Tripped into the city on Saturday to Armageddon and had an enjoyable half-day there. Avoided the long queue to get in by having prepaid for a ticket and spent a few hours looking around before heading to the panel with Mark Waid (Wikipedia). The bottom couple of levels of the Aotea Centre had things like Pro-wrestling and booths for computer/video gaming (mostly displays by Microsoft, Sony and EA) which wasn’t what I was interested in so I headed upstairs to where the comics and sci-fi stuff was.
Managed to restrict spending to a couple of DC trade paperbacks (including one of the Golden Age Green Lantern – Alan Scott) and a poster. (TVNZ had a spot on Close Up about setting the show up on Friday – Windows Media Player links 56K | 128K)
Anyway, I loved the panel with Mark Waid. There were only about 20-25 of us there so everyone got time to ask their questions and interact with him over the hour. Some really interesting questions asked and I made some notes of his replies to them. (I also got to ask a question about religion/spirituality and comic books that’s related to an article on eschatology and comics that’s rattling around inside my head at the moment.) Anyway here were some of the interesting things:
- Comic book writing is ultimately a collaborative process between the writer(s), artist, letterer and others. At the end of the day the character(s) being portrayed and story being told should take precedence over the egos of the creative team. (Not that that always happens harmoniously).
- Some interesting comments about how do you write comic books in a culture currently shaped by the “War of Terror”. Waid noted that the Superman slogan “Look! Up in the sky…” has taken on an element of fear post-9/11. Who is Superman in this world rather than the more optimistic worlds of the past?
- Waid made time to listen to and answer the questions of the children and teenagers there. He didn’t ignore them or patronise them. There was also some discussion over whether the current superhero comic writing, while in a style for adolescents, could be considered as “appropriate” for children and young adults as it once was.
- Waid argued that he thinks all comic book stories should have a moral voice. They are one of the few places left, he asserted, where you can learn morality (of a sort), consider issues of good and evil, and ethical action given the abdication of that in the wider media. This would fit with my earlier posting here Greenflame: On new morality plays.
Good stuff to think about with potential for religious/spiritual engagement.
BTW – There’s an RealAudio interview with Waid back in 2002 that covers some of this stuff.