The Nola Nerd Couple Podcast Episode 14: Podcasting from the MegaCon Floor!

MegaCon was a great con experience under horrible conditions for one of us.  The con was great, but Mr. Nola Nerd Couple became really ill with an upper respiratory infection before he even got to the con.  This delayed our arriving at the con late Friday instead of early Friday.  He even felt so bad he didn’t attend until late Saturday and he felt horrible the whole time.  That didn’t stop Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple from having a great time (even though she succumbed to the sinus infection Monday morning).  Still, the little bit of time the Mr. got to spend at the con was a great success.  Warning: this is a minimally edited podcast so there is lots of crowd noise and even a speaker announcement that proves we were at Megacon. We talk about meeting some of our favorite comic creators and a few actors at the con. Special thanks to Geekella, Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s sister, for letting us record at her booth. Thanks for listening!

PS. We will have pictures from the con in a large picture post up as soon as we can.

ComicCon-ing: Comicpalooza and MegaCon Updates

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So last week, I highlighted the fact that Rodger Bumpass and Bill Fagerbakke of SpongeBob SquarePants would be attending ComicPalooza.  Of course, after I posted that blog, they announce that Tom Kenny, SpongeBob himself, will be attending as well. We are looking at ordering a large poster and having the three of them sign it.

Comicpalooza has an impressive comic creator lineup.  Here is who they have announced so far:

  • Chad Hardin
  • Peter Gross
  • Tyler Jenkins
  • Ben Templesmith
  • Brent Peeples
  • Steve Leialoha
  • Kevin Macguire
  • Philip Sevy
  • Kaare Andrews
  • Gene Ha
  • Kurtis Wibe
  • J.M. Demaateis
  • Andy Schmidt
  • Zack Kaplan
  • Donny Cates

Out of those artists, we are really excited to meet quite a few.  Chad Hardin does the penciling for Harley Quinn, one of Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s favorites, and I’ve loved everything by Donny Cates that I’ve read. We always research all creators before a con and try to read at least one thing by them using Marvel Unlimited, Hoopla, and Comixology. We highly recommend you do the same, especially since there is a good chance one of these creators has done some work in your favorite fandom.

They will also have some comic publishers there as well. Zenescope Entertainment publishes the Grimm Fairy Tales line of comics.  Top Cow issues Lara Croft Tomb Raider, The Darkness, Wanted, and Cyberforce.   Skybound Entertainment publishes wildly popular comics such as Invincible, Outcast, and The Walking Dead.  Valiant Entertainment is a publisher that produces a lot of character driven content such as X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, and, one of my favorite comics, Archer & Armstrong.

Comicpalloza always remembers the first part of their name, and we applaud them for that.  I can’t wait to see who else they add!

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Man, MegaCon was busy announcing guests last week.  So let’s cut to the chase:

  • John Schneider, Catherine Bach, and Tom Wopat:  After Henry Winkler, these guys were my childhood heroes and, in Ms. Bach’s case, my crush. I’m the least “country person I know, but man I loved the Dukes of Hazard as a kid. Fanboy-ing will happen when I see them.
  • Danielle Panabaker:  I love the cast of The Flash, and I really enjoy Caitlin Snow on the show, especially know that she is allowed to be bad when she becomes Killer Frost.
  • Charlie Cox:  Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple will probably buy two autographs from him.  One, of course from Daredevil/The Defenders, and the other from Stardust, one of her favorite movies.
  • Gaten Matarazzo & Caleb McLaughlin:  The Stranger Things star will be in Orlando for the Memorial Day Weekend.

Reading: Nerd Links – January 21-27

Legion of Collectors:  This blog is about a guy who collects subscription boxes from Marvel, DC, and Stan Lee.  However, this reviewer isn’t just any body (like your favorite bloggers), this guy is Tony Isabella.  Mr. Isabella created Black Lightning for DC and Misty Knight for Marvel, so he brings a unique perspective to collecting.  The box he discuss strikes a memory from his days at DC and what he would have done had he taken over the reigns of Aquaman in the 70s.

New York Times is Killing It’s Comics Bestseller Lists, and the Comic World Isn’t Pleased:  Regardless of how you feel about the New York Times, having a best-selling list of comics/graphic novels was good for the industry.  Comics are still considered by many as second class literature.  While the NYT promises expanded coverage of comics, the list provided insight to what people were reading and, more importantly, a list for new readers to check out.

