Thursday, July 17, 2014

HeroesCon 2014: Hawkworld, Abberant Six, And Then Some

My "home" comic convention is, presently, HeroesCon up in Charlotte, NC.  There is the new kid in town, the upstart SC Comicon right here in the Upstate, but I was out of town for it this year, so that showdown will have to wait until 2015.

In any event, one of the highlight guests for me this year at HeroesCon was Tim Truman, whom devoted Hawkfans will immediately recognize as the writer and artist of the prestige format series.  And that's exactly what I brought for him to sign, unsurprisingly.  (I left out the fact that I found all three issues for a dollar, but really.)  I got a chance to talk briefly with Mr. Truman about Hawkworld, and the changes wrought by the series.

The story which Mr. Truman told me was an interesting one -- Hawkworld was originally intended to be a joint project with him on art and Gardner Fox was supposed to write!  But, unfortunately, the right before he began work on the series, Truman said he received a call from DC informing him of Mr. Fox's untimely passing.  So the project was put on the shelf for a little bit, and became double duty for Truman.  Man, I wonder how different the series would have been with Fox writing it?  Fox's Thanagar from the Silver Age was a utopia, which the Thanagar we got in Hawkworld is anything but.

The other comment which Mr. Truman made was that the whole concept of Hawkworld was to be a  love letter to the Hawkman work done by Joe Kubert.  And while Kubert's influence on Hawkman cannot be overstated, I personally don't see a whole lot of Kubert's swooping, pulp-influenced style in Truman's work.  But I suppose there is a fine line between aping and paying homage.

The other big highlight guest with some Hawk work in his portfolio was cosmic scribe extraordinaire Jim Starlin!  Along with my copy of The Death Of Captain Marvel, I thought the best way to use my short amount of time with Mr. Starlin would be to bring my copies of the Hawkman Special and Adam Strange Special.  Now, part of this was my desire to be the only guy who would bring these books for him to sign, but I also wanted to talk about the Rann-Thanagar Holy War/Strange Adventures story and what was planned for Hawkman as part of the Abberant Six.

I told Mr. Starlin that I really enjoyed this run of DC Cosmic, including Synnar The Demiurge and the re-emergence of an alien Hawkman.  Mr. Starlin said that he had every intention, directed by DC, to turn Hawkman back into a science fiction character again, but those plans came off the rails when Geoff Johns said he needed Hawkman as he was for Blackest Night, and that took precedent over what he was doing.  Which jives with what I had speculated back in the day, for whatever that's worth nowadays.

Mr. Starlin also told me a tidbit which really amused me -- he admitted that at the time he first drew him, Hawkman was the hardest character to draw!  All of the feathers and details apparently drove him crazy.  But he also admitted that another character supplanted Hawkman as the most difficult to draw -- Annihilus, to the point that he redesigned him to make him easier to draw!

The other Hawk creator I spoke to was Frank Tieri, who stepped in after the Rob Liefeld dust up.  But we talked about his work on Iron Man rather than the Winged Wonder; in any event, Mr. Tieri is a great guy and a lot of fun to talk to.

All told, HeroesCon was a successful convention; I have often said that you get out of a con what you put into it.  I tend to go to comic cons for more the capitalistic side than the creative side, but while I was able to reap some benefit from the back issue bins (DC Comics Presents #74!), I got a lot more out of Artist's Alley this time out.

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