Seemed hilarious at the time...guess you had to be there??
I had intended to just do a con/panel report about the NY Anime Fest, but after reading some posts on AvatarSpirit.net, I just wanted to clarify some stuff first.
The 'Fake Spoilers' segment of the Avatar Comics and Magazine panel was intended as nothing more than entertainment and good fun.
You can enjoy them here:
Although it did start off with potentially real background images (the set up), MOST was fake, and illustrated by the uber-talented Johane Matte, a.k.a. Rufftoon. The scenes were all just silly ideas of mine or Johane's combined with a parody of Harry Potter, and stories that end with weddings or dance parties. Most of what was said at the panel was improvised on the spot by Alison, Tina and I. It wasn't intended to be mean or to get back at anyone for anything. But admittedly, I realized too late that I probably shouldn't have shown them at the END of the panel when I didn't have anything awesome to follow it up with. Lesson learned. Believe me.
After Day of Black Sun, ALL of us fans couldn't help but speculate like crazy about the remaining episodes in the series. And everyone I talked to agreed that any Avatar panel at least needed to address that. Perhaps a bit too late, I offered the studio an opportunity to send me exclusive artwork, content, or a message that they'd want to include. But understandably, they were busy (and travelling) and didn't want to put too much info out there until the right time and place. Which I completely respect, especially considering how few episodes are left until their grand finale. Better to save the last reveals for the shows themselves. And if anyone is going to be sharing secrets, it should the creators themselves!
So then why the fake content, you ask?
For the past two years I've made it a goal to better promote Nickelodeon Magazine and all the cool stuff within, specifically to fans of comics and cartoons. This has lead to several panels at various conventions and art shows, usually in the form of "Carousels"--a form of interactive slideshow developed by artist Bob Sikoryak. The idea being, rather than just sitting up on stage and talking about stuff (like a normal panel), we instead engage the audience with live readings, reenactments, skits, competitions, prizes, and volunteer participation. Since Nickelodeon Magazine is primarily a humor magazine in the spirit of MAD, we revel in spoofs and pranks--just like we often do within the pages (where unless it has a "REAL" seal, anything is potentially just for laughs).
When I signed up to attend the NY Anime Fest, I felt it would be a good opportunity to do a presentation with the Avatar comics we'd been working on. Especially since the show wasn't being represented there in any other way (everyone who works on the show is in California). As a huge fan of the show myself, I knew that there would probably be lots of people who would love a good excuse to meet up with Avatar fans and talk about their favorite show, even if the focus was the related magazines and comics. And I took the time to brainstorm a few things like the Trivia Bending and the live comic reading, to make it as fun as possible for the people who showed up. I also figured we could do a longer Q&A session and discuss with the audience all the various ways things could play out. Sort of like a TV show or podcast recorded in front of a live audience.
When I submitted my panel description, this is what I wrote:
A behind-the-scenes look at the various stages of making the Avatar comics that appeared in the official Avatar magazines as well as the mini-comics packaged with the single disk DVDs. From story pitches to script revisions, and creating final art for print, this is a chance to find out what goes into making a great comic, and what editors actually do all day! Well also take some time to talk about the show itself and speculate about the upcoming series finale!
And this is what was posted on the NY Anime Fest Website:
Nickelodeon Magazine editor Dave Roman talks about Avatar, gives hints about the upcoming series finale, and presents a behind-the-scenes look at the various stages of making the Avatar comic -- from story pitches, to script revisions, to creating the final comic book!
but not exactly accurate. My intention was speculation, not actual breaking news. And it made me nervous that people would see the description and assume that this panel was the place to get the scoop on the finale. As someone who tends to go out of his way to avoid spoilers, this was definitely not the case. But it did make me think a lot about what kinds of spoilers people wanted to see, and funny variations on that other famous series that just ended. I told some of these ideas to Johane (Rufftoon), and things kind of just snowballed very quickly (all within week or so). Luckily, Bryan Konietzko had the good sense to point out that some of the joke images might be too subtle and confusing. So, we tried to make it even more over the top and silly. But perhaps they still weren't fake enough!
I hoped that most Avatar fans would get the joke and appreciate the references and tongue-in-cheek images. They were never meant to make up for us not being able to show real spoilers or give information about release dates or other things that people desperately want to know.
Throughout the week before the panel, I actually did ask people in programming and at the studio if anyone knew when the next episode would air. But since it hadn't been decided yet, no one could confirm anything. I tried asking about the possibility of a soundtrack or an artbook since I know that these are things the fans have been begging for, but sadly there wasn't anything to report on that front, either. So for now, all we can do as fans is be patient and know that there's still plenty of great stuff to look forward to. And like I said on the panel, better to appreciate the fun of having things to speculate on while we still can. Pretty soon we will know EVERYTHING, because the Avatar series as we know it will be over. Of course we'll still have the movie to look forward to
and anything else Mike and Bryan create down the line!
At any rate, all spoilers aside, I hope that the people who attended the panel did have an okay time! Some people seemed to laugh and enjoy themselves, so I didn't feel completely bummed out. Although the stress of putting those things together always kind of makes me want to pass out afterwards. Especially when you aren't sure if all the audio and visual components will even synch up right, and you only have 50 minutes to run through everything you've got planned!
I want to thank everyone who attended the panel, especially those who traveled for it
and everyone who participated in our events! The Bending Battle, the live reading of the Zuko/Mai date comic, the audience trivia, the people who tried to recite Katara's monologue from the show opening
it all feels like a crazy blur now! Also thanks to THQ, Nick Games, and Paramount Home Video for giving us all the great prizes to give away!
And of course I have to give eternal thanks to my co-hosts on the panel, Alison Wilgus and Tina Lam. They really helped keep the whole thing from falling apart! I hope that everyone showers them with much kudos, love, and faves.
I should mention that although NY Anime Fest was not the biggest Anime convention ever, there were a lot of enthusiastic Avatar fans showing off their pride. There was some killer cosplay, like Jet and Katara (who were both part of the trivia bending), and Fire Nation Katara and Azula (who switched to Water Tribe Katara and Hama on Sunday!) A girl who had a shirt of Sokka pushing Toph in a shopping cart was especially brilliant. I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of people, but trust me, it was really exciting to share in the Avatar love!
In other NY Anime Fest news
my wife, Raina
and I are going to be writing a Shoujo manga X-Men series for Del Rey Manga and Marvel Comics
more on that soon.
In the meantime heres a link to some news about it:[link]
Links to some stuff from the Avatar panel:[link][link]