Chew Takes a Bite Out of NYCC 2013

nycc chew panel

I’ve been a big fan of the comic book series, Chew, for a while now. John Layman’s writing and Rob Guillory’s style are a perfect match. It’s one of the few comics that actually make me literally LOL. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, pick up the first volume. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Being a fan, I was excited to see the Chew crew for the first time. During the panel, we learned that Chew started off dark. I mean really dark. Which isn’t surprising considering the main character eats human flesh on a frequent basis (he gets telepathic readings from meat). But thanks to Rob’s artistic style, Chew turned out to be more light and goofy.

Chew1The art style John wanted Rob to use in Chew was actually Rob just screwing around on the internet because he confessed that no one actually liked that style. No one except for John Layman. The first three issues of Chew weren’t written for Rob’s style, so as the series went on, it got funnier because John would write to Rob’s strengths. They both thought Chew’s concept was so crazy no one would buy it. But a few years and one Eisner Award later, they were proven wrong.

It comes to no surprise that Rob channels Broadway’s dramatic over-actors when illustrating the characters. He likes that you can tell what’s going in the story, even if there was no dialogue. Speaking of exaggerated, the two talked about fan-favorite Poyo, the cyborg rooster that’s kicking ass for the USDA.  John descried Poyo as, “Chew without the rules.” Fans should be happy to know that the next arc will feature Poyo, followed by The Vampire, then Mason Savoy and ending with Tony Chu.

You may remember hearing about Chew being pitched to Showtime for as a show. John updated the fans that it’s no longer on the table. It seems that the Showtime people weren’t interested in a cartoon, which is the direction John and Rob wanted to go in in order to keep the story genuine. Thankfully, they have a new “Hollywood guy” that’s focused on animation and they want to keep it to as close as the story as possible.

If nothing else, learned that John Layman is a pretty big gamer an really just wants to play Warcraft and GTA all day.

[Photo via Bleeding Cool]


New York Comic Con 2013: Adventure Time Panel

New York Comic Con 2013 - Day 4

Pendleton Ward, John DiMaggio, Rebecca Sugar, Jeremy Shada, and Kent Osborne

The Adventure Time panel held this past Sunday was moderated by New York Times culture writer Dave Itzkoff featuring creator and head animator Pendleton Ward (Lump Space Princess), John MiMaggio (Jake), Jeremy Shada (Finn), Rebecca Sugar (writer, storyboard artist, ukulele player) and Kent Osborne (head of story).

New York Comic Con 2013 - Day 4

Pendleton Ward (creator)

When asked what he was like as a child, Pen responded by saying he was an idiot that ate a lot of pizza and played Diablo. “As a small chubby nerd, that was my life. Geek life”, Pen added. Although he never imagined he’d be responsible for such a hit, he always knew he wanted to be an animator as a kid. He used to make flip books with post-it notes. Even Jake and Finn started off as doodles in his sketch book. He would just plug-in the personalities of his friends for the characters. When it came time to actually pitch Adventure Time he picked Jake and Finn from his doodles and used the personalities of his two weirdest friends.

During the panel it became clear that D&D plays a major role in Pen’s creativity and the show itself. The cast often plays D&D and uses elements from D&D to help write. When writing for the different characters, Pen compared it to playing D&D. They become the characters, much like D&D, which makes the stories flow naturally. He even cited D&D as the reason for Adventure Time’s continuity. Something not always found in animated shows.

Pen wanted to create a show that he would be inspired by. He used Leonardo as an example of what he didn’t want. In TMNT “Leonardo was such a bummer,” always worried about something. He didn’t want Finn to be a “winey baby” he wanted him to be more like the other turtles.

Part of the magic of Adventure Time is its ability to appeal to fans from the age of 8 to 80. When asked whether they write for a specific demographic, Pen answered that they just write to make themselves laugh, they don’t have a specific demo in mind. John DiMaggio, the voice of Jake, said, “I haven’t’ encountered a show with a more diverse audience.” It was easily the most mathematical panel I attended during the con.

Kent Osborne, Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Pendleton Ward, Rebecca Sugar

Kent Osborne, Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Pendleton Ward, Rebecca Sugar

Jeremy Shada (Finn)

Jeremy Shada (Finn)


John DiMaggio (Jake)

John DiMaggio (Jake)



[Photos courtesy of Cartoon Network]

10 Tips For Surviving New York Comic Con


I’ve been going to New York Comic Con (NYCC) for a couple of years now and I’ve discovered some tips that’ll help you make the most of your wonderfully geeky weekend. If you’re going to NYCC and wanna say hi IRL, hit me up on Twitter or email me at jamila[at]! nyccc-mobile-promo

1. NYCC App

The NYCC App has everything you need to know about the con including panels, guests, rules, exhibitors, map and a bunch more. My favorite feature is that you can add panels to your schedule and they’ll remind you when it’s coming up.


