Friday, September 12, 2008

Toronto Fan Expo 2008 - Part 3

Sophie and I both were pretty beat up by day one of the convention, from walking around and lugging pounds of loot with us. She had blisters, and I pulled something in my hip/ass area, (sure it may sound embarrassing, but I did, and I'll admit to it.) so we just about dropped dead when we got home. Keith had just driven in from Pembroke and was anxious to go out and party, and we were quick to squash those hopes and settled in for a night of sitting around, watching wrestling and playing Soul Calibur 2.

Up early-ish the next morning, the three of us got some breakfast and went beck down to the convention center, generally enthused because a) the con is awesome and b) Keith has a car, so we're not taking the subway there. Sophie becomes less enthused as the soundtrack for the trip downtown consists entirely of a hip-hop mix I had made the week before, and her decidedly metal tastes were left unsated.

We hit the floor of the con again, and quickly discovered that Saturday was much more crowded than Friday had been, and that the distinct tastes of three people made it difficult to keep together on the floor. Keith had purchased a VIP delux pass that would enable him to meet Wes Craven, shake his hand, hug, and so on. Unsure of what merch he would like to autograph, he consistently shot down my suggestion of a VHS copy of "Shocker". I still feel that this would have been a good idea, and according to Keith, someone at the VIP meet and greet had the same idea. I still think he missed out on a great opportunity there.

We scanned the program until coming upon one labeled "Alex Maleev Tells it Like it Is". Time to sit down for a bit.

I'd read Maleev's work with Brian Michael Bendis when they were on Daredevil, and I particularly liked his art during the mob war between the Kinpin and Mr. Silke, and this was enough to sit in for me. Sophie, well, she had blisters, and any reason to sit was good for her. Alex Maleev was a good speaker, despite his hesitation to admit it to himself. He was dryly witty, very frank with his opinions ( I paraphrase him when he said; Copying manga is not art, you have to learn to draw. Go to school.) and oddly, seemingly uninterested in the rest of the comics world.

It was his blunt manner that made the talk awesome. More so than other comic artists I've met, he was not shy about his ego, and while that might put some people off, I thought it at least showed some confidence in his work. A good parallel I think would be to compare him to hockey player Alex Kovalev, who doesn't play at modesty when talking about his skill. Maleev was very sure of himself, and that too, even if it rubs you the wrong way, makes for an interesting speaker. Keith is a longstanding fan and occasional practitioner of cockiness, so he was 100% won over.

Maleev spoke about growing up and studying in Bulgaria, getting his degree in Fine Art, and coming to the United States and sort of unwillingly getting into comics. He also told the crowd he was a certified ski instructor, and if anyone had any skiing questions, he could probably answer them better than comic-related ones.

When asked what character he would like to redesign if he could, he said "Spider-Woman" as if he'd been thinking about it for a while. He told us he'd put her in a black costume, with a big white spider on the chest. A couple of days later, I stopped by his table with a couple of issues of West Coast Avengers that had Spider-Woman II on the cover, to show him that there already was a Spider-Woman in a Venom-esque outfit, and in a dry and non-plussed fashion, he only said "See, I was right. It does look better." Awesome.

We also managed to catch a screening of "30 Days of Night: Blood Trails", which was a cool, short prequel to the movie that had a lot of the introduction from the original comic which was left out of the Hartnett film. Gory, but fun eye candy. After this, we had to run off to get food and catch a Roller Derby match.

More to come.

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