Category Archives: new york comic con

Robert Culp 1930-2010

Television icon Robert Culp was pronounced dead earlier today. Apparently he had fallen while taking a walk in Los Angeles and died. He was 79.

The Emmy-nominated Culp was probably best known for playing opposite Bill Cosby in the groundbreaking “I Spy” in the 1960s and then in the 1980s with William Katt in “The Greatest American Hero.” His television career however lasted over five decades including roles on “The Outer Limits,” “Trackdown,” “The Man from UNCLE,” “Columbo” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He also appeared in many films including Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and The Pelican Brief. Besides acting, Culp also wrote and directed on many of his projects as well.

I actually met the man and had a chance to speak with him for a bit at last year’s New York Comic Con. He was friendly, forthcoming and proud of his work. His knowledge of the television field both in front of and behind the camera was phenomenal. It was a pleasure to have had those few moments with such a great man. Robert Culp will be missed.

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Torchwood: Children of Earth – Sneak Peak

One of the most anticipated panels of this year’s New York Comic Con was the Torchwood panel featuring special guests all the way from the UK, lead actress Eve Myles and director Euros Lyn.

For those not in the know, “Torchwood” is a BBC series that originally spun off from the wildly popular new incarnation of “Doctor Who.” Kind of like “The X-Files” meets Men in Black with a quirky, very sexy, sometimes scary, adult adventure vibe, Torchwood is an undercover operation that investigates aliens on Earth, and defending us from the ones that mean us harm – which is unfortunately, most of them.

The panel was hosted by the very cool Whitney Matheson of USA Today’s Pop Candy blog. MTV was also there, and BBC America was actively interviewing audience members before the guests showed up. Announcements were made that both the second season of “Primeval” and “Ashes to Ashes,” the sequel to “Life on Mars,” were coming to BBC America this year.

Then we saw a preview of “Torchwood: Children of Earth”

Yeah, baby. It was followed by a few soundbyte-short interviews with cast members, including the mysterious Mr. Frobisher who will be a major part of the upcoming mini-third season. Composed of five one-hour episodes that make up one whole story, the season has the team brought to the edge by an invasion they were created to stop – “a horrific force, a devil coming back to mess with Torchwood.” Then, to roaring applause and cheering, Whitney introduced director Euros Lyn and actress Eve Myles, better known as Gwen Cooper of Torchwood.

The camera flashes were mind-boggling and must have been doubly so for Ms. Myles. I don’t think she had any idea how popular the series had become in the United States. It is, in fact, BBC America’s most popular show. She was indeed the star here, more charismatic and happy to be on hand than other celebrities I have seen on past TV and movie panels. Eve seemed absolutely delighted to be here.

First up for discussion was the end of Season Two where two major characters and cast members were lost. Euros Lyn stressed that is a separation between the old Torchwood and the new Torchwood. They miss the characters/actors no longer with them but this is a new story, a new situation. Move forward, not back.

Questions roll in from the audience like wildfire, as do gifts and autograph requests for Eve. What is John Barrowman, who plays male lead and Torchwood boss Captain Jack Harkness and is considered by many to be the world’s sexiest gay man, really like? “John farts a lot” is Eve’s starting response. The audience hears nothing after that. She later says, “John is beautiful,” and “it’s a cheeky program” when asked who will be kissing who this season. Who will John kiss? “He goes from tables to chairs.” When asked to relate the first time she met John she coyly answered, “I can’t” to much laughter.

What will we see? Who will be back? Fan favorite PC Andy will be back, as will Gwen’s husband Rhys taking a bigger role this time out. The Weevil won’t be back this season, and although it was planned, neither Mickey nor Martha Jones from “Doctor Who” will be appearing because of scheduling difficulties. Both Eve and Euros assured us there are great new characters coming though.

A female fan asked what her favorite American genre series was, Eve confessed to being a huge “Buffy” fan, which is why she had such a geekgasm when James Marsters was on the show. The two women then drooled over the idea of a Captain John action figure coming out. Pun intended, we are talking about “Torchwood” after all.

Speaking of the adult aspect of the show, one ‘cheeky’ questioner asked the guests on the panel if they would be interested in going out and getting f***ed up tonight. We Americans… sigh… Finally a fan made Ms. Myles completely speechless by saying he’d go gay for Jack. See what these Brits are doing to us? 😉

“Torchwood: Children of Earth” premieres on BBC America in the coming year, hopefully sooner rather than later.

NYCC 2009 Day Two


Let’s talk a bit about NYC cabbies. They are insane. NASCAR, demolition derby, even stunt drivers have nothing on these guys. Even have a bus an inch away from you in the back seat of a cab, on either side? I have, and while speeding. Insane I say!