2. Comphy Shoes & Clothes (Cosplay Willing)

If you plan to be there all 3 or 4 days you will be exhausted. The convention space is huge and you’ll be on your feet for a good portion of that time. Do your feet a favor and wear comfortable shoes. Of course, if your cosplay requires heels pack some emergency flats!


3. Nomz

If you’re like me, you plan to go to as many panels as time and space permit. Which means you’ll be waiting in line and camping out in rooms for hours. Don’t lose your spot in line, or that front row seat to a panel because you were hungry or thirsty. Pack some food and drinks! Drink extra OJ and take your vitamins that weekend, you don’t want to suffer from con-flu on Monday!


4. Chargers

Even if you have great battery life, bring your charger. You’ll be taking more photos and on your social media pages much more because it’s NYCC. There are some charging stations and random sockets around the convention center. If you have a portable charger bring that fo sho!


5. Camera(s)

As I mentioned above, the chances of your phone dying are higher than you seeing a Homestuck cosplayer. I know real cameras are becoming pretty rare, but if you have one bring it! The quality of your photos will be better and it’ll still be around when your phone isn’t. Worst case scenario is using your iPad. I know it’s pretty embarrassing and you look like a tourist, but I’m sure you can suffer 5 seconds of side eyes if it means taking a picture of an amazing cosplayer.


6. Sharpie

Yup, that’s it. A sharpie. Don’t be the one who runs into Stan Lee at the con with no Sharpie at hand for an autograph.



Bring your own comics. This goes hand-in-hand with the sharpie tip. Go through the list of guests and artists that will be at NYCC and bring some of their comics with you. I’ve been lucky enough to have Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Brian K. Vaughan, Sean Murphy, Greg Capullo, Robert Kirkman (to name a few) sign my comics!

Pro tip: At the end of the panels, rush (in an orderly fashion) to the front of the stage. Most panelist stay and sign stuff and take pictures before they leave. No pushing!


8. Read/Watch/Play

If you plan to go to panels, you’ll be in a line. A lot. And you’ll be camping out in rooms (IGN theater, I’m looking at you kid). Although the con is my favorite place to people watch and make new friends, I suggesting bringing a book, comic, 3DS, PSP and/or an iPad to entertain you while you wait to be entertained some more. Plus, think of all the Street Passes you’ll get on your 3DS!


9. Buy (Almost) Everything Sunday

If you’ll be there for the whole weekend, wait until Sunday to buy most of your goodies. By then, you would have gotten to see the whole floor multiple times and compare prices on all the swag you want. Also, Sunday is shorter so you won’t have to carry your loot for that long. There are less attendees as well so you’ll have the space to get a good look at everything and shift through comics without bumping into a fellow con-goer or getting accidentally hit in the face by their cosplay. Doh!

adventure time homies help homies

10. Don’t Be a Jerk

Seriously, dude. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t cut in line. Be respectful of cosplayers. Revealing cosplay isn’t an invitation to be a creeper. No one likes a creeper. Help make NYCC a happy place.

NYCC- Writers Room: Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughan & Jonathan Hickman

“Writers block is another word for video games.” – BVK

Panelists: Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughan, Jonathan Hickman and moderated  Ron Richards

  • –  On the topic of scripts, Brian K. Vaughan said that for him they are a love letter from him to his artist.
  • –  A fan asked if the writers have the entire story outlined or predetermined before beginning a new series. BKV felt that writers are the pilot of an airplane, either you know what you’re doing from the beginning, or you don’t let anyone know that you have no idea what you’re talking about.
  • –  The writers had very different styles of how they approach the art of the comic. BVK told us that Fiona Staples (artist for Saga) doesn’t like to know what’s going to happen in the series, she likes to be surprised every time she gets a new script.
  • –  Ever wonder what happens when the art doesn’t quite match what the writer had in mind? Grant Morrison said he never asks artists to redraw anything, you work around it. His fellow panelists agreed.

    Ran into BVK on the show floor and he signed my TPB of Saga. He was very nice!

