Tag: JC Vaughn

With Further Ado #167: The Return of Conventions…?  NYCC in 2021

With Further Ado #167: The Return of Conventions…? NYCC in 2021

Conventions and trade shows are great places to find your tribe and celebrate your passions or professions. But for the first hours of New York Comic Con, just held last weekend at NYC’s Javits Center, I felt a bit out of place. At first, it felt, to me, like going to your college campus about 5 years after you graduated. The vibe was a bit weird, and I was constantly comparing and contrasting the show floor to what was there in prior years.

The good news is that I quickly ‘got over myself’ and really enjoyed the convention. There were so many good things bubbling up, and it felt terrific to see so many old friends in person again. Given the realities of the world, there were more fist-bumps than bro-hugs, but it was still invigorating.

Here’s a few highlights and observations from New York Comic Con 2021:

Serious About Vaccinations

I wasn’t surprised, but still happy that ReedPop, the company that runs the convention, took vaccinations serioucospsly.  The area that they had staged outside the Javits had rows of tents and workers, so it was quick and easy to prove you had the vaccination and that you were who you said you were. I had downloaded the Clear app, as was suggested, and it all was seamless.

Inside the convention center, just about everyone had their masks on and the crowd size was such that we weren’t all on top of one another. Part of that was smaller number of attendees, and part of it was the new Javits North Building

The new Javits building makes it seem like a real convention center.

So many convention centers worldwide, and stateside are grand and gorgeous. I am sad to say that the Javits Convention Center hasn’t been that way for a very long time. The joke has always been that the Crystal Palace, the main entranceway, is inappropriately named.

The new Javits North Building is spacious and grand. It overlooks the Hudson River and even the top of the ‘regular’ Javits building.  The openness and long areas to walk between conference rooms will surely help spread out the future attendees – and offer lots of opportunities for Cosplayers to pose for photos.

AfterShock was #1

Without the bigger, more established publishers (Marvel, DC, Image) officially participating in the show, the biggest comics publisher on the floor was AfterShock Comics. They’re a great company (full disclosure- I have many friends there) just celebrating five years in business and 100 published comics series.  Word was that they had their best convention sales day ever – on the Thursday of NYCC.  Sounds like a rousing success.

Captain America Cosplay

It was invigorating to see the many Sam Wilson Captain America cosplays on the show floor. As you may recall – I’ve been a big fan of the many iterations of Captain America (here’s an old column). And it was even nicer to just yell out “Hey, Cap” and have that instant connection.

Excited for Crime

My Hidden Entrepreneurs / Crime Fiction panels had fans lining up an hour ahead of time. That really surprised me, if I am to be 100% candid and frank. This panel was all about how authors, and crime/thriller authors in particular, have to not only be good writers but be also strategic marketers. Their publishers don’t really do the marketing anymore.   I was encouraged by the fans that were hungry to talk crime fiction and by my Hidden Entrepreneurs – J.C. Vaughn  and Charles Ardai.

Artist’s Alley Was Where It Was At

Another result of absence of big publishers was that Artist’s Alley seemed so vibrant.  Anchored by ComiXology Original’s debut of Scott Snyder/Best Jacket comic line, there was plenty of the usual suspects (amazing artists like Billy Tucci, David Mack, Art Baltazar & Franco – just to name a few) and new up-and coming creatives.

The coolest part of Artist’s Alley – for me- was buying old comics from longtime pro and visionary Denis Kitchen. How many hundreds (thousands?) of times has he done that? And he always seems to be “on” and happy to be there. There’s a lesson there for all of us.

 

With Further Ado #115: Overstreet and the Hero Initiative

With Further Ado #115: Overstreet and the Hero Initiative

I’ve often said that The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is more than just a much-anticipated book release with a bunch of back issue prices. It’s really an annual book release wrapped up as a pop culture celebration. Every year, collectors look forward to the new edition and opine on which cover – Gemstone Publishing releases many cover options each year – is their favorite.

