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Bill Willingham sent out a newsletter last week to those who expressed interest in his inaugural Fabletown and Beyond convention next March in Rochester, Minnesota. It was a long email, so I’ll just hit the highlights, but those who want to learn more can do so at the convention’s website or by following the event on Twitter.
Fabletown and Beyond will celebrate what Willingham calls “Mythic Fiction,” which includes books about fables, fairy tales, folklore and mythology. “It’s a growing movement within entertainment as a whole, and comics in particular,” Willingham writes. “We decided it needed its own convention to better explore and appreciate.”
Rather than having publisher-specific panels, programming will focus on creators interviewing and debating each other — with an emphasis on audience participation — as well as topic-oriented discussions chosen by the show’s guests. One of the major points Willingham emphasizes is the accessibility of creators during the show. Part of that is through the programming, but a major benefit of attending the convention is getting to hang out in the Kill Shakespeare Bar, open to everyone at the convention, but exclusive to attendees. Willingham promises that one or more creators will be there at all times, so there will always be someone to talk to (or buy drinks for).
Willingham also offers encouragement about visiting Minnesota during one of the snowiest months of the year. As a Minnesota resident, I’ll back his assertion that “Minnesota knows winter.” Airports and roads are constantly cleared of snow, and skyways connect the convention center with the show’s official hotel, so attendees don’t even have to go outside if they don’t want to.
Tickets cost $15 per day, or $30 for the entire, three-day convention. Willingham encourages interested people to buy early in order to let organizers better prepare for crowds. The show will be held at the Mayo Civic Center, which has plenty of room and is being extremely flexible with the show. “We can book enough space for whatever we need, depending on the number of people coming,” Willingham writes, “but as much as possible, we need to know that in advance.” Tickets will not be mailed to attendees, but can be picked up at check-in.