The Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas was home to the inaugural MorrisonCon on September 29-30, 2012. Going in, I had no idea what to expect from this show. I knew that 10 of the biggest names were special guests, including Grant Morrison, frequent collaborators Frank Quitely, Darick Robertson, and Chris Burnham, along with comic superstars Robert Kirkman, Jim Lee, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, and Gerard Way. Also invited were Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, Chronicle writer Max Landis, and musical guests Jimmy Urine and Akira the Don.
The energy of the crowd was palpable the minute I set foot in the main room. James Sime, the founder of Isotope Comics, stirred up the crowd with frenetic energy, setting up an introduction to Grant Morrison, who immediately proceeded to introduce Chris Burnham and Frank Quitely, and went straight into talking about upcoming artwork with their respective projects. It was fascinating to see the thought processes of the artists, and how they each interpreted Grant’s scripts and how it translated on to a page. Shortly after, Darick Robertson also joined the trio, and gave his take on working with Grant.
The next panel involved Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic Four), JH Williams (Batwoman), Jason Aaron (Wolverine and the X-Men, Avengers vs. X-Men), Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead, Invincible), and Grant Morrison talking about the comic book writing process. From talking about approach to plotting out storylines, to being aware of page turns for reader shock value, to working with different artists and how they might interact with different story tellers, it was a fantastic panel to gain insight from 5 of the biggest writers in comics today.
And since you can’t have comics without art, the following panel featured Chris Burnham, Frank Quitely, JH Williams III, Darick Robertson, and Jim Lee. The artists talked about influences, how they go about laying out pages, to new artists in comics that they personally enjoy. And of course, you can’t have an artist panel without art. Each artist chose a random guest’s sketchbook to draw in, and it was awesome to see them sketch away.
After an hour lunch break, the show continued with a musical based panel, featuring Akira the Don, Gerard Way, Darick Robertson, Grant Morrison, JH Williams III, and Jimmy Urine. It was awesome to see the panelists talk about how music was so intertwined in to their comics, from Gerard Way talking about listening to Tarantula by the Smashing Pumpkins while scripting an entire issue of Umbrella Academy, to the first concerts they’ve all attended, to an improptu performance of I Wanna Hold Your Hand by Darick, Grant and Akira which brought the crowd to their feet.
The last panel of the show for me was the movie panel, featuring Max Landis, James Gunn, Darick Robertson, and Grant Morrison. Although the panel did get sidetracked at times, it was awesome to see James Gunn and Max Landis debating whether Chronicle was a superhero film and what defines a super hero, as well as Landis arguing with Darick Robertson on what he felt was a huge flaw of The Boys.
On top of these amazing panels, there was also creator signings, where you actually had a reserved spot for a specific writer or artist, and you actually got to talk with them for more than the 10 seconds you’re usually alotted at usual cons. That to me was one THE highlight of the show, and I felt it was completely awesome that the artists and writers would embrace the idea, and enjoyed interacting with fans in a more intimate setting.
This show was definitely a one of a kind experience, and I believe is something all comic fans should definitely try attending once in their lifetime. If you ever wanted an comics show that was purely comics based, this is it. With rumors that this show could come back in the future, I’d definitely keep my eye out when tickets go on sale.
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A look back at MorrisonCon, featuring Grant Morrison and friends. More videos and reports to be added later so check back.
MorrisonCon takes place on September 28-30, 2012 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. MorrisonCon Packages go on sale to the public on May 9, 2012 at 3 PM ET / 12 Noon PT. The full details can be found on MorrisonCon.com. Follow MorrisonCon on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.
Special guests include:
Gerard Way began his artistic career after graduating from New York’s School of Visual Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999. He is the front man and a founding member of the heralded rock band MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE. Way is also the creator and author of the 2008 Eisner Award Winning graphic novel series, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, published by Dark Horse and recently optioned by Universal Pictures.
