New York Comic Con is one of the biggest events for people who love comics, books, and the people who make them. Fans come from all over to meet the writers, artists, and actors who bring their favorite stories to life. We recapped some of our favorite moments from this year’s Comic Con.
From Page to Screen: Owning Your Own Intellectual Property
On Thursday, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti offered up practical information for creators, from creators who have been in business for years. The duo were tapped to create what is now DC’s wildly successful Harley Quinn comic; they also founded the multimedia entertainment company PaperFilms. Palmiotti offered up his life experience on having his work brought to live action.
“Hang on to your intellectual property, the only power you have in this life is to say no.”
“For protecting your intellectual property the keyword is: tangible.”
On film deals: “Always ask for back end but don’t expect it. You should always try to get as much money as you can upfront, and also executive producer; they give those away like candy.”
Hold out for the best deal possible, don’t feel compelled to say yes. If you’re worried about protecting that property, another key piece of advice was, before shopping or sharing your work, make sure to have something tangible. What they mean by that is to create a website with your character/description of your work on it. Something with a date, a digital paper trail that leads back to your distinct idea, will go a long way in protecting your work.
Both creators agree that you should know how to pick your battles: when a large corporation threatened a lawsuit over the name of Palmiotti’s comic Random Acts of Violence (formerly called splatter man) Palmiotti changed the name shortly before going to press. This is also a good lesson in not getting too attached to your work; it’s always a good idea to be flexible they said.
Their other shared piece of advice was to “be nice, it comes back in spades.” Both agreed that having favors to call in whether it was getting help in making deals or raising funds for their indie film projects it’s worth it to build connections and have friends that will want to help you.
Friday: American Gods
Filling out the Hammerstein Ballroom Friday with standing room only available, fans at the American Gods panel (based on the book of the same name ) greeted author Neil Gaiman with a standing ovation. Season 2 promises that the war between the old and new gods will heat up and things will basically “get worse for everyone”.
While the merits, challenges and general ridiculousness of green screen acting took a portion of the conversation (“no, Ricky, the buffalo is bigger than that”) the main takeaway from the cast and creatives: the show is incredibly relevant.
“When I read that speech in season one I thought they aren’t going to let us do this. When we were filming in Toronto back lives matter was marching in the street. I don’t think I realized that it would be that prophetic. We find ourselves in a situation where there’s a tremendous amount of frustration with what’s happening particularly with women but disenfranchised groups across the board. It’s impossible to do a show like this and not see how Neil’s work 17 years ago so perfectly becomes a correlator for the world we’re looking at now. You’re gonna see those things come to life with Mr. Nancy this year differently because a lot of the battle this year is what human slavery is today and today that’s mass incarceration and human trafficking. It’s exciting to be on a show that explores Muslims and sexuality and even silly stereotypes like the big leprechaun, the jacked leprechaun…getting his ass kicked by a female protagonist that he’s not involved in a relationship with. These are the tropes that Neil was able to lay out in the book these are the tropes that we fight its why we do the show and why we love it.”
The Gist: Based on the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, this comedic tale of Armageddon features an angel, a demon, an 11-year-old Antichrist and a doom-saying witch- as a six episode mini series coming 2019.
Filling out both the Hammerstein Ballroom and the Hulu theater at Madison Square Garden this Comic Con, Neil Gaiman is doing pretty well on page-to-screen epics. Good Omens, perhaps because it’s a mini-series, has scored a star-studded cast and flashy first trailer.
Here’s what they had to say about it:
More than one fan asked Gaiman about Good Omen’s humorous and apparently beloved footnotes: “some of the are in there some of them aren’t and some of them are dramatized and you’ll see them play out in front of your eyes.”
David Tennant who plays the demon Crowley: “it’s unlike anything I’ve done. is it a comedy is it a drama? it’s somewhere in between its a slightly heightened world and yet its a very real world its the bizarre and extraordinary crashing into the mundane. you just trust the script and get into and then this completely unique and extraordinary world emerges.”
Says Michael Sheen who plays Aziraphale, “it’s about these two people, well not people, in the middle of madness and they’ve only got each other. They’re also, as the only ones (angels/demons) who’ve lived on Earth this whole time the only one who understands the other.”
One fan asked Gaiman the obligatory ‘do you have any advice for writers on how to find your voice’ question and this is a literary site so here you go: “Don’t worry about finding your voice as a writer, just write. Your voice will be there and come out it can’t help it. it’s like that quote ‘Every artist has thousands of bad drawings in them and the only way to get rid of them is to draw them out,’ it’s the same for words.”
Black Heroes Matter
The gist: Five media influencers from a diverse group of careers (the panel included April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite, and Phi LaMarr, voice of Futurama’s Hermes.
Moderator David Walker asked all five of the panelists why they thought black heroes matter, then reflexively called that a “dumbass question,” as the answer should be obvious.
He also asked the panelists to name one of the favorite black heroes. He said that for himself, it was Frederick Douglass. “It wasn’t until I started working on [my Frederick Douglass graphic novel] that I realized why black heroes matter.” He noted that “I wouldn’t be up here on stage talking to you if it wasn’t for the fictional heroes [like Luke Cage] and the historical figures like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.”
Reign said that her hero was Verb from Schoolhouse Rock because “he told me to live, to laugh, to love. […] He wasn’t a hero, he was a real little boy.”
LaMarr touched on Reign’s answer, adding that, “You cannot achieve what you cannot conceive […] As black people in America, you’re working from a conception deficit. Until we see images of ourselves owning, loving, knowing, we can’t fully conceive.”
Moderator David Walker explained that he had some hesitation about signing onto the panel at first. “Part of me didn’t want to do this panel because I was like, ugh, another diversity panel? But my friend who’s a reverend said, ‘David, the truth is always new to somebody.'”
The gist: Deadly Class creators Wes Craig (art) and Rick Remender (writer) spoke about working collaboratively with one another on art and writing, and how music influenced Deadly Class.
Science or Fiction?
“Please dear god ask a scientist” and also, everyone unanimously hates the movie Prometheus.
Whether you’re writing your first flash sci-fi piece or the script for the next multi-million dollar epic this panel of nerds wants you to please, dear god, ask a scientist. The hosts of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast put on a presentation Sunday on what you should look out for when writing science fiction.
The cardinal sins of science fiction writing are varied and even situational- according to Novella it’s ok to sometimes let something not-so-accurate slide through to advance plot or create drama. However, they all agree (as did the audience with wild applause) even the weirdest science fiction stories are better when the science is as real as possible.
“What you want in science fiction are rules. Superman can fly, spider man can thwip until he runs out of fluid… ,” said the Science Guy himself, Nye.
“And the main rule is that you get one gimme. or two gimmes,” added Jay Novella. “Also it’s one thing not to know enough- not to know what you don’t know so you don’t know to ask can’t really avoid that. You also shouldn’t dumb down things for your audience.”
You can have something ridiculous happen because it works for the narrative but don’t do whatever you want whenever you want. Otherwise there’s no reason to be invested in the story.