The trip back to Javitz this morning wasn’t as exciting as the previous day’s but I did see three Starbucks each on the corner of three consecutive blocks, on the same side. Not quite Lewis Black’s end of the world paradox, but still, scary.

We had a bit of an emergency when The Bride arrived late last night. She realized had forgotten her con ticket way back in south Jersey. Props to the staff of NYCC for handling the situation in a quick and friendly manner. So far the staff here has been pretty amazing, a vast difference from some other cons I’ve attended.

First stop was to say hi to Fat Momma, the runner-up in the first season of Stan Lee’s “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” The Bride had met her at previous cons but I had not. She’s a very nice lady and we chatted about the Broadway shows she had seen since in town – “Wicked” was good, “Shrek” bad. We also got a signed pic and a copy of her new book from Esteem Comics.

Next stop on the autograph parade was Colin Baker, the sixth Doctor. He was overheard to say he quite enjoyed the new series of “Doctor Who” and loved that they had thousands of Daleks. Very friendly. Said hello to actor Robert Culp, hell of a nice guy. He was selling scripts of some of the episodes of “I Spy” that he had written, some of the better ones I might add. Next to him was his partner in “The Greatest American Hero,” William Katt. I told him how much I enjoyed seeing him recently in The Man from Earth and he signed a copy of the GAH comic for me. And don’t forget to check out the motion comic for iPhone as well.

After a lunch of a wonderful Javitz ratdog cooked in the smoky essence of chicken kabobs, it was off the to the packed-to-the-walls Cup O’ Joe panel. In attendance, besides Joe Quesada of course, were Brian Michael Bendis, C.B. Cebulski, Jim McCann and publisher Dan Buckley. Dan Slott was also seen sitting in the audience off to the side with the rest of us.

There was Ultimate announcements. The line is being canceled and restarted as “Ultimate Comics.” Same characters, same continuity, so I’m really unsure of what the real difference is. There will be four monthlies in the line. Ultimate Spider-Man will have a new #1 written by Bendis and drawn by new regular artist David LaFuente. After a time jump in the continuity it will feature new characters, a new status quo and maybe someone new in the costume. That old gag again. Ultimate Avengers will be by Mark Millar and Carlos Pacheco.

Then the room was open for questions. Bendis said that Jessica Jones will remain a supporting cast member of New Avengers but not a member of the New Avengers. An Alias mini with Miichael Gaydos is coming maybe next year and “asses will be bitten.” Ahem, it was also announced that current Ultimate Spidey artist Stuart Immonen will moving on to be regular artist on NA after issue #55. Wiccan will also be appearing and the line-up will stay as it is for a while, even though it seemed to take Bendis a minute to count down everyone on the current team.

Dan Slott was called up out of the audience at one point, and he sarcastically mentioned being thrilled seeing himself unshaved on the mini-jumbotron in the room. Interesting that the question he was brought up to answer was one of continuity – Norman Osborn knowing (or not knowing) who Spider-Man was. Slott seems to be the go-to guy for fixing continuity. Witness his current handling of the Scarlet Witch in Mighty Avengers. Oh, and the Normie/Spidey thing will be coming up soon by Slott in Amazing Spider-Man.

Publisher Dan Buckley took on the question of the price increase at Marvel and actually gave a pretty logical and honest answer in easy to understand terms. They are raising the prices on the popular titles so they won’t have to raise them across the board, and holding off as long as they can. I don’t like it, but I appreciate the honest answer.

Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis tackled a question concerning a problem I have voiced in my reviews at Avengers Forever on more than one occasion – why covers don’t always reflect what’s on the inside of the book. The fan asking felt cheated by a recent Avengers issue that was a Secret Invasion tie-in with Hawkeye on the cover but not inside. The answer was that the covers were homages to classic covers and specifically were not meant to depict what was inside. They just laughed it off saying Hawkeye was not a draw for a cover anyway. Hmmm, I’d buy a comic with Hawkeye on the cover. Anyone else out there?

Other than a few more hints from Bendis that the Spider-Woman series was going to be digital, and that Echo would be appearing in it, that was about it for this Cup O’ Joe. I went searching for HeroClix after that, only to find one vendor with any sort of selection. On my travails through the con floor I came across Anthony Tollin, comics colorist and probably the world’s foremost authority on The Shadow, and from him I bought my prize purchase of the con. The Shadow: Partners in Peril, love it , love it.

