Friday, January 6, 2017

Calgary Expo 2017 Wish List

Well, here we are again, once again it's time to slowly start gearing up for the Calgary Expo. While I may have been a bit critical of their guest line-up last year, (Feeling there was more of an emphasis on celebrities than comic creators) I must admit, I had a great time. Picked up some great comics, some great art, met some artists I admired. Even got to do a fist bump with Stan Lee-how cool is that?
Oh and he upped the resale value of my Spider-Man trade paperback...

And as they've recently announced guests like Nathan Fillion, Christopher Lambert, Danielle Panabaker, Millie Bobbie Brown and Jim Shooter, I figured that I would give them a list of people I would like to see them invite this year. 

When I did this list for the 2016 show, I was probably a bit too late putting it out since none of the people on that list got invited but I'm hoping that by the time the Expo people make their next guest announcements in January that some of the people mentioned below will be attending. Keep in mind that some of the names on this list you might have seen on lists like this before so don't be too shocked if you see a name or twelve that seem familiar. 

Time and time again, I've asked the Expo staff to invite a guy who is becoming one of my favourite writers and each year, no dice. But I think (and hope) this year will be different for the man responsible for bringing us fan-favourite shows like Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man and of course, Young Justice.

He's also working on the Captain Atom miniseries that DC released recently and given the popularity and success of most of the current Rebirth titles, I think he would make an excellent guest for this year's Expo. Speaking of Young Justice...

2) Anyone associated with Young Justice
Early last year, both seasons of Young Justice finally made their debut on Netflix USA (We had them in Canada for a while) and there was a huge rallying cry from fans, cast members and show creators Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti to stream the show in the hope that maybe a third season would be possible. Yeah, it was a long shot but...

Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three

The third season is currently in production and while little is known about where and when it will be available, it's likely to assume that it will premiere late 2017 and hopefully on Netflix. Inviting people like Weisman, Vietti, artist Christopher Jones who worked on the superb tie-in comic, cast members like Jesse McCartney (Robin/Nightwing), Khary Payton (Aqualad), Jason Spisak (Kid Flash) Danica McKellar (Miss Martian) Stephanie Lemelin (Artemis), Nolan North (Superboy), so many other actors and actresses would be a great way to help promote the upcoming season.

The fact that it's getting a third season has also helped draw in new fans who didn't know of the series beforehand and are just as eager for the next season. I really hope the Expo takes full advantage of this potential.

3) Ty Templeton
A guest from last year, Ty Templeton was a real highlight for me. He worked on a lot of the tie-in comics for Batman: The Animated Series, and that series of comics ran for twelve whole years. Think about it like this: Years after the animated series had ended, they were still making tie-in comics. In fact, when I was seven years old, an issue of Batman Adventures was one of the first comics I bought with my own money.

And the comics from these series (Batman Adventures, Batman & Robin Adventures, Batman: Gotham Adventures &; Batman Adventures (2003)) were amazing! Hell, in my personal opinion, a lot of the later issues, from Batman: Gotham Adventures and the second iteration of Batman Adventures were a lot better than their animated series counterpart. The final issue of the latter Batman Adventures is the story that the animated series truly deserved. In fact when I presented it to Ty last April, he exclaimed happily, "This is my favourite comic I ever worked on!"
He was very kind, answered all of my questions about the comics. What more can a fanboy ask for?
In case you were wondering...

For a donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Ty will sign any comic you bring him like he did for me. But if you really want to get your monies worth, get a commission from Ty. I got one of Batman done in black-and-white on my first day there. The next day, he did the Ted Kord Blue Beetle for me in colour. They're gorgeous and why I've got them hanging on my wall alongside art from Neal Adams.

4) Anyone associated with Batman: The Animated Series

Can you believe that 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series? It caught me by surprise, too.
With next year being the 25th anniversary, I think that the Calgary Expo should immediately jump on this rich opportunity because they love doing big reunion events. In recent years they got the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as Aliens and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

So they should really invite Kevin Conroy (Who is STILL voicing Batman today), Mark Hamill (Who is STILL voicing the Joker today and would be a huge draw with Episode VIII coming out at the end of this year), Loren Lester (Robin/Nightwing), Arleen Sorkin (Harley Quinn) Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. It would be a great way to celebrate this show that has influenced (and continues to influence) fans for so many years.
I actually mentioned this to the Expo people on Twitter a few months back and they seemed on board with my idea.

 5) James Tynion IV

Last year, one of the comics I was most looking forward to was Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A friend of mine bought each issue and while we feel the last two issues had problems, the overall product was well done. Tynion was the writer on that and he's currently doing great work on Detective Comics

I can't say too much about Tynion because I must admit I haven't read everything he's made but based on what I have read, he's doing a pretty good job. And that leads me to my final entry...

6) Anyone associated with DC Comics' Rebirth

A year ago, I wasn't buying any new DC Comics regularly. I wasn't interested in constantly being let down by the New 52, I wasn't caring about the characters, the stories, none of it. The only thing that was piquing my interest was the crossover between Batman and Ninja Turtles. Aside from that it was just back issues, I wasn't caring all too much.
Then 'DC Universe Rebirth' happened. 

An 80 page comic for $2.99 helped reignite my love for the characters in DC Comics because it seemed like the comics actually loved these characters again...if that makes any sense.
Needless to say, I think Rebirth is the comic event of the year for money's worth. I felt very weird to be reading this comic and feel an emotional attachment to these characters. I didn't want to see Wally West die, I wanted to find out what happened to Superman, who the Bat-signal was shining for in Gotham City etc etc. 

And because of that I've been picking up a lot of new issues every week. A friend and I were joking when Rebirth first came out about what stories could be told with Aquaman that could fall into the category of 'passable' and yet we can't get enough of Aquaman at the moment. I think we're still kicking ourselves over how much we made fun of the character beforehand.

Anyway, that's my list for this year. I hope someone on the Expo staff actually takes time to read it and if they've done that, check out the lists for 2016 and 2015 and don't be afraid to take any of the names there into consideration.

Oh and see if Ditko will finally come out of hiding as well..

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