  • –  An audience member wanted to know how the writers decide on how many panels to put on each page. BVK feels that 5 panels and about 12 balloons work for him. It’s like a haiku, it feels right.
  • –  Jonathan Hickman said that 5 panels a page also gives the artist a chance to have a stellar panel in the middle of the page.
  • – BVK’s writing style starts off with long drafts and then he edits and cuts and hopes the good stuff is left. After years of writing he likes to let the art do the talking when possible.
  • –  On the subject of voice, Morrison stated that he hears the voices of the characters in his head. He knows them, he knows what they like and what they don’t like, so it’s easier to write in their voice. Vaughan stated he is the complete opposite.
  • –  A fan asked how they deal with reader feedback and all panelists agreed that they don’t care. BVK explained further, “It’s the writer versus him or herself, I don’t care about feedback.” Morrison admitted that, “We don’t even know how to deal with feedback,” Hickman rounded out the answer, “No one hates me like me. I’m way rougher on myself than anyone else.”
  •  – When it comes to starting and leaving an ongoing series, BVK compared it to a relationship. You love them and then you leave them and you want them to be happy, you just don’t want to see it.

    Grant Morrison

  • –  On the importance of  adding autobiographical elements to their work, Morrison likes to write about situations that he’s experienced. BVK agreed that it’s the surest way to make something unique.
  • –  When asked what they do about writer’s block, the panelists stated they don’t experience writers block. When it comes down to it, writing is supposed to be hard. If you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, you have to push through it.  Vaughan said, “Writers block is another word for video games.”

NYCC 2012: Batman- Death Comes to Gotham Panel

Hell hath no fury like the Joker scorned.

This is a combination of the the Batman: Death Comes to Gotham panel and a bit of the DC New 52 panel, focusing on Batman the highly anticipated Joker story arc that affects all the Bat-family.

Scott Snyder gave the New York Comic Con audience a peak inside the twisted mind of the Joker and a glimpse into this dark arc. In short, Joker is the jester and Batman is the king. The Joker went away for a year and he’s upset with Batman because he thinks he has been weakened by his new Bat-family (Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, etc.) They have made him lazy and fat and he’s back in Gotham to make things right again.

The Joker serves Batman to make him stronger. In order to make Batman stronger, he plans to kick his ass, turn his world upside down and kill his family… but it’s all out of love. Joker believes Batman will be a better king if he survives what’s coming his way.

The point of a jester is to bring the worst news to the king and make him laugh about it. It just so happens that the Joker is not only the bearer of bad news, but also the reason for it. The villains serve Batman, not his Bat-family. The Joker wants to show Batman that the villains are the ones that truly love him. To prove this to Batman, Joker plans to kill his family.

The Joker attacks members of the Bat-family by targeting their greatest weaknesses. He’s been watching them all and he knows what they are most afraid of. He’s going to take their deepest fears and make them very real for everyone. Each attack is personalized. Despite the connected arc, each book in the Bat-family stands on its own. Both Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo warned the audience that this storyline isn’t for the faint of heart, and if you’ve read Batman issue 13, you’re already well aware of that.

Panelists: Scott Snyder (Batman), Grant Morrison (Batman, Incorporated), Kyle Higgins (Nightwing), Mike Marts (Batman Group Editor), Gregg Hurwitz (Batman: The Dark Knight), David Finch (Batman: The Dark Knight), Marcus To (Batwing), Peter Tomasi (Batman & Robin), James Tynion IV (Talon) & more

Ran into Scott Snyder on the floor. A genuinely nice guy!

Scott Snyder signing comics in artist alley

NYCC 2012- Grant Morrison Spotlight

As some of you may know, I have a deep love and admiration for Grant Morrison. In short, his opinions and work constantly force me to challenge the way I think and understand the world, universe and everything in between. (You can read all about why here.) Over the course of the convention, I heard at least three people say that Morrison’s work literally saved their life. That fact alone should show the impact this man leaves in people’s lives. This spotlight was predominantly fan questions and I thought it would be easier to recap the spotlight in a bulleted format.

  • –  The moderator described Happy, Morrison’s new four issue series, as A Christmas Story on meth.
  • –  The creepy song “ Pegasus”, by The Hollies inspired Morrison to create Happy.
  • –  He described Happy as a buddy cop movie.
  • –  He also announced that Rza (Wu-Tang Clan) is working on a script for one of his works and they instantly bonded over UFOs.
  • –  He recently finished working on Aliens vs. Dinosaurs and he thinks Hollywood is getting more psychedelic and would love to have The Filth made into movie.
  • –  On the topic of superheroes, Morrison said he identifies with superheros and believes everyone probably does in some way. They illustrate social realism. They are able to talk about real life in ways that realism cannot handle. Hence, the fantastical elements.
  • –  Morrison believes Superman is a man for the people. He gives us what we need, when we need it. He represents the ultimate man and Morrison always thought Superman was a half Christ, half Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. figure. He also emphasized that Batman himself has become an architype.
  • –  Superheros ask us, “I am better than you, can you live up to me?” They are noble and help elevate us out of negative cynicism. Nothing is impossible and there’s always a way. 
  • –  He believes the 5th dimension is inside our head. He told the audience to think about one universe, now think about two, now think about ten. That is an example of how our mind is infinite and holds no bounds. The imagination is the 5th dimension.
  • A fan asked Morrison if he thought the world would end in December and he replied, no. “The apocalypse is us projecting our morality to the world.”, he went on to explain.
  • –  Morrison was juggling about 15 things in 2010 and was almost at the point of mental illness. But he stressed to never reject an opportunity to work.
  • –  In regards to why Buddy Baker in his run of Animal Man was involved in animal rights, he explained that his cat died while writing it and he loves animals and wanted to give his animal friends a good story.
  • –  He’s not a fan of “the red” concept in Animal Man because he feels it makes Buddy seem like a sub-Swamp Thing. He stressed that he is a fan of Jeff Lemire and the other ST writers, but personally doesn’t like the red in relation to Animal Man.
  • –  Flex Mentallo was inspired by ecstasy, mushroom and rave culture.
  • –  A fan asked what to do if you’re practicing magic and bad things happen. Morrison simply responded by saying the same way you always deal with bad things.
  • –  In addition, if you ever conjure up a demon, he said they don’t like logic or shapes and it’s easy to talk them out of existence.