Never underestimate the drawing power of even a partial Pixar film. The showing of the first fifty minutes of Up filled the IGN Theatre to capacity and turned away many folks, my Bride and me included. And the line to get in started well over an hour beforehand.

At that point we were pretty beat and decided to call it a night. Steering this back around to NYC cabbies again, it took almost an hour to flag down a real cab. There were dozens of gypsy cabs but we turned all of them away. How is this legal? It’s like some guy has a car and decides to pick strangers up and name his price. What got me is the amount of con folk who got into these gypsy cabs. I hope none of them end up in ditches come tomorrow morning.

Today’s quotes both come from Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada: “Squirrel Girl stores my nuts for the winter” and “Let’s hear it for whoring.”

Wonder Woman Animated Sneak Preview

On the first night of the 2009 New York Comic Con, folks got a very special treat – a sneak preview of the new animated Wonder Woman film. My day had been crazed and I didn’t think I would make it but I did, just in time to see it – and I’m damn glad I did.

Before Wonder Woman there were a couple previews, and the one that drew the most response from the building audience was Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li starring “Smallville”’s Kristen Kreuk. Loud booing roared throughout the theatre. Wow, Lana Lang is not well liked at all.

Next up was a Dark Knight action figure commercial, a la Mego from the 1970s, that just kept getting more and more gruesome. Luckily it was a joke. And yeah, the kids saying, “Holy s-” and the Harvey Dent figure half-melting were both pretty sick, but also dead on and damned funny too. heck, Christopher Nolan should’ve made action figures…

And then the real movie started. It begins with the Amazons fighting against the forces of Ares, and specifically Hippolyta vs. Ares. It’s an interesting rewrite of history and continuity. Apparently Polly and Ares were at one time lovers and had a son, one that she slays in battle now. She then turns on the father. When Zeus forbids her from killing Ares, Hera gives her an island to protect her people from man, and a child of her own. When the little baby of clay starts crying and titles roll, the crowd cheers.

We jump to the present, and Artemis and Princess Diana sparring. There is a lot being done to individualize the Amazons here, which is a nice change of pace. We learn about Artemis and Alexa and others. There are tidbits shown that are terrific, like the Magic Sphere. When I saw that I was hoping for the Mental Radio, but I guess that’s asking too much. We do get a nice redesign of the Robot Plane/invisible jet/Wonderdome (what is it called these days anyway?) later on though that rocks.

There’s no war going on as this is present day, but Steve Trevor’s introduction is nearly intact, voiced by Captain Hammer himself, Nathan Fillion, who also intro-ed the showing of the film itself. The entire voice cast is phenomenal, but his humor as Trevor comes through loud and clear. Trevor caught in the grip of the golden lasso is like a perfectly timed and damn hilarious Abbott and Costello routine. You’ll never think of the word ‘crap’ the same way again.

The interaction between Steve and Diana jumps back and forth like dueling Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. This is a light-hearted battle of the sexes done smart for today’s generation. If anything I am reminded of the equality of the sexes argument between Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood at the end of The Great Race. And speaking of sex, and violence for that matter, and a zombie or two or three – this is not for the kiddies, but the grown-ups will love it.

A few closing observations – Dian can kick serious butt in her bare feet, and she’s invulnerable to tequila. The only fault I can find is that toward the end a statement is made that the Amazon lifestyle itself may be inherently flawed. Wtf? Let’s just throw the whole mythos of the character in the trash, shall we?

In summation, holy crap, pun unintended, this has been the best so far of the DC animated films. I really mean that, and yes, I’m including New Frontier. I can’t wait ‘til this comes out and I can buy my own copy. How long until March 3rd?

The 2009 CAG Awards

From the New York Comic Con 2009 Schedule Guide #4:

CAG Awards

The Comicbook Artists Guild is both honored and excited to share with NYCC exhibitors and attendees the 2nd Annual CAG Awards emceed by Catch da Craze host Sam Vera. Join us as we recognize members for their excellence in categories of Best Writer and Artist and new categories including Best Web Comic and Art Direction Excellence.

And from one of their own press releases:

The Comicbook Artists Guild, L.L.C., founded in 2000, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the networking, education and support of comic book creators, writers and artists alike, regardless of amateur or professional status, skill levels or talent divisions. Currently, CAG operates membership chapters out of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Nebraska and a chapter abroad in Brazil, with interest in opening more chapters and continuing to grow. CAG’s goal is to advance the medium of comics through the creative experiences of its members. By bringing them together on projects of their choosing, the Guild perpetuates the positive aspects of the comics industry and its continuing contribution to popular culture.

