NEW YORK STATE OF MIND 2014

Street-trader-near-the-Javits-closeup-New-York-12-Oct-2014-grey josh-hale-fialkov-nycc-2014-10th-oct-2014-pic#1-grey Dean-Haspiel-nycc2014-12th-oct-2014-grey Homeless-man-near-Javits-Center-New-York-10th-Oct-2014-closeup-grey-pic# generic-crowd-shot-medium-nycc-2014-09th-oct-2014-pic#1 Street-trader-near-Javits-Center-New-York-US-11th-Oct-2014-grey Penguin-gotham-nycc-2014-pic-12th-oct-2014-pic#1-col Doc-Ock-cosplayer-nycc2014-11th-Oct-2014-col captain-america-nycc-2014-cosplay-col richard-taylor-nycc-2014 Death-cosplay-nycc2014 captain-america-cosplayer-nycc-2014-10th-oct-2014-pic#1I have been going to New York Comic Con since 2006 and I have been going to the city itself since I was about six years old. The show has grown from a small one of around 10,000 people to a huge event. I went this year to cover some TV for Cult TV Times and to catch up with a few friends. I was lucky enough to stay with Walt and Louise Simonson, who I have known for about a decade, and they were kind enough to let me stay in their house. This year’s show felt a little strange as it was the first one I’d been to without my friend Bill Baker, who sadly passed away in Feb this year, and Comic Heroes has ended so there were no interviews for them. But it was still a very enjoyable show as my friend David Baillie, who is now embarking on something for one of the big publishers, was present, as was my friend Murphy, who is a great artist but his day job means that time is tight for him to devote much time to drawing. Other things have changed since I started coming too: I have been getting more into my photography too so I was keen to get some candid street photography as well as a few portrait photos at the show. It’s impossible to cover everything here so this will just scratch the surface. On Thursday, I had lunch with my friend Mark Chiarello at DC, and it’s always great to see him. At the show, I did my interview with the very talented Richard Taylor from Weta, who I hadn’t seen since around 2010 and that was a pleasure. That evening I grabbed dinner with Ketan, who I know from this side of the water. On Friday I went to the Paley Center to see the first episode of the new 12 Monkeys TV series and a Q&A that SyFy put on. It is hard to tell whether this spin-off from the Terry Gilliam film will work but it looks like it has potential so we’ll see. I did a roundtable with the cast and crew on Saturday as well. On Saturday I had a meeting with Steve Saffel at Titan about some potential book projects and we’ll see if they happen. I did get to do a  roundtable for Constantine on Sat too which went alright except there was one girl who monopolised the roundtable and behaved like a total pain in the arse. I did get some good content though. That night, I got to catch up with Mike Kaluta for dinner uptown and it was great to see him. On Sunday I did roundtables for Gotham and The Following, both of which went very well. Then I grabbed dinner with Murphy and David Baillie, which was a nice end cap to the show. There were loads of people I was hoping to see at the show but it has got so huge now that it’s very difficult to see everyone you want to. It has reached the point where it’s almost too large for it to be worthy my while going to which is a real shame as it is still an enjoyable show. We’ll see. Here’s a selection of photos from the show and from New York in general…

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ACROSS THE RIVER
As promised, here’s a small report about our day in Brooklyn. After the New York Comic Con, it was nice to have a more chilled-out time. So we left about 11am and took the subway to near the beginning of the Brooklyn Bridge. Then we decided to walk over the East River on the bridge. The weather was fantastic as it was a sunny day with piercing blue sky and it took about 45 minutes to walk the bridge. Andy C has a friend Jonathan Barkey who is a photographer and lives in Brooklyn Heights the other side of the bridge. So once we met up with Jonathan, he took us around Brooklyn, to Governors Island across on the ferry and to Park Slope, Prospect Park and ending at Brighton Beach and Coney Island. I had only been to Brooklyn once years ago and so we got to see loads of places that were totally new to me. It has a very different feel to Manhattan: the pace seems to be slower and it has a vibe all of its own. Governors Island, which isn’t in Brooklyn, was interesting as I took some intriguing photos looking out to the Statue of Liberty. Jonathan was a decent guide and I think because he is a photographer too that he knew what would interest us as visitors. So here’s a selection of photos I took that day on the bridge, the perfect antidote to the more stressful days that preceded it. The next post will include photos taken in the rest of Brooklyn…



