A new page in the history of comics
Issue date: 2/11/08 Section: News
Hosted by Primate Promotions and Monkeyhouse Entertainment, the convention featured the usual fans and comic book vendors, along with a few industry legends.
Marvel Comics artist Herb Trimpe, co-creator of the original X-Men character Wolverine, said aspiring cartoonists are dealing with an increasingly corporate comic world.
"Marvel Comics in the beginning was a kind of 'Mom and Pop' company," Trimpe said. "Fans walked in and out of the company. Now decisions are made by people who don't know a lot about comics. It's all very corporate."
He said businessmen are "not very human" to the artists and will dispose of them when fresh and hipper talent walks through the door.
The comic book format has changed because industry moguls controlling the business are afraid of losing money with franchises like X-Men, he said.
"Stan Lee, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, decided that artists should be the ones telling the story before writing the script," Trimpe said. "Now the scripts are written first, which limits the artists' creativity."
Josh Berry, 18, of Salem, said apart from the entertainment value of the medium, he likes comic books for the admirable human qualities of the characters.
"They teach you a lot about life, about responsibility and the risks that people take," he said. "Some make you want to be like them."
Artists at the convention said their comics are a labor of love. Some comic creators, including those behind Free Lunch Comics and the Glint of Hope Productions webseries Hero Envy, are incorporating technology into their presentation.
Hero Envy writer-director-actor-and-editor Keith Gleason said websites like Youtube and MySpace have become a part of his product promotions and iTunes downloadable "samples" have contributed to the comic's popularity, which earned Glint of Hope a 2007 Spewgie for Best Web Series.
"We are the first to get on the market in web technology," he said.
Besides offering a cheaper way to promote comics, the Internet has made comics' content less conservative and traditional for the 21st century audience, said Sky Pirates writer and creator Everett Soares.
"Underground comic business uses more of a variety of words," Soares said. "The characters are not just running around with tights and a cape."
A comic book fan since he was 6, Boston resident Bechard Maalouf said the appeal of escapism keeps the industry alive.
"There are more distractions for kids but the characters themselves provide an aspect of fantasy that we gravitate toward," he said.