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A Word from the King #4 by John King

Comic Book Panels from Orlando Megacon 2018

On Friday, I went to the Orange County Convention Center to attend Orlando Megacon, to try to cover it, sort of the way I do Miami Book Fair, in terms of watching and sharing panels. Maybe someday I’ll interview more comic creators, though my focus tends to be on more literary production. I do love sequential graphic narratives where image and word combine and collide and slip and slide and force my mind into a more visual form of perception.

A LOT of comic book convention activity is chasing time and photo opportunities with film and television stars. A LOT of comic book convention activity is shopping on the massive floorspace and interacting with cosplayers. Some activity involves anime and dancing cosplayers that I don’t quite understand.

What is most exciting to me, however, are the comic book creators who appear on panels and are approachable. They tend to be grateful for the attention of fans and don’t show a lot of ego in this environment (although the proximity of film stars perhaps keeps one’s ego in check).

But to me, compared to the bitterness and stuffiness of so much of literary endeavor, it is heartening to see the enthusiasm and friendliness of major people in the comics industry, such as Dan Didio, the publisher of DC Comics, who clearly loves the work he does.

Dan Didio & John King

Dan DiDio and John King. Photo by Katherine J. Parker.

I managed to film 2 panels while I was there. One was a presentation by PaperFilms productions that starred Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (who currently work on Harley Quinn) as well as Frank Tieri and Megan Hutchison. My friend Katherine J. Parker asked them how the broke into comics, which led to some fascinating stories. They also invited Harley Quinn on stage.

I also nabbed this video of Tom King, who writes for Batman and Miracle Man, which was a lot of fun. Every time King (no relation) said fuck, he zinged a wedding save-the-date card for Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle into the crowd. He flung many, many cards into the audience. He spoke about how his own life ends up in his stories, sometimes in disturbing ways.

In some ways, I think writing conferences should aspire to be more like comic book conventions. Definitely, there should be more cosplaying.


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John King (Episode, well, all of them) holds a PhD in English from Purdue University, and an MFA from New York University. His novel, Guy Psycho and the Ziggurat of Shame, is forthcoming from Beating Windward Press.

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