The Star Wars Death Star Trench Isn’t Where You Think It Is:  Sure, the super fans will say they alway new it wasn’t the huge horizontal trench all along, but I won’t.  I always though Luke and the rest of gang were in that trench.  Now, I know better.

The Power of Fandom In History’s Chame: Why we need to Demand Better Content:  The first half of the title is kind of odd, but this article does make a basic point.  The only way we are going to get stories that reflect who we really are is to only purchase those stories. We should all be tired of the “girl in the refrigerator” trope, but until we do anything about it with our pocketbooks, some writers will use it. The article also does a good job of explaining how we can like characters we hate, but that we need to remember they aren’t good people.

Interviewing: Fred Van Lente

In our very first interview, we talked to Fred Van Lente at Wizard World New Orleans. Mr. Van Lent is the writer on the Comic Book History of Comics as well as titles such as Archer and Armstrong and Assassins Creed.

NNC: We’re here with Mr. Fred Van Lente. I said that correctly?

FVL: Yeah, you got it on the first time.

NNC: Author of  Archer and Armstrong and Comic Book History of Comics.  One of the things, I noticed in a lot of your comic books you say there are history influences, in the ones that I’ve read at least.  Are you a big history nerd?

FVL:  I am.  Yeah. Probably my single favorite genre is historical fiction. I like to read a lot of historical fiction.  I’ve done books like Assassins Creed, that’s historical fiction. Doing a lot of the Valiant stuff like Archer and Armstrong and Ivar, Timewalker obviously has a lot of history in it. Then there is non-fiction stuff like Comic Book History of Comics and Action Philosophers.

NNC:  With Action Philosophers, am I mistaken in that you actually taught a philosophy class as a TA?

FVL:  Well, it was a writing class.  The way the students responded I realized that I had a talent for explaining things. Comics are super useful in taking abstract ideas and making them more intelligible by putting pictures to them.

NNC: That takes me to my next topic: Education in comics. Do you think there’s a place for it besides literature and reading?

FVL: Oh yeah definitely. One of our new projects is Action Presidents with Ryan Dunlevy, who also did Comic Book History and Action Philosophers. We are doing a very big project.  It’s going to be 440 pages long spilt over four hardbacks coming out on Harper Collins Kids starting in March 2018. It is individual comic book biographies of various presidents in that kind of irreverent, humorous but accurate style that we have become legendary for (laughs).

NNC: You also wrote a play on Jack Kirby. Is it different writing a script for a comic book compared to a play?

FVL: Yeah, the stage is very unique because it has a lots of challenges to it.  My wife is a playwright, Crystal Skillman, so it wasn’t really that hard because I had her helping me.

(Mr. Van Lante has a  few people  come to the table and he spends a few minutes talking to them.)

NNC: One of my favorite musical artists, Sturgill Simpson, said he doesn’t listen to a lot of country music mainly because he doesn’t want to steal and sound like other country musicians. Do you feel that way about comic books? Do you read other comics?

FVL: It’s not that I’m afraid of stealing. It’s more like when you work in a sausage factory all day the last thing you want to eat when you come home is hot dogs. That’s what it comes down to.  I also have to read a lot of comics for work. It’s not to say I don’t read a lot of comics, I do. Right now, I’m reading a manga history of Japan of the 20th century called Showa. It’s huge. I just read a bunch of Roger Stern’s Avengers comics that I bought on a whim because I liked the Avengers as a kid. I read old stuff. I don’t really read a lot of current stuff, just because I have a back log! (laughs). I’m literally years behind in my comics reading.

NNC:  When you work with an artist, does his drawing inform the way you write?

FVL: Oh yeah. You have to put people in a position to succeed.   Not that most comic book artists couldn’t do most anything, they pretty much can. It’s that some people are really good at certain things, so you want to accentuate that.  Ryan Dunlevy is great at comedy, and his style is very cartoony.

ComicCon-ing: Discussion Panels at Wizard World New Orleans

For the next two weeks, most of our blogs will be about Wizard World New Orleans. The Convention is held at the Morial Convention Center on January 6,7, and 8th.  This week we will be previewing the event, and next week reviewing the event. 

Wizard World New Orleans allows people to find others with like minded interests. It also allows for fan groups to get together and discuss their favorite fandoms. Other people enjoy talking with others about social issues in the comic community.   If you are looking for thought provoking discussions, then these panels might be for you.

Here are just some of the discussion panels that will be taking place at Wizard New Orleans.

Friday

7:30-8:15 POE IN POP CULTURE (ROOM 240):  Bill Pulkovski and Tony Miello will lead a panel to discuss Edgar Allan Poe’s influence over modern pop culture.

