featurebanner_panel_interviewAMBER LOVE 03-FEB-2013 This weekend I was invited to speak at the first time small comic convention ARTISTS ASSEMBLE in northern New Jersey. Organizers Ben Figueroa, Luigi Novi, and Saulo Diaz did a rather impressive job getting a couple hundred people to turn out on a blistery weekend. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce new people to ATHENA VOLTAIRE, the comic character created by Steve Bryant whose prose anthology for Dark Horse Sequential Pulp I have a story in. Also, the East Coast Avengers cosplayers had another amazing turnout with so many costumed volunteers.

I thought I was going to miss the first panel due to our conflicting GPS directions and then inability to find parking in the urban nook right outside New York City. Ashley and I ran in and I quickly dumped my stuff to take the seat that was still waiting for me on the “Comics as a Legitimate Artform” panel. I was worried my voice and my brain weren’t going to cooperate as I dealt with the newly sprouted cold that has hit me this plague season.

Download COMICS AS A LEGITIMATE ART on iTunes or listen here.

PHOTO BY SMASH
PHOTO BY SMASH

The Comic Art panel had great guests including Geoff Mosher, Steven Defendini, John Trigonis, Lauren Clemente and myself and moderated by Luigi Novi. As someone who isn’t an artist in the traditional sense (gave up drawing and painting after high school) I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to contribute to the discussion. My hands trembled non-stop for the whole hour. Maybe it was the cold but it certainly could have been anxiety. I don’t even remember what I said except for one answer. All I could hope for was that my experiences from modeling and writing comics and collecting original comic art gave me some kind of valid perspective on the subject.

We fielded questions whether we’ve been asked about being too old for comics, if we aspire to get into DC or Marvel, and book recommendations. We had the chance to even name what our “dream teams” would be if we could select other writers and artists to collaborate with and on which titles.

The second panel discussion was “Breaking into Comics” with John Trigonis, Lauren Clemente, and Geoff Mosher. John pulled double duty also as the moderator. He and Lauren have a promising book in the works called SIREN’S CALLING which they describe as a 1940s style horror noir set in Santa Monica, California. John also has a unique perspective as an employee of the crowdfunding site, IndieGoGo. Geoff has independently created his comic MONDO CHACHI for years with that underground feel to creating something he would make even if no read else ever read it. He showed a particular passion about making original work and doing something because you have the need to get it out of your heart and into the world.

Download WOMEN IN COMICS on iTunes or listen here.

PHOTO BY SMASH
PHOTO BY SMASH

The last panel was “Women in Comics” which I moderated. The panelists were Erica Schultz, Amy Chu, Madelynne Dela Rama and Lauren Clemente. I was feeling worse and when my very first question wiffed like a basketball being thrown ten feet below the net, I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I have no idea why but the lights were dimmed over the audience. It was the last panel and people were hungry and tired. I spotted at least three asleep at different times. I thought I had prepared a really great series of questions considering all the interviewing I do on my podcast. There’s an hour of compelling responses by this panel but the energy was low throughout the room. Ashley assured me we had the loudest applause at the end but nonetheless I felt like there wasn’t much connecting going on to unite the panelists but again, maybe this cold has me too delirious. We discussed different areas of gender topics from internet trolls to gender swapped characters. Lastly, the audience had several great questions for us including asking us which characters with which we most identify.

Many thanks to Ashley for taking the photos and the lovely Diana for all her support.