A FEW MORE FILMS…
Synedoche, New York is Charlie Kaufman’s latest film and this time he’s directed it himself. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Caden Cotard, a struggling playwright in the small town of the title whose wife Adele Lack played by Kaufman regular Catherine Keener paints miniature portraits. When his wife disappears to Berlin with their daughter and never comes back, this forces Cotard to reexamine his life and he decides to put on a play of his life. But since this is Charlie Kaufman, it’s nowhere near as linear or as traditional as it sounds. Synedoche, New York is a truly bizarre film that tries to reflect the absurdity of celebrity (Cotard’s wife becomes an art celebrity in Germany while his daughter effects a ridiculous German accent as does his wife’s friend Maria, portrayed amusingly by Jennifer Jason Leigh and the playwright develops a strange and unexplained illness). The film did make me laugh a few times but I also felt that perhaps it was just to bizarre to elicit anything other than bemusement in the cinemagoer. It makes Eternal Sunshine and Being John Malkovich look like Tony Scott films by comparison. But it is worth watching if you have a couple of hours to kill and don’t mind seeing something that is obtuse and ultimately a little unsatisfying…
Adoration is the latest film by Canadian director Atom Egoyan and the problem with it is that while it’s well-acted and well-directed, it leaves the audience totally cold. After losing his parents in uncertain circumstances, Simon (Devon Bostick) is reluctantly being raised by his Uncle Tom (Scott Speedman). Simon’s memories of his mother Rachel (Rachel Blanchard), an accomplished violinist, and father Sami (Noam Jenkins) are shrouded in mystery. Sabine, played by Arsinée Khanjian, is Simon’s teacher and she attempts to unravel the secrets of the boy’s life. It turns out that all of these characters are linked by something that’s occurred in their collective pasts. But you can’t sympathise with any of the characters and it all warrants a big shrug at the end. Go and see it if you like slightly arch, worthy Canadian films…






I LOVE NEW YORK IN APRIL
I am coming to the end of my New York trip. I came to the city to visit the New York Comic Con and I’ll post a proper entry in the next couple of days but here are some photos (of Tommy Lee Edwards with his New Wave haircut, Jeff Carlisle at Steve Ellis’s table, a man dressed as Zap Brannigan from Futurama, Duncan Fegredo and Chris Weston at the Splash Page Art table).
Studio Space is at the printers now too which is very exciting…






BOOK EXPO AMERICA
I told you I’d be getting to this stuff gradually. It was only the second time I’d been to Book Expo America (or BEA as it shall now be known to save on letters:)) and the first time was two years ago, also in New York. It’s an amazing show: if you chose to, you could fill several suitcases with free books and EVERY major publisher is set up there. I went for a couple of different reasons: firstly to meet up with a couple of comic publishers to discuss Studio Space, secondly to tell some people in the comic biz about the TRIPWIRE Annual and lastly, just to see what book publishers have got coming out (which was useful for generating new book ideas and to make sure that the ones I’m working on currently a) haven’t already come out or b) so far of the mark that I will never sell them). So it’s looking likely that we have agreed on a publisher for Studio Space. I shall tell everybody when I can talk about that publicly…
Reception to the Annual was uniformly positive with many publishers telling me that it was exactly what the market needs right now. Unfortunately the direct market numbers didn’t reflect that and so we’re hoping to pick up some decent reorders. We will however be carried in Barnes & Noble in the US which is very cool indeed…
So I got to catch up with Mark Chiarello at DC, which is always a pleasure, and got to hang out with Bill Baker and David Michael Beck (a great artist who is just about to start on a big mainstream comic book project) and John Lustig, of Last Kiss fame. The trip was fun but I could have done with it being a little bit longer. Next post will contain my thoughts on BRMC on Webster Hall but in the meantime here is a shot of opening afternoon at BEA at the Javits and some nice New York city photos…


BACK FROM NEW YORK…
I’ll be putting up a series of proper posts later today and over the weekend but here’s a small post because I’ve only just returned from New York and Book Expo (an amazing trip for lots of different reasons). I’ll be posting a brief review of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club gig I went to at Webster Hall in New York a week ago (no photos because I didn’t want to get my camera confiscated) and talking about all the things that happened during the trip. BRMC was an amazing gig…

More later…