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The OFFICIAL Magazine of Comic-Con, WonderCon, and APE!





Comic-Con Special Guest

BRYAN HITCH takes on the

FANTASTIC FOUR! © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.





Major upgrade While you were enjoying the holidays and hunkering down for a long winter’s night, we here at Comic-Con have been busy remodeling. Welcome to the first issue of Comic-Con Magazine, the new official publication of San Diego Comic-Con International, WonderCon, and APE, the Alternative Press Expo. While those of you on our mailing list have been receiving Comic-Con’s Update magazine for many years, this new incarnation is both a continuation and an upgrade of that publication. Comic-Con Magazine will still contain the elements that made the Update the official preview of all the Comic-Con events, but now, like never before, this new format gives us space to focus on our mission statement: bringing comics and the popular arts to a wider audience. We will continue showcasing exclusive interviews with special guests from all three of our shows, plus the latest information that makes all of our conventions not only the leading comics and popular arts events around, but the best attended as well. We’ll try some new things too: “Comics History 101” will focus on the wonderful world of comics through the lens of the many special themes and anniversary celebrations that are part of Comic-Con each year (this issue’s first installment features a special exclusive excerpt from Mark Evanier’s new book on Comic-Con friend and frequent special guest, the late Jack Kirby, Kirby: King of Comics). Our back page will look at Comic-Con’s past, with exclusive art and photos from the convention’s 39-year history. We’ll also feature “What I’m Reading” and “What I’m Watching,” with industry insiders giving us a peek at their current faves in the worlds of comics, manga, science fiction and fantasy, TV, movies and DVDs. And there’s much, much more. Comic-Con Magazine will be the publication to keep you informed on happenings at our three conventions. Printed four times a year, three issues will continue to be sent to everyone on our mailing list and distributed through Diamond Comics Distributors to select comics shops across the country, as well as our own distribution to various coffee shops, art houses, and alternative locations in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas. The fourth issue will be our special “Summer Spectacular” a hybrid of Comic-Con’s “Souvenir Book” plus all the things that make the Comic-Con Magazine so great. This issue will be available only to those who attend Comic-Con. It’s the wonderful world of Comic-Con, WonderCon and APE, only in magazine form!

In this issue




Board of Directors President: John Rogers Secretary: Mary Sturhann Treasurer: Mark Yturralde VP, Events: Robin Donlan VP, Exhibits: Beth Holley VP, Operations: William Pittman Directors at Large: Frank Alison, Ned Cato Jr., Dan Davis, Luigi Diaz, Eugene Henderson, Martin Jaquish, James Jira


Executive Director: Fae Desmond Director of Marketing and Public Relations: David Glanzer


Director of Print and Publications: Gary Sassaman


Director of Programming: Eddie Ibrahim HR/Office Manager: Sue Lord Talent Relations Coordinator: Maija Gates Guest Relations: Janet Goggins Exhibits: Director of Operations: Justin Dutta Exhibits: Sales: Rod Mojica


Exhibits: Registration: Sam Wallace


Professional Registration: Heather Lampron, Anna-Marie Villegas Eisner Awards Administrator: Jackie Estrada Assistants to the Executive Director: Lisa Moreau, Matt Souza Assistants to the Dir. of Marketing and PR: Damien Cabaza, Christopher Jansen




5 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Office Staff: Patty Campuzano, Ruben Mendez, Glenda Moreno, Colleen O’Connell Events: Anime: John Davenport, Josh Ritter At-Show Newsletter: Chris Sturhann Films: Steve Brown, Josh Glaser Games: Ken Kendall Masquerade: Martin Jaquish

CONnotations Volunteer Spotlight Costumer’s Corner What I’m Reading: Comics What I’m Reading: Manga What I’m Reading: Science Fiction What I’m Watching: Torchwood Comic-Con’s Past

Comic-Con’s Mission Statement

Assistant to the Director of Programming: Tommy Goldbach

Technical Services: Tristan Gates Exhibits: Art Auction/Artists’ Alley: Clydene Nee Art Show: LaFrance Bragg Autograph Area: Katherine Morrison Convention Services: Taerie Bryant Exhibit Floor Manager: Andy Manzi Operations: Archivist: Eugene Henderson Disabled Services: William Curtis Hospitality Suite: Mikee Ritter Logistics: Dan Davis

San Diego Comic-Con International is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.

Materials Chief/Blood Drive: Craig Fellows Registration: Frank Allison, John Smith Volunteers: Luigi Diaz, Jennifer Maturo Information: Bruce Frankle

Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Exit Wounds art © 2007 Rutu Modan.

2 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008








Jackie Estrada (“The Eisner Awards: A Brief History,” page 14) has been administrator of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards since 1990 and has been involved in other capacities with Comic-Con since the early 1970s. In her spare time, she is the co-publisher and editor of Batton Lash’s Supernatural Law comics and graphic novels for Exhibit A Press (

Editor/Designer Gary Sassaman Contributors

Richard Andreoli, Fae Desmond, David Glanzer Special Thanks Peggy Burns, Mark Evanier, Maya Gottfried, Bryan Hitch, Devin Johnson, Janet Keller, Charles Kochman, Jim McCann, Rutu Modan, Jamie Quail, Adam Philips, Eric Reynolds, Ronnee Sass,

Mark Evanier (“Kirby: King of Comics,” page 24) is a comics, animation, and television writer who spends a lot of time moderating panels at Comic-Con and WonderCon. Along with frequent collaborator Sergio Aragonés, he currently writes Will Eisner’s The Spirit for DC Comics. His new book, Kirby: King of Comics, celebrates the life and art of one of comics’ best-known and beloved artists, Jack Kirby. He can be read daily at

Arune Singh, Shannon Swaggerty

Shaenon K. Garrity (“What I’m Reading: Comics,” page 44) is the writer and/or artist of numerous webcomics, including Narbonic, Smithson and Skin Horse. She’s also the editor of, one of the premier webcomics anthology sites, and writes a column for called “All the Comics in the World.” She also works as a freelance manga editor for VIZ Media, overseeing such titles as Knights of the Zodiac, Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden, Basara and Case Closed! You can get the complete rundown on her website,

Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008 Issue Published by San Diego Comic-Con International. All material, unless otherwise noted, is © 2008 Comic-Con International and may not be reproduced without permission. All other artwork is ™ & © 2008 by respective owners. Printed in Canada. Comic-Con and the Comic-Con logo are Reg. U.S. Pat. and Tm. Off.

Comic-Con International P. O. Box 128458 San Diego, CA 92112-8458 Email: Fax: 619-414-1022 Comic-Con Hotline: 619-491-2475

Maryelizabeth Hart (“What I’m Reading: Science Fiction,” page 46) is co-owner of Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego’s independent genre specialty bookstore, and has participated in Comic-Con’s programming for most of the last 15 years. Find out more about what she’s reading and reviewing at

Martin Jaquish (“Costumer’s Corner,” page 43) is in his 17th year as Comic-Con’s Masquerade Coordinator. He has also coordinated or served as technical director at masquerades at Worldcon, Westercon, NASFiC, WonderCon, LosCon and other conventions in San Diego, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Francisco. He is now in his 4th year as a member of the Comic-Con Board of Directors. Jason Thompson

On the cover:

Comic-Con Magazine debuts with a portrait of the first family of comics, the Fantastic Four, by new series artist and special guest Bryan Hitch. © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(“What I’m Reading: Manga,” page 45) is the author of Manga: The Complete Guide, an encyclopedia of over 1,200 translated manga published by Del Rey. He has over ten years’ experience as a manga editor, producing the English editions of titles such as Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dragon Ball Z, and Uzumaki. His writings on manga have appeared in WIRED, Otaku USA, The Comics Journal and Animerica. He draws webcomics at

Look for the next issue of Comic-Con Magazine in May 2008.

For up-to-date information visit! Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 3

San Diego Comic-Con APE Alternative Press Expo


[news and notes from the wonderful world of Comic-Con International]

CONnotations Neil Gaiman receives second annual Comic-Con Icon Award on national TV!

Comics writer, fiction author, screenwriter, and all-around nice guy Neil Gaiman was the recipient of Comic-Con’s Icon Award in October. The award was given out during part of Spike TV’s Scream Awards, which were broadcast on the cable network on October 23. The Comic-Con Icon Award is given to an individual or organization who has been instrumental in bringing comics and/or popular arts to a wider audience. This idea ties into Comic-Con’s mission statement, which is to create awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms. Gaiman, whose ground breaking work on Sandman brought many new readers to comics, is also a crossover talent whose fiction and screenplays—including both Beowulf and Stardust in 2007— have made him well-known beyond the comics world. This is the second year the San Diego Comic-Con has partnered with Spike TV to present the Icon Award as part of the Scream Awards telecast. The first award went to Frank Miller, whose work includes 300, Sin City, and The Dark Knight Returns. Miller, like Gaiman, is another crossover talent who is currently working on his solo directorial debut, Will Eisner’s The Spirit. We can’t think of a more perfect person to bring Will’s signature character to the big screen. Photo by Albert S. Ortega. Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 5

CON notations

Alternative Press Expo special guests announced

Abel, Madden, Ware, Braddock, and Kelso sign on for APE, Nov. 1-2 in San Francisco APE, the Alternative Press Expo, is still nine months away, but we’re hard at work inviting special guests to the new Fall version of the show. APE returns to its “home” of many years, the Concourse in San Francisco, on November 1 and 2. The following alternative comics superstars have already confirmed their attendance.

Jessica Abel Cartoonist and writer Jessica Abel is the author of the graphic novel La Perdida. Previously, she published Soundtrack and Mirror, Window, two collections that gather stories and drawings from her comic book Artbabe, which she published between 1992 and 1999. Abel won both the Harvey and Lulu awards for “Best New Talent” in 1997; La Perdida won the 2002 “Best New Series” Harvey Award. Abel’s Young Adult novel Carmina is forthcoming from HarperCollins; she is collaborating on another graphic novel, Life Sucks, due out from First Second; and she is working with her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden, on a textbook about making comics. She lives in Brooklyn with Madden and their baby daughter, Aldara.

Matt Madden Matt Madden started his comics career producing mini comics. His graphic novels include Black Candy and A Fine Mess and he’s also written and illustrated the textbook, 99 Ways to Tell A Story, which retells the same one-page comics story 99 different ways. In addition to their “greatest collaboration,” their new baby girl, Aldara, Madden and wife Jessica Abel are also collaborating on a comics textbook, Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, due out in June, and editing the 2008 volume of the “Best American Comics” series, due out in the Fall.

Chris Ware Chris Ware is the author of Jimmy Corrigan – the Smartest Kid on Earth and the annual progenitor of the amateur periodical The ACME Novelty Library. An irregular contributor to The New Yorker and The Virginia Quarterly Review, Mr. Ware was the first cartoonist chosen to regularly serialize an ongoing story in The New York Times Magazine in 2005-2006. He edited the 13th issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern in 2004 as well as Houghton-Mifflin’s Best American Comics for 2007, and his work was the focus of an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in 2006.

Jessica Abel and Matt Madden 6 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

Art (left) © 2008 Jessica Abel and Matt Madden; (above) © 2008 Chris Ware.

CON notations

APE guests continued

Paige Braddock Paige Braddock graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in graphic design and illustration. She worked as an illustrator for several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and The Atlanta Constitution. Paige created Jane’s World while working as an illustrator for the Chicago Tribune. It would take ten more years for Jane’s World to be launched as a comic book, and in 2006 the book received an Eisner nomination for best humor book. Currently, Paige lives in Northern California where she does double duty as creator of Jane’s World and creative director for Charles Schulz’s (Peanuts) studio in Santa Rosa.

Megan Kelso Megan Kelso was born in 1968 in Seattle, Washington where she lived on and off for 33 years. Then she moved to Brooklyn, New York with her husband. She’s been drawing comics for 11 years and plans to continue doing so until she is an old, old lady. Her books include Girlhero, Queen of the Black Black, Scheherazade: Stories of Love, Treachery, Mothers, and Monsters, and The Squirrel Mother. More guests will be announced for APE! Visit for up-to-date details.

Paige Braddock’s Jane from Jane’s World. © 2008 Paige Braddock.

Every little bit helps... You may notice another change with this issue of Comic-Con Magazine arriving in your mailbox. In addition to the title and format change, we’ve instituted a “one copy per household” policy when sending out copies to our mailing list. This is a conscious effort on Comic-Con’s part to be a bit more “green” in our publishing endeavors. If you’re accustomed to getting multiple copies of each issue, we respectfully ask you to share this magazine with family and friends. If you want us to change the name of the person receiving this magazine, or if you would like to have more than one copy delivered to your home or office, please send us a letter with the added names or change to: Comic-Con Magazine, P. O. Box 128458, San Diego, CA 92112-8458, and we’ll be happy to add you to the mailing list. This issue and subsequent issues will be available as a PDF download online at www.comic-con. org. And just so you know … the print run for this issue was over 250,000, all distributed FREE of charge! © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Wonder Next up: Comic-Con 2008 of it all... It’s out there and it’s coming your way. Check Some of you may be reading this around the time of WonderCon, Comic-Con’s sister show, which is scheduled for February 22-24 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Our publishing schedule for this issue is right up against that event, so if you’re sitting in Moscone Center right now, or reading this issue at home later, we hope you enjoyed one of the fastest-growing and most fun conventions out there! 2008 marked the return of WonderCon as the first major comics and pop culture event on the yearly calendar, and as we go to press on this inaugural issue of Comic-Con Magazine, the program schedule is still being finalized. We’re hoping you caught the world premieres of Justice League: The New Frontier and the U.S. DVD release of Appleseed: Ex Machina, or any of the great panels featuring comics superstars such as Kurt Busiek, Darwyn Cooke, Jim Lee, Tim Sale, J. Michael Straczynski, Brian Wood and many more. A complete recap of WonderCon 2008 will appear in the next issue of Comic-Con Magazine.

out our newly announced special themes and anniversaries, our confirmed guests, and the “Comic-Con A to Z” feature, all in this issue, starting on page 28. Plus two big interviews with 2008 guests Bryan Hitch (page 8) and Rutu Modan (page 18). Look for our next issue of Comic-Con Magazine coming in May, chock full of important info on the biggest comics convention on the continent!

