I attended three comic book panels today, two Marvel and one DC. Panels=public relations; they bring together writers, artists and editors connected by some sort of umbrella project, like a big event, or a product line (such as the X-Men line, which contains about 10 distinct titles within it), who tease developments in upcoming issues and field questions.
Today’s panels were sprawling affairs of 10-12 staff members each and a standing room only audience of three or four hundred people. Some are dressed in every stereotype we have of comic back conventions; I saw 2 Princess Leias in sultry Tatooine love slave outfit, one Flash, about 6 Wonder Women – apparently she’s making her comeback -- a girl with flight goggles and a guy wearing his underwear on the outside – who then asked a very serious question. (One of the panelists said, “Dude, how can I even hear your question when you’re dressed like that.) On top of this, there are a million guys wearing T-shirts bearing the insignia of their favorite character, a few girls and, believe it or not, a whole bunch of others who are well-dressed 20somethings, 30somethings, 40somethings…I even saw some older married couples.
No matter who’s asking, though, the same basic questions recur: 1) Is “X” going to happen? 2) When are you bringing back “X”? 3) What’s up with “X”? And the answes are all the same, too: Wait and see and/or read the book. It’s a bit of a paradox really, everyone’s here to ask questions, but virtually none of those questions can get answered. At times I could just feel waves of boredom wash over the crowd. And yet, everyone stays.
I want to know, what are they waiting for?
Jim McDermott, SJ