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Wednesday, April 23, 2008


The following photos cover the on-the-floor tumult on the main exhibition floor at the Jacob Javits Center from Friday the 18th through Sunday the 20th in no particular order, so use this as a field guide on what to expect if you attend a big comics convention.

The sun was shining and seemed to shoo away the usual Manhattan haze/pollution, perhaps as a result of Nature herself being a comics geek and seeking to grant con-goers a lovely weekend in which to enjoy the gathering of fandom's many diverse tribes.

The entrance to the main floor of the Javits Center: gateway to paradise for some, an entrance to a living hell for others.

While traffic was handled much more efficiently than in the previous two years, the place was
nonetheless mobbed on all three days.

Yer Bunche, knee-deep in the hooplah.

Some cherished friends and colleagues from my days in the Marvel Bullpen: (L to R) John Babcock, Larry Hama, Marie Javins, and Michael Kraiger.

I had intended to have my pal Eddie get a shot of me giving this life-sized statue of Superman
a righteous beejay, but there wasn't enough time. Next year, I promise.

This life-size animated Princess Leia should have served as a harbinger of the legion of fans
decked out in Star Wars outfits.

My first of many Star Wars costume sightings.

A comicon mainstay: Wolverine.

Yorick Brown and Ampersand, from Y: the Last Man.

Wee Supergirl and gigantress Poison Ivy.

Two-Face and a very accurate Killing Joke Joker.

The first of several live-action Supermen (this one I would not feign a beejay upon).

Swiftly becoming a ubiquitous convention presence in the wake of 300, the ancient Greeks strutted their stuff, considerately sparing us the painted-on abs.

The Smallville versions of Clark Kent and the Green Arrow: points given for authenticity, but points detracted for being nowhere near homoerotic enough.

The Smallville Green Arrow with the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott; the guy in the Green Lantern outfit gets extra credit for actually making one of the goofiest of the classic-era superhero costumes look cool. Considering that the character's footwear was originally a pair of what appeared to be ballet slippers with laces that went up his calves, the boots are a major improvement. (Special thanks to my work colleague Steve Talaba for this shot; I somehow missed Golden Age GL, and when Steve told me he had a shot of him he kindly agreed to let me post it.)

I unintentionally irritated the shit out of this Wonder Girl by praising her for making the fifties-era version look good as a live outfit; she "corrected" me that it was the Wonder Girl from the original Teen Titans lineup, to which I said, "No, the Wonder Girl you're thinking of, Donna Troy, always ran around in shorts until she got that kickass red number, while the Wonder Girl who wore this outfit was the teenage Diana, aka Wonder Woman. She wore the star-spangled skirt." At that Ms. Thing sneered and departed, secure in her ignorance. If there's one place not to get into a geek fight, it's a comics convention swarming with hardcore geeks who've been reading the shit since before you were born, little girl, and for the record you can consult The Brave & The Bold # 60 (June-July 1965) and witness the hot pants for yourself.

The issue in question: The Brave & The Bold #60, first appearance of Donna Troy. Them's hot pants, not a friggin' skirt. Get in a geek fight with me? A staunch supporter of DC's Amazons, even when their comics have sucked out loud, like Amazons Attack? I don't think so, kiddo.

Futurama's intergalactic asshole, Zap Brannigan.

I love it when the young geeks represent. Gives an old man hope for the future.

Chris Weston, sickeningly-talented illustrator of The Filth and The Twelve, my favorite Englishman next to 007, and of of my favorite human beings, period. I genuinely wish he'd pull a "German" on Her Majesty on live TV so he and his family would get kicked out of the UK and be sentenced to live in Brooklyn so I could see him more often and hang out, but that ain't gonna happen... Or is it?

And while we're on the subject of things British and comics-related, also fast becoming a convention fixture in the wake of a big-budget movie is V from V For Vendetta. I'd say his ubiquity was inevitable once the movie-tie-in masks hit the market.

One of the hottest comics heroines from the moment she first graced the page back in 1964, Zatanna the sorceress is a favorite of magic-lovers and fishnet stocking fetishists everywhere (Yer Bunche definitely included!). This gal is hands down the most toothsome live Zatanna I've ever seen, and many con-goers and comics biz pros second that statement. Well done, lady. Well done indeed!

Continuing the focus on hot comics chicks, here we have Zena Tsarafin, Amanda Conner, and Jill "Me and My Red Stapler Against the World" Freidman. Believe me, guys, these are three lovely, smart, talented and downright hilarious women, and you definitely want to party with them.

The White and Black Queens. Mutant costumes have been popular among female convention-goers since the early-1980's, but if only an ambitious group of girls would show up and represent as the Stepford Cuckoos...

A retro-1960's living doll: good old Captain Action, vastly improved by being portrayed by a woman. Damn, I love chicks in superhero and military gear!

Chris Weston and Lee Bermejo, drawing sketches for the fans. Poor Chris had to make do with the overpriced American tea on hand at the Javits Center, and having had the real deal British
tea while visiting him for the 2005 Bristol Con I can tell you from experience that switching suddenly from British tea to our domestic equivalent is like switching from pure China White to shooting up with powdered confectioner's sugar (NOTE: I've experienced the shocking difference in tea quality, but am using the narcotics reference as a metaphor. Remember, kids, stay away from horse! Look at what that shit did to Speedy!)

