Comic-Con@Home, again, day two

Today is day two of the second, and hopefully last, Comic-Con@Home. This year, the con is only three days, and not the usual four. The length, of course, doesn’t matter that much with this kind of thing, since the panels are all prerecorded and dumped on YouTube, so there’s not really much of a sense of participating in a specific thing that’s constrained in time and space. I can watch the panels whenever I want, and there’s not much of a “live” aspect to it at all. But I did take a day off yesterday to “attend” the con and tried to get into the spirit of things.

Comparing this year to last year, things seem a bit more organized but also a lot more subdued. All the folks who didn’t really know how to do Zoom panels last year have now figured it out, so the video and sound on those is generally a lot better than it was last year. I guess we’ve all figured out how to do Zoom (and Teams and WebEx and whatever else) pretty well over the last year and a half.

At the start of the pandemic, I made the decision to write a short post in Day One every day, and I’ve kept that going since. I just recently noticed that I’ve hit a 500 day streak in Day One. And then I noticed this blog post from Mark Evanier, pointing out that it has now been 500 days since the start of the pandemic lockdown/quarantine/whatever. I guess it depends on when you start counting, but, for me, I’d start from my birthday last year, 3/13/2020, and 500 days from then is 7/26/21, so we’re not quite at 500 days, but we’re close. Of course, things are starting to get back to “normal,” but COVID-19 is still with us, and I’m still working from home and wearing a mask when I go grocery shopping. Things will get much more “normal” in September when I’ll need to start going back into the office. (But that’s a topic for another post.)

Anyway, that 500 day mark, and the second virtual SDCC, has gotten me thinking about how long this has all lasted and where we are now and where we’re headed. But I really meant this post to just be about fun comics stuff, so I’m going to stop thinking about that and write up some notes on the panels I “attended” yesterday.

  • Ducks All the Way Down: Metafiction in Comics – This was a weird one, to start the day. A nice nerdy conversation about metafiction in comics.
  • Stan Sakai and the Usagi Chronicles – This panel was about the new Usagi Yojimbo animated series that’s going to be on Netflix. There’s an article about it here. They haven’t announced a release date for it yet. I’m cautiously optimistic about it.
  • Max Allan Collins–Three Hard Cases: Ms Tree, Mike Hammer & Nolan – This was a good one to watch, since I haven’t really been keeping up with Max Allan Collins recently. I loved Ms Tree when it first came out, years ago. I should probably buy the new Ms Tree collections coming out from Titan. I don’t really need them, since I’ve already read all of those stories, but it would be nice to have the collections and reread them.
  • 35 Years of Dark Horse: Past and Present – I’ve been reading Dark Horse books since their early days. Boris the Bear #1 was probably the first Dark Horse book I ever bought. Dark Horse has a timeline up on their site that goes from 1986 through to 2013. (I notice that it doesn’t mention Boris though.) The company has had an interesting history, with some ups and downs. The panel was more about the present than the past though. It would have been cool to have a panel with some of the original Dark Horse creators talking about the early days of the company, but that’s not what this was.
  • Greatest Geek Year Ever: 1981 Week – This was a a fun panel from the guys who usually do Starship Smackdown at the con. The idea of this panel was, basically, to program a week’s worth of movies from 1981. They do a podcast called The 4:30 Movie where they do this for a different theme each episode. This one brought back a lot of childhood memories for me. I hadn’t thought about Dragonslayer in years. I should probably consider subscribing to their podcast, but I’m juggling too many podcasts right now.
  • Scott Shaw! Oddball Comics: The Batman Edition – Scott’s “oddball comics” slideshows are always fun. He did an all-Batman edition for this year.

There are two panels from yesterday that I haven’t gotten around to watching yet: the Frank Thorne Memorial Panel, and the Eisner Awards presentation. I actually started watching the Eisner one this morning, but didn’t get too far. Much like last year, it’s kind of dry. It’s mostly just Phil LaMarr reading out the nominees for each category, then announcing the winner. Since it wasn’t done live, there isn’t really any excitement or suspense in it. And there aren’t any acceptance speeches. I was hoping that maybe they’d find a way to make it more interesting this year.

For today, I’ve got a list of about a half-dozen panels that I want to watch, including a couple of Mark Evanier’s regular panels. So that should all be fun. As I did last year, I’m trying to disappear into the con a bit and escape from the reality around me, to some extent. I had a good day yesterday, and can’t really complain, but watching panels on my laptop or TV doesn’t really compare to the real thing. Hopefully, I can have a good “in-person” con experience at NYCC later this year.

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