Tuesday, April 30, 2013

C2E2 And the Problem of Higher Expectations

So, I went to my first Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, over the weekend.

I had a good time. Hung out with friends, saw some cool stuff, and generally came to the realization that there is no real reason to ever buy a three-day pass to this convention. I am spoiled by the San Diego Comic-Con, and fully admit it.

My favorite thing at a convention are panels. I have written in the past of the great panels that I've seen in San Diego, the giants of the industry that I've witnessed responding to fan questions. The old-timers who've shared stories that are, bluntly, passing into memory. I guess my expectation was that there would be some of this sort of stuff at C2E2.

What I found were promotional panels for everything from comics to games to goddamn beer. There was a panel on brewing companies, and how their business is similar to comics. Really? Now, that's not bad, I am interested in DC pitching new Vertigo products, or a preview of Marvel's new MMO game. But beer?

Now, being fair, lots of Golden and Silver Age comic creators have retired to southern California, so it's easier to book them for San Diego. Still, how about panels focused on some of their special guests? I saw that J. Michael Straczynski had a couple of dedicated panels, how about one for Len Wein? Michael Golden? These people were in the building. Sure, they had tables in Artist's Alley, but there is nowhere on the floor that is conducive to the kind of give-and-take possible at a panel.

You also need, seriously, to re-vamp the online guide. I tried to plan out for panels before the weekend started, and the online guide is damn near unreadable. And completely unhelpful. It should be a simple thing to look and see what's going on in each room, but it's simply not laid out that way.

I did spend most of Saturday in panels, starting with Patton Oswalt's spotlight panel. A delight. Star Wars or Marvel movies...so stop asking him how to break into directing, or about what J.J. Abrams is going to do. Also, please do not look at a Q&A microphone as an attempt to do your stand-up material for him.

Hilarious, and inspirational. Particularly enjoyable was when Brian Posehn began heckling via text. "Nice answer, Dinkledge!" and "Go back to Dagobagh!" were particular favorites. One comment here, Oswalt is a comedian and actor...he is not a filmmaker, and he has no direct connection to upcoming

Then we saw the '66 Batman panel, which was supposed to be Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar, but West was ill. According to the panel, he threw his back out walking a dog, or something. I can only...I don't even really want to go into it...but "train wreck" comes to mind. Ward clearly didn't want to be there, Newmar seemed completely out of it, and the questions were, for the most part, insipid.

We caught the tail end of a Vertigo panel notable for the truly thrilling participation of Brian Azzarello, who became the first panel guest to truly answer a question (about a famously unprinted story from Garth Ennis' Preacher) in the most direct and honest way possible, with the emphasis needed, "why the fuck would you ask that question?!"

I am now, officially, asking that Brian Azzarello appear at every convention panel, nationwide. We certainly could've used him during the Patton Oswalt panel.

We wrapped up with a lovely, truly lovely spotlight panel for my personal favorite Doctor Who, Peter Davison. A charming, warm and personable man. He answered a string of questions that he's probably heard a dozen times before with wit and good humor. It finished the day well.

Sunday...we left early.

No comments:

Post a Comment