Our website never sleeps... We know the feeling. You wake up at 2:00 AM and can’t sleep because you’re thinking about Comic-Con. Scratch that itch by logging onto for the most complete, up-to-date info on all of our events: San Diego Comic-Con International, WonderCon, and APE, the Alternative Press Expo. Read expanded interviews with guests profiled in our magazines, see who won the Masquerade last year, and who was Best Cover Artist in the Eisner Awards. The entire world of Comic-Con is available at your fingertips, 24/7, 365 days a year! Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 7

Cover Story Award-winning writer Mark Millar tackles “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine,” The Fantastic Four, with

Just one

Hitch An interview with Comic-Con 2008 Special Guest



Comic-Con special guest Bryan Hitch has quickly become one of comics’ most popular artists. From his early U.S. work on titles such as The Authority, to his run on The Ultimates 1 and 2, Hitch’s big-screen, cinematic and ultrarealistic style has made him a fan-favorite. Now he and writer Mark Millar are taking over the first family of comics and the title that started the Marvel Universe, the Fantastic Four. In addition to the FF, Hitch revealed he’s also done preliminary design work on the new Star Trek movie, by J.J. Abrams. He was brought onto the project by Damon Lindelof, and served as an early conceptual artist before the art deptartment opened up. This will be Hitch’s first-ever appearance at Comic-Con, and he let us know he’s working on a special sketchbook to sell at the event. We talked to him at his studio in England as he was wrapping up his workday. You were born and raised in northern England. Were you a comics fan as a kid and if so, which comics did you read and enjoy most? The books we could get were limited actually, so it was a fairly limited resource. Comics used to come over as ballast on ships and they were always several months out of date. And the local newsagents would just take the lot of them and stick them on the corner of the table or shelf, in a pile. I’d go through and buy them and the only ones you could get were DC I didn’t even know Marvel existed until I was well into my teens and been reading comics for 10 years. I had heard of them, but I didn’t know much about them. They were just the other company. So I grew up reading all the ‘70s and ‘80s DC comics. The first comics I really read and loved were Curt Swan’s Superman from the ‘70s, with Frank Chiaramonte and anything by (Jose Luis) Garcia Lopez. Pérez’s Teen Titans came in later on too, but they were the books of my childhood. So it was pretty much a mixed bag. You could never count on getting three or four issues of one title in a row? Well, it was rare that I missed one. They were regulars, they were just out of date by U.S. standards. I mean if the cover date was March, we got them in September. So there was no point in actually replying to any (contests) or anything because the last closing date would have been six months earlier. But it was rare © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

8 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

Comic-Con Special Guest

BRYAN HITCH that I missed an issue, and the only times I really would was when some guy would come in ahead of me and buy them and that was rare. Because I think I was the only one in that corner of Northern England that was buying comics, fortunately. When did you discover that you wanted to draw comics as a career? I remember sitting in prep hall doing homework one Wednesday evening and I had finished my homework in advance and had another half hour to go so I started drawing pictures of Superman. And one of the other boys came over, and he said “Oh that’s nice.” And I said “Yeah, I’m going to do this for a living.” And it just kind of went like that. Who are your main artistic influences? That’s an interesting question because if you had asked me years ago I would have had different answers. There are obvious influences of people you’re definitely trying to ape. When you’re just getting on and doing your own stuff, it’s often easier to look back and think “Well, those people were lasting influences,” while most people weren’t. I hadn’t realized that Curt Swan was such a large influence. A little while ago I was going through my collection and came across a load of his Supermans, which I re-read, having not looked at them for years. And I realized that I felt more of an affinity to him than I had to other people I had assumed were obvious influences. I think it’s because they were the first comics I bought and fell in love with and so they, to me, were true comics. A kind of naturalism occurred in Swan’s figures. His world is an attempt at rendering a real world, not as a true fantasy world the way comics eventually got, especially in the ‘90s when there was no reality at all in comics. His people wore real clothing. You couldn’t’ see the muscles through the clothes. It’s the kind of stuff that I’m trying for now: A naturalism or realism, or a sense of realism anyway. It just harkens back to those, I think, because the ones I remember most from youth are Curt Swan’s Superman, Jerry Ordway’s AllStar Squadron stuff, and anything by Garcia Lopez and they’re the more realistic and naturalistic artists. I think despite other more obvious influences in later years, they’re the most lasting ones, especially Garcia Lopez. If © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hitch, Neary, and Mounts art from Fantastic Four no. 554.

fact he’s probably the most lasting of all my youthful influences. I mean you pick up other things as you go along, people like Kevin Nowlan, who is just a stunning illustrator and you can always learn something by watching what he does. I’ve been looking at his stuff for years. And then there’s the obvious detour into Alan Davis territory for a while but I think the influences, or what came out of his stuff more than anything, was a lasting love for Neal Adams and Gil Kane, which I still get a buzz looking at their stuff even today. Kane clearly invented the modern balletic language of how super-heroes move; The flying, the foreshortening, the punching, all that kind of stuff. I mean he took the dynamism of Kirby and refined that whole thing into a real language of how figures really felt to have super-hero powers. No one else was doing it before him. I mean, people flew like they’d been shot through space from a cannon, or they were standing up, but kind of floating in air. It was Kane who actually added a whole list of dynamics to those poses that nobody had thought of before, really. How did you break into comics? With luck I would imagine, because the artwork I sent wasn’t any good. But I was sixteen, fresh out of school, thinking of going to art school as we had a very good local art college and you

had to be seventeen to get in regardless of any qualifications and portfolio. I had six months to wait and when I was sixteen, I sent some samples off to Marvel’s U.K. branch in London where Richard Starkings was the editor and they hired me on the spot to do a two part Action Four story which was the European version of GI Joe. And I never had to look for work, really, after that. It just kept coming, so I think they were either very, very drunk, or very, very desperate for staff, because the stuff I sent was truly dreadful, but nonetheless they hired me, and thank you very much. What was your favorite bit of work you did for Marvel U.K.? I have none. I think I only started liking my work to any degree, about the time I started working on Stormwatch for WildStorm in ’97 or ’98. Before that it was just one bad job after another and one frustrating process after another. I couldn’t draw the way I wanted. I wasn’t getting the jobs I was interested in doing. I didn’t like the work I was doing. I mean, I was happy to be working in comics, but I wasn’t anywhere near as good as I saw in my head and that was a very annoying process. Obviously you were doing something that grabbed the attention of someone over here. Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 9

Cover Story Well, yeah I guess. I mean moving to Marvel U.S. seemed to be a natural progression. I got invited to do it about the time Starkings went over to the U.S. as well. I don’t know quite how it happened but there are a few people that seem to think I was worth exporting. Again, I can only cite too many liquid lunches, but from what I understand people like Kurt Busiek who was working at Marvel at the time, and Chris Claremont were pretty healthy supporters so it was a relatively effortless segue. Unfortunately I was offered She-Hulk and I had never drawn women before and I was following John Byrne so, not really a good start there. So that was your first work in the U.S.? I think they had a short story in Marvel Presents out of me, but I can’t remember what it was or if it was produced in the U.K. and later printed in the U.S. But the first real official job I did for Marvel was taking over She-Hulk after John Byrne left. In fact if anyone finds those issues I would encourage them to be torn up or burned. Eventually you ended up with WildStorm

with a job you look at being the first job you like… Oh, I spent a couple of years at DC too. I did a Superman Annual, which was a bit of a disaster and then I did a bunch of Superman fill-ins that were never published. I was working on a relaunch of Outsiders with Mike W. Barr, the one that Paul Pelletier did actually, which I just wasn’t getting on with at all and quit half way through the second issue. So they went back and restarted it, writing off much of what I did and I think Mike still has the whole issue in pencil form somewhere. I gave it to him as a farewell gift. Then, after a bunch of X-Men fill-ins—this must have been ’97 or ’98—I was working on a She-Hulk one shot that Todd Dezago had written and was just having a hard time working on that character. There were pages I was beginning to find that I could actually draw and didn’t suck. But I wasn’t having a nice time, and I actually thought I was going to get out of comics because I wasn’t getting, as I said, the jobs I was interested in doing or working to the level I thought I ought to be working at. Because I just don’t think my skills were up to it so it was a very frustrating process. I thought I’d look for something to do for a few months, put some money aside and take the advice of some friends and go and work in

film doing design or storyboard. And then the Stormwatch thing came up,.Warren Ellis was writing and he was English, had a large beard, and wrote pretty well. So I thought, “Okay, I’ll do a few issues of that.” WildStorm seemed to like it and Warren seemed to like it, and I enjoyed working with him. And quite honestly they were some of the best scripts I’ve ever had to work on to date. They just made sense, and I could see the images so easily. I had never had that before, that the writer actually understood what the artist needed to do on a page, and that was a first, let me tell you. So, Warren said, “Why don’t we do something else together?” because WildStorm was trying to get me to do one of the Alan Moore books for ABC, I think Prometheus was one they put in front of me. I’ve always enjoyed reading Alan Moore’s stuff but I thought I’d never be good at working on it because he’s so specific in what he writes. I thought, having read some of his scripts, that there was no way in the world I could draw this. It took me a week to read it for a start. Warren said “I got an idea for the name of the book, but I don’t know what it’s about yet. It’s called The Authority.” And I thought, “Why don’t we make it really big

Hitch’s first three covers for Fantastic Four, inked by Paul Neary and colored by Paul Mounts.




© & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

10 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

Comic-Con Special Guest

BRYAN HITCH scale? Warren suggested why don’t we make each story arc bigger than the last and throw everything at it and make it this big action movie thing. And that was it. We were off. And that was the point at which I realized I could do what I was doing and enjoy it. I guess that was also the point I figured I could do it my way and not rely too much on thinking how somebody else might solve these problems. Just get on and draw it and have the confidence to do it and turn the pages in. It was also the first time I ever met deadlines, in fact we were so far ahead in that book, relatively speaking, that they never looked at the schedule until issue eight, because the pages just came in every Monday. Relentlessly, three weeks for an issue. And it was a great year, actually. I think Stormwatch and Authority just allowed me to do what I had started to do in the very first place, before I thought I have to look like somebody else The Ultimates was one of the most popular series at Marvel in years. What do you think is your most memorable bit on it? It’s a hard one to pick, because it’s full of those little memorable bits. I think the one that sticks most is the massacre of Hawkeye’s family, just because no one saw it coming. Everybody was so sidetracked in wondering who the traitor was and we kept all that information, like “Hawkeye suffers a tragedy” out of the solicitation notices. We just painted Hawkeye as undercover and very straight and very ordinary. He has a family life and you hint at that stuff and then to have that brutal assassination of his family, it hit just as hard as we thought it would because no one saw it coming. I think that was a very satisfying arc as characters go. Very meaty stuff, you know. You and Mark Millar have become one of the most popular teams working in comics today. What makes your collaboration click? We don’t understand a word the other says. I don’t know. It’s the x-factor. What makes you want to go out with a particular girl or what makes it a relationship as opposed to a one-night stand? There’s just always something and you can never really explain it. It just clicks, it just works. To be honest, we © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The The

World’s World’s Greatest Greatest Comic Comic Magazine! Magazine! It debuted quietly in the summer of 1961, another book from a company once known as Timely, most recently known as Atlas, and now with a tiny “MC” stacked in a box on its covers. It looked like just another “monster book,” like the other ones the company released, with titles such as Journey Into Mystery, Strange Tales, Tales To Astonish, Tales of Suspense. But there was something different about this one. The cover featured not just the usual giant menacing monster, but four other characters fighting it. “The Thing,” looking quite a bit like a monster himself. “Mr. Fantastic,” stretched his rubbery arms to free himself from the ropes binding him. “Invisible Girl,” faded away in the monster’s grasp. And one familiar figure, in name and appearance, “Human Torch,” a semi-circle of fire, arced towards the big green behemoth crashing up from beneath the street. It was The Fantastic Four, and whether writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby knew it or not, they were about to change the face of super-hero comics forever. In that one, unheralded ten-cent comic book released over 45 years ago, the Marvel Age of Comics was born. In a couple of issues—number 3 to be exact—the Fantastic Four adopted costumes, a midtown New York headquarters, a flying vehicle that looked a bit like a high-tech bathtub and the hyperbole-rich cover line, “The Greatest Comic Magazine in the World,” (which became “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!” with the very next issue). Stan Lee wasn’t lying: Over the next 100 or so issues, and six “King Size Specials,” Lee and Kirby—aided and abetted by Dick Ayers, George Bell, Chic Stone, and Joe Sinnott— set the benchmark for high-flying cosmic super-hero action. And all of it was grounded by the simple story of a family: a husband, a wife, her brother, and their best friend. The ideas came fast and furious from Lee and Kirby: Sub-Mariner returned, Dr. Doom debuted, along with the Inhumans, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, the Black Panther, and many more, quite possibly the world’s greatest collection of comic characters ever assembled, most of them still around today. Lee and Kirby jump-started a company, and in doing so, revitalized an entire industry. Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 11

Cover Story probably have virtually nothing in common except our love of the material we produce and that we see virtually eye-to-eye on how to tell stories. And we have a great deal of respect for each other’s work, too, and we do push each other a great deal. What Mark writes isn’t by any means the last draft that he’ll write of the script once I’ve got hold of it, and he won’t let me get away without delivering what needs to be there. But we rarely disappoint each other, so it’s why we keep doing it, I guess. Just about every new writer/artist team who takes over the Fantastic Four say they want to take the book back to its original roots, the incredible 100-plus issue run that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created in the 60s. What are you and Mark doing to capture that mix of science fiction adventure, family drama, and best of all fun? I don’t think we’re trying to go back to it as much as we think that’s the best. If you had to discount everything that’s the one period you can’t discount. Not the whole 100 issues, but from no. 38-to-65 or whatever it is period, that starts right about the wedding (of Reed Richards and Sue Storm) and upwards. It’s an awesome bunch of issues and that is the template for the Fantastic Four. You can modernize elements of it, but that is exactly the group in perfection. As to what we can do to try and recapture that particular thing, I don’t really have any easy answer for that because its kind of like trying to hold a flavor in your head and you push stuff around until it fits what you think it ought to be. Most of all we’re having fun. It’s first and foremost a family book. It has science fiction elements in it, but it’s not really a science fiction book actually. I think that’s a mistake people make. You might have science fiction trappings, but it isn’t an SF book. It has its roots in the monster comics of the ‘50s more than anything. I mean Ben’s a monster, there’s all that Monster Isle stuff and the Mole Man and some of the earliest villains were monster villains. Calling Alien a science fiction movie is the obvious thing to do but it’s also really a haunted house movie. Fantastic Four has that element, too, where it has one set of clothing but its contents are slightly different. Can we look forward to some of the classic 12 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

Fantastic Four supporting characters and villains in your run with Mark? Dr. Doom is definitely in there, but then Doom is the fifth member of the Fantastic Four, really. He’s the evil stepbrother or the dodgy uncle. If Doom really wanted them dead, they’d probably be dead. We’re not using him as a villain, but he’s part of the cast. Galactus pops us as well, but he’s not there to eat the earth because we’ve seen that before. What we’re trying to do is find a way of using some of the familiar elements in a slightly different way. We’re much more interested in developing new ideas and new villains, because, essentially, that’s what Stan and Jack did. Jack Kirby himself said if people wanted to ape his approach, then they should do new stuff because that’s what he did. If you have one lasting creation, it’s a bit of a miracle

Bryan Hitch in modern days. Look at how much stuff Kirby created or co-created that’s still around. That’s a hell of a track record and we’ll never match that because we won’t be on the book for 100 issues anyway. And even if we were we wouldn’t leave as lasting a legacy as they ever did. You just announced that you’re going to continue your run from the original 12 issues run to 16 issues. Are you having that much fun? Well, it’s partly having that much fun but also because I’ve gotten ‘way ahead of schedule. We’re talking about a couple of other things, too, that might be side projects or specials during the run, but that is dependent upon how we get on in the next few months on schedule. So what is it about this book that is making it clip along for you? That it’s not The Ultimates, I guess.

