Saturday, August 11, 2012

Supanova Gold Coat 2012

Alright, so I thought I’d try give a report of my weekend at the Supanova Pop Convention, held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
Friday night, got stuck in peak hour traffic on the way to the Convention Centre. This was to be a regular annoyance, trying to get there. Got there eventually. Didn’t bother going to the opening ceremony or anything else, I was mainly there for the Masterclass with Brian Michael Bendis. I can’t remember too many details about what he was saying, and it was mostly beginner kind of level stuff anyway that I would’ve heard him discuss on podcasts. But it was good, I’m not saying it wasn’t worth it. I thought he spoke well, and when I asked a question, he gave a pretty in-depth answer, though I think he misheard me, and when I clarified it, he gave an even more in-depth answer. And so we got to see some examples of various people’s scripts, though we didn’t see the one I wanted to. He had an example of Mark Waid’s, but didn’t show it. I also learnt that Warren Ellis is his favourite comic book writer, so I guess he’s got good taste in that regard. After the class, I was hanging around the foyer trying to decide if I was going to hang around for some animated Thor film. I eventually decided against it, but almost changed my mind when the pretty blonde lady smiled at me as she walked back by. But I was tired, and I’m never going to speak to the pretty blonde lady who smiles at me, so I went back home.
Saturday morning, the crowd was huge. Traffic sucked trying to get there, parking seemed almost full, and the line to get in the main hall stretched all the way outside, down the steps and into the park next door. I had originally planned to get in early and get in line for a Carlos Pacheco sketch, but there was no way I was going to line up in that que. So I just hung around the anime screening room for a while until about midday when I decided to go the Tom Taylor & Colin Wilson: Invading Star Wars panel. I didn’t know the names, but figured it was about comics, so I may as well. It almost didn’t happen, as I was the only person there for a while. The problem is with these early panels, people are trying to get into the main hall, and so aren’t making it to the panels, and also they were being held in a kind of out of the way place. But eventually more people came and we were able to have the panel, which was a pretty intimate discussion with the creators. Turns out Colin Wilson started drawing for 2000AD. Then it occurred to me that I did know his work from Rouge Trooper, so I was pretty excited about that. I think maybe he was my favourite illustrator of that strip, and told him so, but I need to double check. Anyway, I decided right there and then that I was going to get a Rouge Trooper sketch from him. After the panel, I asked him if he was doing sketches, and if he had room in his schedule. He said yes, and to swing by his booth later. I was considering sticking around for the next panel, and I kind of wish I did, but I wanted to strike while the iron was hot, so headed down to the main hall. (The panel I didn’t go to was the Alan Dean Foster: Literary Legend! panel. It’s a pity, but we have to live with the choices we make.) So I headed down to the floor and checked out all the stalls. There was an amazing amount of weapons vendors, catering to the Cosplay crowd. I made some purchases later, but first continued waking around until I found Colin’s table. Commissioned my Rouge Trooper piece, then went back to roaming the hall, checking out the Cospalyers and the Wacom Cintique, 12WX. I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy one, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. The feel of it isn’t as natural as pencil and paper, but I really like what you can do with it, so figure I’ll get used to using it and won’t mind the difference, as long as I use it regularly, which is the plan. I went and grabbed some pizza from across the road, which was a mistake. I spent a lot of money on the weekend, more than I’ll tell, but the only thing I regret buying is that $4 slice of pizza. It was ok, but it was so oily it affected me well into the small hours of the morning. I won’t go into graphic detail here, but if you want to hear the gross bits, ask me sometime, maybe I’ll tell you. Came back for the Marvel Comics Q & A featuring Brian Bendis, Carlos Pacheco & Billy Tan (who was a no-show). Another good panel. I got to ask Carlos a couple of questions, one about Arrowsmith and if we’ll get to see more of it. He appreciated the question, but said it depends on when he gets time in his schedule. He’s just too busy at the moment to finish it, but really hopes to be able to. I can’t remember what else I asked, but I thought they were good insightful questions. After that I went to listen to Jim Kelly at his panel. Got there a little late, so they’d already started, but it was cool. He still looks pretty good. You know, we talked a bit about his past, his films and his martial arts. He’s not very good at answering questions or holding the microphone up to his mouth, but I liked him. The most memorable thing was when he was remembering something about Bruce Lee. Someone asked him about jokes or pranks on the set, so he told the story about Bruce calling him over to show him a picture of his new car, a Rolls Royce of some kind. It was going to be shipped over, so it was going to take a while, but it was the car he was going to get. But he never got to drive it, as he died shortly after finishing Enter The Dragon. Even though he had been discussing Bruce and his death earlier, it was telling this story where his emotions got the better of him a little bit, and he choked up as he told us Bruce never go to drive it. So you see what I mean about not answering questions. That had nothing really to do with the question, but still, it was a real moment. Bruce was badass, Jim wanted us to know that. He was fast, the fastest man he knew. He told another story about how Bruce called him over and gave him a nickel, telling him to hold it out and Bruce would snatch it out before Jim could close his hand. So Jim did, and he could feel the nickel still in his closed fist. He’s thinking, I got you Bruce, when Bruce asks him for his dime back. He not only snatched the nickel, but swapped it for a dime. Anyway, after that, I didn’t have anything really worth sticking around for, so headed home. I tried to find that pretty blonde lady who smiled at me the night before at some of the panels, but couldn’t see her. I saw her once more during the day, but didn’t feel like it was an appropriate moment to try make some kind of contact. Anyway. Oh yeah, also picked up my Rouge Trooper sketch of Colin. He hadn’t inked it, because someone had asked for just the pencils, and he thought it might’ve been me. Maybe I would’ve liked it to be inked, but I was pretty happy with the result all the same. It had that kind of atmosphere that I remember from the comic, though I think I need to go double-check to see if he is who I thought he was. (He was)