But there’s another tradition within this tradition- a special charitable tradition that’s been going on for a decade. I caught up with Gemstone’s J.C. Vaughn, Gemstone’s V.P. of Publishing, to get the skinny!


 EC: Can you explain to me exactly what these Hero Initiative Editions are and how they work?

 JCV: Each year, beginning with The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #40 in 2010, we produce a limited, hardcover-only edition of 500 copies of the Guide exclusively for the Hero Initiative, always with covers by top artists. Hero and their affiliates are the only source for these books. Gemstone Publishing does not sell them, and as a matter of fact, we don’t take a penny for them, and neither do our printers. All of the proceeds go to the Hero Initiative. Continue reading “With Further Ado #115: Overstreet and the Hero Initiative”

With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide

With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide

Just like with sports or politics, there are many anticipated milestones throughout the year in Geek Culture.  As kid in the late ’60s and ’70s, I knew that summer meant over-sized Annuals and the Justice League & Justice Society of America team-up.

Before Covid-19 interrupted every aspect of business and culture, there was a rhythm to the convention season, kicking off in spring with shows like Emerald City Comic Con and C2E2, reaching a summertime crescendo with Comic-Con International in San Diego, and then celebrating one last burst with New York Comic Con in the fall before a handful of smaller regional conventions.

One highly anticipated tradition that’s been around for fifty years is the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.  Ostensibly, the place to turn for authoritative price documentation on comics, it’s morphed into a scholarly celebration of all domestic comics, an exploration of retailing trends, the last word in listings, a showcase for top artists and a validation for nerds everywhere.

Defying Covid’s grasp, the Overstreet Guide has delivered again.

Got it Covered

Each year, the Guide invites a top artist to contribute illustrations.  Back when I was a kid, we were enthralled with 1976’s Overstreet #4 with the Justice Society heroes on a cover. (All-Star Comics, home of the JSA, was revered in those days). We also loved the Joe Kubert Tarzan cover and the Will Eisner Spirit of ‘76 cover.  I remember laughing with our local comic shop owner, Kim Draheim, how Overstreet #7, spotlighting Porky Pig, missed the mark.  And Bill Ward’s Torchy cover on Overstreet #8 forced that year’s volume into the hide-it-from-your-mother category.

This year again offers top artists contributing cool covers featuring big properties.  This year fans can choose from:

 

  1. Spider-Man and Spawn sharing a cover by Todd McFarlane
  2. The Valiant heroes by John K. Snyder III
  3. Wynonna Earp by Chris Evanhuis
  4. The Defenders by one of my favorite artists, Kevin Nowlan

Continue reading “With Further Ado #111: Let This Be Your Guide”

With Further Ado #003: Challenging Reboots

With Further Ado #003: Challenging Reboots

Back in 1985 fellow Pop Culture Squad-er, Mike Gold, was one of the guys starting and running First Comics. In one of his editorial columns, he talked about reboots. He mused about how some characters would only be written or illustrated by their creators, while others, like Batman, actually blossomed once more talented folks took over. His insights still seem fresh and this column is worth a read.

You see this push-pull all the time.  I’m not sure how fantastic the original Domino Lady stories were, but I think there’s a lot of fine writers at Airship27 who are really having fun writing the character. Tarpe Mills’ Miss Fury was a perfectly lovely newspaper strip. But after talking to Billy Tucci at San Diego Comic-Con, I can’t wait for his new comic adventures of Miss Fury in the upcoming Dynamite series.

And it seems that there’s a whole section of modern day Sherlock Holmes who carry on the Consutling Detective’s tradition.

Sometimes we do get stuck on one creator’s vision of a character. I’ve been having trouble getting into the comics of my old favorite, Daredevil, after Mark Waid’s spectacular run.  And I have always loved Robert B. Parker’s Spenser books. However, I’ve been procrastinating on picking up recent entries by Ace Atkins, who took over after Parker’s death.  My fellow reader-fans, and a couple of authors, tell me ‘to get over’ myself because the new ones are great. I will, I will …I promise.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #003: Challenging Reboots”