I mean, no other project has hit me the way The Ultimates did. We could talk all day about the reason that went the way it did, and there are so many reasons, it isn’t just one specific thing. Put simply, certain projects have certain grooves and sometimes when you get into that groove you can’t get out of it. The Ultimates’ groove was, unfortunately, a bit of a negative one. So it proved very difficult to produce. I don’t know fully why it took the route it did, but (in contrast) Fantastic Four is going the way The Authority went. It’s a very similar experience. So it’s not that I’m doing this super-fast particularly, I’m doing it at what I consider my normal working speed. Have you adapted your art style any differently with the Fantastic Four? If anything it’s more complicated because I’m drawing twice up now instead of the usual 11 x 17”. So it’s actually a lot more on the page. The artboard is much bigger, in fact if anything, the artwork is more refined. It’s also more spacious but it’s no less detailed, I’m just using the space better. It’s also more energetic. Those that have seen it seem to think its the best drawing of my career but I was saying earlier to a colleague that I don’t think it will ever have the lasting impact that The Ultimates had because that was a project that seemed to hit a particular corner of the market at the right sort of time. I’m just happy to get on with it and having a great time doing it and it’s a wonderful pallet cleanser after the last five years. I don’t mean to make The Ultimates sound so negative. It’s just it wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience by the end for anybody that might have spent months waiting for an issue and for me dragging my heels so badly. As you work on the Fantastic Four is there any single character that’s emerged that’s your favorite to draw? No, because it would be the Fantastic Three and the other fellow. I mean if there’s somebody you don’t like to draw it becomes obvious. So I think you should love them all. That was the same with The Ultimates. They were always my favorites when I was drawing them. It’s the same with FF. I did think drawing Ben would be complicated or difficult but it’s actually turned out to be a real pleasure. I get a real kick out of drawing Ben.

The Eisner Awards: A Brief History The Eisner Awards were not always the Eisner Awards. At one point they were the Kirby Awards—sort of. Back in 1984, Fantagraphics Books instituted the Jack Kirby Awards to honor the best works and creators in comics. The administrator of the awards was Dave Olbrich, a Fantagraphics employee. The awards were given out beginning in 1985 in programs at the San Diego Comic Convention, with beloved comics artist Jack Kirby on hand to congratulate the winners. When Olbrich left Fantagraphics for other pursuits in 1987, the Kirby Awards ended and two new awards programs were born: Fantagraphics started the Harvey Awards (named after Harvey Kurtzman), and Olbrich started the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (named, of course, after the venerated creator of The Spirit and numerous graphic novels). Initially, Olbrich set up the Eisners as a nonprofit organization, with funding from sponsors such as comics distributors, retailer associations, and printers. The awards were still given out at the San Diego Comic-Con, with Olbrich serving as the MC and with Eisner himself on stage to hand out the awards. The first Eisners were conferred in 1988, for works published in 1987. Olbrich administered the awards for two years with a one-year gap in 1990. It was obvious that if the awards were to continue, they would need an administrator who could devote specific amounts of time per month (by this point Olbrich had become publisher of Malibu Comics, certainly more than a full time job), as well as secure funding that could underwrite the basics of

The winners from the first Kirby Awards in 1985 (l to r): Dave Stevens, Jack Kirby, Alan Moore, cat yronwode, Don Thompson, Dick Giordano, Jerry Bingham, and Kirby Awards administrator Dave Olbrich.

the show from year to year. At the 1990 San Diego Comic-Con, a meeting was held (which I was asked to attend) with Olbrich, Will Eisner, Denis Kitchen, and Fae Desmond (executive director of ComicCon). The idea proposed was that Comic-Con, a nonprofit organization, take over the Eisners and that I be appointed the administrator. The meeting was quite congenial, and we all felt the proposal was the best way to assure the continuation of these awards. Subsequently Fae took it to Comic-Con’s Board of Directors, which approved it enthusiastically. So in 1990 I took on the administrating chores, with much help from Olbrich in turning over the reins. The first year continued with the same format that had been used previously with the Kirbys

14 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

and Harveys: Send out blank nominating ballots to a mailing list of publishers, editors, and distributors and then send final ballots to a mailing list of creators and retailers. But in 1992 (for works published in 1991), a judging panel was instituted to handle the nominating process. This was done for two main reasons. First, it was obvious that many good works and creators were falling through the cracks in the nominations process simply because they had not been widely seen. It was suggested that this problem be addressed by accompanying nominating ballots with a list of all works published the previous year. Compiling such a list turned out not to be feasible. A better method was the nominating panel which was commonly used at awards

January-March: Entries are submitted.

November: Judges announced.


BY Jackie Estrada Eisner Awards Administrator

December-January Call for Entries announced and mailed. Photo by Jackie Estrada.

The Eisner Awards

At left, Will Eisner with the award for “Best Archival Collection,” for The Spirit Archives (2001). Above, the winners from 1991, the first year Jackie Estrada served as the Eisner Awards administrator: (l to r): Estrada, Will Eisner, cat yronwode, Neil Gaiman, Paul Chadwick, Charles Vess, Dave Gibbons, Frank Miller, Mark Schultz, and Geof Darrow.

programs in literature and the arts. The panel couldn’t be so large as to be unwieldy, so it would be limited to five people who (a) were highly-knowledgeable and well read in comics, (b) would be unbiased in their approach, and (c) represented various facets of the comics industry, from creators to retailers to journalists. Now each year a new judging panel gathers in San Diego for a weekend to determine what will go on the Eisner Awards ballot. To make the judging as fair as possible, a “Call for Entries” is sent to all comics publishers at the beginning of the year. Publishers

(and creators) have an opportunity to submit works in more than 25 categories. Follow up is conducted with publishers to make sure they get their submissions in, and both the judges and I bring in worthy books that for whatever reasons haven’t been submitted by their publishers. At this point the judges have an opportunity to see all the submitted items well before the actual judging weekend. After the judges have made their selections, ballots go out to creators, publishers, editors, retailers, and distributors. The results are tallied (as they have been since the awards started) by Mel Thompson and Associates, and

they are announced in a gala ceremony in San Diego. In addition to Comic-Con’s underwriting, this program could not have continued without the generosity of its sponsors over the years, especially longtime supporters Diamond Comic Distributors, Quebecor Printing, Joe Field’s Flying Colors, Joe Ferrara’s Atlantis Fantasyworld, Ralph Mathieu’s Alternate Reality, Rory Root’s Comic Relief, and Nancy McCann’s Comics Unlimited, and major sponsor

Late April: Ballot with nominees is mailed to industry professionals, including comics creators, editorial staff members, and retailers. ®

Early April: Judges meet in San Diego to review entries, decide categories and nominees. Eisner photo by Tom DeLeon.

May-June: Ballots are returned to and information compiled by Mel Thompson and Associates.

July 25: Recipients announced at gala ceremony at Comic-Con International

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 15

2008 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Judges The judging panel has been named for the 2008 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. This blue-ribbon committee will be choosing the nominations to appear on the Eisner Awards ballot. This year’s judges, selected by Awards Administrator Jackie Estrada, are:

John Davis, director of pop culture markets for Bookazine Company, a longtime wholesaler to the bookstore market. Davis joined Bookazine in 2005, where he has spearheaded Popazine, their pop culture, graphic novels, and manga program for retailers. He is a 20-year veteran of the book industry, including stints at Central Park Media and Koen Book Distributors. Over the last decade Davis has especially enjoyed learning more about graphic novels and manga and offering retailers advice and encouragement to embrace the category. In that capacity he has served as a consultant and contributor to ForeWord magazine’s Comique graphic novel supplement. He was also cofounder and co-organizer of the Firecracker Alternative Book Awards. Paul Di Filippo, professional SF author with over 25 books to his credit. In comics he has written scripts for such characters as Marvel’s Doc Samson and DC’s Deadman. His major foray into scripting has been the Alan Moore-approved sequel Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct. In addition, Di Filippo is a long-time critic and reviewer whose work appears frequently in such venues as The Washington Post and The Barnes and Noble Review. Atom! Freeman, co-owner of Brave New World Comics in Santa Clarita, California. Atom! has worked as a comics shop sales clerk, a sales rep for Fantagraphics Books, and an organizer for comics events. He and his wife Portlyn have owned and operated Brave New World for eight years. The Freemans regularly participate in literacy and reading programs at libraries and schools, offer courses for children of all ages on how to draw their own books, and contribute frequently to the local Toy Library and programs run by their county’s Child and Family Services bureau.

Jeff Jensen, senior writer, Entertainment Weekly. A lifelong comic book fan and occasional comic book writer himself (X Factor, Teen Titans), Jensen has been reviewing graphic novels and monthly comics for EW since 2000. He has written EW cover stories on Sin City, Superman Returns, the Star Wars prequels, the Harry Potter franchise, Lost, Heroes, and many other movies and TV shows. But perhaps his favorite assignment was reporting and writing an oral history of the groundbreaking comic book series Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Eva Volin, supervising children’s librarian for the Alameda Free Library in Alameda, CA. In addition to being a member of the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee, Volin has helped create or develop graphic novel collections in several libraries. She also writes manga reviews for Library Journal’s Xpress Reviews, ICv2 Guide to Manga, and Robin Brenner’s (a graphic novel review website designed for teens and those who work with teens), and she has recently begun reviewing light novels for The judges will meet in early April to select the nominees that will go on the Eisner Awards ballot. The nominees will then be voted on by professionals in the comic book industry, and the results will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on Friday, July 25, at Comic-Con International: San Diego. Look for a complete list of nominees for the 2008 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards in the next issue of Comic-Con Magazine!

16 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, presented under the auspices of Comic-Con International: San Diego, is given to an individual retailer who has done an outstanding job of supporting the comics art medium both in the community and within the industry at large.


for nomination include: • Any retailer established in business for at least two years is eligible to be nominated. • Anyone—retailers, professionals, fans—may place a name in nomination. • A panel of industry judges selects a group of finalists to be subjected to an in-depth examination based on the award criteria. • Winners will be announced as part of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards at Comic-Con International on Friday, July 25, 2008. • Previous winners are not eligible for nomination.


for judging include: • Support of a wide variety of innovative material. Providing opportunities for creators’ material to reach buyers; stocking a diverse inventory. • Knowledge. Working to stay informed on retailing as well as on the comics field. • Community activity. Promoting comics to the community; maintaining relationships with schools and libraries; keeping active in social, business, and arts community organizations. • Quality of store image. Innovative display approaches; using store design creatively. • Adherence to standard ethical business practices.

2008 SPIRIT OF COMICS AWARD NOMINATING BALLOT I place the following name in nomination for the 2008 Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award. I understand that only retailers whose business has been established for at least two years are eligible for nomination and that any nominees found not to adhere to standard ethical business practices will be disqualified. PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE

Retailer’s Name___________________________________________________________________________________________ Store Name_____________________________________________________________Store Phone #______________________ Complete Store Address_____________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ PROVIDE BRIEF STATEMENTS HOW YOUR NOMINEE EXCELS IN EACH OF THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES. USE ADDITIONAL SHEETS IF NECESSARY.

Support of a wide variety of innovative material _________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Knowledge_______________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Community activity_________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Quality of store image______________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Additional comments_______________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BALLOTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY APRIL 18, 2008 • Mail to: Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, c/o Comic-Con International, P. O. Box 128458, San Diego, CA 92112 or fax to: 619-414-1022 Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 17

Special Guest Spotlight

RUTU MODAN At first glance, Rutu Modan’s debut graphic novel, Exit Wounds, appears to be about life in Israel amidst bombings and violence, but it’s really a story about family and relationships, a different kind of battle. The book revolves around a mystery, the missing father of Koby, a young cab driver, and the strange young woman, Numi, who seeks Kobi out to enlist his help in finding the man who may or may not be the victim of a suicide bomber. We talked to writer/artist Rutu Modan about her critically acclaimed graphic novel—on just about everyone’s top ten list for 2007—and her upcoming visit to Comic-Con as a special guest.

Growing up in Israel, were you a comics reader as a child? When I was growing up there were hardly any comics to read in Israel. Not even Superman. There were a few attempts to translate comics commercially, which all failed. I read what I could find: some Popeye stories, one Tintin book (the only one in Hebrew), and a campaign encouraging kids to drink milk, in comics format—a cute boy who became amazingly strong when drinking his milk. I was a fan of that character. On the other hand, I was creating illustrated stories from the age of 5. So, in fact, I started making comics before I started reading comics. You’ve won awards for your children’s book illustrations. Do you prefer creating your own stories to illustrate or illustrating someone else’s? Usually I prefer working on my own stories. It is much more interesting to draw my own ideas than somebody else’s. On the other hand, it is much easier not to bother about the writing. In children’s books, where the connection between the text and visual is less symbiotic than in comics, I can really enjoy interpreting a story by another author. Before you helped form Actus Tragicus (an Israel-based comics collective featuring four other artists), you edited the Israeli version of MAD Magazine. What was that like? Did you also write and draw for it? It was more than ten years ago; I was a young artist and I was offered the job. This magazine was another attempt to sell commercial comics to Israelis. I was a co-editor with Yirmi Pinkus, a comic artist like me. We were supposed to use 75% American MAD’s material and 25% original works of local artists. We changed it to 50-50. Of course, we saw it as a great opportunity to publish comics we liked by our colleagues 18 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

© 2007 Rutu Modan.

