Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Icons at I-Con 27

On April 5, 2008, I attended the I-Con science fiction convention in Stony Brook, NY. I've been going to I-Con since 1984, but I've missed the past three years due to conflicts. It's a three-day event, but I only spent Saturday there.

I-Con usually has several tracks devoted to science fiction, fantasy, gaming, TV, anime, and, of course, comics. I usually go to I-Con with a group, but this year I went on my own, so I was able to stay with the comics track for the whole day.

I don't recall I-Con being as big on costume play as some other conventions, but that seems to have changed. And there were some very good costumes.

The invincible Iron Man was there, to promote his new movie.

Green Lantern allowed me to take his picture, and was even kind enough to provide his own lighting.

The amazing Spider-Man was happy to pose for his fans at his very own web site.

But Batman fans dominated the comic-themed costumes. Here we see the Scarecrow striking fear into the heart of Batgirl.

So many Batman villains were on hand, it looked like there had been a breakout at Arkham Asylum.

OK, so that last was a penguin, not the Penguin. I'm just trying to keep the theme going here, that's all. Give me a break. Or should that be, a Shake?

The dealer's room had some interesting merchandise. I like these Green Lantern and Batman coin banks. I'd never seen them on the market before. I should have checked to see who manufactured them.

There were several entertaining panels, too. In an earlier post, I mentioned the 70th birthday party that they threw for Superman. Unfortunately, artist Murphy Anderson, who was supposed to be the guest of honor, got to the con too late for the party. He arrived in time for the next panel, though. Here you see Glenn Hauman, Murphy, Dwayne McDuffie, and Bob Greenberger (plus Peter David, sitting in the audience and not seen in this picture) sharing "True Tales of the Comic Book Industry," including Dwayne's story about receiving a letterbomb that failed to go off while he was working on the Milestone Comics line... even before Milestone had published its first issue!
There was another panel I attended that I'd like to comment about. But I'll save that for another day. For now, be well.

Free Comic Book Day

Mark your calendars for this Saturday, May 3: Free Comic Book Day! Hundreds of comic book stores around the country will be giving out FREE promotional issues from various comic book publishers to those who stop by.

Send an e-mail to the address below on that date with your mailing address, and they’ll send you a FREE issue of Hogan’s Alley, the journal of the cartoon arts! No obligations, no strings attached; the only thing it will cost you is several hours as you enjoy the issue. This offer is valid for all U.S. residents.

Remember the one condition—they must receive your e-mail request on Free Comic Book Day, not the day before or the day after.

Send your request on Saturday May 3 to editor Tom Heintjes at hoganmag@gmail.com Remember to include your mailing address, not just your e-mail address, or they won't know where to send your free copy!

(Note: The image shown here is the cover of issue #8. The free issue that you receive will be a random back issue selected by the editor, and not necessarily this particular issue.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Superman is Seventy

It was seventy years ago today that Superman was introduced to the world.

Yes, the cover of the first issue of Action Comics said June 1938. But the cover date on most magazines is like the expiration date on a milk carton. It tells the store owners when it's time to remove the product from the shelves, not when it arrived. For comic books, the cover date is usually 2 or 3 months later than the publication date. According to The Photojournal Guide to Comic Books by Ernie Gerber, Action #1 had a shipping date of April 18, 1938.

Written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Joe Shuster, two young men from Cleveland, Ohio, Superman exploded onto the world. Customers nagged store clerks for "that magazine with Superman in it." Within a year, his sales figures earned him a daily newspaper comic strip and his own comic book title. Superman #1, originally a quarterly but eventually a monthly magazine, debuted in 1939. In 1940, Superman gained an afterschool radio series, voiced by actor Bud Collyer (whom those of us who were around in the 1960s also remember as host of the game show To Tell the Truth). In 1941, a series of animated Superman cartoons arrived in theatres, produced by the Fleisher Studios (also known for Popeye and Betty Boop). In 1942, a prose novel, Superman, by radio writer George Lowther was published. The year 1948 saw a live-action Superman movie serial, starring Kirk Alyn and a young actress named Noel Neill as Lois Lane. The Adventures of Superman television series ran from 1951 to 1958, starring George Reeves as Superman, and initially, Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane, though in 1953 the aforementioned Noel Neill stepped in to reprise the role. In 1966, a musical comedy, It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse (Bye Bye Birdie) ran at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway for about four months. In 1972, the town of Metropolis, Illinois, declared itself (with the approval of DC Comics) the hometown of Superman, erected a statue and opened a Superman Museum, and holds an annual Superman festival in June. Superman the motion picture came out in 1978, starring Christopher Reeve (not Reeves) and Margot Kidder. And the next year, the first Superman video game was released.

Also on television, Lois and Clark, a light adventure comedy focusing on the romantic relationship between Lois Lane and Clark Kent, starring Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher, ran from 1993 to 1997. Smallville, a look at Clark Kent's life in the years before he started wearing the cape and red S, began in 2001 and is still running. And there have been a great number of popular songs mentioning Superman, by artists including Donovan, Jim Croce, Eminem, Five for Fighting, Crash Test Dummies, Laurie Anderson, R.E.M., Donna Fargo, Eric Clapton, and many others. He's even mentioned in the theme to the sitcom Scrubs.

So Superman may in truth be called the king of all media. And after 70 years, Action Comics is still being published, with issue number 863 in the stores right now.

Please visit the Superman Homepage to read more about the Man of Steel. And have a super day.

(Cake photographed at the Superman birthday party held at the I-Con science fiction convention in Stony Brook, NY, on April 5, 2008)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New to the neighborhood

As of tomorrow, I'm relocating the News 'n' Views page of my website here to Blogger.com. Not only will this give me more space on the main site, but I'm hopeful that it'll encourage me to post more often.

Tomorrow: the anniversary of the world's most famous comics icon!