After Friday’s rumor-fest, things settled down a bit at HeroesCon on Saturday. There was a big line to get in, and good crowds for the entire day, although not everyone benefitted, as you will see as this article progresses.
Even with all the speculation over his job, Dan DiDio still had the intestinal fortitude to head the DC Nation panel–you gotta admit, it’s a lot easier to post something on an internet message board than to stand up in front of a room full of people and answer questions like this:
Q: Why did the New Gods appear in Final Crisis after we saw them die in Death of the New Gods? DD: We knew that a new interpretation of the New Gods was coming, in fact, a large portion of Final Crisis is about the birth of the 5th world and the gods of that world. The purpose of Death of the New Gods was to celebrate the Jack Kirby versions and to bring closure of those versions. But you’ll see how the rest are reborn in Final Crisis – that story is coming.
Q: Do you ever want to point a finger and say, it’s not me, it’s Morrison?
JJ: I do get very defensive at times, but it’s part of what we have deal with. But that said, nobody would want to do Dan’s job, or deal with what he has to deal with each day.
At that point, DiDio polled the panelists, asking them if they would want his job.
Matt Sturges: “No, god, no.”
Ethan VanSciver: “Nope”
Jimmy Palmiotti: “No comment.”
Jann Jones: “If it came with a closet of designer shoes.”
DiDio was a little less chipper at yesterday’s “State of the Industry Panel” which featured DiDio, Booom!’s Mark Waid, writer/artist Jimmy Palmiotti and Image head Erik Larsen. The panel set-up was fraught with potential tension: DiDio and Waid have had some differences in the past, and Palmiotti is the internet’s favorite pick to run DC after DiDio’s departure. Moderator Tom Spurgeon started out asking DiDio what kind of week he’d had, a nice enough way of leading into a touchy subject. DiDio responded that it was a week like any other, which could be the saddest line of the weekend.
The rest of the panel was a rather strained look at the biggest problems of comics, as getting new readers, maintaining old ones and dealing the the internet menace were hashed out. Waid declared that he would trade all the existing comics readers for a junior high school full of readers, and held up BRAVE AND THE BOLD as an example, yet again, of the idea of a non-tie in book failing.
DiDio described DC’s audience as a “collector market” but defended DC’s use of character deaths and upheavals at the same time by saying these plot devices always new for some one.
Larsen provided the biggest head scratchers on the panel. The Image publisher repeatedly referred to the upcoming Tori Amos anthology COMIC BOOK TATTOO as “Taboo,” showing a shaky grasp of his own line, and dismissed the subject of webcomics with a “I don’t like ‘em; I think they’re ugly.” wave of the hand.
Prior to that the Journalism panel covered many of the same topics. Matt Brady defended the new Newsarama by saying that he still edits all the comics coverage the same as before, and alluding to the pressures that all news site face over access.
While the mainstream part of Heroes Con seemed to be booming, things were not as happy in Indie Island, where a bunch of first time art comics exhibitors–Buenaventura, Picturebox, Bodega, Sparkplug–reported very lackluster sales. The crowd at Charlotte seemed to have very little awareness of their offerings. “It’s humbling,” said one publisher, who reported that numerous attendees had picked up a Chris Ware postcard and wondered who the artist was. Although there is clearly an indie arts scene here, the slow slaes in Indie Island proved that you could plunk down a MoCCA in the middle of a DC con, and not have the same results.