Comic-Con Special Guest

RUTU MODAN and our own comics. The problem was that we liked alternative comics and that was the kind of material we published. The result was that fans of MAD magazine hated the Israeli comics and fans of alternative comics hated the MAD part. No one bought the magazine, and it closed down after 12 issues. It was great fun, though! You’ve been a part of Actus Tragicus since its inception, working on projects such as Jetlag and Dead Herring Comics. Are you still part of the collective and are there any new projects from them coming up? Yes I am—we are still working together. This year we published a new anthology: How to Love. It was published (in January) and should be in America by summer 2008. Can you explain how Actus Tragicus works? Is it a collaborative effort or a group of artists publishing their individual works together? When we started working together twelve years ago, our main purpose was to publish our comics. There just wasn’t a “real” publisher who was willing to take the chance and print our work. Working as a group was a good solution. Five people can take a bigger financial risk and divide the tedious work of production between them. During the years we found more benefits in working together. When we decide on a new project (usually we start by deciding on the format and then the concept), we meet every few weeks, show each other what we’ve done and criticize each other’s work. We all appreciate each other’s work and that allows us to give the critiques in maximum honesty. For me, the creation process is now the main reason why I still work with Actus. Is there a comics industry in Israel, and if so, what’s it like? There is no comics industry in Israel. There are no comics publishers or magazines— not even for children—and there are three comics shops all over the country. The reason for that is unknown. My guess is that the market is too small. The Israeli comics scene, on the other hand, has become quite lively in the past ten years. Its nature is mostly independent: fanzines, web-comics,

self-published magazines, and fighting and libeling each other. The distribution is mainly done by the authors themselves through comics events that are arranged by the artists, where they sell their comics to each other and to a few other comics fans. You’re a “chosen artist of the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation.” Can you explain what that means? The Cultural Excellence Foundation is a foundation that selects a few mid-career artists

Rutu Modan each year from any art fields: theatre, fine arts, fashion design, writing, etc. The foundation arranges workshops that mainly give training in management skills. The idea is that artists know a lot about art, but lack education in managing their careers (things like negotiation skills and planning). We also get lectures in subjects like, for example, copyrights. The foundation also gives financial support, mostly for education purposes, but also supporting projects in certain cases. It also creates a network between artists from different fields, which is very interesting and brings new opportunities for artistic collaborations. Exit Wounds is your first graphic novel. Was it difficult for you to adapt to the longer form? Extremely difficult, I thought I could never make it. But I had to do it—for twenty years I dreamt about this kind of a project. Working on a long story is very different than

working on short stories. In a short story the idea, the concept behind the story, is the main thing, but in a novel you focus on the characters and let them lead the story. What also makes it more difficult for me, and at the same time a pleasure, is to focus for such a long period of time on one project. It took me two years of constant very hard work to finish it. After completing it, did you feel there were any advantages to a longer story? Any disadvantages? The disadvantages are the advantages. Also a big advantage is that a longer book seems to be more communicative. I have been working in comics for eighteen years now and I never got so much attention, both from critics and from the readers, until Exit Wounds was published. Before reading Exit Wounds, I expected it to be about the ongoing violence in the Middle East, and was very surprised to find that’s just part of the backdrop of the story. Have you found that people are surprised at the book being a kind of quiet, personal story that’s basically about family? Being from Israel, many times I’ve felt that people expect my comics will explain the situation in the Middle East to them. I am not blaming them—they want to understand, once and for all, who are the bad guys, who are the good, what is “really” going on in this crazy place. Well, I am sorry to say, I cannot do it. In fact, I would be very happy if someone could explain the situation to me, because from close-up it is even more confusing. The only thing I can do honestly is tell my story. Explaining how I see life in Israel. In Exit Wounds I try to describe how the political situation affects everyday life and at the same time does not affect it at all. People are people—everywhere—and they tend to focus on their little personal problems much more that the global ones. I’m not saying it is a good thing, but it is like that. But politics do affect our personal lives, as much as we try to ignore it—this is also true. I chose to focus on PEOPLE. This is why readers connect to the story in Exit Wounds in an emotional way I could not achieve Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 19

Special Guest Spotlight if I was concentrating only on the political background. Since Exit Wounds does come across as a very personal story, is any of it autobiographical? Every story I write is based somehow on my life or those of people that I know. Where else can you take material for stories other than reality? The main plot—the story about the unidentified body—is based on a true event. So are parts of Numi’s biography, as well as some of Kobi’s behavior (the unpleasant parts mostly). But I never stick to the real facts. I take only the essence, some details, expressions, and combine them into a fiction. The details of my life might be very interesting for me to live, but as a story they are quite boring. When I take this freedom, to use life but not describe it, I am able to write many more stories than just my own—to be many people. It is also gives me the possibility to describe some obnoxious or unpleasant events and people I know (including me and my family) without hurting anyone’s feelings. Exit Wounds ends on an abrupt—and very

romantic—note. Do you have any ambition to revisit Kobi and Numi in the future? Not at all. Their story is finished, at least their story that I was interested in telling. One of the critics of Exit Wounds wrote that the fact the hero does not meet his father in the end is probably because I am planning to write a sequel. That is very stupid since the conclusion of the story was supposed to be that the hero stops waiting for closure with his father. What I really meant to say is that some things in life should be left open. Anyway, it was nice to hang out with Kobi and Numi for two years, but now I am really fed up with them and I am ready to invent some new characters. Do you have any plans for future graphic novels? I definitely plan to write more graphic novels. I just started and found out I really like to do it. I am now working on a children’s book (which I did not write) but right afterwards I will start writing another book. Exit Wounds has garnered international acclaim. As you travel around the world promoting your book, how do you feel

comics are perceived? It seems to be a great time for comics everywhere. It is still quite new, so it attracts a lot of attention and excitement. The new possibilities of this medium are still surprising people. On the other hand, comics are already accepted by the audience, and not only the comic fans. It is wonderful to meet people from different countries, age groups, and cultures, who are suddenly willing to make the effort and read graphic novels. What’s different about doing signings in the United States as opposed to Israel or Italy or the United Kingdom? The main difference is compared to Israel. In Israel, which is very small, I personally know so many of the people that I sign for. Either they are comics artists, or used to be my students at the Art Academy (there are four art academies in Israel and I taught in three of them), or I already signed a children’s book for them in the past. Signing abroad is very exciting for a different reason. The fact that my art can communicate with people from another culture is still surprising for me. It is a great feeling. 2008 will mark your first appearance as a special guest at Comic-Con. How do you feel about appearing at comic conventions and how do they differ from Europe to the U.S.? I am very excited to be a guest at ComicCon. I never thought it would happen. I heard so much about the convention, of course, and planned to go there many times. I haven’t had a chance to attend many comic conventions in the U.S. I have only been at SPX twice, and at conventions in France and Italy a few times. There is some difference between the American comic fans and artists and the French ones when I think of it. In France, the comic artists are considered very hip and are treated like rock stars, so they dress stylishly and are not very friendly. In America, where comics have been considered a lower art form (or not “art” at all), the artists I’ve met are much more shy and pleasant, regardless of how much they’ve achieved, and you can seldom guess how successful they are by looking at their clothes!

20 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

© 2007 Rutu Modan.

Comic-Con Special Guest


Page 63 from Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan. © 2007 Rutu Modan.

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 21

The Fans Speak!

Actual interviews with actual Comic-Con attendees!

Silvia & David Phillips flanking their children, Sammy (5) & Viviana (11) Attending Comic-Con: David: 8 years. From: Mojave, CA Why do you come to Comic-Con? Viviana: My dad. David: I’ve been a collector for 32 years and been coming here for 8. Do you guys think Comic-Con is a place for families? Sammy and Viviana: Yeah. Why do you guys like it? Silvia: (to her shy son): Which games were you playing yesterday? Sammy: X-Box 360. I tried the Wii and liked it. Viviana: I like to collect Living Dead Dolls. And toys. Silvia: They get toys at good prices, especially on Sunday. Viviana: Video games. Silvia: They get to see what’s coming out. Viviana: Movies. Silvia: And the movies that are coming out. And books, Dave’s a reader. Viviana: TV shows. We saw Supernatural. The Sarah Conner Chronicles. David: There’s something here for every one of them. It’s not just about comics and that’s what they’re realizing now. Obviously, there was only one way to relate to this family: speak their language! Who might these mateys be?

Michael & Coselyn Goodrich with their children, Kailyn (12) & Max, the pirate (8) How long they been pillagin’ Comic-Con? Six years And when did we cross their path? Sunday, Kids’ Day Why are ye wee folk here? Kailyn: I enjoy the Con. I like manga. (She opens up her bag to reveal piles of Japanese comics.) A vast treasure, I see. (to Max) And you, Young Sparrow? Max: I’m looking at all the swords. Has your father taught ye to fight yet? Michael: We’re waiting until he’s nine. Bah! Max: When I get a real sword. Wise lad, this one. What’s your favorite movie (as if we didn’t know)? Max: Pirates of the Caribbean because of the [action]. And they sail big ships. I like to draw and do artwork. Ships mostly. An artist, eh? Well, this is a good place for ye. Michael: We like looking at the artwork and seeing what [new shows and movies] are coming out. We saw Clive Owen on Friday, Robotech, Avatar—we hit as many panels as we can. Their favorites are from Nickelodeon or manga. Coselyn: It’s not just a cloister of any one thing like anime or comics. It’s all the different things. [Comic-Con] is a place for kids to see a creative side and learn to think out of the box. Kailyn, is this the one place ye get along with that ruffian brother of yours? Kailyn: Yes! And Max, what is it ye love most about Comic-Con? Max: All the pirates.

22 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

Photos by Barry Brown.

Comics History 101

K I R B Y: KING OF COMICS B Y M A R K E VA N I E R With this inaugural issue, Comic-Con Magazine introduces a new feature, “Comics History 101.” This regular series of articles will explore various aspects of the incredible history of comics, from the dawn of American comic strips and books to the comics of today. There’s no better way to kick off this series than with an article on Jack Kirby, one of the most influential storytellers in the history of the comics medium, and a dear friend of Comic-Con. We’re proud to present an exclusive excerpt from Mark Evanier’s beautiful new art book on the comic legend, Kirby: King of Comics, just released by Abrams. Special thanks to Mark and editor Charles Kochman for allowing CCM to present the preface from the new book.

Jack Kirby didn’t invent the comic book. It just seems that way. It’s 1939 and he’s still a few years from establishing himself as one of the most important, brilliant innovators of an emerging form. He isn’t even Jack Kirby yet. He’s Jacob Kurtzberg, from the Kurtzberg family on Suffolk Street in not the best part of New York. At age twenty-one he’s trying to do the most important thing he believes a man can do: provide for his family, bring home a paycheck. Nothing else matters if you don’t manage that. Much of the work in comics is done in “shops”—cramped quarters where artists toil at rows of drawing tables. The money isn’t good, but it’s good for a young man whose neighborhood has yet to see evidence that the Great Depression is ending. It at least beats selling newspapers or several other alternatives he’s tried.

So Jacob joins the throng of young artists wandering the streets, all toting large black portfolios crammed with samples. Most of the samples are variations (or outright plagiarisms) of the newspaper strips that had initially moved each to pick up a pencil. Eventually, the young men all seem to wind up working for Victor Fox . . . at least for a few weeks, until something better comes along. Legend has it that Fox had been an accountant for Harry Donenfeld, publisher of Detective Comics and Action Comics. One morning, the story goes, sales figures came in on the first issue of Action, which featured a new strip called “Superman” by Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster. Fox saw the numbers, quit his job, rented an office in the same building, and by close of day was hiring artists as the head of Fox Comics, Inc. A great story. It’s probably not true, but it’s a great story.

Fox is an old-time hustler/financier who’s spent years sprinting from one dubious enterprise to another. Most of the early funnybook publishers are like that— hardscrabble entrepreneurs lacking both class and capital. What will turn some of them into multimillionaires—and, ipso facto, into legitimate businessmen—is if they get their fingers on a smash hit. Say, if someone sends them a Superman or if Bob Kane walks in with the beginnings of something called Batman. Or if, in years to come, they hire Jack Kirby. Victor Fox will not be so fortunate, even though most of the great creative talents will pass through his office, some at full sprint. At first, he buys stories from a studio run by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger. After Eisner goes off and creates The Spirit, Fox sets up his own operation, placing ads in The New York Times

Excerpt from Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier. Introduction by Neil Gaiman. Gatefold by Alex Ross. Published by Abrams. Captain America, Thing, and Hulk © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Orion, The Demon, and Mr. Miracle © 2008 DC Comics.

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Kirby: King of Comics

Above: Jack at the drawing board with a fan commissioned piece; top right, Champion Comics no. 1, probably the first Kirby comic cover; middle and bottom right, sketches Kirby did of himself and wife Roz during World War II in Europe. Kirby photo © 2008 Greg Preston; Champion Comics © 2008 Joseph H. Simon ; sketches © 2008 the Estate of Jack Kirby.

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 25

Comics History 101 classifieds to recruit a staff. His artists could work at home, but Fox feels that since he’s paying them, he’s going to experience the joy of treating them like dirt every day. So they sit there, eight am to six pm or later, filling up illustration boards—young men like Bill Everett (who would soon create the Sub-Mariner), Joe Simon (who, with Kirby, would create Captain America and dozens of other hits), and Charles Nicholas Wojtkowski (who had already created Fox’s anemic star super hero, Blue Beetle). As they all race to finish at least three pages per day, Fox strides up and down the aisles with the posture of Groucho Marx, clutching his latest sales figures and muttering, “I’m King of the Comics! I’m King of the Comics!” Then he pauses at some artist’s desk, glances at work that as a former seller of junk bonds he’s eminently qualified to judge, and yells, “That stinks! Work faster, you son of a bitch!” No one’s producing masterpieces . . . but then Fox isn’t paying for masterpieces. “I’d draw a big cloud and a teensy airplane and that was the panel,” Jake (soon to be Jack) would later recall. One time, he fills most of a panel by writing “Wow” across it, like a sound effect. Fox, pacing about, stops and asks, “What the hell is that?” The young artist looks up at him and says, “That, Mr. Fox, is ‘Wow!’ ” Fox studies the panel for a few minutes, shifting the cigar from one side of his mouth to the other. “I don’t get it.” “It’s part of the story,” Kurtzberg explains. Fox nods in understanding, then calls all the other artists in the place to stop working and gather ’round Kurtzberg’s drawing table. “Jake here is going to tell you about ‘Wow.’ Go on, Jake. Tell them about ‘Wow!’ ” Jake stammers out an explanation having to do with filling panels with energy and excitement, and how a word like “Wow” reaches the kids on their own level. And of course, all the artists understand that “Wow” is just Kurtzberg’s way of getting out of drawing a panel. Each of them nods, returns to his table, and immediately writes “Wow” across the next panel—no matter what’s supposed to be in there. Fox is pleased. He’s not only publishing comic books, he’s publishing comic books with a lot of “Wow” in them. Eventually, the King of Comics tires of

Jack at his drawing board in California and one of his greatest creations: The Silver Surfer, inked by Joe Sinnott. Next page: A penciled Darkseid drawing by Jack. Top photo © 2008 David Folkman; Silver Surfer © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Kirby: King of Comics getting up in the am to let in the artists. He calls his crew together and asks who among them was ever a Boy Scout. “I was,” announces Al Harvey, a production artist who would soon establish the comic book company bearing his surname. Fox hands him a key and tells him, “From now on, you open up.” Thereafter, Fox breezes in around eleven to begin berating his staff. But each morning before he arrives, the one-time Boy Scout and other artists take turns imitating their employer, pacing between the drawing tables repeating, “I’m King of the Comics!” Forever after, Kurtzberg and Bill Everett would greet each other with that impression. CUT TO: It’s the mid-sixties. Call it 1965. The Marvel Comics Group is publishing The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and The X-Men, among others. Jacob Kurtzberg has long since become Jack Kirby, the preeminent artist of action-adventure comic books. At the moment, he’s Marvel’s star illustrator and co-creator of a new Renaissance for the comic book business. He’s also the instrument of change for yet another catchpenny publisher who’s becoming wealthy. In this case, the firm is well on its way to becoming a multibillion dollar empire and a fixture of American popular fiction. The shops long behind him, Kirby works at home and comes into New York City once a week to drop off pages at the Marvel offices. Less often, if he can manage it . . . because when he’s on the train he’s not drawing, and that’s what Kirby is still all about: providing for his family. He wants to do great stories and express himself and share his incredible imagination with the world, and all that is fine. But being a good provider is still Job One for him and always will be. On one office visit he runs into Everett and they exchange Victor Fox impressions, a quarter century after the fact. They’re just discussing where to go for lunch when Editor in Chief Stan Lee walks up and shows Jack a new Bullpen Bulletins house ad. “I’m gonna give you a real buildup, Jack,” Stan says. “See here? I’m calling you the King of the Comics!” Kirby and Everett fall over laughing. “No, no,” Jack protests. “Make Bill Everett King of the Comics!” Everett will have none of it. “Jack is definitely King of Comics,” he argues. Lee sides with Everett, so Kirby is stuck forever with the nickname. For a long time this truly modest man is embarrassed by it. Eventually, so many are calling him “King” that he comes to accept it. Who knows? Maybe a little promotional gimmick will translate into higher take-home pay. It is, of course, the perfect title for a book about Kirby, but Jack would have wanted everyone to know it was meant with a twinkle. Everything else about him was vested with power and planet-rocking explosions and cosmic energy and changing the world around him, leaving nothing the way he found it. But the nickname? The nickname was only meant by Jack or accepted when it came with a twinkle. Always with a twinkle.

