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July 25, 2009

Notes From The CCI 2009 Floor


The following are notes and observations gathered on the floor of Comic-Con International 2009 in San Diego, California. For immediate reactions to what's going on from hundreds of people, I recommend an appropriate search or multiple such searches on Twitter. For mainstream comics and panel coverage I recommend Comic Book Resources and then Newsarama. -- Tom Spurgeon


* the big publishing news of the day for most folks was Marvel acquiring the rights to publish Marvelman. This is one of those things that's going to bear some analysis rather than is all that well-served by a single announcement of the "hey, look" kind, especially since a few years ago a big announcement had me thinking Stephen King was going to be writing scripts for the company Stan Lee style while sitting in Marvel's bullpen. Still, that's all the big names lined up in a row to make for an interesting story. As one CR reader put it, it could be that Marvel is just throwing its hat into a really crowded ring. We'll see. I'm also not certain the time hasn't passed on this one in terms of it being super-exciting news. I don't really have a Marvelman hole in my heart anymore, and I read the Alan Moore revival about 50 times.

* the big publishing news for me was that Fantagraphics will do the complete Ernie Bushmiller Nancy, which is awesome. One of the prominent alternative cartoonists apparently has a complete collection from which they'll be working.

* in related news, Fantagraphics' second and more complete shot at Pogo finally starts next Spring. The delay with Pogo was purely archival; it's quite difficult to find good Pogo copies, and it took them longer than they expected to find copies with which they were willing to move forward.

* a close second in the news department (third if you count Walt Kelly, I guess) is that Darwyn Cooke will follow up his The Hunter with a book that will adapt part of the The Man With The Getaway Face and huge chunks if not all of The Outfit. That will be out in 2010. The Outfit is one of Donald Westlake's best books, so this should be a lot of fun. IDW had sold almost 350 of the current Parker book by 5:30 Friday afternoon, which is great in these times of being able to get such work anywhere. Cooke was signing and completing a frontpiece with some drawing.

* as much as I complain about the show and what it could be, I have to say Friday afternoon was a pleasure for me and I'm sure a lot of other comics fans with similar A-B-C stories. Mine was that I realized I got to spend Thursday afternoon listening to my current favorite strip cartoonist Richard Thompson talk about his work, and a chunk of Friday watching Pat Oliphant draw with terrifying facility in charcoal while he was interviewed on stage. Then I got to go meet Leonard Starr.

* one thing that cracked me up is that Dylan Williams has been encouraging the people working the Sparkplug table to take a full day off so as not to be burnt out. He told me he went to the zoo.

* there are no lines at the ATMs. Spooky and disheartening.

* I am greatly appreciative to Seth, Jason Lutes, Gene Yang, Lewis Trondheim, Bryan Lee O'Malley and Derek Kirk Kim for their participation in a well-attended "graphic novels" panel on Friday. The panel got wonky -- Lutes and Seth went back and forth on editing, for instance -- but the audience was there to hang and asked a lot of great questions. Everyone was funny. I was pleased and people seemed to genuinely enjoy it. Those panels are tough because you get a lot of people up on the panel and a lot of people in the audience that may have vastly different takes on what a panel on the broad subject matter so named should encompass. But this one worked.

* I hardly know Bryan Lee O'Malley, but he looked slightly stunned and maybe just finding his sea legs at what has to be a crazy convention for him. He seemed pleased, though. I'm happy for him.

* Judith Hansen told me that the various editions of Crumb's Genesis will have different covers according to the country of their publication, and she looks forward to seeing the reaction. The covers are selected by Crumb.


the show runs from July 23rd through July 26th
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