Comic Books
Megacon 2012 – DC Comics and Me

Recently I had the opportunity to go to Megacon 2012. I was super excited to see that DC Comics was going to be there and made a point to sniff them out.

*I now interrupt this article to give you a special insight…I am a newbie to this whole comic book thing. By newbie I mean I know that DC Comics owns Superman and Batman. I know that Marvel owns the X-Men and the Avengers. Through my husband, I know that George Perez has drawn Superman and my brother has taught me that Geoff Johns is a big name in the Lantern world. I don’t know who the other publishers or the artists are.  My main focus is learning the story and the characters. I now return you to the main article.*

While walking around Megacon on Friday, I had the first highlight of my weekend. I got the opportunity to talk to Bill McCray, a gentleman working George Perez’s booth. I started out just asking him some questions about what kind of work George might be doing on the New 52. He gave me some interesting insight as to how some of the artists have been mixed around into different jobs and some who use to ink the characters are now doing the concept sketches.

He was excited to hear that I was a newbie and just trying to learn about the different aspects of how the comics come to my digital screen. I shared with him my story and an article that I wrote that DC Tweeted and put up on their Facebook a few weeks ago. He was really interested and also disappointed at some of the fan boys reactions to it because comics are for everyone.

JL Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of DC Comics

JL Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of DC Comics

Later that day I went to my first ever Megacon panel “DC Comics: All Access”. Talk about being a fish out of water. I looked around and in a room of over 100, I saw very few women (and some looked like they had been dragged). DC Comics Co-Publisher, Dan Didio, was the man in charge of the panel. One of the first questions he asked the crowd was how many people did not like the New 52. A flood of hands instantly went up.

After they all had their moment to express their concerns, he asked how many people liked the New 52. I raised my hand high and he called on me to give my reasons why I liked it. I explained that “I’m a newbie to comics and I really enjoyed having that fresh start.” He replied back to the crowd that “that is why we did it!” and he expressed his excitement about my new found love of the comics.

During the panel I learned a few things:

1. The DC comics and DC animated are separate groups. Dan Didio admitted that until an animated feature comes out, he knows about as much as we do.

2. Characters change with the times. A good example is Power Girl. Recently with the New 52 World’s Finest, Power Girl’s look was dramatically changed. Changes like this are made to keep the character current, modern, and fresh.

3. Make a really big note to visit a comic book shop on May 5th (aka Free Comic Book Day). DC Comics is releasing a new comic specifically for it.

After the panel was over I had the chance to talk to Dan a little about the New 52 and what I was enjoying about the comics I reading. The one on one conversation with him was the second highlight of my weekend.

Dan Didio and Dakster

Dan Didio and Dakster

On Saturday I went back to see the Bill at George Perez’s booth while in my 501st costume. I was excited to hear this time that he had shared my story with a friend of his who was also disappointed at the fan boy’s reactions to me. In his friend’s opinion it’s the fan boy’s harsh reactions towards the female fans that keep more women from reading. I am happy to say that I met enough friendly fan boys at Megacon to say “whatever” to the rest from now on.

On Sunday I finally had the chance to look around at the different comic book vendors. I found a 4th print of the New 52 Justice League (4th print I learned means it’s the 4th release of the comic after selling out three other times). Since it’s my first comic series, I decided to get it and frame it for my office. As we walked back to George’s booth to say bye to the gentleman I had been talking to earlier in the con, I noticed that one of the artists didn’t have a line. I remembered him from the panel on Friday and he looked friendly enough so I jumped over to say hi. I learned his name is Tony Bedard and he currently draws Green Lantern. While I was there he signed my comic and we had a nice little chat. He fell back in his chair when I told him the New 52 Justice League was my first comic and that it was the New 52 that got me reading comic books. We talked about the newbies point of view and how it was a nice change for me.

He said that one of the reasons they did the new 52 was it gave the characters and new readers a fresh start. One example he gave was the Batman comics. When a newbie was reading them they wouldn’t know that the Robin in the story was actually the 5th version of Robin. You almost needed a chart so you would know which incarnation of the character you were reading about.

I made the comment that my little brother and I were looking at a poster one day and my brother remarked that it was Dick Grayson wearing the cowl. I couldn’t help but reply back “When the heck did Dick become Batman? They never covered that in the animated series.” Another comic book fan standing by agreed with me that it could be confusing for new comic book fans to understand anything with all the history involved.