Darkseid © 2008 DC Comics.

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 27


Comic-Con 2008


And Counting

The future is now. The San Diego Comic-Con goes into its 39th event as the country’s largest comics and popular arts convention with a brand new slate of special guests, themes and anniversaries, and programming. And this is your first sneak peek at what’s planned for the upcoming event, July 24-27—with Preview Night on July 23—at the San Diego Convention Center. Over the next dozen pages, you’ll find advance word on Comic-Con 2008: The special themes and anniversaries we’re considering for both our Souvenir Book and programming; the 29 special guests who have signed on for the event so far, and our show-spanning feature, “ComicCon A to Z,” including everything from the Art Show to Volunteers. (We admit having a hard time coming up with something for “Z”, but we’re working on it.) In 2007, 125,000 attendees, professionals, and exhibitors came to San Diego for Comic-Con. For the first time ever, Comic-Con sold out of four-day memberships, and single day memberships on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We expect the same thing to happen this year, and we strongly urge you to register online now. Four-day memberships are available now at www.comic-con. org/cci/cci_reg.shtml. One-day memberships will go on sale March 1, 2008 online only at the same address. See the “Comic-Con A to Z” article starting on page 38 for prices. As we learned last year, the San Diego Comic-Con is more popular than ever, so register now to make sure you’re a part of the event in 2008. Registering online is the only way to attend the big show this summer as memberships will NOT be available at the door.

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Photo by Tom DeLeon.

The Fans Speak!

Actual interviews with actual Comic-Con attendees!

Carmen Peterson is an amazing woman. We met her Friday morning at the Warner Bros. panel in Hall H’s most prized seat: front and center. But when asked how she scored such an amazing spot, she simply shrugged and said, “I was here about 11:15 Thursday night.” Yes, that’s right, Carmen got in line nearly 11 hours before the panel started, making her the earliest recorded person to ever get in line for a Comic-Con event. And while she asked us to black out her face for the picture, she did agree to chat about her experience. Really early lines used to only form for onsite registration, but now that we’re selling out of memberships that’s clearly changed. But why get in line this early for a panel? It’s just a lot of fun. This is only my second year [attending Comic-Con]. I came last year because of Gerard Butler. I’m a huge Phantom of the Opera fan and wanted to see what he looked like. I wouldn’t do it before I was full of the movie, but after 387 trips to the theater, I [decided] I’d waited my time. When did the next person show up in line after you? Just before 2:00 am. The next people showed up about 2:30-2:45, and then at 4:00, and it was pretty steady after that. Did you bring a sleeping bag? I brought a tiny little chair, some water and [snacks], but I don’t know if I can go another day without sleep. I’m not 20 anymore, I’m 50. I chatted with everybody who was going by. Most of the people I thought were waiting in line were waiting for rides to pick them up, and the busses were running until 3:00 am. The truth is, I didn’t feel unsafe. These people are just harmless crazies like me. So you admit to being insane. (laughing) I know I’m crazy. Everybody knows I’m crazy! But this is the best place to be crazy. You couldn’t go anywhere else and say you’ve seen a movie like Phantom of the Opera 387 times, but I’ll bet if you asked over the microphone how many people saw Star Wars 600 times, there would probably be a dozen jumping up. I’m in crazy company. So after only one year, you got bit by the Comic-Con bug? And badly! I think this is the best event ever. There’s nothing else like it. Plus the creativity of the costumes, these panels, it’s just an amazing event. Everybody here likes to have fun, and I’m telling everyone I know from San Diego that they need to come.

Wilfredo Hernandez (Television editor from Los Angeles) Where: The Women of Battlestar Galactica panel Give us your story. This is my first Comic-Con. I’m a big science fiction nerd and when I heard that Battlestar and Heroes were all having a voice here, I really wanted to check out what was going on. Are you into comic books? I used to collect comics when I was a kid and then started reading more graphic novels, but I phased out of that. Then while I was down here I hooked up with one of my bosses who walked me through all the independent comic book areas. I saw the artists [and] novelists, and [got] a big lesson on the new stuff. It’s really cool. What’s your impression of your first Comic-Con? I knew it was going to be big and everyone told me I’d be waiting in lines. But I’m telling you, I got here 45 minutes before the Torchwood panel and I never even got in. And this is a TV show that hasn’t even aired here in the U. S. yet. Then the [Exhibit Hall] floor is just huge, too. But it’s a lot of fun. The people are so energetic and great. I’m definitely coming again and I’m going to bring my 15-year-old nephew. For him it’s going to be better than Disney. I’ll probably finagle my partner to come down and check out all the things there are to see, too. Any advice you can offer first time attendees? Come early. As early as you think is a good time, come an hour and a half before that. Make sure you eat, bring a backpack that’s comfortable and that has food. Then just relax and have a good time. Photos by Barry Brown.

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 29

Comic-Con 2008 Themes and Anniversaries Each year, Comic-Con chooses a number of anniversaries and special themes to celebrate. This year is no exception. Some of these special celebrations are a part of programming, others are oriented towards tribute articles and art in our Souvenir Book (see the next page for details). In 2008, we’re considering the following:

75th Anniversary of the American Comic Book Comic historians pretty much peg 1933 as the year the American comic book came into being. Jump-started by an enterprising premium salesman known as Max C. Gaines, the first comic book was Funnies On Parade, published in the spring of 1933 by Eastern Color, and containing reprints of newspaper strips. It was offered as a premium by Procter & Gamble and the initial print run of 10,000 copies sold out immediately. Recognizing a good thing, Eastern next released Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics, with a print run of 100,000 copies. Gaines stuck a 10 cents sticker on some of the copies and dropped them off at various newsstands, only to return to find they had all sold. A year later, Famous Funnies no.1 debuted and an industry was officially born, one that went “up, up, and away” five years later when a certain blue-suiteded, red-caped “Super” gentleman appeared in Action Comics. Gaines went on to be active with National Periodical Publications (DC Comics) and his son, Bill, took over EC Comics upon the elder Gaines’ death, starting a whole new cycle of comics content, including the birth of MAD.

75th Anniversary of Doc Savage The Man of Bronze was first seen in the pages of pulp magazines in 1933. Created by writer Lester Dent, the good Doc—a hero/Renaissance man with a team of cohorts— went on to 181 issues (each an adventure) between 1933 and 1949. In the sixties, Doc Savage became a sensation again when Bantam Books issued a series of reprints with stunning James Bama painted covers. Doc has also appeared in comics and the movies, with a 1975 film, Doc Savage, The Man of Bronze, produced by the legendary George Pal and starring TV’s Tarzan, Ron Ely.

75th Anniversary of the original King Kong He’s the big monkey who captured the hearts of Depression-era America, and pretty much everyone else who’s seen the movie since. King Kong debuted as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” in 1933, a time when the Empire State Building and the film’s heady combination of breathless adventure and beauty-and-the-beast romance were still brand new. Produced by Merian C. Cooper, directed by Ernest B. Shoedsack, with groundbreaking special effects by the great Willis O’Brien, King Kong has had a lasting effect on movies and pop culture that continues to this day. 30 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

Comics © 1933, 1934 Eastern Color Printing, Inc.; King Kong artwork courtesy of Warner Home Video. © Turner Entertainment Co. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


50th Anniversary of the Legion of Super-Heroes It looked like just another issue of Adventure, but in it was magic. Adventure Comics no. 247 showcased three strange new super-heroes on the cover with Superboy: Cosmic Boy, Lightning Boy (soon to be “Lad”), and Saturn Girl, grilling him from behind what appeared to be a game show desk. That single standalone story, by writer Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino, featuring a “super-hero club” of teenagers begat a literal legion of characters, one whose popularity and endurance has survived the test of time. At left, art by Neal Adams for DC’s The Legion of Super-Heroes: 1,050 Years in the Future.

25th Anniversary of American Flagg! Howard Chaykin’s seminal and influential tale incorporates science fiction, sex, politics, fame, and corporate greed in the year 2030 and beyond. Starring TV star Reuben Flagg and his lovable feline companion, Raul the Cat (who wouldn’t love having a talking kitty with cybernetic gloves that granted him opposable thumbs?), American Flagg! was a very different kind of book when it debuted from First Comics in 1983. Series creator and comics superstar Howard Chaykin joins Comic-Con as a special guest to help with the anniversary.

The Editorial Cartoon What better way to celebrate the Presidential Election year of 2008 than with a look at editorial cartoons? The daily dose of cartoon rhetoric in your favorite newspaper makes you laugh, cry, yell, or nod in agreement. Often controversial, editorial cartooning is a rich and varied part of the comics scene, both in the U.S. and abroad. Other special anniversaries and themes are being considered. Check the website address listed in the Souvenir Book sidebar article at right for more information. Legion of Super-Heroes © 2008 DC Comics; American Flagg! © 2008 Howard Chaykin; Star Wars © 2008 Lucasfilm.

You can be a part of Comic-Con’s 2008 Souvenir Book! For each of its 39 conventions, ComicCon has produced a Souvenir Book that commemorates the event. Last year’s book, with the beautiful Adam Hughes, Star Wars cover, seen above, was a huge trade paperback, featuring bios of all of the guests, plus special articles and art created in tribute to Comic-Con’s themes and anniversary celebrations. Best of all, it’s given free to all attendees, along with the separate show schedule magazine, the all-important Events Guide. Each year, Comic-Con solicits articles and artwork from professionals and fans alike, based on the anniversaries and themes we’re celebrating (see the list on page 30 and this page ). The deadline for contributions for this year’s book is April 25, 2008. For complete information on how to contribute to this year’s Souvenir Book, including file formats and where to send your submission, please visit our website at cci_progbk.shtml. cci_progbk.shtml

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 31

Comic-Con 2008 Special Guests

´ SERGIO ARAGONES Once again, Comic-Con presents an incredibly diverse guest list including writers and artists from the worlds of comics and science fiction/fantasy/horror. The following special guests are confirmed for Comic-Con 2008, with many more to come! (Guests with the word “New!” next to them have been added since our last publication.)

The world’s fastest cartoonist returns to ComicCon as one of the show’s most popular guests. Sergio Aragonés continues to tell the tales of his wandering barbarian, Groo, and has recently become the newly named co-writer on the DC Comics series Will Eisner’s The Spirit, along with frequent collaborator—and fellow ComicCon special guest—Mark Evanier. Sergio has also returned to a character he wrote 40 years ago: Bat Lash, also for DC.

MIKE W. BARR Writer Mike W. Barr is best known for his work on Batman and the Outsiders, a popular ‘80s DC series, which has recently been revived by the company and is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Barr also co-created Camelot 3000, along with artist Brian Bolland. Barr wrote other Batman tales for the company, including “Year Two,” and “Son of the Demon,” numerous Star Trek stories, and created The Maze Agency. His latest book is the Silver Age Sci-Fi Companion, published by TwoMorrows Publishing.




Cartoonist, novelist, and playwright Lynda Barry is the creator behind the syndicated strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek featuring the incomparable Marlys and Freddy, as well as the books One Hundred Demons, The! Greatest! of! Marlys!, Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel, Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies!, and more. Born in Wisconsin in 1956, she studied at Evergreen State College, where she became good friends with Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Her work has been widely praised. Her book The Good Times are Killing Me—also adapted as an off-Broadway musical—won the Washington State Governor’s Award.

Writer/producer/actor Frank Beddor’s second novel in the New York Times best-selling “Looking Glass Trilogy,” Seeing Redd, has just been published. His film producing credits include the hit comedy, There’s Something About Mary, and the Looking Glass story has made its mark in comics, too, with Hatter M. Beddor’s re-imagining of the Alice In Wonderland story continued last Fall with a lavishly illustrated scrapbook, Princess Alyss of Wonderland.

Ed Brubaker had the comics story of last year when he killed off Captain America, a move that got much attention in the mainstream media. His career includes a long stint with the Batman family of characters, including the award-winning Gotham Central, along with Greg Rucka and frequent collaborator Michael Lark. And Brubaker’s three monthly Marvel titles—Cap, Daredevil, and his creator-owned Criminal with Sean Phillips— garnered him the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Writer.

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Art ©2008 Lynda Barry. Brubaker photo by Tom DeLeon.




For over 25 years, Eddie Campbell has gathered an international following for his work, along with nearly every honor in the comics field, including the Eisner, Ignatz, and Harvey Awards. He co-created and drew From Hell with writer Alan Moore, and his other works include the Eyeball Kid, Bacchus, and a number of books featuring his autobiographical character, Alec. His latest work includes a pair of graphic novels for First Second: The Fate of the Artist and The Black Diamond Detective Agency.

In 2008, writer/artist Howard Chaykin celebrates the 25th anniversary of his groundbreaking comics creation American Flagg! Chaykin’s 30 plus years in comics has seen him relaunch such seminal characters as The Shadow and Blackhawks, plus launch—along with writer Roy Thomas—the comic version of Star Wars. His career also includes work in television (including The Flash and Viper). Recently, he’s worked for DC (Challengers of the Unknown, Hawkgirl), Vertigo (Bite Club, American Century), and Marvel (Blade, Wolverine).




