That Was The In-Store Comic Convention Kick Off That Was

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There were a few teething problems. It is the internet after all.  But for the first live in-store comic con was star studded and full of comics, creators, executives and streamed to 36 comic book stores, they did pretty well. A family emergency saw me miss the Valiant presentation, but as Marvel arrived, so did I.

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Marvel had Jeff Loveness, but Brian Bendis was AWOL. We got some inside looks at Marvel's stuff, which we published over here, here and here.  And then it was on to IDW…

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Chris Ryall had plenty to talk about, Dirk Gently, Fly Offbreak, Insufferable, Infinite Loop, and more, as he appeared to be reporting from an Ikea.

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There were more teasesannouncements and showcases already reported. But there was plenty more besides.

IDW will be announcing the next big Star Trek crossover event at Wondercon and a big My Little Pony event later in the year…. and they are pushing their Disney comics, with 48 page comics for $3.99 and covers designed to appeal to Disney collectors, and committing to Disney for the long term.

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And we have a new romantic comedy series from Love And Capes' Thom Zahler – with two folks who meet in an airport and then get separated across the world. Note the different colour tones for the different characters…

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Ryall also addressed a recent week in February when some IDW books didn't arrive as they were supposed to. This was due to a dock workers strike along the piers of the west coast. All shipments were massively delayed and IDW got caught up in that. It is obvious the publisher felt as frustrated as fans expecting the books must have felt. And they apologiese for the double shipping of big books to come…

Image Comics discussed art and colour with Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko, regarding their upcoming series Invisible Republic.

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A real insight into the art process and how "everything is seeding!" And Image's Ron Richard and David Brothers are there to talk about more general Image Comics questions. And how Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey is going to be much better than Moon Knight

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And plugging KaptaraNo Mercy, The Surface and more… from Ron'sdesktop,

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What was beginning to be clear that this was an effective way to talk to the customers of 36 stores simultaneously, in an environment when they could be inspired by what they see and hear – and can pick it up right off the rack, or get the books added to their pull list.

Brian Bendis missed the Marvel presentation but did make it for a jump-in before Boom! Studios ran their presentation, Filip Sablik talked through the idea of the cross-platform-publisher promotion #comicsforward.

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James Tynion talked through his comics, the motivation behind them and how Scott Snyder asked him what the one comic he could write forever as – Snyder's was American Vampire, and The Woods became Tynion's…

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Shannon Watters talked up the kaBoom, the Boom Box and the Lumberjanes – and how people were hungry for the series. And the expectation that Giant Days is going to go the same way, "less supernatural, more slice of life".

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Dan DiDio talked through the Convergence story, its inspiration, its structure and the layout. How it will give a true explanation of the DC Multiverse that plays off of the Multiversity Map. Also, more IKEA.

Every book has a shot when the Convergence domes come down, but the stories stand alone. And for the characters, it's all about closure. Saying hello to them again, seeing what they've been up to, and then say goodbye.

The inside cover will explain the cities involved in the stories, and the back of each book has a two page primer with the history of the lead character. This is aimed to appeal to both new – and old  – readers. It is a palate cleanser for the DC Universe and from June, every book will have its own voice, tone and direction, and continuity… "we have a shared universe, not a shared story." And events will bring a larger, wider, more diverse audience together.

I also got the chance to ask my question. And boy did I get an answer.

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At which point, Convergence writer Jeff King glitched in and out from his own showroom. When he returned Dan DiDio talked about how King got a gig at DC Comics after touring the office and finding himself engaged in the story process just by being in the same room and DiDio was impressed how King just got it.

King also talked about coming to DC for Convergence and how he had to learn how to write comics on the job, his first script taking up a hundred pages of comics, and discovered that you could only have one emotion per panel, had to write differently for comics rather than the screen, and how he thinks by issue three, they found out what they were doing….

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Dark Horse saw Randy Stradley were showing off lovely big books like Shaolin Cowboy, which saw Dark Horse staff send three weeks in China to get the book just right for Geoff Darrow, and the rather impressive He-Man Art book…. as he slipped out a possible TV adaptation scoop.

We are to expect another Alien/Prometheus/Predator based Fire And Stone style sequel with a lot of new characters with a different presentation method…

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And an Archie/Predator ashcan issue for Emerald City Comic Con… and there is one more Colder series coming, a third and final series scheduled for fall 2016.

He also talked up Ei8ht and stated that more people should be reading more comics, that there are plenty of series that aren't getting the readers that they probably deserve – but saw how TV and movie adaptations were very good at getting people to check out the comic "to see what they missed."

But he also wanted to state that Dark Horse creators no longer have media rights requirements attached to new contracts – and he would like to get the word out to creators about that change. But they do have a very long list of comic books in development…

Time for a beer…

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And, answering questions, would love to see a Conan/Star Trek crossover in the comics… and expect news on more Barb Wire…

And with that, comic creators like Cullen Bunn, Jay Faeber and Ed Brisson lined up to talk about their work.

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Cullen Bunn talked about his post-Sixth Gun project with Brian Hurtt encapsulating everything he loves in comics. And would like to write Micronauts… and had a massive story all planned out from before he got into the industry. And a lot of love for DC and Marvel supernatural series – Scare Tactics anyone?

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Jay Faeber talked about his current and upcoming comics as well as the comics he loves the most, as well as the creative process with an artist, and can't remember which of them first decided to make their lead of Copperhead a female single mother… talking of which, here is the new cover.

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And he loves his spinner rack, seen in the background above, and places his own comic books he has written on it. And he also let us know that Near Death, his Image comic series with Simone Guglielmini is coming back…

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And Ed Brisson was also happy to talk up Sheltered, Cluster, his Dark Horse crime collection, and The Mantle for Image Comics… but will someone give him some Batman or Punisher? He would be up for it… but he has plenty of creator owned comic books on the way. And, of course, Captain Canuck!

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Joshau Hale Fialkov capped off the day, talking about how he had persuaded Oni Press to release The Life After as a $10 collection exclusive to comic stores and that, after it had sold out, sell it to bookstores at a $20 cover price instead. And how there are only a few of the $10 copies left.

And with that we were done. Yes there were technical glitches, yes there were guests that went missing, yes schedules suddenly changed without notice. Just like a real comic convention then. Only without the mad crowds and with the very comics people are talking about on display in adjacent shelving to the show.

A triumph. We'll be back for more…

Check out more of our In-Store Comic Convention Kickoff coverage right here.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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