Overall my comic book experience at Megacon was AWESOME! I really enjoyed learning more about my new hobby and the creative people behind the scenes. The artists and higher ups were really nice and down to earth. I felt like they really listened and understood where a newbie like me was coming from. Knowing that there are people behind the scenes that love the characters as much as I do, adds just a little more enjoyment to my reading experience.

 

 

Dak

Dakster Sullivan is an all-around technology and comic book geek. When she's not at the office being the Network Administrator, she's hanging out with her Minecraft obsessed 8-year old son and magician husband. On the weekends, she enjoys cosplaying for charity with the 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups. Check her out on Twitter @Dak903

19 Comments
Paul Gomez

March 5, 2012 3:54 am Reply

Wow, you are an inspiring woman. I too someday to make enough money to go to a con. This is such a great story with great detail. I too also like comics and trying to get my degree in Software Development.

Dakster
Dakster

March 5, 2012 8:06 am Reply

Thank you for much for the comment. Reading it was a great way to start off my day. :-)

Kai charles

March 5, 2012 1:45 pm Reply

Great post! Glad you are a new 52 success story!

I’ll admit to being a bit of a disgruntled fan. Mostly because despite their promised diversity, they are canceling two of the three books with diverse main characters and they really didn’t reach out to venues that would create potential new readers, especially women.

But your now a fan so it’s worth it :) definitely go to free comic book day, so glad you had a good con experience!

Rod H

March 5, 2012 2:24 pm Reply

Awesome post!

It’s great to hear about new comicbook fans. And even after several years of calling myself a fanboy I’ll admit that I stayed away from the superhero titles. They just seemed like a huge undertaking. I’ve been enjoying the new 52 for the same reasons you have.

I’m especially thrilled that several titles (Batwoman, Stormwatch, Teen Titans, Demon Knights) include queer and LGBT characters.

Rob

March 5, 2012 3:55 pm Reply

I am sorry any of us old fans were unwelcome to you or anyone new coming into the fold.

I was new once and we should all be welcoming.

Glad you are enjoying what you are reading.

Dakster
Dakster

March 5, 2012 4:02 pm Reply

If you guys like hearing about the new comic book fans, stay tuned to Geekmom. Every week on Weds we will be posting up “Comic Book Corner”. I plan on posting up some newbies views on the comics I am reading and a few of the other ladies have something up their sleeves as well.

Thank you for such welcoming comments!! New fans and Old fans help keep the comics alive!!

Justin

March 5, 2012 4:10 pm Reply

Good post. I enjoyed reading it. I used to be kind of “plugged in” to the whole comic book scene when I was a teenager, I had a good group of friends with whom I was able to converse about, and share comics with. But we went our separate ways, and with the exception of the occasional trade (Garth Ennis Etc.) that I’d pick up on a whim, I kind of fell out of the loop. The new 52 has been a great restarting place for me, and I am really enjoying it as well. Easier than trying to backtrack ten years worth of material, lol. I am liking what you are doing here, keep it up.

Doc Julz

March 5, 2012 4:16 pm Reply

The New 52 wouldn’t even be an issue for “newbies” if only today’s comic-”writing” hacks remembered Jim Shooter’s golden rule of comics writing:

EVERY ISSUE IS SOMEONE’S FIRST ISSUE.

Doc Julz

March 5, 2012 4:17 pm Reply

Which is to say, this New 52 is friendly to the 2011-2012 newbies. But what about the 2014 newbies? Or the 2020 newbies? Or the 2030 newbies?
Is DC just going to arbitrarily reboot their entire universe every four years?

Doc Julz

March 5, 2012 4:22 pm Reply

“THIS IS WHY WE DID IT!”

Alienating the vast majority of your readerbase for a temporary sales boost and accomodating a tiny handful of “newbie fans” who can’t even look up Wiki-freaking-pedia to get “caught up” on a character they might be interested in?
Dan DiDio is a haaaaaaaaaaaaack. He has always been a haaaaaaaaaaaaaaack and he will always be a haaaaaaaaaaaack.

Doc Julz

March 5, 2012 4:24 pm Reply

Arthur Conan Doyle should’ve been more respectful to newbie readers! How dare he introduce things like Watson getting married, and later Watson becoming a widow, and Holmes surviving a near-death experience! Doesn’t he know those things hurt the chances of picking up new readers???

    MZ

    March 5, 2012 6:21 pm Reply

    To be fair, Doyle only wrote 60 stories as opposed to DC’s, well… how many thousands of individual comics has DC put out since they started with this large shared universe?

    It’s quite a bit different.