Writer for comics, animation and television, blogger, panel moderator, and now biographer! Mark Evanier’s new book is a massive art tome devoted to his mentor, friend and one-time employer, Jack Kirby, the undisputed King of Comics. Evanier returns to Comic-Con to moderate another slew of panels, including—undoubtedly—a tribute to Kirby and the ever-popular “Quick Draw!” Mark’s latest work includes the massive art book Kirby: King of Comics (see the exclusive excerpt beginning on page 24), and co-writing Will Eisner’s The Spirit with Sergio Aragonés for DC Comics.

Long associated with the Legion of SuperHeroes as both writer and artist, Keith Giffen stepped back into the comic’s limelight recently with his incredible work doing breakdowns (preliminary art) for all 52 weekly issues of 52. He’s currently a story consultant on DC’s latest weekly series, Countdown to Final Crisis. Giffen’s career in comics also includes a penchant for humorous super-hero work, including characters such as Lobo, Justice League, and Ambush Bug.

Italian comics creator Gipi has emerged as a world-class artist and writer. He teaches in fine arts academies, directs short films, illustrates for the newspaper La Repubblica, and proves time and time again that he is a virtuoso of the graphic novel. He has received major awards at the Lucca and Naples comics festivals, and in 2006 The Innocents earned him an Eisner Award nomination. His latest books, Garage Band and Notes for a War Story (winner of the 2005 Goscinny Prize for Best Script and 2006 Best Book at Angoulême), were published in the U.S. by First Second.

Art ©2008 Gipi

KIM DEITCH Looked on as one of the godfathers of the Underground comix movement, Kim Deitch’s illustrious career in cartooning has covered 40 years. Beginning with the East Village Other in the late 60s, Deitch, the son of famed animator/illustrator Gene Deitch, has continued to craft elaborate graphic novels around some of his passions, including silent movies and Waldo the Cat. Recent works include The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Shadowland, and his latest graphic novel, Alias the Cat.

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 33

Comic-Con 2008 Special Guests




Paul Gulacy is an internationally acclaimed comic book artist with over thirty years in the field. Trained at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Pratt Institute in New York City, Gulacy has also worked in magazine illustration, animation, and for the most high profile advertising agencies. His trademark action packed cinematic style can be found in such titles as Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu, James Bond, Star Wars, Batman, and many others. His recently published book, Spies, Vixens and Masters of Kung Fu, is a rich retrospective study of Gulacy’s extensive career catalog of drawings and paintings. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Joe Hill’s first book of stories, 20th Century Ghosts, received the British Fantasy Award, The International Horror Guild Award, and the Bram Stoker Award for best collection. He is also a 2006 World Fantasy Award winner, for his novella “Voluntary Committal,” which appears in the same book. His first novel, Heart-Shaped Box, immediately vaulted him into the top echelon of fantasy and horror writers.

British artist Bryan Hitch is most famous for his work on Marvel’s The Ultimates, along with writer Mark Millar. His American comics work includes JLA, and his co-creation (along with Warren Ellis) of WildStorm’s The Authority. One of the most popular artists in comics today, Hitch has reunited with Mark Millar to take over Fantastic Four for Marvel in 2008. See the interview on page 8 for much more on Bryan Hitch!




He brought us 52 weeks of startling covers on DC’s ground breaking weekly series, 52. J. G. Jones’s comic work extends beyond the world of covers to include Wanted with writer Mark Millar (and a major motion picture this summer), Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia with writer Greg Rucka, and the eagerly awaited Final Crisis with Grant Morrison, also debuting in Summer 2008.

Todd Klein’s incredible body of work has garnered 14 Eisner Awards and 8 Harveys as Best Letterer. In addition to lettering and logo design for all the major comics companies, his work includes a long-time collaboration with Alan Moore. His most recent work includes lettering and designing Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier. In 2005, he authored the lettering section in the DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering, a popular how-to book published by Watson/Guptill. In 2007, Todd launched his own website and blog at, with a focus on all aspects of his career, and lettering in general.

One of MAD’s maddest cartoonists, Al Jaffee is best known for his work on the magazine’s “Fold-Ins,” an incredible piece that has an entirely different meaning once folded across itself. In addition to producing over 400 of those for MAD, Jaffee has worked as writer/artist on many other features including “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.” His comic career dates back to the 1940s and titles for Timely and Atlas Comics.

34 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008




One of the most popular writers working in fiction today, Dean Koontz has had ten of his novels rise to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (One Door Away From Heaven, From the Corner of His Eye, Midnight, Cold Fire, The Bad Place, Hideaway, Dragon Tears, Intensity, Sole Survivor, and The Husband), making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Fourteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback. Hailed by Rolling Stone as “America’s most popular suspense novelist,” Koontz makes his first-ever appearance at Comic-Con in 2008.

Born in Tel-Aviv in 1966, Rutu Modan is one of Israel’s best-known cartoonists, and cofounder of the alternative comics collective and publishing house Actus Tragicus. She has received much recognition for her work, including nominations for Eisner, Ignatz, Quill, and Angoulême awards. Drawn & Quarterly published her critically acclaimed graphic novel Exit Wounds in 2007, which was named “Best Comic of the Year” by Entertainment Weekly, and included on “Best Of” lists from Time, The Washington Post, New York Magazine and more. She currently lives in England with her family. See the interview on page 18 for much more on Rutu Modan!

JIM OTTAVIANI Writer/editor Jim Ottaviani makes science fun with his series of “real-life” graphic novels. Ottaviani’s books include Levitation: Physics and Psychology in the Service of Deception, Fallout, Dignifying Science, and Two-Fisted Science. His work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Eisner and the Ignatz.

Dean Koontz photo by Jerry Bauer.

NOEL NEILL Celebrating her 60th anniversary as America’s favorite fictional reporter, Noel Neill is the Lois Lane. Noel first took on the role of Superman’s girlfriend in the 1948 Columbia serial, and then revisited the character in the ‘50s, on the classic Adventures of Superman TV series co-starring George Reeves and Jack Larson. Noel’s work includes many other film roles, and a new book on her, Beyond Lois Lane, by Larry Thomas Ward, showcases the actress’ incredible career.



Winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic, Steve Purcell started his career illustrating covers for video games, penciling Marvel comics and animating for classic Adventure Games at LucasArts. Steve is best known for creating the characters Sam & Max Freelance Police, the verbose and overzealous dog and rabbit crime-fighting team. Over 20-odd years Sam & Max have appeared in comic books, a LucasArts video game, and an award winning animated TV series. Sam & Max currently appear in Season Two of an acclaimed episodic game series from Telltale Games while Steve works in story development at Pixar Animation Studios.

Hailed as the “dean of Canadian science fiction” writers, Robert J. Sawyer is a Hugo and Nebula award-winning author. The only writer in history to win the top science-fiction awards in the United States, China, France, Japan, and Spain, Sawyer has also won a record-setting nine Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards (“Auroras”). In 2006, his novel, Mindscan, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (the world’s top juried prize for Science Fiction) for Best Science Fiction Novel. His work includes Hominids (Hugo Award for Best Novel), The Terminal Experiment (Nebula Award for Best Novel) and his latest, Rollback, published in 2007. Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 35

Comic-Con 2008 Special Guests



Prolific and versatile, Inkpot and Eisner Award winner Joe Staton has, since 1971, drawn everything from The Incredible Hulk, to Scooby Doo, to Classics Illustrated, including two strong runs on Green Lantern. In the early 70s, Joe co-created E-Man with Nicola Cuti at Charlton Comics. Joe is also credited as co-creator of The Huntress, The Omega Men, and several members of the Green Lantern Corps, all from DC. In addition to the return of E-Man from Digital Webbing, Joe is also doing a Femme Noir mini-series with Chris Mills from Ape Entertainment and is taking his shot at reimagining the Archie gang.

One of the most popular artists working in comics today, Ethan Van Sciver is best known for his work on the mini series that brought back Hal Jordan, Green Lantern: Rebirth. He’s also penciled Superman/Batman, and was the cover artist for the special issues introducing readers to Green Lantern’s new nemesis, The Sinestro Corps, and is one of DC’s top cover artists. For Marvel Comics, Van Sciver has worked on X-Men.




One of the most honored science fiction writers of the 80s and 90s, Connie Willis’ awards include nine Hugos and six Nebula Awards. Her work includes Lincoln’s Dreams, Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and her latest D.A. (in collaboration with J.K. Potter), and The Winds of Marble Arch. This is her first appearance at ComicCon.

Cartoonist Jim Woodring is best known for his work in Jim and Frank, both published by Fantagraphics Books. His surreal and dreamlike art reveal a lifelong obsession with hidden worlds and alternate realities. Woodring’s work has been collected in the books Seeing Things, The Frank Book, and The Book of Jim. This is his first appearance as a special guest at Comic-Con.

Dean Yeagle has produced, directed, designed and animated innumerable TV commercials and CD-ROMs, with clients across the United States and Europe. He also does work for corporate clients, designing characters for various products, and works on a continuing series of children’s books, designs the occasional toy, and contributes cartoons to Playboy magazine. In recent years, he has produced much sought-after sketchbooks for his convention appearances, featuring his famed “Mandy” character.

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JEFF WATTS Artist and educator Jeff Watts studied at The California Art Institute where he was soon invited to teach as he began his illustration career in the movie industry. However, Jeff’s desire to become an easel painter would draw him back to San Diego where he started a small life drawing and painting studio, which has evolved into Watts Atelier of the Arts, now managed by Jeff and his wife. Jeff’s oil paintings have won numerous awards, and he has received feature articles in Art of the West, Southwest Art, and American Artist Magazine.

The Fans Speak!

Actual interviews with actual Comic-Con attendees!

Miguel & Erlina Vasconcellos

Erlina, do you read comic books also?

(with niece Sydney and nephew Kenny)

Erlina: I read maybe two comic books a year, but I love the illustrators. He has a sketchbook and I like watching the artists do their thing.

Give us the basics.. Miguel: The first Comic-Con I went to was in 1998. I collect comic books. I’ll give anything Warren Ellis tries a go, I’ve liked a lot of Mark Millar’s stuff, Joss Whedon’s X-Men, but I’m not a massive super-hero fan. What I buy is more Vertigo and independent stuff. Erlina: I started coming because of [Miguel] in ‘98. It’s like Christmas for him, so I come and watch. I missed one year because we were getting married, so I was busy. But he came anyway. Miguel: (quickly adding): I came the Friday. You made me come. She said it was okay. Erlina: (laughing): I did say it was okay. Miguel:: Being here for the day was like the equivalent of my bachelor party. Did you get married Comic-Con weekend? Erlina: We did, but we did not get married at the Con. Or in costume. Miguel: We didn’t even have the Star Wars theme playing. Photo by Barry Brown.

Does your sketchbook have a theme? Miguel: The Bride from Kill Bill. She’s in a tracksuit. I do have a separate sketchbook because I don’t know that I could ask someone like Andy Runton, who does [children’s graphic novel] Owly, to draw the Bride for me. That would be kind of weird. One of the cooler things is when you wander the aisles in the Small Press or Independent [Comics] Sections and you find these people that you’ve never heard of, whose art is just incredible, and they’re totally cool about going with the theme that I have in my book. What’s one of your favorite events from this year’s convention? Miguel: Meeting Jim Rugg. He did one of my favorite comic book characters, Street Angel, and he was at the Slave Labor booth. He did this great sketch of Street Angel as the Bride, which was awesome, but I also got a separate commission from him as well. [Before Comic-Con] I was on Heidi MacDonald’s blog and she posted that he was taking commissions, which I wouldn’t have known otherwise. So I contacted him and he seemed fairly excited. It’s on an 8x10” board and it’s probably one of the best Bride pieces that I’ve gotten at this point. Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 37

Comic-Con A TO Z Dates: Thurs., July 24 - Sun., July 27, 2008

Comic-Con 2008 is right around the corner! Here’s a handy alphabetical rundown of pertinent information on the event and where you can find more info online at

Preview Night: Wed., July 23, 2008 Preview Night open only to pre-registered 4-day attendees and professionals

Open to the public: Wed., July 23: 6:00-9:00 PM Preview Night open only to pre-registered 4-day attendees and professionals

Thurs., July 24 - Sat., July 26: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM With additional late-night hours for programming, anime, games, film showings, etc.



(Please note: All schedules and information listed below with specific website addresses will also appear in our onsite Events Guide, available free to all Comic-Con attendees.)

Anime Comic-Con will once again present three rooms dedicated to anime screenings throughout the entire four days of the event. More information, including a complete schedule, will be posted at as we get closer to the event.

Artists’ Alley

Sun., July 27: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Artists’ Alley gives the Comic-Con attendee the chance to meet and greet some of their favorite creators, many of whom sell original art, sketches, and exclusive limited-edition prints and sketchbooks. A complete schedule will be on our website at

Location: San Diego Convention Center 111 West Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101

Art Show


No onsite membership badges will be sold. REGISTER ONLINE NOW!

The Art Show is a great showcase for art of all types and a place to buy that special piece to take home. Complete rules and forms for entering the Art Show are available to download at

FOUR-DAY MEMBERSHIPS are currently available online at:


Adults: $75.00* Junior/Senior: $35.00* ONE-DAY MEMBERSHIPS go on sale March 1, 2008 online ONLY at Thurs: Adults: $25.00* Jr/Sr: $12.00* Fri: Adults: $30.00* Jr/Sr: $15.00* Sat: Adults: $35.00* Jr/Sr: $15.00* Sun: Adults: $20.00* Jr/Sr: $10.00*

*Children under 12 free with PAID adult membership. Juniors are 12-17 years old and Seniors are 60 or more years old. Active military will pay the Junior/Senior price. This offer does not extend to dependents.

See the Registration article on page 41 for more details. Times and prices are subject to change.

38 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008


Comic-Con’s Autograph Area is filled with some of your favorite celebrities. Many guests, comics creators, authors and artists also sign here after their programming events and panels. Look for a complete schedule at closer to the event.

Blood Drive The Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive will return in 2008. A Comic-Con tradition for over 30 years, the Blood Drive set a new record in 2007: 841 pints of blood, making it the second largest drive in San Diego County. Donors get free goodie bags containing comics, books, and other fun items, a special limited edition t-shirt from the San Diego Blood Bank, and other surprises. Donors are also eligible for drawings for prizes. The Blood Drive will once again take place over all four days of Comic-Con. More info: shtml.

Child Care Child care will be available onsite at the Convention Center during Comic-Con on a limited basis. You must schedule it in advance. For further information closer to the event, please visit

Disabled Services Comic-Con’s Disabled Services Department is dedicated to helping attendees with special needs. Visit for more details.

Eisner Awards The deadline for submissions for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards is March 14. For complete information on how to enter, visit cci/cci_eisners_main.shtml. The Eisner Awards will be held Friday, July 25 at 8:30 PM. See the article on page 14 for more on the Eisner Awards.



