Monday, May 11, 2015

The First Annual Phillipsburg Comic Con

We went to the First Annual Phillipsburg Comic Con on Saturday. It was organized jointly by the school’s comic club and the anime/manga club. I think it’s kind of great that the school has both clubs. They certainly didn’t have that kind of thing when I was growing up. (Though, in all fairness, I did graduate from a very small and relatively rural high school.)

For a first time, high school convention, they managed to attract some real talent. Joe Kelly, Scott Hanna, Rags Morales, Adam Kubert. That’s particularly impressive when you also consider that there was another local con this week, as well as Wizard World Philly.

My original plan had been to walk to the high school (it was being held in the gym), and get there an hour before it opened. It later turned out this level of planning was…unnecessary. I eventually decided that we could just drive there and park in the lot, and if they were parked so full that I couldn’t get a spot, then we certainly weren’t going to get inside, either.

The neighbors, wonderful people and fellow fans, were already there by the time we arrived, and their son (in his Batman costume) and Lily (in her Loki Charms shirt) wasted no time in chasing each other around. I’m not sure what Batman was going to do to Loki if he ever caught up, but they were having fun.

We went inside when the doors opened and the artists were still setting up. Lily bought a Jessica Rabbit Funk Pop figure for herself (she’s a sucker for the Veronica Lake look), and an ET figure for Jen for Mother’s Day. We walked the floor, and it wasn’t yet crowded.

I had the chance to talk with Scott Hanna about Dreamscape. He had come in when I worked there (Nick gave comic creators a big discount), and we reminisced about the store a bit, which was neat. He always impressed me as a genuinely nice guy, and it was nice to talk with him.

I picked up two prints from Rags Morales. Morales was the artist for Grant Morrison’s reboot of Superman, where they reimagine his early adventures in Metropolis. They updated him for modern times, but kept his “fighting for the little guy” populist roots.

I picked up this print, and I like it a lot. I’m reluctant to post an artist’s picture’s online, but I figure he must have it for sale on his website, and anyone who likes the pic enough to copy a blurry image from my phone should be willing to pay the ten dollars for a print at his website.

It captures a lot of I really love about Superman.  His neck is a bit weirdly long (and now that I’ve mentioned it, you’ll never be able to unsee it), but I think that was a deliberate decision, necessitated by the presence of the girder. He’s just happy, and young and optimistic. He looks like he enjoys being Superman. The art is very different from Frank Quietly’s work in All-Star Superman, but it reminds me of something Morrison, on the writing of Superman for that: "He was perched with one knee drawn up, chin resting on his arms. He looked totally relaxed...and I suddenly realized this was how Superman would sit. He wouldn't puff out his chest or posture heroically, he would be totally chilled. If nothing can hurt you, you can afford to be cool. A man like Superman would never have to tense against the cold; never have to flinch in the face of a blow. He would be completely laid back, un-tense." 

Overall, I liked the convention a lot. A friend asked how it was, and I described it as “Small, but nice.” Sure, it could do with a little more polish, but as a first time con run by high school kids, it was great.

1 comment:

  1. Not looking to start a huge debate on this, but I checked out Superman's neck, since you mentioned it. I don't know that someone of Morales caliber painstakingly measures things like proportions--I'd have to guess he does not--but the neck on super heroes can be anywhere from half a head to a full head in length. I see it as 3/4 of a head in the drawing in question, which to me makes sense given that Superman's head is turned to 3/4 view, so you'll see more of the neck as it meets the skull.