Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Supanova Perth 2013 Part 1 - The Infectious Exuberance of George Perez

Things all pop-culture, geek and comics have been descending like hot lava in Australia for the last couple of years.

As a convention organizer, Supanova has been able to draw in the big name guests and crowds across the continent. The most recent Supanova convention was held at the Claremont Showgrounds in Perth.

Red Dot Diva's Aussie contact and hardcore geek/collector Luke Caporn attended the convention and has submitted an interesting and detailed report of the rundown of events.

Luke's report will be featured in four parts. (Yes, it's that detailed! But Red Dot Diva guarantees that it will be an enjoyable read!)

Here goes!


Fans of comics, film, television, science fiction and anime descended upon Perth once again for this year's Supanova. Fans had spent weeks preparing their colourful costumes and props ready for unveiling in front of thousands. The pop culture expo was bigger than ever this year delivering hundreds of stalls willing to part a geek with his money.

Hours spent in queues were a small price to pay for a chance to catch a glimpse, get an autograph or snap a photo with the likes of Carrie Fisher, David Hasselhoff and Karl Urban. Comic guests George Perez, Chris Claremont, Tom Taylor and Alex Saviuk chatted with excited fans and produced brilliant pieces of art right there on the convention floor. Where else can you spy Loki playing a game of quidditch, hear a self-deprecating Hoff call one of his own films "the worst film ever", catch kiwi native and Judge Dredd himself, Urban talk smack about our Wallabies or watch a quartet of comics pros almost roll a golf cart attempting to do a donut?

Supanova is a great place to be for a comics fan. While the majority of folk are losing their minds for a glimpse of Karl Urban or spending all day in a queue to get Carrie Fisher to scribble on something I was getting a lot of time talking to legends of the comics world. They may get a little less attention than the stars of film and TV over the weekend but this just means dedicated fans like me have less queuing and much more one on one time with our heroes.

There was a small change from previous years - the bigger comics guests weren't down in Artist's Alley but rather up in the main hall with the other big guests. There was much more room to breathe and they got equal standing with the Urbans, Fishers, Tudyks of the con. Although I think Tom Taylor wasn't a huge fan of the change. Every time I saw him he was itching to be down on the floor with the people (and he did escape a few times down to the Gestalt booth).

The comic panels were moved away from the main stage and into a smaller seminar room nearby. Seating around 50 people these panels were small and intimate. It really gave us a chance to ask questions and get great stories.

Right off the bat, can I just say what a fun, friendly and all round awesome guy George Perez was? From Friday night at his masterclass right up until the dying minutes of the con on Sunday he was happy, cheerful and full of energy. I was up at his booth many times over the weekend. I had a massive stack of books on hand for him to sign. His entire late 90's Avengers run with Kurt Busiek, his recent New 52 Superman and World's Finest and a couple of massive Absolute Editions were among the stuff jammed in my car for the con. (and boy am I grateful for the nearby media parking).

The masterclass on preview night was really fantastic. It was a small, intimate affair in the seminar room. We got the opportunity to hear him talk about how he approaches his work and got to watch him draw live on camera while he explained.

After some introductions and applause George explained what he believes the role of a comic book artist is. Not just simply a penciler and inker, George sees himself as a storyteller. He's in charge of costumes, camera angles, set design and making sure things stay consistent from panel to panel. This is a unique role only found in the world of comics. Ideally, a good artist like himself will lessen the work of the writer. The writer has precious little space in those little word bubbles. If George has done his job right, the writer needn't waste space explaining things like what's happening and the setting, he can use his words on characterisation, story and interplay. From there was an entertaining Q & A with answers being given both verbally and visually as he drew.

If you’d like to read a detailed recap of the master class check out my article over at

He actually had a steady queue the entire show which was great to see. I do love to see comics legends still getting mainstream appeal. He had lifelong comics fans, casual younger fans and even some young kids waiting patiently for an autograph or a sketch.

As the queue was long I had to do a few laps through the signing queue (he had a separate queue for sketches). I didn't mind at all as it was opportunity to see George sketching headshots and delivering commissions (like my Thanos piece) to other fans. I'm still quite jealous of the chap who got a JLA/Avengers inspired Superman with Mjolnir and Cap's shield. What a great piece.

While people like him and myself didn't get to see George actually work on our pieces (we put our names down for these back in September), we did get the benefit of having him put considerable time and effort in the work. Convention commissions need to be done as quick as possible, not that they don't turn out spectacular, so it was nice to have something that was done with no rush. You can really see the high amount of work and quality in those commissions.

What was really fun was when someone asked for a photo with him. His table was the second one over, so it wasn't an option for us to go around his side. Instead George would jump to his feet and run around to the other side with a hop in his step. It was so great. He wasn't a "please don't touch me" type either. He'd throw his arms around you and get in close and let you get a few photos. He even insisted in getting one with Kat my girlfriend (and photographer for the weekend) as well. What a champ!

In the dying minutes of Saturday, I ran over to his table with a good 30 issues of his Avengers under his arm. He was more than happy to sign every single one.

This is a man who loves what he does and loves his fans. Such infectious enthusiasm. As he said in his masterclass "You paid to be here and I'm paid to be here. I am at your service."


Who did Luke meet next?

Check out for Part 2 of the Supanova Perth report coming soon!

Thanks to Luke for the pics and write-up!

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