Events Guide Comic-Con’s onsite Events Guide is given free to each attendee. It’s the official schedule of the entire show, including all Programming, Autograph signings, Games, Anime, Film screenings (including the Comic-Con International Film Festival), and a special section devoted to events and signings at booths in the Exhibit Hall. This giant publication also features maps and info to help make your visit to Comic-Con—and downtown San Diego—more complete.

Exhibit Hall


Comic-Con’s giant Exhibit Hall encompasses over 460,000 square feet of comics and pop culture shoppers’ paradise. Taking up Halls A through G of the San Diego Convention Center, the exhibitors include the leading comics publishers in the country, manga and anime companies, book publishers, movie studios and TV networks, toy companies, artists and illustrators, and much more. A current list of exhibitors is available on our website at www.

Film Festival The deadline to submit a film to the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival is March 1. This festival features the very best in indie genre films. There are seven categories to choose from: Action/Adventure, Animation, Comics-Oriented, Documentary, Horror/Suspense, Humor/ Parody and Science Fiction/Fantasy. Each year, Comic-Con chooses a panel of industry judges to view the films. Awards and prizes are given out at ComicCon for the best film in each category and a special “Judges’ Choice” award for the film deemed to be the best of the festival. Visit cci/cci_iff.shtml to download the official rules and entry form, but hurry … that deadline is March 1!

Films Helping you stay up all night, Comic-Con’s film screenings will once again take place at both the Convention Center and the official headquarters hotel, the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. Pre-registered 4-day attendees get a jump on everyone else by getting a sneak peek at the complete films schedule online, closer to the event.

Freebie Tables


One of the best parts of any convention: Free stuff! Comic-Con has it by the bag-load, starting at the giant Freebie Tables located in the Sails Pavilion upstairs. And many companies give out items at their booths in the Exhibit Hall, too.

Games You can count on hours upon hours of games at Comic-Con once again! The Convention Center’s Mezzanine level is devoted to games all four days of the event and our headquarters hotel, the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, offers gaming into the wee hours of the night. Look for a complete schedule closer to the event at


H Photo by Kevin Green.

A list of confirmed special guests appears in this issue, starting on page 32. For up-to-date info, visit

Hospitality Suite The Hospitality Suite will be located at our headquarters hotel, the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. The suite offers free munchies, soft drinks, and a quiet place to chill and relax and meet new friends. Hours and exact location will be posted in the onsite Events Guide. Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 39

Comic-Con A TO Z


Hotels The Comic-Con hotel room reservations opened on Wednesday, February 6 at 9:00 AM, Pacific Standard Time. Hotels at ComicCon International are always hot commodities and most book up early. That said, inventory is constantly monitored for availability and updated frequently. Check or call the Comic-Con Travel and Housing Desk at 1-877-55-COMIC. Outside the U.S., please call 212-532-1660. The reservation deadline for Comic-Con special member rates is June 13, 2008. Please note: We have not been allotted enough rooms by the hotels to meet the demand for rooms. Rooms do fill up within the first few hours so you may want to try to book a room directly with the hotel of your choice now. Comic-Con’s headquarters hotel for 2008 will be the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, located right next door to the Convention Center. Here you’ll find Comic-Con’s Hospitality Suite, nighttime games and film screenings, as well as Starbucks and three great restaurants for meetings or dinners with friends.

Hotel Blog


We know how difficult and frustrating it can be to find a hotel room in San Diego for Comic-Con. To help with some of your questions and concerns, we’ve set up a blog that we will be monitoring regularly to help provide you with information and answers about staying in San Diego. Visit for more details.

Masquerade Comic-Con’s Masquerade, our annual costume competition, will be held on Saturday, July 26 at 8:30 PM. Please note that this is not a dance or party but an on-stage show in front of an audience of 4,200. The event is free to Comic-Con attendees, but it is ticketed since the ballroom fills to capacity. Overflow seating will once again be available in various locations in the Convention Center. Those interested in becoming contestants can obtain complete information and an entry form by visiting www.comic-con. org/cci/cci_masq.shtml. The event welcomes everyone from the novice to the very experienced, from re-created costumes to completely original designs, but the number of entries is limited and the contestant spots fill up several weeks before Comic-Con. All costumes must be of original construction or show significant modification to pre-existing materials. Trophies and cash awards will be presented in several categories by the panel of guest judges. Our Master of Ceremonies this year will once again be the always-entertaining artist and writer Phil Foglio.

Onsite Newsletter Each day of the show, Comic-Con produces an Onsite Newsletter, packed with updated information, including program schedule changes, updated autograph signings and more. The Saturday and Sunday editions also include the Eisner Awards results and the Masquerade winners list. Look for the Onsite Newsletter at various locations throughout the Convention Center.

Parking and Public Transportation Parking can be one of the most challenging aspects of coming to Comic-Con. While Comic-Con itself has no control over the parking situation in downtown San Diego, our advice is simple: A good alternative is to park outside the city and utilize public transportation, including the San Diego Trolley. For updated information on parking and public transportation to and from ComicCon, visit and/or

Portfolio Review Many companies utilize Comic-Con to look for new talent. Our Portfolio Review area in the Sails Pavilion offers an opportunity for attendees to get an honest evaluation of their work, and in some case, to interview for actual jobs. In addition to the upstairs area, some companies will review portfolios at their booths in the Exhibit Hall. Check for more details.

Preview Night It’s quickly become one of the busiest parts of Comic-Con! Preview Night—Wednesday, July 23, from 6:00-9:00 PM—is open to 4-day pre-registered members and professionals only. So hurry and get registered before we sell out! Visit cci/cci_reg.shtml.

Professional Registration Professional registration for Comic-Con 2008 will be open from March 1 until May 1. Professionals on our mailing list should look for information in the mail by March 1 detailing how they can register online.

40 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008



Programming The complete Programming schedule will be posted on ten days to two weeks in advance of the show. We highly advise you to print it out and map your “course of action” at Comic-Con to get to those “must-see” panels and events. The complete schedule is also detailed in the onsite Events Guide, and posted daily on signs outside of all the Programming rooms. See the sidebar article at right for important information regarding attending programs.

Registration We expect to sell out of all memberships for 2008 before July. No onsite membership badges will be sold. We strongly urge you to register online now.

Four-day memberships are currently available online at All 4 Days: Adults: $75.00* Junior/Senior: $35.00* One-day memberships will go on sale March 1, 2008 ONLINE ONLY at Thursday: Adults: $25.00* Junior/Senior: $12.00* Friday: Adults: $30.00* Junior/Senior: $15.00* Saturday: Adults: $35.00* Junior/Senior: $15.00* Sunday: Adults: $20.00* Junior/Senior: $10.00*


*Children under 12 free with PAID adult membership. Juniors are 12-17 years old and Seniors are 60 or more years old. Active military will pay the Junior/Senior price. This offer does not extend to dependents. PLEASE NOTE: Badges will NOT be mailed out in advance. All pre-registered badges will be available for pickup at Attendee Pre-Registration in the San Diego Convention Center’s Sails Pavilion (Upper Level), beginning Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Badge pickup hours for pre-registered, 4-day members only begin Wednesday, July 23. There will be no onsite registration.

Shuttle Bus Routes All of the Comic-Con hotels in the downtown area are on or near our shuttle bus route. This is a free service to all Comic-Con attendees, and a special route map and schedule will be available prior to the show at cci/cci_trans.shtml.

Souvenir Book


This giant trade paperback is given free to all attendees and features biographical information on all of our special guests, and special articles and art dedicated to each year’s special themes and anniversary celebrations at Comic-Con. Best of all, you can be a part of it! We accept submissions from fans and pros alike. See page 31 for more info or visit

Volunteers You can volunteer now for Comic-Con 2008. It’s a great way to see the show for free by working a simple three-hour per day shift; the day you work is the day you get in for free. Those who work all four days get the limited edition ComicCon Volunteer t-shirt (each year’s is different and highly collectible). Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. You can sign up online to volunteer for Comic-Con 2008 at www.comic-con. org/cci/cci_vol.shtml. Just follow the simple directions. If you’ve volunteered in previous years and wish to do so again, we ask that you please register online for 2008.

Website Did we mention we have a website with up-to-date info and just about everything you need to know about Comic-Con 2008 and our other events, WonderCon, and APE, the Alternative Press Expo? And that it’s updated regularly? It’s, in case you didn’t know, and it’s the last word on Comic-Con … and in this article!

Photo by Adrian Velasquez.

Important Information Regarding Programs and Autographs at Comic-Con All event and program rooms have limited capacity as set by the Fire Marshall. Even though your badge is needed to get into all events, YOUR BADGE DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU ACCESS TO ANY EVENT IF IT HAS REACHED ITS CAPACITY. We do not clear rooms between events. Most autograph signings are of a limited nature. Your badge does not guarantee autographs at any event. Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 41

Volunteer Spotlight

A look at the people who help make Comic-Con happen!

April Wahlin PROGRAMMING STAFF MEMBER Comic-Con would not be the incredible success it is without the involvement of the Board of Directors, the Committee members, the office staff, and the large contingent of volunteers who help make the show happen. Recently, one Comic-Con volunteer had an amazing event in her life: She was picked to be “the next Elvira” on the reality show The Search for the Next Elvira. April Wahlin, originally from San Diego and now living in Glendale, is a writer/actor who volunteers at Comic-Con each year. You may have seen April as part of the Programming staff in Hall H, serving as floor manager and occasional MC. How did you first come to Comic-Con? My first Comic-Con was when I was 14. My mom saw it advertised on a bus and took me for my birthday. I loved it so much that I continued to go every year, usually in one costume or another (generally Lara Croft or some strange red-haired rip-off of Trinity from The Matrix). As a broke 17-year-old, I found out that I could get in free if I volunteered for three hours. The last day I was sent to Room 6 to help with crowd control. I have always had a passion for working behind the scenes, so I loved the job. And when they saw my verve for helping, they asked me to be on staff. What do you do at Comic-Con? I’m a Volunteer on the Programming staff. My duties include room and crowd control in Hall H, setting up the stage for panel guests, and screening audience questions for the panelists. How did you become “The Next Elvira?” I had heard that Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) was planning a reality show, but I had no idea where or when. Then a friend of mine sent me the audition website. Less than a week after I submitted my forms, they called me and asked me to come in for an audition at the Queen Mary in front of Elvira. I dressed up in my old Halloween costume and forced my friend Lindsay to come with me. After four hours of sitting, they informed us that not everyone would be able to audition in front

42 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

Above: April being crowned “The Next Elvira” on national TV on Halloween by the original Scream Queen herself, Cassandra “Elvira”Peterson. At right, one of April’s acting headshots. In addition to her duties as the next Elvira, April has appeared as an extra on shows such as My Name Is Earl. At Comic-Con, you can find her in the gigantic Hall H, helping to run the Hollywood-oriented programs in that room.

of Elvira. My heart sank. They ran everyone through as quick as they could and had me read in front of a camera, and assured me that Elvira would see it. Five weeks passed, and on the last day of Comic-Con, the producers called me and told me I had made the final cut. How did you feel when you made it to the final three? I was in shock most of the time, honestly. The whole experience was a bit surreal. I’ve always been a big Elvira fan, so getting to work with her was an absolute blast. I really wasn’t sure how far I would make it on the show. I just figured I was there to have a good time and I did. After the initial episode filming, we had a

month of downtime before the finale. I was proud, excited, and stunned that America voted me as the next Elvira. What are some of your duties as the next Elvira? I finally sat down with Cassandra and her team and it sounds like they’re working on a few things that will involve me. I think I will be at Comic-Con this year to sign autographs. Just in case anyone is confused, I am not replacing Cassandra. I’m pretty much her new apprentice/assistant, the Igor to her Frankenstein, if you will (although she’s much better looking than Frankenstein!).

Costumer’s Corner

BY Martin Jaquish Comic-Con Masquerade Coordinator

Tips for the novice

Two photos that show the incredible level of craftsmanship at Comic-Con’s Masquerade each year. At left, “Honorable Mention for Textile Crafsmanship,” “Charm Lord Orlouge,” made and worn by Anne Kirn. At right, the “Judges’ Choice” winner: “World of Warcraft Raid Bosses,” made and worn by Maryssa Morris, Matt Miller, and Nessa Rigby.

At the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939, Forrest J. Ackerman, writer, editor, and collector of all things science-fiction related, ushered in convention costuming by wearing a futuristic silver outfit portraying a character from the film Metropolis. As fan conventions grew, so did costuming, and masquerade parties and dances became regular events. Eventually, masquerades evolved and the dance floor was replaced with chairs as the crowds grew larger and presentations more elaborate. Today’s ComicCon Masquerade has more in common with the traditions of live theatre than parties, as the audience is treated to a stage spectacle of larger-than-life heroes, villains, creatures, goddesses, robots and more, some presented with drama, some with comedy, some in epic battles and some even with song and dance. If the exciting art of costuming inspires you, how should you proceed? We asked that question of some experienced convention costumers. Here are a few of their tips: • Any art works best when you do what you love, and do it for fun. Don’t worry about what may be “hot” this year; follow Photos by Jerry Shaw.

your inspiration, whether it be a re-creation or something completely original from your imagination. • Be a character on stage, not just a mannequin. If you are a hero, strut and stand proud, if a monster, act threatening, if a princess, learn to walk as one. Use music to create mood. Even if you’re a solo entry, you can likely find something comedic, dramatic, or innovative to include. • Wear something that works with your body type, not against it. Not everyone looks good in every type of costume. A clever costumer spends a long time at the mirror, evaluating. • Old costumer adage to wow a crowd: “Do it first, do it best, or do it differently.” In other words, try to bring something to the stage they haven’t seen before. If you can’t be the first to do a specific character, then make yours stand out in some other way, perhaps a humorous twist, special effects, or as part of a large group. • Surprise the audience, but don’t surprise the technical crew! Let them know what you

have planned, so that your lighting and sound cues happen as you want them. Sure, hide those wings under your cloak to startle the audience, or rip off your fairy mask to reveal a gargoyle beneath, or wage a lightsaber battle, but clue the tech crew in on your plans. • Choose fabrics wisely for workability as well as for stage appearance. For a group, usually everyone’s fabrics should have a similar look. If one costume is made of spandex, and another cotton or leather, they won’t mesh well. Groups have the advantage for presentations, but one weak element can bring the quality of the whole group down. Remember: details do get noticed by the judges, as well as the cameras. • Reserve your contestant spot as soon as you can, or you may find the show filled up. Most conventions have some sort of contestant orientation: rehearsals, or panels giving tips. Make use of them. • Finally: obey the showbiz adage: Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 43

What I’m Reading: COMICS Lately, I enjoy reading big books of old comic strips. There are a lot of great reprints of classic strips coming out now, but it’s some of the more obscure strips that really excite me. It’s a rush to discover an entire archive of great comics I never even knew existed.

in a paper hat, is “the bravest, fiercest, mostbest hero of all,” constantly recruited from his treehouse headquarters by famous historical figures in need of assistance. As with Calvin and Hobbes, it’s left to the reader to decide whether Thompson’s adventures are real or imaginary, and in fact the strip often reads like a prototype for Bill Watterson’s. At other times, it’s reminiscent of the Peabody and Sherman segments in Rocky and Bullwinkle, with a similar weakness for jokey


Shaenon K. Garrity

desperately cheerful strip. Milquetoast everyman Chet Tibbit narrates the history of his marriage to Betsy, with whom he has a frighteningly precocious son named Farley. But maybe its cheerfulness is just the mirror image of the depression Cole was suffering. Whether that’s true or not, the circumstances of Betsy and Me cast an unavoidable pall over the strip itself, sometimes giving it a strangely dark Death of a Salesman quality. There are more big comic strip reprint


©2006 Solo/Bulls

©Gene Deitch.