"Bad" Mary Marvel; what was done with her in Countdown was yet another example of some creator's creepy need to unnecessarily "darken" characters that were geared to kids in the first place in an attempt to make them fit in with other characters from the same era — Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman & Captain America, to name a few — who have successfully managed to appeal to today's comics audience comprised mostly of grownups, but I never felt that such an approach could work with the whole lot of Shazam-family heroes. But I must say that if Mary can't be seen in her traditional skirted girly version of her big brother's red gear, I rather like her capeless fascist bitch look. She looks like she could have fronted a kickass metal band.

Briefly popular as a couple of mini-series events and a vastly inferior followup regular series in the mid-eighties, V is largely forgotten today by all but sci-fi TV geeks who saw it as high-schoolers and early-twenty-somethings. This guy rocked a very accurate Visitor uniform, and gets extra points for having a "mousie" snack at the ready for photo ops.

Those who regularly read this blog know of my love for Big Barda, by far my favorite super-woman and easily the legendary Jack Kirby's greatest female creation, so imagine my joy upon seeing this stunning prototype for the Barda figure from the upcoming New Gods toy line, due out in early 2009. The rest of the line were equally good, but Barda's the only one I really want on my shelf.

This upcoming Big Barda blows away the one from a few years back. A 10 out of 10!

AC signs a sketchbook for a young Themiscyran.

From the "elephant balls" department: "This Is My Costume." Rock on, dude!

Artists Alley, "a wretched hive of scum and villainy."

AC brandishes her parents' guest pass badges. Note the names.

AC and her parents, Al (Sean Connery's stand-in) and Eulayla: I love these two loons more than the majority of my own blood-relatives.

Another recent addition to the Comics Convention Hall of Ubiquity: Tattooed-Ass Chick at a booth.

Very impressive All-Star Superman Lois Lane as Superwoman outfit.

I love this Supergirl's Chuck Taylor boots.

This Joker turned out to be a fellow oo7 hardcore who excitedly recognized the SPECTRE emblem on my shirt.

A word of advice to male wearers of tight costumes: invest in a dance belt, guys. Or go the opposite direction and proudly sport a foil-wrapped cucumber.

More Star Wars folks.

It was only a matter of time before the ladies started rocking this movie-related outfit: Leeloo from The Fifth Element.

The Ray, one of the stupidest-looking costumes of all time. The guy does get points for accuracy, though.

From the booth of legendary Playboy illustrator Doug Sneyd. I've loved this guy's work since the day I got my first in-depth look at the magazine some thirty-three years ago and I would have loved to purchased one of his originals, but the most inexpensive of the lot started at $8,000 so I had to settle for a signed copy of his book of rejected gag roughs, a fun compendium that Mr. Sneyd was kind enough to grace with a sketch.

Black suit Spider-Woman strikes an action pose.

Considering the anticipation for the upcoming Watchmen movie, I was surprised to see only this lone Rorschach representing for the landmark graphic novel.

Former Marvel Comics editor and art rep of the stars Renee Witterstaetter and illustrator Mark "Tex" Texiera strike a power pose.

A terrific Power Girl who even did her boots from scratch. I'm hoping that someday some woman will have the stones to do Power Girl with grossly-exaggerated fake, gravity-stricken tits and a camel toe you could park a bicycle in, just like AC drew her. If you're gonna go there, go there sez I.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. I love the look of appropriate misery of Peter's face.

I was very relieved to find a bunch of old school Star Trek fans representing amongst the ocean of Lucas groupies. When I finished taking their picture I commented, "Thank God for you guys. I swear, if I see one more fucking Star Wars costume, I'll eat my own asshole on live television!" That statement was overheard by a Jedi knight standing behind and to the left of me who reacted with a loud "HEY!!!"

The Perez-era Nightwing...

...and companion. Is the guy in black supposed to be a specific character, or does he just rock a mean corset?

Modern-era Nightwing.

Modern-era Nightwing and Death. I was both surprised and relieved to see only one or two convention-goers dressed up as Death, a character who was fun when first seen nearly twenty (!!!) years ago, but who inevitably got overexposed and played out as the whole "Goth" thing got co-opted into more-or-less mainstream culture. But, as Death herself would no doubt have said, "All things must pass."

Nelson (just the one name, like Cher) and Jimmy Palmiotti, two of the funniest characters in the entirety of the comics biz. Here we see Jimmy giving as good as he got from fellow Brooklynites who gave him shit for hanging out in the Sunshine State, derisively dubbing him "Florida."

Mystique, Lois Lane, Smallville Clark Kent, and some guy nobody's ever heard of.

Okay, I have to ask: what the fuck is this guy supposed to be? John Wayne Gacy? With all the little kids around, this was too damned creepy.

Mister T in da house!!!

"Mistah J" and Harley Quinn. Someday I hope to find some obliging cutie who'll engage me in some merry slap & tickle while she's rocking the jester headgear, mask, and makeup...

Yer Bunche and Chris Weston.

