Friday, July 12, 2013

Supanova Perth 2013 Part 2 - Meeting Comics Legend Chris Claremont and Artist Alex Saviuk

Not only did Luke Caporn get to meet comic artist George Perez at the Supanova Perth convention recently.

He also got to meet a legendary creator and writer - Chris Claremont, as well as comic artist Alex Saviuk - best known for his particularly long and regular work with the Spider-man character.

Red Dot Diva is envious. And she wants you to join her envy with Part 2 of Luke's report.


Chris Claremont, while being a much more reserved and dignified chap, was equally as nice. Known for his legendary 17-year run on the X-Men, he is responsible for a lot of their popularity even to this date.

His line was also long at all times during the weekend. That's really impressive as he's a writer and thus, wasn't holding up the queue sketching or what have you. It's great to see his enduring popularity. While not as enthusiastic as Perez, he's every bit as chatty and friendly. You really get a sense of how thoughtful and intelligent he is even in a brief conversation.

I only had a couple of issues and a hardcover for Chris to sign, sadly. I wasn't an X-Men reader until a few years ago. Having read all his work now, I wish I had grabbed them back in the day. As he signed my things, I asked him about his trip and if he had seen any of Perth. He said he hadn't had much of a chance but did check out a Footy game on Thursday night. While it was a fun experience he truly had no idea what was going on. I echoed the sentiment with regards to American Football.

Over my many trips to the signing area, I overheard him chatting to other fans. He was more than happy to have long conversations about his work. You could see this really made their day. When he talked of the characters he had written over that long period, you could really see the fondness in his eyes. He wasn't reminiscing about fictional characters. These were people who were his whole life for almost two decades straight. It really struck with me and left a lasting impact.

Chris’s panel was also very interesting. He spoke of how much he’s looking forward to both "The Wolverine" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past" movies . He’s legitimately floored by the DOFP cast. He thinks that it’s full of stellar actors including a few Oscar winners.

When asked about the changes the films have made to plots of his, Chris said it doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t own the characters and knows his exact plots cant appear on the silver screen. As long as the characters still feel like the character he wrote, he’s happy. He does get a genuine thrill when he hears lines he wrote in the films. In "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" when Logan gives the “I’m the best there is at what I do” line, Chris almost got up and cheered during the screening.

Someone in the crowd asked his opinions on decompression in comics in the modern age. In his day, an average story arc was 2-3 issues. Perhaps 4 if it was a really big story that needs room to breathe. Of course, arcs today are 6 issues at the very least. Chris wasn’t writing for the trade paperback like the writers of today were. He said the problem with long arcs like that, is if they aren’t very good or popular, you are stuck with it for half a year and will most probably lose readers. Shorter arcs meant if you had a stinker, it was gone by the next issue or two. Readers tend to stick around for a shorter gap like that.

I can’t recall what brought it up, but Chris mentioned his dislike for the aging of a lot of the X-Men characters. In his eyes, Kitty should always be 16 and not a headmistress (Like in Jason Aaron’s "Wolverine and the X-Men"). He doesn’t like that Cyclops is in his thirties now.

It sucks being thirty,” he remarked. It was interesting to see that he wishes the characters could stay the same age while I have heard many "Big 2" writers complain that they cannot age and change their characters enough.

Alex Saviuk may not be as well known as Perez or Claremont, but he is a true veteran of the comics world. After working for DC he started on an amazing (pun intended) 7-year stint pencilling "Web of Spider-Man". A run that long is unheard of these days.

Nowadays, he draws the Sunday Spidey newspaper strip and a few issues a year of "The Phantom". His Web run ended just as I was getting into comics. Luckily, I had a handful of his last issues in the longboxes for him to sign. A few of them with hologram covers that are delightfully 90's. I hadn't planned on getting a commission of his but after flipping through the old issues of Web and seeing his prints on sale, I couldn't resist. Spidey is my all time favourite character and I had never had a piece of him done before. Who better than a classic Spidey penciller?

What I really loved about Alex was how much he still loved his work. He would excitedly take photos of commissions he has just done that he really liked.

When I asked about any unusual ones this weekend he pulled out a really great Rocket Racoon he had done earlier. All these years and he had never drawn him. His phone was full of them.

Nothing I love more than to see someone having so much enthusiasm in what he does, even after so many years in the business!


Have you read Luke's encounter with artist George Perez? Click here for his write-up!

Part 3 of the Supanova Perth report coming soon!

Thanks to Luke for the pics and reports!

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