Sunday, October 08, 2006
COMICS TO FILM panel wrap-up.
Yesterday was the panel on COMICS TO SCREEN at the L.A. Latino International Film Festival and I had a great time.
From left to right are Jaime Hernandez, me, moderator Alan Dybner, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Marv Wolfman. Len Wein appeared moments after the panel started.
The thrust of the panel was Latino characters, and multi-cultural characters in general, appearing in comics. Len Wein, working as a writer for Marvel in the 70s, co-created the New X-Men with it's diverse cast of characters such as Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus. Marv just wrote the direct-to-DVD animated movie of Condor, a Latino character created by Stan Lee for his own POW Entertainment. Jaime of course created the classic Maggie & Hopey from Love and Rockets.
My nephew Christian accompanied me (he took the pics). I thought it would cool for him to see me in 'action', plus he'd have a heck of a story to tell his friends in school monday. After the panel he commented on how well all the creators got along. I thought that was cool because while all of us have very different positions and careers in comics, all of us love comics regradless if we're working for a mainstream company or an independent. But the mutual respect is there. Actually, I was the only guy on the panel that has a movie made out of a character that he owns. That's a big win for the self-published crowd!
The key to a character's success is how well it's created, regardless of the group identification of the character. That was the consensus of the panel, and I certainly agree. However, I mentioned that I knew when I was creating El Muerto that there would indeed be an audience for a character with a Mexican background. Also, I felt that involving elements from Aztec mythology and the Dia de Los Muertos folklore would create a rich background that wasn't seen much in the comics world. Unless of course it was other Mexican creators like Carlos Saldana, Rafael Navarro and Rhode Montijo doing them!
One of the audience members, appreciating the scope of creators on the panel, mentioned that if this panel was held at Comic Con there would have been a couple of thousand people in the audience. Looking at the panelists to the left and right of me, I would agree. Another audience question was "Why are there so many comic book movies being made today?". To which Jaime answered. "Because that's where all the good ideas are!"! Man, did I love that reply! Jaime also talked about how his own experiences with adapting Love and Rockets to film has varied over the years, but couldn't divulge any info on any current talks. Hmmm.... Soon as the panel was over I turned to Jaime and asked him to sign my GHOST OF HOPPERS hardcover. He mentioned to me that it was pretty cool that we had gotten some pretty good names on the movie.
After the panel, I took some time to introduce myself to Marv Wolfman. Back in the late '70s, when I started reading comics, he had written some great runs on Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. He actually wrote the special 200th issue anniversary editions of each book (Spidey, Jan. 1980 and Fantastic Four, Nov. 78). I had to tell him that to this day I think those are the last really two great storylines for those comics, and in fact Marvel Comics in general. I religiously read Marvel for about another 7 or 8 years after that, but always fondly remembered those issues. He really captured what the characters were about and you can definitely read a continuity between his work, and the writers who preceded him, with that of original writer Stan Lee. He genuinely appreciated my comments.
I did a couple of interviews after the panel. One was a documentary for the Festival itself, the other was for a popular local TV show call LA TV. It's a music show featuring spanish rock/Latino bands and has a great fan base with the youth market. I told them that I would love to go on the show and be a guest VJ!
Another question Jaime answered was about comic pages now being hung in museums and galleries. He said that for some artists the idea of having to go and speak at a public showing of one's work could be intimidating. I countered that I take the exact opposite approach. Show me a camera, event, microphone or internet access, and I'm there, baby! (As I'm sure you could figure out from this Blog...)