Me and Chris again, shopping at the Jim Hanley's Universe booth.

Yer Bunche and Declan Shalvey, a proud member of the Irish contingent whom I met during my journey to the Bristol Con back in '05. Dec's a great guy and one hell of an inker, so to any editors who may be reading this: show him some love and hook him up with a steady gig, already!

This silver-haired guy is Frank McLaughlin, longtime DC Comics inking mainstay and creator of Judo Master, as well as being my first martial arts and cartooning instructor. A total sweetheart, I always seek him out during these NYC shows.

Lois Lane and Poison Ivy. I never would have guessed that Poison Ivy was so popular among the geekesses, but there were several in full leafy regalia at this show. And Lois Lane gets extra points for rocking the '40's-style wig. You can't go wrong with the Fleischer look!

A very tall Princess Leia and a Stormtrooper.

One of the last anime characters I expected to see: a very accurate rendition of Kid Muscle, aka "Kinnikuman."

Pre-teen Harley Quinn. Indoctrinate 'em early, sez I!

A very elegant Joker and Mister Freeze.

Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and harley Quinn; extra points to Catwoman for being the Julie Newmar '60's version, the first woman who ever made the wee Bunche's pee-pee stand at attention (I was five). "Meeeee-Yow!!!"

Just in time for the latest installment in the franchise: Indiana Jones, his dad, and a Nazi swine.

Harley Quinn, with mallet.

A classic combo: the Green Arrow and a tasty Green Lantern.

A couple of very game Gotham Gals. And check out the emblem on Robin's chest.

A trio of glorious geeks.

More glorious geeks.

The Green Lantern and an Polaris.

Gambit, and the Hulk, who apparently got hit with a shrinking ray.

The delegates from Central City arrive.

My favorite costume of the entire weekend: Fatass Colossus. Seriously, you have no choice but to respect this guy.

Fatass Black Suit Spidey and his girlfriend shop for back issues.

Ebony Princess Leia, or The Empire Strikes Black.

Domino, the Black Cat, and Gwen Stacy.

Best use of a Star Wars character I saw all weekend.

Justice League: New Frontier artist/writer Darwyn Cooke draws a commission sketch of the Flash.

The sketch, up close.

Just in time for Hellboy II: Nazi killing machine Karl Ruprecht Kroenen.

See? I told you Cap's not dead, so there!

Buzz inks a Man-Bat/Batman commission piece.

Most original costume of the Con: the Burger King Stormtrooper.

His royalness, Prince T'Challa, better known as the Black Panther.

Best hard-to-realise costume of the weekend: the fearsome Black Manta, with the torn tunic and stolen belt of a vanquished Aquaman as trophies.

Black Manta, rear view.

The biggest goddamned Jawa you'll ever see.

It's good to see the kids have someone they can believe in these days.

For those not in the know, "yaoi" is the manga sub-genre devoted to gay themes. I love the bravado of the sign, and that huge, phallic ear of corn sends the display right over the top.

The best of the many Batmen in attendance.

Life-sized plastic Batman, poised to fist any willing to sit on his forearm.

A second Fifth Element Leeloo, played, I think, by the girl who was the tall Princess Leia on the previous day.

An exhausted AC displays her wares, including the cover from the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special, a Power Girl print, and a color Starfire commission sketch.

Me and Darwyn Cooke, bringing back sexy.

The finished Starfire commission.

From the Heroclix line of gaming figures, the impressive in-scale replica of Starro the Conquerer. I'd love one for my shelf, but that $75 price tag renders it a must-miss.

Is it just me, or does this Superman's outfit seem to be crafted from Fruit Roll-Ups or unblown Super-Elastic Bubble Plastic? Seriously, what the fuck is this made of?

Tex has a stroke while drawrin' a pitchur.

On the final day, Superman prepares for takeoff, propelled by gaseous emissions brought on by eating some $4.25 hot dogs and vending cart street meat. Up, up... and Awaaaaaay!!!


Sonja Kodiak Wilder said...

sorry I missed it! I shall bring Kodiak next year in a jawa outfit. He will be the exact right size jawa. And I will be...poison ivy. It is prob the only figure-flattering geekstress outfit.

John Bligh said...

I can't believe no one dressed up as Brother Power The Geek or Prez...

Kids these days... No respect.

Anonymous said...

What, no Iron Men?

Great pix

Anonymous said...

Thank all gods for hot, game geeks.

Tommy! said...

Ahhh man! I didn't get to go to this show, arrggghh! But, thank you for posting all the great pix. I really wanna go to this but I'm always broke around this time of year, ha ha! I live in Oklahoma so NYC is kinda far.

BATMAN FAN? Visit The Bat-Blog!

Thanks, Tommy

Anonymous said...

I love that pic of the V guy eating the mouse. Wow, that brought me back, I remember loving that mini-series. Mousey! Thanks for sharing all of the great pics.

Unknown said...

Wow, so I'm long overdue for seeing this 2008 post but had to comment. You love that Alan Scott and Zap B? It's the same guy! You should see him as Mera! He was featured in Wizard for it.

Thanks for including my Power Girl in your list and not calling me or something like other bloggers.