First and foremost, I’m deeply in love with Tove Jansson’s Moomin comic strip. Moomin © is a furry white troll (actually, 2007 Solo/Bulls. he looks kind of like a hippo) who lives with his Moominpappa and Moominmamma in a land of mismatched eccentrics. The plots are at once reassuringly domestic and outlandishly bizarre: one week Moomin is forced out of his house because a ruffian named Stinky is eating all his furniture, the next he’s inventing a magic elixir that turns a bunch of old ladies into bearded men who rush off to find can-can girls. There’s a pleasantly philosophical bent to all the chaos. When Moominpappa observes, “It isn’t easy. Life, I mean,” Moominmamma answers blithely, “Perhaps, but it’s full of variety.” Drawn and Quarterly has two lovely hardcover volumes out so far, and they’re two of the best volumes of comic strips I’ve ever read. I also enjoyed Terr’ble Thompson, a shortlived strip by the great animator Gene Deitch. Terr’ble Thompson ran for a mere six months in 1954, but they were six great-looking months. Deitch, then the creative chief at UPA Pictures, was a master of the stylized, designoriented modernist look that defined the 1950s jazz aesthetic. Thompson, a little boy 44 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

historical references and bad puns. Fantagraphics has done a great job with Terr’ble Thompson, adding essays and notes and printing the strips on an off-white background with the reassuring look of slightly yellowed newspaper. (Editor’s note: Deitch’s son, ©2007 Fantagraph ics Books. cartoonist Kim Deitch, is a special guest at Comic-Con 2008.) Then there’s Betsy and Me, another short- projects coming up in 2008, including the lived strip from the 1950s, also reprinted by first volumes of the Complete Pogo and Fantagraphics. Betsy and Me ran for only two Jules Feiffer’s weekly Feiffer strip. But I and a half months, for the saddest of possible hope publishers also dig up more series like reasons: It was the last thing Jack Cole, creator Moomin, Terr’ble Thompson and Betsy and of Plastic Man and one of Playboy’s foremost Me. These are the strips that make me fall in pinup-girl cartoonists, drew before shooting love with comics all over again. There are so himself. Cole’s suicide remains a mystery, many forgotten treasures, so many brilliant or and it’s impossible to read Betsy and Me funny or amazingly weird comics left to be without searching for clues, especially since rediscovered. And left to be drawn. the collection opens with a lengthy essay by R.C. Harvey speculating on the subject. And yet Betsy and Me is a relentlessly, almost

What I’m Reading: MANGA Reading all the manga coming out nowadays is like trying to drink all the water in the river … it’s not easy, but sometimes tasty things float downstream. Romantic comedies are one of the genres manga does best, and Fumi Yoshinaga’s Flower of Life (16+) is my current favorite. Yoshinaga’s previous hit was Antique Bakery (16+), about four straight and gay men running a pastry shop in Tokyo, but in Flower of Life she takes all the familiar tropes of high school manga and tweaks them with hilarious dialogue, lovably flawed characters, and minimalistic

Courtesy of TOKYOPOP.

artwork. The many Japanese geek culture in-jokes make this a title for experienced mangaphiles, but another fine love-com is Chika Umino’s bittersweet romance Honey and Clover (16+), set at an art college in Tokyo. For younger readers, Moyoco Anno’s Sugar Sugar Rune (13+) is a lovably weird, beautifully drawn story of two young witches sent to earth to compete at winning human hearts (figuratively!). The underappreciated gem of current science fiction manga is Yuji Iwahara’s King of Thorn (16+). Like Minetaro Mochizuki’s Dragon Head (18+) or Kazuo Umezu’s The Drifting Classroom (18+), it follows

a few hapless souls on a journey into a postapocalyptic future, but Iwahara’s dynamic (and somewhat American-influenced) artwork brings every dinosaur-like monster and action scene to life. Not as gorgeous to look at, but sharply written, is Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte (18+). Recently back in print in a new edition, it’s the story of an invasion by shapeshifting cannibal aliens … and the boy who ends up having to make friends with one of them living in his arm. Among fantasy manga, Kentaro Miura’s Berserk (18+) follows a swordsman through a war-torn, vaguely European land

Mushishi © 2000 Yuki Urushibara/ KODANSHA LTD. All rights reserved.

seeking vengeance against the lords of hell. Kohta Hirano’s action-horror manga Hellsing (18+) is also a jaw-dropping experience, with apocalyptic vampires-and-Nazis battles and the craziest German and Irish accents you’ve ever read … but careful, like Berserk, it’s shrinkwrapped for a reason. On a less violent note, there’s Yuki Urushibara’s Mushishi (16+), a collection of short stories set in feudal Japan. The hero, a sort of traveling doctor, is the link between these stories of mushi, strange lifeforms a bit like plants, a bit like bacteria, a bit like spirits. Sometimes touching, sometimes scary, the stories are as tightly constructed as the best folklore.


Jason Thompson

Many of the best series being published right now are vintage manga from the 1970s and earlier. Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix (16+) is a mixture of historical and science fiction tales, a millenia-spanning saga connected by the quest for the mystical phoenix whose blood grants immortality. Keiko Takemiya’s To Terra … (all ages) is the story of young psychics, raised inside a giant interstellar spaceship, and their rebellion against a repressive government. But the old-school manga I can’t put down is Takao Saito’s Golgo 13 (18+), stories of a mercenary super-

© SAITO PRODUCTION 2006 © 2000 Shogakukan Inc.

sniper who is Japan’s answer to James Bond. Tiananmen Square, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, even the 2000 U.S. presidential election … guess who was there behind the scenes? The hatchet-faced art is light years away from today’s popular manga, but I’d recommend it to anyone who likes traditional Euro-comics or classic adventure newspaper strips. *(Editor’s note: We’ve included each book’s rating—in parentheses—so you can better gauge if a specific title is of interest to you.)

Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 45

What I’m Reading: SF/FANTASY I’m always reading multiple books at any given time. Call it “Reader’s ADD” if you will, but I generally have a different book for different locations — my office, my bedroom, my car, etc. Most are either speculative fiction or suspense titles, but I read a smattering of just about everything, including non-fiction, magazines, and comics. Elizabeth Bear is a multiple-genre writing, multiple-award winning author. Undertow has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick

©2007 Elizabeth Bear; courtesy Bantam/Spectra Books.

Award. Multiple groups of people, human and otherwise, including the native amphibious ranids, are engaged in a struggle for a planet on the Rim of human civilization. Greene’s World is the only known source of a substance that allows the existence of life as most of them know it, a slippery substance that involves quantum physics and probability. Undertow has elements to it that remind me of C.J. Cherryh (mega-corporations, trade, and espionage); William Gibson (living totally wired); Karen Traviss (an alien culture means having alien values, not to mention 46 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008

different personal pronouns); and Vernor Vinge (extrapolated scientific possibilities that make my head hurt and lie just outside my ability to really grasp), without ever being derivative or less than original. Former San Diego author Jeanne Stein has established a “strong” presence in the very popular field of dark urban fantasy with her tales of a vampire bounty hunter residing in America’s Finest City. Like Joss Whedon, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Charlaine Harris,


Maryelizabeth Hart

but also activities of certain demon-raising sorceresses and other villains. Fellow paranormal fantasy author Rachel Vincent has distinguished herself in the field in part by her choice of protagonists—werecats. Protagonist Faythe Sanders strives to assert her independence in her family/Pride, which can be difficult in a culture where females, or “tabbies,” are rare and treated as a precious commodity, even though she could rip the average person to shreds in moments in cat

©2007 Jeanne C. Stein; courtesy Ace Books.

Jeanne has selected traditional elements of the vampire mythos, and adapted and added her own to form a unique variation on bloodsuckers and their paranormal peers. Anna Strong was turned into a vampire while capturing a criminal in The Becoming, and part of the strength of Jeanne’s books is the documentation of Anna’s struggle to balance the new demands of her unlife against her connections to her former life, including her family, her business partner, and her lover. In The Watcher, Anna discovers illicit traffic along the San Diego/Mexico border doesn’t just include that of Mexican drug lords,

form, and can fare pretty well for herself in human form as well. In last year’s Stray, Faythe reluctantly returned from her college student life to her family’s Texas ranch when she and other young tabbies were targets for kidnapping. Rogue finds Faythe trying to keep her promise to her Alpha to be a team member, and help discover who’s behind a killing spree. Rachel does an excellent job with both her Texas setting, and her depiction of werefeline behavior, including lots of contact between Pride members, and constant eating to maintain their high metabolisms.

What I’m Watching: TORCHWOOD

Photo: Todd Anthony. © 2008 BBC Worldwide.

Photo by Adrian Rogers. © 2008 BBC Worldwide.

I pretty much fell in love with Torchwood from episode one, when it debuted on BBC America back in September 2007. I loved the Cardiff, Wales setting—which offered an entirely different view of the UK not often seen in the US—chosen because a space/ time rift evidently runs smack dab through the city (who knew?). The characters are all well-defined and compelling: the unkillable man out of time, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman); saucy local copper Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) thrown into this brave new world of aliens and time travel; the surly, sullen, and superior Owen Harper (Burn Gorman); shy scientist Toshiko Sato

James Marsters as Captain John Hart in the second season of Torchwood.

(Naoko Mori); and receptionist/major domo Ianto Jones (Gareth David Lloyd), who is as mysterious as Captain Jack. The show’s name comes from the Torchwood Institute, a top secret organization charged with keeping an eye on all the strangeness that’s transpiring in the 21st century. The branch that Jack, Gwen, Owen, Toshiko, and Ianto operate out of is Torchwood Three. The series includes the above-mentioned time travel and alien incursions into our world, but also deals with other paranormal phenomenon such as faeries, alien weaponry and artifacts (on eBay, even!), bringing the dead back to life, cannibalism, serial killers, even an alien version of Fight Club. The show is always imaginative and is constantly tweaking conventions, especially when it comes to sexuality. If you think Captain Kirk got “around,“ you ain’t seen Captain Jack—or anyone else in the cast! Let’s just say you might have some explaining to do to the wee ones, if they happen to be watching. Torchwood is adult-dosage science fiction, to say the least. Created by Russell T. Davies, the man responsible for the revitalization of Doctor Who, Torchwood is wonderfully complex and vividly realized, with rich characterizations and a compelling long-term storyline. Its

ongoing tale about the Rift and how the 21st Century is where it all changes, a nexus of alien invasions and just generally bad mojo, keeps you coming back for more each and every week. A spin-off (and an anagram of) Doctor Who, the Captain Jack character first appeared on multiple episodes of that revived series’ first season in 2005, plus three episodes in 2007, and is scheduled to reappear again in the 2008 season. Torchwood’s second season started in late January here in the States, following directly on the heels of the first season’s DVD release. If you haven’t been watching, you’re going to want to see these in order, so I suggest the DVD first. Season Two brings in a further connection to Doctor Who with Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), the good Doctor’s companion in the current series featuring the latest incarnation of the venerable BBC character. Also joining Torchwood is fanfavorite James Marsters (Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) as “Captain John Hart,” as a mysterious “Time Agent.” Torchwood offers an entirely different take on the sci-fi genre: An adult, fun, wellwritten and -acted romp. If the second season is anything like the first, we’re all in store for another wild ride. Winter 2008 • Comic-Con Magazine 47

Comic-Con’s Past

Kirby at Comic-Con Mark Evanier’s new book, Kirby: King of Comics, (see the excerpt starting on page 24) chronicles Jack Kirby’s career in comics through his art. Highly regarded as one of the top creators in the medium, Kirby was a mainstay at Comic-Con, regarded not only as a special guest but also a friend. Jack was the first “guest of honor” at the first “official” Comic-Con held August 1-3, 1970, in the basement of the U. S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego. He attended every ComicCon from 1970-1993, missing only one year (1981). Kirby was such a fixture at the event that parties were held commemorating his 70th and 75th birthdays (in 1987 and 1992, respectively). Kirby will always have a special place in Comic-Con history and in our hearts. He was there during the first 23 years of the show, always willing to speak on panels, sign for his fans, tell stories about the “early days,” or dance with his beloved wife Roz at the surprise birthday parties thrown for him. To this day, Comic-Con presents a Jack Kirby Tribute panel—hosted by Mark Evanier—featuring writers and artists speaking about Kirby’s influence on comics and their own work. Even though he died in 1994, Kirby’s spirit is still at Comic-Con, each and every year.

1 2

Kirby signs at the 1986 Comic-Con.


The cover to the 1972 Souvenir Book featuring The Demon, Kamandi and Merlin, Kirby’s latest creations for DC.

4 5 6

1976 Eternals art, also inked by Stevens.



Captain America from the 1977 Souvenir Book, inked by Dave Stevens.

Signing for fans at the 1975 Comic-Con. Drawing on stage at the 1970 Comic-Con.


4 48 Comic-Con Magazine • Winter 2008



Captain America, Eternals, Doctor Doom, and The Thing © & ™ 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Demon, Kamandi, and Merlin © 2008 DC Comics.

The First Major Comics Convention of 2008 is in Northern California! W O N D E R C O N

WonderCon 2008

February 22-24 Moscone Center South San Francisco Featuring Special Guests:

Sergio Aragonés • Kurt Busiek Mike Choi* • Becky Cloonan Darwyn Cooke • Terry Dodson Mark Evanier • Jim Lee • Steve Leialoha David Mack • Terry Moore • Noel Neill Tim Sale • J. Michael Straczynski Ben Templesmith** • Bruce Timm Herb Trimpe • Bill Willingham • Brian Wood

and many more!


REGISTER ONLINE! SAVE MONEY! *Mike Choi courtesy Top Cow Productions, appearing Sat. & Sun. only. ** Ben Templesmith courtesy Electronic Arts. Justice League and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics.


San Diego Comic-Con International P. O. Box 128458 San Diego, CA 92112-8458




Comic-Con Magazine - Winter 2008  
Comic-Con Magazine - Winter 2008  

The Winter 2008 (and premiere) edition of Comic-Con Magazine, your source for information on the comics and pop-culture events Comic-Con Int...