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Comic Con International – The Do’s and Don’ts of the Microphone

Welcome to PAC's final feature for Comic Con International entitled: The Do's and Don'ts of the Microphone. This article is not just for newbs that are attending for the first time; in fact it's mostly a fair warning for them. This article is as much for the seasoned vets as it is for the rookies. Every year, at every hobby-esc convention, there comes a point in which questions from the audience are taken. You'll find that some attendees take this opportunity to leave and go to their next panel, while others sit and listen to the train wreck that is about to stumble out from some Fanboy or Fangirls mouth. Sometimes you will hear insightful comments such as two years ago when one man questioned why DC was trying to kill Bruce Wayne and replace him with Dick Grayson. This question came a full year before this would happen and frankly was a huge eye opener to those in attendance. While other questions... well they suck the soul out of you and make you hate the person asking the question because they're everything wrong with the hobby you love. That being said, let's start off with questions you should never ask if you manage to get up in front of a microphone.


How does it end? – Be it a comic or a movie, please don't waste everyone's time by asking to stupidest question possible. Why would anyone answer that question? They want you to buy the product and the entire point of Comic Con is to entice you into doing just that... buy the product! No one is going to answer you if you ask this question, aside from being mocked on the panel you will be secretly hated in the audience.

What's your favorite...? – Let's do the math shall we? Say there's ten people on the panel, there's only 15 minutes for questions and you just asked a question that takes at least 5 minutes to answer. Do you honestly even care what everyone has to say? Probably not, so hurt some feelings and ask one person who their favorite character is and skip the why. Why? Because all the answers to any question asking what anyone's favorite anything, can be found in any and mostly likely every interview the person did. So please skip this bullshit question and if you're going to ask it you better stay up there and give a damn and address everyone by name.

*Let's take a moment for a pro tip here. If you don't know one of the panelists, don't ask them a group question, trust me their feelings won't be hurt. Now let's shift gears to a couple of Do's.*

Batman on the MicDO's

Where did you get the inspiration for the character from? – A question like this makes the creator open up on their thought process which can add a perspective on their writing or art that some may never have seen or read before.

How did you get into the business? Yes you may actually be able to read this in an interview as well, but this is still a good one to ask. It's going to be uncensored and straight from the horse's mouth and typically they'll follow it up with another revealing story. You can learn a great deal about some of your favorite creators, like Geoff Johns wrecking Richard Donner's Lincoln Navigator while working for him.


Let's follow up that last DO with a DON'T that typically follows.

Can I have a job? – Let me answer this for you... No. Everyone up on that stage got to where they are with some degree of work and effort. Not by standing in front of a microphone and asking for handouts so don't be that guy. I hate to use Geoff Johns as an example, but since it happens every year I will. If you know his story, you should know he started off as Richard Donner's assistant. It's pretty common knowledge at this point. Yet every year it seems like some jack ass gets in front of the microphone and asks to be his assistant like no one else has tried. Well if you're guess at what his answer is every year re-read the beginning of this paragraph.

No one wants to hear your life story – You may think that it's important to tell everyone how long you've been reading comics for before asking a Publisher when they're going to "get good again", but you don't need to because no one but you gives a damn. In fact if you ask that question you will look like an asshole because everyone will probably clap for you after you say, "all my life" or "fifty plus years". They'll also look at your fanny pack and start asking themselves if they should get a new hobby before ending up like you.

The Crowd you'll be talking toDO

What are you most looking forward to doing on the title? – Now they may or may not answer this question. If they don't, that means there's a surprise in store for the title and you made them hint at it earlier than expected, so congrats! If they do answer, they'll probably give you a juicy nugget to look forward to.

How was the collaboration? – This can be asked in a couple of ways: What was it like working with so and so? What are you looking forward to most about working with so and so? Sometimes you'll get a generic stock answer, but it's a far better question to ask than any from the DON'T list.


Which character are you most looking forward to writing? – Let me again, answer this for you. If you're at the Batman panel, it's the Joker. If you're at the Superman panel, it's Lex Luthor. Why, you say for the millionth time? Because most writers feel that a hero is only as good as their greatest villain making the villain far more interesting and challenging to write for. In the case of Spider-Man, it's always going to be Peter Parker because he's the only superhero with bills. Please, I beg you, listening to ten people all say they want a crack at the Joker is mind numbing.

This one's movie specific and not really a question: Don't, and I repeat don't, send your twelve year old up to the microphone to ask seven people whose names he doesn't even know, let alone their body of work, to ask them what their favorite part of the movie is. A) They won't tell you because they want you to see the movie and B) No one cares, especially not your twelve year old who just peed himself as he heard the sound of his own voice for the first time.

And you know what? I'm out of DO's. That's because the DO's are usually great questions that come to some in the moment and can't be planned. So if you're going to ask a great question all you have to do is listen to the information being presented to you and take a damn moment to think. Most importantly if you don't have a good question to ask, you don't have to feel obligated to ask anything. Also trying to get over your fear of public speaking in front of a group of quick witted writers is ill advised. Without further ado, here are more DON'TS!

Fat DeadpoolDON'TS

I just started reading comics, what do you recommend? – Well if you want to hear a bunch of shameless self promoting or a list of classic comic's that can be taken from any Wizard article then by all means bore the audience with your stupidity. Here's a better thought, go down to a comic retailer and ask them. After all they're the ones that are going to be selling you the damn thing and can probably talk to you more about what you're interested in; it is what they do every day, as you know, their job!

I'm a girl that reads comics – I don't know what type of response you're expecting but it isn't going to be boo's and it shouldn't be claps. That's like a hermaphroditic midget saying they read comics. Just because you're a minority of the readership doesn't mean you deserve extra pats-on-the-back. You think every guy in the room doesn't want his girlfriend to read comics? You think when some guy sees a girl kind of heading towards the graphic novel section at Border's that he doesn't secretly hope to find her over there reading Manga so he can think to himself, "there's hope for her yet!" Yes it's great that you're a girl and you read comics, but you don't need to stand up their like an AA meeting talking about it.

Either Way!

"Brand New Day" sucked – If you bring this up in front of Joey Q, you sure as shit can bet the first thing he's going to do after cutting you off, is ask why it was bad. So you better have an actual reason for it, not just your friend told you it sucked or that's what everyone says and you love a good band-wagon. Try pointing out the fact that if Marvel really wanted to revert Spider-Man back to a point in which fans could jump onto the book they could have done it with the clone saga. But instead they chickened out, screwed it up and backed themselves into a corner. Or the fact that with good writing and strong editors they could have come up with something better, I mean they did wonders after Bendis revealed Daredevil's identity and then jumped off the book leaving it for someone else to fix, why couldn't they do the same for Spider-Man? Depending on how you look at it, this question can be good or bad, but either way it's fun!

I'm dressed as Deadpool, but I have a question about Green Lantern – Perhaps some will find the irony in this as both characters are played by the same bad actor in the movies. Know this; if you're going to dress up as a character and then ask a question to the company that doesn't own that character... you will be mocked and made fun of... and your question will probably get blown off. But hey, good luck to you! And if you are the A-hole who last year dressed as Deadpool and asked about Green Lantern, then there's a special place in hell for you, just so you know!


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