So Sunday I decided I was going to get there early and make sure I hit up Carlos Pacheco first, see if he could squeeze me in. There was already a reasonable line, but nothing ridiculous. I may have slipped in to a break in it I wasn’t meant to, but I justified it to myself saying I had been there earlier, I just had to duck off to the ATM. This is why I need a girlfriend who loves comics as much as I do, so we can hold each others place in the line while we go get money out. Got in the doors pretty much just after 10am. But Carlos wasn’t there yet, and likely wasn’t going to be for at least a half hour. Turns out it was around 11am they were turning up, so I just chilled and waited. Carlos turned up and again thanked me for asking about Arrowsmith. I asked him if he could fit in another sketch, he said maybe, took my detail and request, and I wondered off. I assumed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were ubiquitous enough that he wouldn’t need reference material, but he asked Tristian Jones, who was writing TMNT for a comic to look at, and said he could do it. I didn’t have anything lined up till after 12:40, so went to Nandos across the road for an early lunch.  Still had some time to kill so went to the animae screening room again. Another episode of Squid Girl, which I don’t think will set the world on fire, but it’s kind of cute and funny, enjoyable fluff. Plus I also saw the first episode of some kind of magic girl series, full of that GothLolita imagery that seems so prevalent these days. Went to the Carlos Pacheco: Master Artist panel, which was again a small number, so I was able to ask a lot of questions. Turns out his style when I first saw him wasn’t his natural style, but something he was doing to appeal to then current flavour of animae/manga inspired fusion art. As he moved from project to project, he dropped the trapping of it and moved back to his original old-school style, which I found quite interesting, because it was a noticeable difference from project to project in those early days. I then went to the Jim Kelly panel again. Didn’t learn much new, but he did have some different stories, of which I can’t remember any examples, but it re-enforced my desire to see him on the big-screen again. And then it was off to the Brian Michael Bendis panel, which again was an interesting and informative panel, of which I’m hazy on the details. I swung by Carlos’s table to see if my sketch was ready, but it wasn’t. Hung out for a bit and decided to line up for the Cosplay competition, as a spectator, not participant. Saw the first few entries, decided to duck out and see if my sketch was ready. Carlos was just finishing one of when I arrived, but it was getting late in the day, so I asked if he still had time, and he said he did, so off to work he went. I decided to stick around and watch the process. I wish I could have filmed it, it was great stuff to watch. His first lines on the paper were quite broad, and I was a little worried his unfamiliarity with the characters might bite me in the bum, but he knew what he was doing, and it was a joy to watch. It’s beautiful.

 The convention was pretty much closing by then, but I swung by one of the shops selling weapons, and bought a sword, pretty much just for the hell of it and because I’ve always wanted one. Oh yeah, I also bought a SWAT type vest as well, a bit earlier in the day. So that was it I think. Spent a lot of money, didn’t mind a bit, I had a really good time. Looking forward to November now. Where else can you see a a horse playing Rock Band?