      Doc Julz

      March 5, 2012 10:30 pm Reply

      So why does Marvel remain so accessible without ever needing reboots? This is the SECOND such reboot. DC had gone for over 40 years without needing the first. And another 20 after Crisis On Infinite Earths! The difference between COIE and 52 is that Crisis’s reboot also brought changes in editorial to streamline the continuity. ONE EARTH. ONE KRYPTONIAN. ONE KRYPTONITE.
      This reboot does none of those things. About since the turn of the millenium, when people like Brian Bendis and co came along, comics became very decompressed and convoluted, written with very little care for the “casual” fan that might pick up a copy of Green Lantern on a whim. It’s this style of writing, along with a complete lack of editorial care (remember when there used to be helpful “notes from Ed” to inform people that the last time Flash and Mirror Master clashed was in Flash #153 and Mirror Master swore revenge in a way that’s relevant to the current story? That helped the casual reader!), that needed to be done away with, far more than any reboots were needed.
      And the reboot has not done away with this writing style either, which means those comics will become every bit as unaccessible to new readers within a short time.
      Hell, they’re not even THAT accessible now! Some casual fans have asked me why Superman wore silly armor in one comic, but jeans and a t-shirt in the other.
      And there’s also the fact that Dakster here expressed her confusion at the sheer amount of Robins in the DCU… except the exact same amount of Robins exist in The New 52… so how does that help her, or any other “newbies”?

John Landers

March 5, 2012 4:53 pm Reply

I am now reading comics again after becoming jaded with the fracturing of the industry in the 90s with artists & the big 2 at loggerheads.

I was curious to see what DC were going to do with the characters that I loved in the 70s & 80s so I decided to embrace the relaunch & with the direction DC has taken I am now eagerly awaiting the new issues each month with one of the minor characters Aquaman becoming one of my favourites.

I have to say the last panel on JLA 1 with the introduction of Superman my all time favourite hero had me hooked so in closing I hope you are getting as much enjoyment from your titles of choice as I am from mine.

David

March 5, 2012 5:15 pm Reply

As an “old timer” (I’ve been reading comics for over 20 years and i’m only 32. you do the math) I welcome you to the wonderful world of comics and DC. I apologize on behalf of the jerks who might have treated you badly.

I am glad that the new 52 got you in, even if I am not a fan of a lot of the changes made to the DCU. Having once been a newbie myself, I understand the value of a strong jumping on point. Mine was the 1989 Batman movie which made me discover Batman comics, and a few years later, The Death of Superman had me hopelessly hooked on the Man of Steel, whom I still collect to this very day.

I do suggest though that you eventually track down some of the earlier stuff. While a lot of it no longer applies to the current versions of the characters, they are still great reads.

MZ

March 5, 2012 6:44 pm Reply

Thank you for sharing such a positive story!

You’re right, too often the “fans” are the worst enemy of whatever they should be enjoying.

Don’t let the bad seeds keep you down, there’s plenty of great things to enjoy, inside the books and out. Overall, it’s a great culture to be part of!

Gil Gonzalez

March 5, 2012 11:43 pm Reply

Welcome to the fold Dakster. As you are in the 501st, you are already a proud geek. So happy you got to go to Megacon, sit in on panels and meet some of the bigwigs. Its the best group of people there is!!May you enjoy the comic world as much as we do.

StiltMom

March 6, 2012 4:05 pm Reply

Doc Julz – I recognize that you have become frustrated with what was once a beloved reading experience for you. HOWEVER – your jaded opinions are what frighten off so many newbies, even to the point of not wanting to research past “compentent” storylines (as you would most likely put it). If you are this disgruntled with DC – voice your opinion with your wallet, stop buying. However to hijack another person’s blog tovoice your opinion –not cool. Start your own blog, get people to subscribe to yours, have the powers that be at DC read your blog and think – hhhhmmmmm, he makes an interesting point, maybe we should consider that.
But hey just my little ol’ opinion.
Dakster – so proud of you for following your dreams and interests – KEEP IT UP! Don’t let these negative nancies get you down!!!!

Gareth

March 6, 2012 7:25 pm Reply

I do not believe that a reboot is needed for new readers because wikipedia exists.

If you have access to comics all you need to get into them are a message board and a good wiki style website.

The best example I can give to back up my argument is that I got into Green Lantern during Blackest Night. I hadn’t read any Green Lantern story written by Geof Johns before Blackest Night but thanks to wikiepdia I wasn’t lost.

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