Comics futurist, author, artist and designer Jonathan Hickman detonated on the comics scene with THE NIGHTLY NEWS in 2006. Quickly becoming one of the most celebrated science fiction authors in the medium, Hickman followed with SECRET WARRIORS, TRANSHUMAN, PAX ROMANA and made history as an architect of the Marvel Universe on FANTASTIC FOUR and AVENGERS VS. X-MEN. Recently Hickman launched two new ongoing creator owned series, THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS and SECRET at Image Comics.
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely have been called the Lennon and McCartney of comics and have metamorphized the modern comics era with their award-winning collaborations on ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WE3, NEW X-MEN, the recently released lost classic FLEX MENTALLO, and the re-envisioning of two of America’s greatest pop culture icons with BATMAN & ROBIN. Quitely’s stunning visual overload has also graced album covers for indie rockers THE PHANTOM BAND and a promotional tarot card deck for singer/songwriter ROBBIE WILLIAMS. His future projects include the comic series MULTIVERSITY and JUPITER’S CHILDREN.
J.H. Williams III
Multi-award winning artist whose hypnotically gorgeous artwork graces the pages of BATWOMAN, DESOLATION JONES, SEVEN SOLDIERS, CHASE, one of the most celebrated runs on DETECTIVE COMICS in the last two decades, and the stunning comics tour-de-force PROMETHEA. Williams is also the future cover artist of the forthcoming album by new wave pop supergroup BLONDIE. The only thing more gorgeous than Williams’ printed work is witnessing his original art pages with your own eyes.
Up and coming superstar artist, Chris Burnham rose to popularity through his work on THE AMORY WARS with Claudio Sanchez of COHEED AND CAMBRIA. Partnering with Joe Casey, Burnham tore up the comic world with the graphic novels NIXON’S PALS and OFFICER DOWNE. Collaborating with Grant Morrison on the New York Times Bestselling BATMAN, INCORPORATED, Burnham returns to the Batcave with the launch of BATMAN INCORPORATED VOLUME 2.
MorrisonCon is a comic convention curated by Grant Morrison and Ignition Sequence, an intimate gathering featuring a hand-picked selection of some of the industry’s most exciting comic creators. Join us during this weekend long celebration of comics and their inspirational creators, get involved in a way unlike any other comic event, and shape treasured memories with us. MorrisonCon aims to change the way comics conventions are experienced.
Take part in innovative conversations with some of the most brilliant minds in sequential arts, informative comic workshops, personalized signing sessions, original art gallery showings, intimate mixers for fans and special guests alike, after hours parties with DJ Grant Morrison and featured guests in the Hard Rock Nightclub, and surprises around every corner.
Full mad details to be revealed.
“Expect maximum rock ‘n’ roll, chaos magic, mind-bending esoterica, sharp suits, surprise guests, and once-in-a-lifetime performances, all wrapped up in the glory that is comics, comics, and more comics.” – Grant Morrison
About Grant Morrison:
Rockstar author and cosmic visionary behind some of comics’ greatest works, including ALL- STAR SUPERMAN, THE INVISIBLES, SEVEN SOLDIERS, NEW X-MEN, ARKHAM ASLYLUM, FLEX MENTALLO, and BATMAN & ROBIN as well as the national bestseller SUPERGODS, a philosophical analysis of superhero comics and personal memoir. Grant’s up-coming works include his psychedelic revenge film SINATORO, the blockbuster DOMINION with Barry Sonnenfeld, and the forthcoming comic series BATMAN INCORPORATED, MULTIVERSITY and HAPPY!
Well, recently it was announced that Image Comics would be putting on their convention this year. Now “The people behind Isotope Comics and iFanboy, along with Grant Morrison are excited to announce an innovative new approach to comic conventions.”
According to their website, they will present in the fall “A once in a lifetime opportunity to see Grant Morrison and 9 hand picked comic creator superstars, all together for one weekend, one time only.”
More details to come.