Saturday

12:30-1:15 ONLY SHEEP EAT ROTTEN TOMATOES (ROOM 240): For those of you who liked Batman v Superman, this panel will be on your side.  This panel will attempt to prove those critics wrong.

1:30-2:15 PETER PARKER AND THE WOMEN THAT LOVED HIM (ROOM 240): Oh, Spidey and his love life.

2:30-3:15 CIVIL WAR: PICK A SIDE (ROOM 240)  I really hope this panel makes Iron Man fans sit on the right, and Captain America fans on the left (or vice versa).

2:30-3:15 STARSHIP SMACKDOWN: A SALUTE TO STAR TREK (ROOM 343): This panel will allow you to put forth your theories about which starship would do the most damage.

3:30-4:15 DON’T READ THAT! A HISTORY OF CENSORSHIP IN COMIC BOOKS (ROOM 240) I’m leaving this one in bold, because yours truly will be part of this panel.  This panel will be led by the Longbox Guys and will also feature a fellow educator colleague of mine.  We will look at books that have been challenged and why. I hope to see you there.

3:30-4:15 HARRY POTTER MANIA: SURVIVING HOGWARTS:  Harry Potter will be dissected by psychologists, professors, and a Burlesque performer. Normally, I wouldn’t miss this one, but it is at the same time as my panel. 🙂

4:00-4:45 TWO CENTURIES OF GENIUS: CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT’S WILL EISNER AND THE AVENGERS’ JACK KIRBY with MARVEL ZOMBIES’ FRED VAN LENTE, EISNER AWARD WINNER TY TEMPLETON, FANTASTIC FOUR’S DEAN HASPIEL & THE AVENGERS’ DANNY FINGEROTH (ROOM 238)  I will be running from my panel to this one. Mainly because of the topic and the presenters.

4:30-5:15 GODS AND MONSTERS: H.P. LOVECRAFT’S HORRIFYING CREATURES (ROOM 240) Horror fans, this is where you should be if you have no prior commitments.

5:30-6:15 DOCTOR WHO PSYCHOLOGY: A MADMAN WITH A BOX (ROOM 343):  A look at the kind of person the Doctor really is.

Sunday: 

11:00-11:45 HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE STEREOTYPES IN COMIC BOOKS (ROOM 343) Our good friends, the Longbox guys (link to the left of your screen), will be hosting this panel.  It’s in bold because we have attended this one before and it gets our highest recommendation.  

12:00-12:45 THE END OF WORLD IS ONLY THE BEGINNING: PREPARING FOR THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (ROOM 238) Dr. Robert Collins, of Dillard University in New Orleans, will look at how real life disease prevention can be aided by all those apocalypse programs and movies.

12:30-1:15 ZINES: FROM FANDOM’S EARLIEST PUBLICATIONS TO CONTEMPORARY CULTURE (ROOM 240):  New Orleans Public Library librarians will talk about the history and culture of zines.

2:00-2:45 WHO’S THE MOST NEUROTIC SUPERHERO? INSIDE THE MINDS OF BATMAN, SPIDER-MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, JESSICA JONES AND MORE with BATMAN AND PSYCHOLOGY’S DR. TRAVIS LANGLEY, MARVEL ZOMBIES’ FRED VAN LENTE, THE RED HOOK’S DEAN HASPIEL, SUPERHERO THERAPY’S DR. JANINA SCARLET & SPIDER-MAN’S DANNY FINGEROTH (ROOM 238)  Again, not only is the topic fascinating, but the leaders of the panel are fantastic. Fred Van Lente is one of my favorite writers and I highly recommend this book by him.

This whole week I’ve attempted to share just some of the panels that will be going on at Wizard World New Orleans.  There really is a lot to choose from and I didn’t even mention them all. In fact, the more I look at the list the more I’m upset I can’t be in two places at once. It really is one of the better panel line-ups I’ve seen.  Hope to see you there at a few!

 

For a full listing of the panels at Wizard World New Orleans, click here.

ComicCon-ing: Artists Panels Preview For Friday and Saturday at Wizard World New Orleans

For the next two weeks, most of our blogs will be about Wizard World New Orleans. The Convention is held at the Morial Convention Center on January 6,7, and 8th.  This week we will be previewing the event, and next week reviewing the event. 

In addition to celebrity panels, artists will also be the focus of panels as well.  These panels provide great insight into how comics are produced.  You can learn about what motivated artists and writers.  These panels are a great way to understand the comics business. We also highly suggest you visit these artists in Artist Alley.