I’ve always heard good things about the Comicbook Artists Guild, so I wanted to make time to attend this event and learn more about what goes on. There were about sixty folks in attendance for the awards ceremony, including those giving and receiving, and tuxes and eveningwear were optional. And at least this year’s Awards weren’t given out in a pub, even though the rumor is that CAG gives good party.

There were a lot of folks I either recognized or just knew by sight, like Rachel Kadushin, Michele Witchipoo, CAG president and founder Keith Murphey, Steve Kanaras, Everett and Susan Soares, and all the folks at Free Lunch Comics. All very talented people in the independent industry.

The winners this year were:

Best Story Writing: Shawnti Therrien for Meth: A Reason to Live

Best Story Art: Hector Rodriguez for Hell’s Blood

Best Single Story Created by a Team: Hell’s Blood by H. Rodriguez, S. Sheaffer and Murphey.

Best Writer: Everett Soares

Best Penciller: Hector Rodriguez

Best Inker: Alex Rivera

Best Colorist: Liz Ortiz

Best Letterer: Ed Traquino

Best Cartoonist: Matt Ryan

Best New Talent: Liz Ortiz

Production Excellence: Ed Traquino

Art Direction Excellence: James Rodriguez

Best Workshop/Panel: Matt Ryan (for all)

Best Web Comic Creator: ZMAN

And the special award for CAG MVP went to president and founder Keith Murphey

There was a lot of joy, passion, talent and friendship in that room. If you’re interested in joining CAG, check them out here.

NYCC 2009 Day One


FRIDAY

The day was not off to a great start. With very little sleep I made the trek from 30th Street Station in Philly to Penn Station in New York. While waiting for the train, my watch broke. I mean, it was still running, it had just decided to show the wrong time and refused to be reset. Then just before New York the train had to stop “to wait for the other trains to leave the tunnel.” Now I’m not sure if we were waiting for every train in Manhattan to use the tunnel first or not, but we were stopped for well over forty-five minutes.

The original plan was to stop at the hotel first and check in (more on that later) but I was already late so I made my way to the Jacob Javitz Center first to pick up my press credentials and see what there was to see. Seeking out the press room I met a guy from Issues The Series. Go check it out, lots of fun, kinda like “Scrubs” meets Clerks.

Also saw Mighty Avengers artist Khoi Pham waiting in the professional line to get in. He called after me to say hello. I just have to reiterate my estimation that he’s the nicest guy in the comics biz. How many pros go out of their way to say hi to fans. Helluva artist, helluva guy, class act all the way. While I’m sharing plugs, I hung out with my friend Abraham from Avengers Forever and also bumped into the multi-talented Rob from the Aquaman Shrine.

The Schedule Guide for NYCC #4 has a gorgeous cover by living legend Neal Adams featuring the Green Lanterns Kilowog, Katma Tui, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, John Stewart and a weird-eyed Hal Jordan. Everything is beautiful but Hal’s eyes. It’s disturbing. Maybe they’re crossed, maybe they’re not, but either way they seem to follow you around the room. Brrrr…

Inside are sneak previews of Flash: Rebirth #1 by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver and Detective Comics #854 by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III. Other than Kate Kane’s pasty goth skin, the latter actually looks pretty spectacular. The former has me spellbound though. After these five pages I don’t know when the last time I’ve been so excited about a comic. It’s got it all. The Rogues, the JSA, good characterization, respectful characterization, and a Kid Flash is back? I’m going to be loving this book. I can’t wait.

I had to bail on some panels I wanted to see this afternoon to check into our hotel. What a clusterf*ck that was. First there was some confusion over whether it was on the shuttle bus route from the Javitz Center – it’s not, even though folks were telling me it was on the NYCC website. And then there was the question of the non-existent free wireless internet. By the time everything was sorted, the afternoon was gone. But I was determined to get to the Wonder Woman premiere so I went back through crazed taxis and rush hour traffic to get there.

It was well worth it. Also had one of the Javitz Center’s famous (or is it infamous?) hot dogs and saw the CAG Awards as well. I’ll end with a quote I heard as I was leaving the Javitz, “How do the cabs know to stop and pick us up?” Hmmm… and I thought I was out of my element here.

Comic Widows Flashback NYCC 2008

On the eve of the 2009 New York Comic Con, please check out these articles from last year’s show:

NYCC As It Happened

Swag from New York

The BloodRayne Fan Film

East Meets West: Ultimo

Mephisto Wins

Dual Reviews of Iron Man

WWPhilly As It Happened

Please check back here this weekend for updates from this year‘s New York Comic Con!