SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Associated Press journalists open their notebooks at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego:
DREAMING, IN VIVID COLOR
Anybody can break into comics. Really. Just ask Mark Brooks, cover artist for Marvel.
"Comics are America in the best way possible," Brooks said as he drew an original cover for a fan Thursday afternoon at Comic-Con. "In America, you can become anything you want as long as you have the willingness to make it happen. You can do anything you want in comics as long as you're willing to put the work forward to make it happen."
The 40-year-old Brooks recently did covers for Marvel's "Age of Ultron" and "Infinity" series and is working on "Fearless Defenders" and a handful of "Avenger" lines. His credits include many of the most popular titles from Marvel, the biggest player in the game.
Brooks said his career started "on the other side of the table" at conventions like Comic-Con, which draw the business's top artists and writers. It also draws would-be amateurs who conspicuously carry their work in large folders - just like Brooks used to.
"I would bring my portfolio and show it to as many of the professionals as I could to get advice on how to improve my artwork and get better," Brooks said. "I kept going to shows, saved every penny I made so I could afford to go to places like New York and Chicago and San Diego, and I just kept working and working to where I felt like I'd done enough to start showing companies." - Chris Talbott (HTTP://TWITTER.COM/CHRIS-TALBOTT )
NO JOKER; SUPERMAN THIS YEAR
Keiran Castillo, 21, opted for a Superman outfit for this year's Comic-Con, eschewing his favorite character, The Joker. Still, the San Diego resident who has been coming to the event annually since 2004, couldn't resist lapsing into his Joker monologue, expertly mimicking the voiceover done by actor Mark Hamill (yes, the guy who plays Luke Skywalker), drawing cheers from passers-by. Castillo says he opted for the black-blur outfit worn in the TV series "Smallville" because it was easy to assemble and "it gives me a break from the Joker." - Matt Moore (HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/MATTMOOREAP )
CHECK YOUR CLOSETS
It's amazing what you can find in the closet. Mike Pellerito, the president of Archie Comic Publications Inc., said they found a trove of copies of "Archie Meets the Punisher," a tongue-in-cheek crossover that sees Marvel's violent vigilante track a villain to Riverdale only to square off against the high school gang. "We found them in a closet, a whole box of them," he said. "So we bagged and boarded them and offered them for sale. One guy offered $5 and we thought `OK, why not?'" On Thursday the demand was brisk, given the title has been out of print for nearly 20 years. - Matt Moore ( HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/MATTMOOREAP )