As the first day of autumn approached this week, the comics world planned multiple comic cons, engaged in fashion discussion, and announced the return of a beloved X-Men character from a time long past.
When you’re thinking of this week, don’t forget the Ignatz Awards, which focus on small press publication and include nine categories that comics have a chance to win. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Small Press Expo awards, which began in 1997. The Ignatz Awards focus on the votes of SPX attendees and a panel of five judges. Dozens of comics are nominated for different categories, and can be found on this list. Read our interview with Ignatz Award winner Taneka Stotts, editor of Elements: Fire, a comics anthology of stories from queer creators of color.
Among other weekend activities, comics fans from all over the world traveled far and away to attend Thought Bubble, a comic con based in Leeds, UK. The convention finds itself celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and continues its longstanding tradition of inclusive atmosphere and prolific discussion on the deeper meanings behind comics, their stories, and their creation. Thought Bubble was started by a woman who illustrates comics and ran a comic book shop in Leeds 10 years ago, named Lisa Wood. In ten years, Wood’s dedication has increased attendance numbers from 500 attendees, to nearly 40,000 this year, making Thought Bubble the UK’s largest comic event of the year. The weekend-long comics celebration continues to enjoy a reputation for making comics accessible to anyone. Guest highlight this year seemed to be former My Chemical Romance co-founder Gerard Way, based on an incredibly long line for his panel.
Festival feelings continued in Baltimore with the Baltimore Comic Con, featuring guests like Lynda Carter and a lot of dudes from Marvel. Though former Wonder Woman actor Lynda Carter typically despises the usual celebrity autograph setup, she found a way to interact with fans. In the wake of the Wonder Woman remake this year, directed by Patty Jenkins and grossing $800 million dollars, demand for Carter’s presence at conventions has increased. This year she decided to participate, and Carter put on a stage show with her band and several other collaborators.
Other highlights from Baltimore Comic Con:
- The Ringo awards presented by Mouse Guard author David Petersen, DMC, and other comic authors.
- Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run DMC appeared on a panel and talked about the importance of comics for young people of color.
- Mark Waid’s almost-debacle with the author of YouTube channel “Diversity & Comics” (a popular channel dedicated to combating diversity in comics despite its title) fell flat.
- BOOM! Studios debuted the new Big Trouble in Little China comic with an exclusive variant cover.
The Baltimore Comic Con was also full of great comics cosplayers, which you can see in more pictures here.
Fashion found its way into the comics community twice this week, starting with the beautiful and tempting spring Prada line. As usual, Prada chooses something bold, and what could be bolder than using the work of nine powerful female comic artists to make a statement? Though the clothing was certainly appealing, the statement that seemed to be the most glaring was the question of whether or not these artists were being paid for the use of their work. The message of the clothing is punk, clear in its defiance of social norms. The art and the style celebrate the fluidity of what it means to be a human, from jackets and slacks to wide skirts and bags covered in comic book panels. Still, there’s that nagging question that comes with many fashion collaborations… Did the artists get paid? (Let us know if you did!)
In other comics fashion, VANS x PEANUTS brings back the popular Peanuts gang, from Charlie Brown themed shoes to polo dresses with Woodstock and more. This collection has a more casual style than Prada, with a classic feeling that carries less edge. Peanuts, despite its archaic gender roles, still has profundity and brings a certain nostalgia to anyone who grew up with the comic strips in the newspaper. Then there’s those who watch The Great Pumpkin when fall begins every year. For Peanuts fans all over the world, VANS x PEANUTS is a collection worth looking at that pays homage to Charles Schultz’s comics while maintaining the suave look of Vans.
Last but most certainly not least, Jean Grey is set to return in a new Marvel storyline about the Phoenix. Writer Matthew Rosenberg has worked on Punisher and Secret Warriors. There will be five different artists in Phoenix: Resurrection for the series of five stories focusing on a young Jean Grey and a mind warp of some kind. Hopefully the story is original in some capacity, doesn’t involve a deus ex machina trope, and feels true to character. So help me if they bring back some awkward Scott Summers and Jean Grey romance… It’s been 14 years since anyone has written about Jean Grey, we’ll see how they treat her character after such a long hiatus.