Brown, Paul Hornschemeier, Anders Nilsen, and Jeff Lemire, and this is a sort of release party featuring music, drinks, an auction, live art, and various comics "celebrities". Sounds like fun, probably.

Saturday, April 14

11:00AM-12:00 PM - The Ladies of Womanthology: This book has gotten a lot of attention, both positive and negative, so this could be an interesting discussion about women in comics, the merits of crowd-funding, charity work vs. paying the artists, and so on. Or it could be an opportunity for weirdos to talk about hawt ladies making superhero comics and how much the creators love Batgirl. It's a toss-up.

11:00AM-12:30 PM - Kubert School Spotlight and Art Demo with Joe Kubert: Ooh, this sounds like a treat. How often do you get to watch Joe Kubert draw? I'm sure the school stuff will be nice too, but I don't think I can pass up that opportunity.

11:15AM-12:15 PM -  The Future Of Superheroes: The title of this panel wants me to run screaming, but it's actually a bunch of AV Club critics talking about superheroes in comics and movies, which only slightly gives me hives rather than full on heebie-jeebies. I like the AV Club enough to give it a chance, and maybe I'll get lucky and they'll declare the future of superheroes to be obsolescence (at least more so than they are already, that is).

1:30-2:30 PM - Art of Frank Cho: This appears to be another live-drawing panel, maybe. Frank Cho has less appeal than Joe Kubert, what with his puerile emphasis on the female form, but hey, that is something that has inspired artists throughout history, so who's to say what does and doesn't constitute a worthy pursuit? I do think he's generally a pretty good artist, so it could be worth checking out depending on one's mood and how skeeved out the convention atmosphere already feels at that point.

1:30-2:30 PM - The Big IDW Panel: More publisher announcements, with the promise of "magic", which probably means the magician from that event a Challengers on Thursday is sticking around for the rest of the weekend.

1:45-2:45 PM - The First Comics Panel (30 year Anniversary): Ooh, neat, a celebration of First Comics, one of those indie publishers from the 80s who are apparently coming back. That could be interesting, even if they aren't publishing Lone Wolf and Cub anymore.

2:00-3:00 PM - DC All Access – Special Edition: Before Watchmen: Here's a chance to level accusations of repulsive behavior toward Brian Azzarello, Amanda Conner, Adam Hughes, Len Wein, J. Michael Straczynski, and anyone associated with this clusterfuck. Good times!

4:00-5:00 PM - Webcomics Roundtable With Blind Ferret and Explosm!: I don't know what "Blind Ferret" and "Explosm" are, but I do like webcomics, and at least some of the representatives on this panel (Least I Could Do, Looking for Group) don't have terrible reputations (The Gutters, on the other hand...). That's...something, I guess.

4:00-5:00 PM - Occupy Comics: I guess this is all about the anthology inspired by the Occupy movement. It looks pretty good, but I have no idea who will actually be on this panel to talk about it. If I ever find out, I might go.

4:30-5:30 PM - Vertigo: New Blood: I'm less into Vertigo these days than I have been in the past, so I'm not all that excited about checking this panel out, but I am curious about Sean Murphy's Punk Rock Jesus, so that's at least one thing worth checking out. Maybe there will be others, who knows.

6:45-7:45 PM - Video Game Characters Reborn! NAMCO BANDAI Games’ ShiftyLook: I was just checking out this site the other day; it's got some good creators (Dean Haspiel, Jim Zubkavich, and Mike Norton, among others) doing webcomics inspired by old video games (Xevious, Sky Kid, etc.). Pretty fun; I bet this will be worth a look.

7:15-9:15 PM - C2E2 Charity Auction: I don't know if I would want to attend the actual auction, but I would like to check out the art being sold, from people like Tim Sale, Bill Sienkiewicz, Tony Moore, Gene Ha, Geof Darrow, Eric Canete, and Skottie Young. Hopefully it'll be on display somewhere...

Saturday, April 15

10:45-11:45 AM - CBLDF: The History (and Future) of Comics Censorship: It's always good to keep up with how the man is keeping us down.

10:45-11:45 AM - Ban ‘em, Burn ‘em, Steal ‘em! A Fan’s Guide to Graphic Novel Censorship: Is this different than the previous panel? If not, well, I guess you have to choose between two different censorship-related panels at the same time.

10:45-11:45 AM - Archaia Presents: How to Tell a Better Story Through World-Building: This sounds like a discussion of worldbuilding with David Petersen and Jeremy Bastian, which will probably be really interesting. I've chatted with Petersen about the subject, which was fun, and I'd love to see him talk it over with other creators. That's what conventions are all about, right?

10:45-11:45 AM - Neal Adams Q&A: Ooh, another chance to ask about his geological theories! Or, to keep it related to comics, what the hell is going on in Batman: Odyssey and Blood?

12:00-1:00PM - Chicks Dig Comics: I hate the title of the panel, but it's got Jill Thompson, Amanda Conner, and Jen Van Meter talking about women and comics, hopefully with intelligence instead of rah-rah nonsense about girls being nerds too.

12:00-1:00PM - DC Comics for Kids!: I assume this is just an empty room for an hour. Zing! No, it's actually Art Baltazar and Franco talking about their new Superman Family Adventures series, because DC has exactly one comic for kids. Way to build an audience, guys. But seriously, those guys are pretty good; I bet this will be enjoyable.

2:45-3:45PM - Chicago Creators’ Spotlight: There's lots of good comics talent in Chicago, so it's cool to have a panel spotlighting them. This is Jill Thompson, Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, and Jenny Frison talking about the subject. Yep, that's a good hometown crew.
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I think that's everything that I deem worthy of mentioning, as far as I know. If you know of any other events, either at the convention or elsewhere in the city, let me know. If you want to get in touch with me, the best way to get in touch is probably Twitter. Or just shouting my name loudly in the convention hall, that might work. See you there!