Last night in Los Angeles, MySpace Comic Books along with Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard held a fundraising "meet the stars" benefit for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in honor of the final issue of Y: The Last Man. Co-creators Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra were feted by the likes of Joss Whedon, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Drew Goddard, and an honest-to-god live monkey. Although the party was sponsored by Vertigo Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Top Cow Productions, and Monster, Mark Waid said he would have funded the CBLDF for one year if they would have given the monkey a knife and let it run amok. Check out the list below for highlights, including the pornographic origins of Y, and what the secret connection is between Doctor Who and the series. Needless to say, if you haven't read the series, there be spoilers ahead.
The event was strictly limited to 140 people, and hopeful attendees were camping out overnight to get some of the "standing room only" tickets that went on sale just before it started. The VIP ticket packages sold out on the web in 6 minutes, which is great since all proceeds were going to the CBLDF. However, we're sure the creative types in the room didn't mind avoiding fannish questions like "Um, in episode 7 of Firefly, Jayne wears a green shirt. Does that mean he's a spy for the Alliance?" Folks were very respectful, and the monkey got most of the attention in the room. It didn't even fling any poo at all, as far as we noticed. These were the high points of the evening:
- Vertigo Editor Will Dennis remembered being given the editorial reins on Y after issue #15, and phoning up 100 Bullets writer Brian Azzarello for advice. Azzarello told him, "Great book. Yorick needs pussy. Don't fuck it up."
- Joss Whedon got up and told a story about being at the San Diego Comic-Con several years ago, and someone came over and said "My friend wanted you to have this book that he wrote," and it was the first graphic novel of Y. Joss took it home where it sat amidst his junk piles until he finally read it and fell in love.
- Brian responded by saying that he had always been inspired by a television writer who wrote strong women characters, "and that writer was named... J.J. Abrams." Zing!
- During Joss Whedon's"keynote" speech where he spoke a lot about the final book, he said: "One of the things about the book, is that like the Cylons, he has a plan."
- Someone asked Brian what Agent 355's real name was, and he decided not to tell anyone. "Some things should be left unanswered... I know that's scary coming from someone who's working on Lost, but some things should be left alone."
- Pia Guerra's next book, which she announced exclusively, is going to be Doctor Who for IDW, which will come out in July. However, according to Brian, "The story is just all the different Doctors having sex with each other. One big circle jerk."
- Brian couldn't have been nicer and more generous to Pia, saying "Those of you who know the book know it's mostly Pia, and a little bit me." Seriously, we almost got a cavity from how sweet he was to her. What a guy. However, according to him he's a guy who "Likes naked boobies and severed heads."
- One fan asked Pia about the copy of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash on Yorick's bookshelf, and Pia said she put that in because it's on her own bookshelf at home.
- Brian doesn't care who plays Yorick in the movie, but he has to be someone who is pretty annoying. "I like Topher Grace, who you mentioned" Pia said, to which Brian who replied "SHHHHHH!"
- Pia cried like a baby while illustrating the scene with Ampersand in the woods. You aren't human if you can read the whole series and come to that scene and not be moved.
- The first issue of Y was meant to have scenes of Agent 355 in Afghanistan with a Taliban artifact, but then 9/11 happened and they took it out because they thought the U.S. would bomb the country back to the stone age.
- Brian quipped that "I only have three ideas. One is monkeys, the other is lions, and the third is jetpacks. So my next project will be monkeys with jetpacks. Fighting lions."
- Joss asked what happened to Alter, because he hated her so much. Brian said he thinks the best way to handle villains is just to ignore them. Rather than tossing them into the heart of the sun, you just let them fade away.
- According to Brian, he originally came up with the concept for Y as a project called Boyson, "The Last Boy On Earth" for Penthouse Comics full of "women built like robot fuck machines" and one boy remaining on the planet. After they folded, he replaced the robots with a Gloria Steinem quote and sent it over to Vertigo.
- They live auctioned-off a page of original art from the comic book, and a Y: The Last Man straightjacket (the real thing!) which raised more than $3000 for the CBLDF. All told, the 140 people who attended the party paid admission which put more than ten grand in their coffers.
In a brief confession/disclaimer, Meltdown Comics has been my local comic book shop since I moved to Los Angeles, and they did a fantastic job hosting the party. They even opened up the doors to their inner sanctum sanctorum, which is probably the one of the coolest comic book lairs in the world. However, Mark Waid told us his is full of secret passages and sliding panels. Strangely, he didn't invite us over to check it out.