You should have Barcelona written in red, bold, capital letters in your Agenda. If you don’t, you better be smarting up, or you’ll certainly be missing a huge part of the action.
Am I talking about visiting La Sagrada Familia or staring at Dali’s immense living pieces of art?
Hell no, that stuff is just for rookies, amateurs. The reason why you should have visited Barcelona the weekend from the 15th till the 17th of April was very different, and much more unique in its way… the Barcelona International Comicon.
ComicsBulletin was there. I was there. Professional creators such as Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Dave Johnson, Eddie Campbell, Carlos Pacheco, Pasqual Ferry, David Aja, Glen Fabry or Arthur de Pins were there.
If you’ve been to any Convention, you know how this stuff goes: enormous building with lots of people going around in nutty outfits-what we nowadays call cosplay-go there to spend the evening, meet some of their favorite comic creators in person, have fun and hopefully get some discounted comics.
This time I had the pleasure to attend to one great Con, with people from all ages walking around, watching the unstoppable horde of zombies reclaim the land of the living for the undead.
And man, though I tried to gather all my strength and even managed to wield the Thor’s Uru hammer Mjolnir and Captain America’s shield, it was not enough to stop the coming of the walking dead.
I think I am leaving something behind…oh yes, the Con also featured the world premiere of the acclaimed “Gears of War 3” game. A big crowd gathered to fight, save their country and play some Xbox, all at the same time!
So, cosplay and zombies aside, which were the main features of the Barcelona Con?
First of all, that it wasn’t just a gathering of publishers that want to boost sales or grab new readers for the cause. And why, you ask? Because, as Conventions in Spain usually do, everything was centered on the 9th art, without forgetting that this is indeed a vast and diverse medium.
And because of that, there were beautifully constructed exhibits around such diverse topics as Tarzan, cats in comics, the 30 year commemoration of the failed coup-d’etat on Spain, and many more.
Second, there was a really motivating and inspiring proposal, via master classes about comic-book storytelling by top-notch artists such as Pasqual Ferry, artist on Thor this past year as well as on Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game mini;
the renowned Eddie Campbell or the famous French artist Arthur de Pins, whose technique mixes technology with classic ’60s French illustrations, and who showed all present his craftsmanship during the class, performing various different illustrations and explaining the creative process as he went along.
Third, all the creators were very accessible, with special mention to Kurt Busiek, who chatted with fans while signing copies of Avengers, Superman: Secret Identity and, of course, Astro City, and artists such as Brent E. Anderson, who, I kid you not, stood signing copies of Astro City and God Loves Man kills for many hours.
Other amazing talents like Brian Azzarello, Dave Johnson , Garth Ennis or Glen Fabry signed and penciled, signed and penciled, all three days in a row.
However, there was one heavily guarded guy, and that one was Azzarello himself, with Agent Graves of 100 Bullets fame, Green Lantern, Super-Man and even one of the scariest zombies ever standing by the writer. Man, That dude means business!
Fourth, I got a chance to meet Ryan Penagos, editor at Marvel.com and the fabled Agent_M on Twitter, as well as Janine Schaefer, editor of the Wolverine family of titles. Both of them presented a panel in which they introduced themselves and their jobs to the audience (which sadly, apart from my girl and I, was…two other guys?).
Anyway, I had a really interesting interview with Ryan Penagos the day after , where we talked about presence on social networks, Wolverine, new generations of readers and more stuff in a really informal way.
I have to say, though, that the highest point of the Barcelona Con was getting to know both Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson, and having the chance to interview two pros of the field that were always very charming and accessible. (In pic below: Kurt signs Comics Bulletin’s copy ofAstro City:The Dark Age)
So, let me sum this big mess up in a minute
Overall, the Con was a great success: I met many creators, bought comics, watched like a thousand movie trailers, teaser trailers and documentaries on every conceivable sci-fi movie (except the Avengers one, that is), took pictures of Kick-Ass and Kitty Pride with Lockeed…oh, and managed to get one beer or two.
This year it was zombies and strange-looking manga creatures, I’m already wondering what will Barcelona hold in store for next year.
But, in the meantime, you better be doing some pointing at the map, because Barcelona Con is a must!