Here are some of the panels for Friday and Saturday:

Friday

6:00-6:45 (Friday) FUNNY FOLKS: HOW TO DRAW HUMOR COMICS! with REN & STIMPY’S BOB CAMP, THE SIMPSONS’ PHIL ORTIZ, HOWARD THE DUCK’S TY TEMPLETON & NANCY’S GUY GILCHRIST (CREATIVE STAGE).  We have met quite a few of these artists and they are very entertaining and informative.  We highly suggest you also visit Phil Ortiz at his booth during the weekend so you can have your likeness “Simpsonized”.

Saturday

12:00-12:45 THE ART OF SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON PRODUCTION WITH ANIMATOR/DIRECTOR TOM COOK (ROOM 238)  Mr. Cook has worked on Saturday Morning heroes such as He Man and She-Ra.  This panel will be a demonstration panel of his craft.

1:00-1:45 HOW TO DRAW THE HULK THE MARVEL WAY (CREATIVE STAGE).  Steve Geiger, who has worked on Marvel Comics such as the Incredible Hulk, will take you through his process.

1:00-1:45 A VERY SPECIAL SESSION WITH AMERICAN FLAGG!’S HOWARD CHAYKIN—AND HIS PALS THE RED HOOK’S DEAN HASPIEL & COMICS SCHOLAR BRANNON COSTELLO (ROOM 238) We met Howard Chaykin at Wizard World Philadelphia 2016, and he was probably the most entertaining artist we have ever met at a booth. He has been in the industry for forty years.  We highly recommend this one.

2:00-2:45 DRAWING DISNEY WITH CLINTON HOBART (CREATIVE STAGE) This renowned Disney artist will he hosting a panel.

3:00-3:45  INKING IS AN ART with DEADPOOL’S ADELSO CORONA (CREATIVE STAGE)  Adelso Corona will be taking discussing the inker’s role in the comics process.

5:00-5:45 SECRETS OF VISUAL STORYTELLING: TOP ARTISTS DRAW COMICS with X-MEN’S ARTHUR ADAMS, SPIDER-MAN’S STEVE GEIGER, ALL-NEW WOLVERINE’S JOYCE CHIN, AND TANGLED’S CLINTON HOBART (CREATIVE STAGE)   Some of the top names in the business will take you through their process and give insights to their craft.

We will be writing more panel previews in the upcoming days, so keep checking back. For a full listing of the panels at Wizard World New Orleans, click here.

Reviewing: The Paybacks Vol 1

One of the best things to happen at Space City Comic Con was meeting Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal, and Geoff Shaw. These creators have made a fantastic comic called The Paybacks. Vol 1, Payback’s a Bitch is out now. New issues for Volume 2 will be released in July.

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The plot, by Mr Cates and Mr Rahal,  is simple but ingenious. Not every superhero can be Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne.  Specifically, they don’t have those guys bank accounts. Yet, a superhero needs to have toys. What happens when they can’t keep up with the payments? I mean, saving people is nice, but do superheroes bill people after. Plus, liability insurance and other factors come into play causing this particular job not to be a lucrative one. In other words, the creative team discovers a side of being a superhero that most of us can relate to.

In this story, there is a shadowy figure who calls in superhero loans. This figure, Mr. Pierce, seizes their assets and in some cases causes others to become basically indentured servants. In other words, some superheroes become repo men. However, someone his beating these heroes to their targets and killing them. When they do, they write, in blood, “Payback is a bitch” on the wall.

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This seems like very serious stuff, and it is. However, it is also laugh out loud funny.  People get cut off before telling their origin story and a hero recite Rorschach’s line about being locked up with him right as he gets knocked out.. There is a Russian character that is treated as if he’s not all there till you find out he is entirely fluent in Spanish. He also misquotes famous movie lines in English (my favorite being the line from They Live!).

Not only is the story there, but it is also wonderfully drawn. There is an attention to detail by Mr. Shaw that I often find lacking in other books.  Lauren Affe also gives the story bright colors but with enough shadows to enhance the mood of the story being a thriller.

The only complaint is that the story ends on a giant cliffhanger. We need to know what happens. This book was published by Dark Horse Books. However, Dark Horse canceled the series, but did release the first four books as one volume and gave the creators permission to carry on the story elsewhere.  Heavy Metal will publish the next set of comics and should come out in July.

I’m letting my comic book store know to put it in my pull folder.