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Wizard waves Con War white flag, reschedules Big Apple, New England, New Jersey shows

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The battle of New York is over without so much as a shot fired.

On its convention website, Gareb Shamus’s Wizard Entertainment announced this morning that it is rescheduling its suite of Northeastern comic conventions, eliminating the head-to-head, same-town, same-dates match-up between its Big Apple Comic Con and Reed Exhibition’s New York Comic Con on October 7-10. Now, the Big Apple Comic Con will now be held on Oct. 1-3, the New England Comic Con on Oct. 15-17, and the New Jersey Comic Con on dates to be announced later. In addition, Big Apple has changed locations from Pier 94 to the Penn Plaza Pavilion, while the New England show will be hosted at Boston’s John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center. It’s unclear whether the New Jersey con’s date change will lead to a move from Edison’s New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center upon rescheduling.

Wizard made headlines, and drew a significant industry backlash, beginning late last year by making a series of aggressive scheduling moves against veteran convention promoter Reed and its slate of comic and pop-culture shows. Most notoriously, Wizard scheduled its Big Apple show the very same weekend as Reed’s New York Comic Con, October 7-10, and in 12th Avenue venue literally blocks away from NYCC’s Javits Center location. Later, Wizard scheduled its New Jersey con for the following weekend. Ever since, guest-list comparisons and official industry presences have weighed in mightily in Reed’s favor.

Wizard’s move is not without precedent: Shamus’s company earlier switched the dates for its Chicago Comic Con from Aug. 12-15 to Aug. 19-22 following Reed and Lucasfilm’s scheduling of Star Wars Celebration V for the original dates. But this move seems more likely an attempt to accommodate comics industry players who did not seem keen on shuttling back and forth between two competing shows in their New York City backyard.

Of course, the date-shuffling and venue-switching hardly represents a cessation of hostilities: Scheduling shows in Manhattan and Boston the weekends before and after Reed’s NYCC could be seen as an attempt to leech business away from more established show. But we’ve already had a same-weekend Reed/Wizard match-up a few weeks back, when Reed’s inaugural Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo more or less forced Wizard’s Anaheim Comic Con into obscurity despite underwhelming attendance (to which, it must be said, Reed admitted with refreshing candor). At this point, it’s tough to say whether there’s really any direct competition between Wizard’s nostalgia-tinged line-up of genre-TV stars and Reed’s much more comics-focused conventions. But whatever competition there is has just gotten much less direct.

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11 Comments

This started some time ago – Wizard updated the dates and location for New York a while back on their website. I noticed it on May 4th.

NE is the state abbreviation for Nebraska. New England isn’t a state, its a region and doesn’t have a designated abbreviation.

BWAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! SO Wizard World gets shunted back to the spot where they held the Big Apple Con??? Wow, how the … mighty for lack of a better word… have fallen. Anyone who has been there knows how cramped that place is. I wonder and this is pure speculation really, if the fact that Wizard wasn’t going to be able get a single major publisher or vendor to commit to their show?.

I’ll probably attend Wizards over NYCC. While I will admit NYCC is better, I’ve never been treated so poorly as many times as I have by one organization. Some of it was my fault I’ll admit.

So why blame them if was your fault as well.
On the other hand, WIzard isn’t long for this world at this point. Anyone who has been around long enough to remember Fred Grennberger will tell you that the end game is already written.

two mighty Giants fighting over a dwindling industry…how sad. :-(

Vinnie: We accept tips over here, you know…

So it kind of looks like if you’re a comic fan and you’re thinking of visiting New York City…. October?

As of right now, my convention schedule consists of Baltimore and the NYCC. I have yet to see a single guest listed at WW Philly that would inspire me to attend save for Ethan Van Sciver, and He’ll be at New York. It’s a damn shame – Philadelphia could easily carry a major comics con, and Wizard, through a couple of years of stepping on Shelly Drum’s toes and these hammer-handed tactics has lost the support of the big publishers. WW Philly has more wrestlers than comics creators attending, at least as far as the posted guest list says. If they can make money with that model, sei gesund, but I can give it a pass easily.

If y’all haven’t been to the Baltimore con, you should oughta – it’s a great mid-size con that hasn’t lost its local flavor. I was worred about it as it was usually running the weekend that New York has now taken, but they’ve move the end of August with no issues or unpleasantness.

Has anyone else noticed at “New York” has become the de facto name of the NYCC, much as “San Diego” always has for CCI? I think that’s a very telling thing.

Wizard earned similar scorn a few years ago by scheduling a Philadelphia Wizard Con on the same Fathers Day weekend as the popular Heroes Convention Charlotte, NC. At that time the industry also rallied against Shamus and stepped up in support of Heroes with a strong slate of writers and artists committing to the Charlotte show’s organizer.

Shamus may be a keen business man, but his ongoing seige tactics against established venues readily demonstrates where his true heart lies.

In fairness to Wizard, I think the Father’s Day conflict that year was unavoidable due to venue availability, and that the two sides were in communication about it; if I recall correctly it was a couple years before that, when Wizard quietly started putting together an Atlanta show for the same weekend as Heroes Con, that was the real throwdown between the two. The backlash in that case caused Wizard to cancel the show.

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