Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sara Goes to Comic Con: Thursday

So, for those who might not know, Comic-Con International is a SUPER huge convention held in San Diego each year. Over 100,000 people attend! (That's a lot of people.) While its main draws are the fact that major movies get previewed there first (like The Avengers, Thor, Captain America, Harry Potter, Green Lantern, and Green Hornet, to name a few from this year), and that you can get some sweet spoilery goodness for some of your favorite TV series (True Blood, Chuck, Vampire Diaries, Bones, The Big Bang Theory, etc.), AND that in the massive exhibit hall you can find all sorts of cool & crazy things, a lot of which are exclusive to Comic-Con, there is also a TON of book stuff going on!

Comic-Con started on Wednesday with Preview Night, which I didn't have tickets for, so I was up first thing on Thursday to start the adventure!

Thursday was packed with some sweet book panels. I started off my morning with a panel called "The Power of Myth." On the panel.... (drumroll please!)

If you read through that list and went, "Amber Benson? Wasn't she Tara on Buffy?" then you would be right. Apparently she's also now a Sci-Fi/Fantasy author with Ace, and writes the Calliope Reaper-Jones series.

Anywho. The panel was really interesting. These days, when anyone goes "myth?" the knee-jerk reaction of most is to go "Percy Jackson!", and while I love me some Percy Jackson, it was nice listening to some other perspectives and other ways myth is used in story creation.

It was also cool hearing from a mix of YA Authors and more traditional adult sci-fi/fantasy authors, and learn about some new and different books!

Of course, after the panel, I rushed to the autograph session and bought way too many books, and got them all signed. Yay!
Power of Myth autograph signing! From left to right: Lev Grossman, Michael Scott, Amber Benson, Esther Friesner, Les Klinger

Next up was the panel called Once Upon a Time, which was all about writing epic fantasy, which I heartheartheart. This panel included Lynn Flewelling, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Megan Whalen Turner, Brent Weeks and Christopher Paolini.

This panel spent most of its time talking about how to balance epicness and non-epicness in your story. They also talked a bunch about Mary Sues! Megan Whalen Turner was the first to admit that she loves Mary Sues and doesn't think they can be all that bad. The overall conclusion about balance and Mary Sues was about earning it in the story, and keeping things relatable. If you main character is Totally Awesome to start with, then you need to put them in situations the reader can relate to. If everything else but your character is Totally Awesome, then make sure your character is relatable. There has to be some sort of in for the reader, a little handhold to pull on to start the journey, or else they'll be lost in the abyss.

(Possibly my favorite part of this panel was when Patrick Rothfuss referred to himself as a "feral writer" because he didn't study it in school and doesn't have a critique group or anything. Personally, I'm happy being a domesticated house-cat writer, because I don't know what I would do without the FNC!)

Even though I kept telling myself that every book I bought needed to get home somehow, I still managed to buy a whole slew of novels at the Epic Fantasy signing. And who knows, maybe I bought one or two for one of you guys? ;)

Alas, there is no rest for the weary, and I was soon off to my final panel of the day, the Twisting Genres panel. This one featured China Mieville, Justin Cronin, Naomi Novik, Daryl Gregory, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Robert Masello, Keith Thompson and Scott Westerfeld. I'll admit it--the only author whose work I've read on this panel is Scott Westerfeld's, although I've seen China Mieville's new book Kraken around and think it looks interesting. But really, I was just there because I heart Scott Westerfeld.
Here's Keith Thompson (L), the illustrator for Leviathan and Scott Westerfeld (R), looking deep in thought.

But, I was pleasantly surprised--I think this panel turned out to be the most interesting of all! If you like your cheerleaders mixed with zombies, or your westerns mixed with the apocalypse, or your historical fiction mixed with dragons, then these are the authors for you! Each one is all about taking one genre/subject matter and mashing it together with something that seems like it shouldn't fit--and then working the magic to join them together. It definitely gave me pause and made me think about what two genres I would like to see together. (I think I like the historical fiction mixed with the fantastical best.)

Also, as a bonus, Scott Westerfeld showed a bunch of the gorgeous artwork from Leviathan, done by Keith Thompson, and previewed some of the things we will see in the sequel, Behemoth! (Which he pronounced Buh-heh-muth, rather than Buh-hee-moth.)

I ended my day with the Twisting Genres autograph session, where I only bought a few books because my backpack was already bulging and I could barely lift it!

(I actually ended my day by going to the Scott Pilgrim panel, which was awesome and hilarious and totally star-studded! I didn't know anything about Scott Pilgrim before Comic-Con, but it's one of the most successful graphic novel series out there right now, blending all things geeky and wonderful. Definitely go check it out!)
Here's Michael Cera, who is playing Scott Pilgrim in the upcoming movie, and is totally adorable.

Stay tuned for Friday, aka Super Awesome Penguin Party day!


  1. Wow, that sounds fantastic.

    At the NESCBWI conference they talked about the genre-mash and it does get you thinking. Like, what about an under-sea western town threatened by giant zombie sharks? Er, yeah, no. I'll keep thinking.

  2. I had to miss most of those book panels so I'm glad to see your report on them. They sound great!

  3. How come I didn't know Comic Con was a secret book lover heaven?!


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