Silicon Valley Comic Con is on March 18th – 20th at the San Jose Convention Center, around the same time last year when Big Wow Comicfest was held and that’s no coincidence. In true Valley fashion, the Silicon Valley Comic Con acquired Big Wow Comicfest, partly for their history of running and planning comic conventions and because they needed to secure a date and venue for the 3 day event. Even though Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack is only lightly involved in the planning, you can bet that his sphere of influence will resonate throughout the entire event. From special guests to technology themed panels, SVCC wants to differentiate itself from every other comic con in the world. The big question is whether or not con-goers will buy into it.
2015 has been a great year for comics – we got two reboots from Marvel and DC, Image kept pumping out winners, and some of the best series from 2014 kept going strong.
It’s also been a great year for Shortboxed! We managed to hit lots of cons up and down the California coast, made it up to Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con, visited some comic book shops overseas, and we got to attend the mecca for comic book geeks, San Diego Comic-Con. We also added another member to the Shortboxed crew this year, Jeremy, who’s been crushing it with his reviews and opinion pieces! All this on top of reading some amazing stories from our favorite creators this year! So thank you to all of our readers and followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for allowing us to geek out with you and connect over this passion of ours.
If I was ever asked which Star Wars trilogy that I relate to the most, I’d have to say the Original Trilogy. I actually never got to see this set of movies in the theaters because Return of the Jedi came out during my birth year but as a kid growing up, this definitely helped shape my love for sci-fi and epic space stories.
In my previous post about death in comics, we discussed the role of civilian deaths and how writers use it to propel their stories forward. In this post, I wanted to touch on a few superhero deaths that rocked the comic world. There were many to choose from and as iconic as Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday, but after doing research, I noticed an intriguing pattern; that dead superheroes don’t stay dead for long! For this discussion, I wanted to focus on those superhero deaths that made an impact to their respective stories but also spent some time in the grave (so to speak).
We begin with a bold move by Brian Michael Bendis in the pages of Ultimate Spider-man with the “Death of Spider-man”. In the Ultimate universe, Bendis kills off Peter Parker! Crazy right? But that’s not where the story ends. Oh no! Bendis introduces us to Miles Morales, a half black, half hispanic teen who was bitten by a genetically-altered spider that gives him superhero powers. Sounds familiar, right? Miles actually witnesses Peter’s death and feels so guilty that he didn’t use his powers to save Peter, that he takes up the mantle of Spider-man.
In my Retcon post, I touched on the idea of using a death to propel a story forward. I wanted to expand on this by discussing three deaths that happened in our beloved comic pages that were both surprising and pivotal in comics. As an added wrinkle, these three deaths weren’t super heroes but were impactful nonetheless in the story lines of the super heroes we know and love.
The first death actually made the news when it happened, calling for comic book writers to be more responsible because kids were reading these stories. All this uprising for a fictional character! That character was Gwen Stacy, the love of Peter Parker’s life. What was so surprising about this death was how it occurred. She was taken by Green Goblin and as she fell from the bridge, Spider-man catches her, making us believe he saved her. But due to physics and gravity, the impact of Peter catching her from her fall actually caused her death. Because Peter had super strength, his body could withstand a lot more than normal humans.
Retroactive Continuity, or Retcon, for short is a term that is all together too common in the comic book world. It basically means that there’s an alteration to an established fact within continuity, and comic book writers use this strategy to add, remove, and of course, alter stories.
With all the stories being written and new creative teams taking the reins for various properties, there always a chance things will get retconned. As a reader, it’s something that I don’t personally enjoy but I understand where publishers and writers are coming from. It sort of reminiscent of the music industry where nothing is original anymore. But with so many talented creatives entering the comic book industry, new stories are being thought up with fresh perspectives such as Scott Snyder’s addition to the Batman canon with his Court of Owls story arc or Francis Manapul’s work on The Flash.
But retcon examples litter the stories we read. A prime example when a writer added something that wasn’t already established within continuity is what Brian Wood began on IDW’s Star Wars before Kieron Gillan picked up the mantle when it moved over to Marvel. Wood started to write stories that involved all our favorite Star Wars characters from the point after the Battle of Yavin, right after Episode 1: A New Hope.
We were lucky enough to make the trip up from San Francisco to the Pacific Northwest to attend Emerald City Comicon for the first time – and it was definitely worth it. Considered part of the “Big 3” of comic book conventions among San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con, it drew over 80,000 attendees from all over the country (and even overseas). It’s not just comic books, however, but all things comic book and pop culture related – dealers, panels, celebrities, gaming, creators, cosplay and more. We managed to soak all of it up, and had a blast!
We wanted to attend ECCC for several reasons, but mainly because we’ve never been before and we’ve been to nearly every California convention already. While our main focus is comic books (obviously), we still like to attend panels, meet celebrities, do some gaming and sometimes cosplay ourselves. If comic book conventions are buffets, we like to sample a bit of every dish.
In this recap and review, we touch on different aspects of the show: