Tidbits from the Storytellers at Albuquerque Comic Expo, 2012

June 24, 2012 § 5 Comments

What I really love about Albuquerque Comic Expo (ACE), besides the people and the energy and the comic books and the art, is the chance to talk to the superb storytellers in the business.

“No amount of money matches a reader telling you they were touched emotionally by something you’ve written.” —Len Wein,  co-creator of Wolverine, editor of The New Teen Titans

Raven - Teen Titans 08

Raven – Teen Titans 08 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got to talk to Len Wein a little, when he was signing my New Teen Titans comic book, about what being an editor entailed. He said it equated to doing the least amount of work so that the other writers could do their best. He would make suggestions about the direction of the characters and the composition of the superhero group. He came up with the idea for the character that became Raven, one of the three females in the Teen Titans group of seven. Raven was the broody, withdrawn one, constantly battling her dark side, her demon father’s side, within her. In my opinion, she added a mature, mysterious edge to the series.

“I don’t have a favorite hero. I love them all. It’s like asking a father who is his favorite child. You can’t do it.” —Stan Lee, former president and chairman of Marvel Comics; Chairman & Chief Creative Officer of POW! Entertainment

Stan Lee’s genius was lauded by his contemporaries throughout the entire weekend of ACE. Allen Bellman, a comic book artist who started out drawing backgrounds for Captain America at Timely/Marvel in 1942, called Stan “the godfather of the comic world.” Michael Golden, creator of the X-men’s Rogue character, said Stan could cut through all the fluff to the essence, the heart of something. Herb Trimpe, artist for The Incredible Hulk and Wolverine, explained that Stan’s technique was to work from plots that were often hashed out via verbal pow-wows with the staff in his office. Len Wein marveled at how Stan could come up with the perfect name for a hero off the top of his head, after everyone else on the team had struggled for an idea. Stan Lee himself, at almost ninety years old, was one of the most spirited, engaging, and lively panel speakers at the Expo. He brought the audience to its feet when at the end of  the hour he said that being a writer is like being a god. A writer can make anything happen, can kill anybody off, can make somebody come back from the dead. “That’s why I chose to be a writer instead of the President of the United States.”

“End it. Wrap everything up in a nice little bow.” — Michael Golden, at his Storytelling Workshop

Michael Golden

Michael Golden (Photo credit: ElDave)

After the panel I walked around Artist Alley and came upon Michael Golden’s art table (where I bought one of his prints, a Golden Age depiction of Wonder Woman in her original outfit with the skirt, out in the battlefield, fighting Nazi soldiers). Golden asked if I’d learned anything in his talk that I didn’t already know. I told him I really appreciated what he said about the importance of a story having a satisfying ending. I then launched into a rant about how the movie 28 Days Later being shown with two different endings was bullshit (my words) and that turned into a great conversation about how the ending to Angel Heart was obscure, yet perfect (his words). The movie talk with Golden was a major highlight of my ACE weekend.

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