Thursday, 28 August 2014

Comics at WorldCon

One of the highlights of WorldCon for us was Bryan Talbot (who turns out to be a lovely man!). As Guest of Honour, he gave several talks - the first we attended was on the history of anthropomorphic animals in comics, which was very comprehensive. Mind you, I felt a little bit of a fraud when I put my hand up to knowing about 1930s annuals like Teddy Tail and Tiger Tim, because I knew about them from my time working at the Children's Bookshop in Hay, rather than from my own childhood experience. We're now eagerly awaiting Grandville:Noel, which is due out in November.
There's also a film called Graphic Novel Man, which was shown at the Con (my Young Man bought a copy - it's fascinating), about Bryan Talbot's life and work - and he also gave a talk called How I make a Graphic Novel which will make me look at the layout of comics with new eyes. He talked about making things absolutely clear on the page, to lead the reader's eye to speech bubbles in the right order, and to draw the eye across, and how it made sense to finish one scene at the bottom of the right hand page, so you could turn over and see that you were in a new scene - "It's no use having people wonder about so-and-so's secret identity on one page, if you can see him taking his mask off in the next!" He also showed the perils of letting the letterers choose where they put the speech bubbles over the picture, with an image of Magneto - but all you could see of him were his feet, the rest being hidden by the speech bubble!
Another panel we went to was called In Space, No One Can Hear You Ink: the Best SF Comics. Here we had a French perspective on comics, from a physicist (I think - certainly a scientist) called Sakuya - the French are seriously into comics as an adult literary form. Also on the panel was Phil Foglio, who was up for a Hugo for Volume 13 of his Girl Genius comic. Being unfamiliar with any earlier volumes, when I read the Hugo packet I hadn't got a clue what was going on, so I didn't rate the series very highly, but after the panel we went back to the Girl Genius table in the dealers' hall to find that Volume One had already sold out, so my Young Man got Volume Two to start off with - and suddenly it made so much more sense. He'll be looking for more, I think. We also noticed that Agatha, the Girl Genius of the title, looked uncannily like Phil Foglio, complete with large round glasses. He said he had no problem in getting the domain name on the web, because the words "Girl" and "Genius" were never used together! Other members of the panel were Ade Brown and Scott Edelman.
The last thing that we went to on the Monday, after the Closing Ceremony where the gavel was passed from LonCon to Sasquan in Spokane, Washington, complete with their own Sasquatch (and the audience was pelted with huckleberry sweets), was a film called Comics Britannia - Anarchy in the UK. I've never been much of a fan of Viz, but the other stuff was interesting - and it also showed how different things were in the 1970s, when young men on the dole could spend that time honing their creative skills or, in the case of Viz, starting to put out a comic from their back bedroom. That sort of thing would probably get you 'sanctioned' these days.

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