A shorter day (thankfully), I attended a few panels and chatted with a few creators. You know, that old thing.
The sketch duel between Doug Mahnke and Francis Manapul was the best. This was something I’d never experienced before, and it was quite cool. For those unfamiliar, it’s the two creators drawing the same character and while drawing they both answer questions from the audience. When all is said and done the drawings were raffled off to some hugely lucky attendees, walking off with either a Mahnke or Manapul Nightwing, Powergirl, or Wolverine sketch. And no I didn’t win any of them.
I have to mention my question to Doug Mahnke, I asked about how he worked on all the space fare for Green Lantern without the aid of references. He said that he worked in a studio with Patrick Gleason, a man who has worked on Green Lantern Corps for years, and that was a big help, in addition to using the back-issue library at DC for available comic reference, and the most valuable advice for the general populace who don’t have access to either of those two resources: “fake it ‘till you make it.”
When asked about page composition Francis Manapul said that if you can read it without the word balloons, if you can understand it without the words, then you’re doing your job. If that isn’t the case, then you need to simplify.
On the topic of the other artist, Manapul said Mahnke’s work was an inspiration because it was ‘anatomically correct’ (“Thanks man”- Doug Mahnke). But Mahnke responded that art is not just accuracy, it’s also a visceral reaction, like when he sees Manapul’s stuff he thinks “fluid” and “elegant”. That he’s an artist, not just a comic artist. Mahnke was trying to say that without making comic artist sound like a bad thing to begin with, but we all know what he means: Manapul achieves something beautiful beyond the base requirements for telling a story.
Moving on to the “Drawing Heads and Hands with Olivier Coipel” panel, I was put off by the lack of preparation evident. It’s not a good sign when the artist is getting the rundown on what exactly he’s supposed to do in a room two minutes before the panel starts up. But you know what, Coipel did a really good job for being put on the spot like he was, and given how often he would say “how you say-?” I’m betting there was a language barrier issue.
As someone who only does art as a side, side, SIDE hobby, it was very interesting. On the whole I have read much of what he had to say before, but to hear it spoken while being practiced is very different. Things rolled along better when specific questions were asked, like from the one girl who asked for tips on drawing the low angle shot of the head where you see under the chin. If I wasn’t heading out to meet someone I would have really like to stop and thank Coipel for his efforts at a tough gig.
My next panel wasn’t planned, and you’ll hear about it from Owen who attended as well (by which I mean he was a rockstar at the event), in fact I just came over to say hi to Owen until I saw Dan Didio walking down the aisle and realized “whoah- Didio is running this panel? THAT is interesting!” This was of course the “DC: How to break into comics” panel.
Back on the third floor I entered a caption contest with postscriptcomics.com, which was a fun way to get the creative juices flowing a bit, and they gave me cool bookmarks!
And that was the day, the rest was winding things down: I got Marcus To to sign issue #7 of Red Robin before wishing him the best, and talked to Paul Azaceta about his Image book “Grounded” with writer Mark Sable. I bought the book from him on Friday, read it that night, and congratulated him on a fun read and a really interesting main character. In fact, both Marcus To and Paul Azaceta are the sweetest guys, I’m really glad I got to meet them, they made the Fanexpo for me.