Press Release from Legendary Comics about Grant Morrison’s Annihilator to be released in 2013:

Morrison brings to the pages a thrilling story starring wild-living screenwriter Ray Spass, who has one last chance to save his career as he struggles to write a new studio tent-pole movie, Annihilator.

The film centers around the incredible adventures of Max Nomax; a sci-fi rebel anti-hero who’s condemned to a haunted prison orbiting a supermassive black hole, following an epic struggle against the all-knowing, all–powerful artificial life form VADA and his squad of deadly Annihilators. Found guilty of the Greatest Crime in History, Nomax has vowed to clear his name by discovering a Cure for Death itself and resurrecting his lost love.

But with deadlines looming and a recently-diagnosed brain tumor, Spass is running out of time and inspiration – until the real Max Nomax mysteriously appears in the world of 21stcentury Los Angeles with no memory of how he got there, only a terrifying warning of imminent destruction and a mission for Ray Spass.

Ray’s tumor is the key—it contains all the information of Nomax’s adventures, uploaded into Ray’s head before Nomax made his great escape.  Now, Ray has to finish his screenplay in order to get the information out of his head and shrink the tumor. Nomax needs Ray to finish the screenplay so he can remember how to defeat VADA and ultimately save the universe from extinction – if Makro, the unstoppable rogue Annihilator, doesn’t kill get to them first, that is.

But who or what is Max Nomax really?  And why is it the more we learn, the less we want to know?  A heart-stopping suspense thriller. A love story. An impossible mystery. A tale of vengeance and defiance – bargains and consequences – life and death – good and evil.

NYCC 2012- Brian K. Vaughan, Brian Wood and More Discuss Sci-Fi at Image Comics

Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan of Saga

Fractured Futures: Speculative Fiction & Image Comics Panel

Science fiction embodies different elements to different people. This panel took a look into what sci-fi means to these writers and illustrators and how they use it to shape their work in Image Comics. The panelists included Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Saga), David Hine (Storm Dogs), Joe Harris (Great Pacific), Glen Brunswick (Non-Humans) and Brian Wood and Ming Doyle (Mara).

Brian Wood said that in Mara, the sci-fi is less about the actual technology and more about how it affects the characters in his story. It’s about how we as humans realistically react to fantastical elements. They all admitted there are different types of sci-fi, which we can all attest to. There’s apocalyptic, cyberpunk, science fantasy, or how Brian K. Vaughan likes to describes Saga, fakey make-believe.

BKV said that he used to have friends who liked science fiction and those who liked fantasy, but never both. Saga is both, there’s magic and space ships. When going into depth about the reasoning behind the character design and world building, BKV wanted to use, “simple iconography for each world”. Whether it’s wings, horns or television heads, there’s no mistaking each world and its people. We instantly know what team they play for.

Fiona Staples, the artists for Saga, explained that she isn’t a fan of drawing tech, “I always put character first when I design these things”. BKV said he pretty much gives her a lot of free reign of the character design. Fun fact: Vaughan showed Staples a bong as a reference for his dragon skull space ship.

A fan asked the reasoning behind the characters non-violence stance. Vaughan joked, “I have kids now and my major question is what order to show the Star Wars movies to them.” On a more serious note, most of the panelist agreed that, as a creator you love violence, but as a human being you abhor it, so you face a creative crossroads.

BVK shared his thoughts on Saga becoming a film, “That part is cool, and I’m happy to sell out. Beyond that, I don’t really care. My idea director for ‘Saga’ is Fiona, and my ideal cast are the ones that Fiona draws. The comic is a destination; it’s not a blueprint for something else.”