This week, I managed to make it into the Friday of Fan Expo. Arriving for the start of the show, you could definitely see that this was going to be a busy day at the show, even before the big Saturday.

I spent the first couple hours wandering around checking out some of the deals vendors were having. When I am at a convention I tend to pick up original art from the artists there and trade paperbacks. Unfortunately, art was a bust for me as I came on the Friday and all of the artists that I was interested in already had their portfolios picked over or their lists were completely full. I’m looking at you, Jim Cheung! As for trades, Labyrinth had the best deals going on with 40% off U.S cover on many of their trades while many other vendors were doing straight US cover price. Granted this was probably due to overstocking but the selection was very strong nonetheless. The selection of vendors was excellent as I’ve come to expect of Fan Expo. Wide variety of pretty much everything and they did a decent job of organizing the vendors into semi relevant areas. Once I managed to break my back lugging around my massive amount of purchases, it was time to hit the panels!

For me, the two big panels that were must attends for me was DC’s final Flashpoint Friday and Marvel’s Fear Itself panel where both companies discussed their works in progress. Luckily, they weren’t scheduled at the same time to avoid conflicts, yay!

DC’s panel consisted of Brian Azzarello, James Robinson, Francis Manapul as well as a few others whose name escapes me. Dan Didio wasn’t in attendance which I thought was weird but meh, it helped me resist the urge to ask what the hell was he thinking when he wrote that Weird Western Tales Blackest Night tie-in. Attendees that asked the best questions at the panel were given one of the special black Wayne Casino poker chips that made their debut I think at this year’s SDCC. The chips don’t do anything but they’re just really cool souvenirs.  While the DC panelists refused to spoil Flashpoint #5 for the audience, they did select a random member of the audience and gave them the chance to read Flashpoint #5 in front of everyone. General consensus of the lucky guy was that the event was pretty cohesive even without reading the other spin-off series. Personally, I cannot be sure that this guy was being completely honest though, as a lot of the mini-series tie in strongly to each other, especially the Lois Lane and the Resistance series and the Project Superman one.

Misc things from the DC Panel:

  • Andy Kubert was offered the Flashpoint gig over dinner with Dan Didio
  • Brian Azzarello initially refused the Batman Knight of Vengeance series as he didn’t want to be part of a major event but persistence through editorial won him over. He wasn’t given much direction other than Thomas Wayne as Batman. When pressed about the idea of Martha as Joker, it just struck him as something that was really obvious.
  • Geoff Johns considered the circle that is part of the Flash’s logo to be the main symbol of the Flashpoint universe and that’s why everyone’s costumes such as Batman’s have all of the circle over their gear to identify them as being part of the Flashpoint Universe.
  • There will be some residual effects of Flashpoint and while there are no concrete plans for it, there always is a possibility for something like Untold tales of Flashpoint.
  • When James Robinson was given the Outsider as a character to write, in terms of direction he was given: born in India and wears suits.
  • On killing characters in the DCU and if he enjoys it due to the recent death of Lian Harper by Prometheus; Robinson replied that he actually saved Speedy as she was due to be on the chopping block as well in that arc.
  • Booster Gold will be revealed to be Canadian.

As we filed out of the panel room, all attendees were given a random Wayne Casinos chip except for the black ones. It’s now become my completely random goal to try to collect every one of these chips.

The Marvel Fear Itself panel was pretty darn good as well. Like DC’s black poker chip promo, Marvel was offering the Archangel  exclusive figure for the best question. I guess, sometimes these guys get dead air during the Q&A sessions and need to do something to spice things up. But anyways; here’s the scoop on what was said, though Alexa already covered most of the high points in her post here.

Misc things from the Marvel Panel:

  • There are going to be a bunch of Fear Itself epilogue issues. 7.1 is going to focus on Bucky’s funeral and that will be written by Ed Brubaker.  Originally, Brubaker had planned for Bucky’s death to happen at the end of the Gulag arc to help lead into the new Captain America title, but Fraction highjacked Bucky’s death when he recalled Ed mentioning how he thought if Bucky died again it should be at the hands of the Red Skull. 7.2 is going to be written by Matt Fraction and will focus on the effects of Fear Itself on Thor. This should be one to watch for as Fraction also mentioned that there will be an upcoming issue of Thor where the theme was: Tanarus, New God of Thunder? So mayhaps Thor after being cast down by Odin has his position usurped by a new god? And finally, 7.3 is a story about Iron Man and Odin.  I don’t think we can expect more on Tony’s relapse as Fraction explained it off as more of a “one bad day” kind of thing than a total relapse.
  • We can expect Valkyrie to become a bigger player in the Marvel universe as the new 12 issue series “The Fearless” deals with the issue of what to do with the hammers that have fallen to Earth after the big event. It looks like it’s going to be a race between Sin and Valkyrie to collect the hammers though this kind of spoils the Fear Itself in that we might not see any major payback for Bucky’s death at the hands of Sin.

So yeah a fantastic day for me. I bought a crap-ton of books and had a great time listening to some of the industry’s giants talk comics…it doesn’t get any better than that. Enjoy the pictures I took as I wandered around.

All photos courtesy of David Diep.