I think IDW and Dark Horse are having some sort of competition at C2E2 this weekend to see who can overwhelm my email box with the most press releases, or at least that’s what it seemed like last night when a ton of press releases pop up around the same time from both companies. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve heard from both of them at the show thus far …
• Both companies announced they’ve picked up some new licenses. As I noted yesterday, Dark Horse will publish Wendy and Richard Pini’s Elfquest starting later this year, and they’ve also picked up the license for new Halo comics. IDW, meanwhile, has picked up the license to the Jay Ward characters, with plans for series Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Rocky & Bullwinkle next year. Also, two of IDW’s other licensed titles will meet up in Mars Attacks Judge Dredd by Al Ewing and John McCrea. The first issue arrives in September.
• Both companies are also reaching into comics’ past to bring back some titles we haven’t seen in awhile. IDW announced that they’ll release deluxe hardcovers of Christian Gossett’s The Red Star this fall. They’re also bringing back Zombie War by Kevin Eastman, Tom Skulan and Eric Talbot in October. The original series was published by FantaCo and Tundra back in 1993. Dark Horse is resurrecting Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy, which was originally published by Burlyman Entertainment.
A Canadian prairie city best known for it’s petroleum industry and western motif is showing it’s geeky side this weekend.
The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo (CCEE) is currently taking over the city in full force, and the people and even it’s mayor are fully embracing it. All of the CCEE’s 56,000 tickets were gone before it even started.
The event kicked off Friday morning with a parade that weaved it’s way though the downtown core all the way to Olympic Plaza. The parade was marshalled by the cast of Torchwood, who led a contingency of cosplayers, guests and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi gleefully rolled along in a Delorean, sporting a very McFly red vest. At the plaza, where they were greeted by an army of Storm Troopers, where Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi white-hatted various Expo guests, which is Calgary’s unique equivalent to being awarded the key to the city.
While there may not have been a slew of big announcements coming out of DC’s C2E2 panels this weekend, there were several fun little tidbits that came up during the panels, particularly during the Q&A sessions. Here are a few that caught my eye from the New 52 panel and the Superman/Batman panel:
• While Static won’t be joining the Teen Titans, Bob Harris, DC editor-in-chief, did say something “might be happening with Static relatively soon.” Static Shock was one of the first titles cancelled after the launch of the New 52, and I don’t think we’ve seen the character since then (I should always ask Tom before I make statements like that). He’s the most well-known character to come out of the Milestone universe, having had his own cartoon, so a return would make sense.
• A fan asked whether there would be “an answer as to Renee Montoya’s status in the New 52″ and whether Batwoman will be drawn closer to the other Bat-books. “Yes and yes,” Harras said. Montoya took over as the Question in the pre-New 52 universe, and since that role is already taken by someone else entirely in the New 52, it’s doubtful she’ll be taking on that name again (though I wouldn’t rule it out completely). But she had a pretty rich history in the DCU even before that, so she’d be a welcome addition.
The show, originally schedule for last weekend at the Hynes Convention Center, was postponed following the tragic events of the Boston Marathon bombings. Following the postponement, many of the guests who were scheduled to appear hit local comic shops last weekend with a “the show must go on” attitude.
While the date and location have changed, it sounds like the organizers are still determining who will attend, per a note on their site: “We are still in the process of reconfirming and adding both celebrity guests and comic book creator guests. Please be patient. We’ll keep you updated.”
Following the bombings Monday at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured 176 others, organizers of Boston Comic Con have confirmed the event will go on Saturday and Sunday as planned.
“The 2013 Boston Comic Con will be held this weekend!” they said in an email to attendees. “Despite the tragic events that recently occurred at The Boston Marathon, The Boston Comic Con will continue as scheduled.” A portion of proceeds from an art auction will be donated to the American Red Cross for Boston Marathon relief efforts.
Tommy Lee Edwards, the acclaimed artist whose comics work includes Turf, Bullet Points and The Question, has become co-owner and senior director of his local convention, Durham’s North Carolina Comicon.
Launched in 2010 by Ultimate Comics owner Alan Gill as a one-day show at an outlet mall, the convention moved to the Durham Convention Center in November 2012, bringing with it such big-name creators as Frank Cho and Duncan Fegredo, thanks in large part to Edwards, who lives in nearby Pittsboro. Last year’s convention drew about 3,000 fans, triple that of those earlier shows.
“Tommy has been involved with the convention and its planning since our first one-day show,” Gill said in a statement, “Now we’re moving to make the partnership official. Tommy has been an amazing friend to the convention and to me personally. I want this con to mirror what he has brought to it and what I believe makes his work so great.”
It doesn’t look like there were as many comic-related announcements on Saturday at WonderCon as there were on Friday, but the second day of the con certainly brought some gems.
• IDW and DC announced that Mark Waid (Daredevil, Insufferable) and Paul Smith (Uncanny X-Men, Leave it to Chance) are teaming up for The Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction. “Not many writers have been lucky enough to write The Rocketeer or The Spirit,” Waid said in a press release, “so I feel like I’ve won the lottery. This is one of the most exciting-and scariest-assignments I’ve ever undertaken. Luckily, I’ve got Paul Smith to make me look good!” The first issue of the miniseries arrives in July.
WonderCon Anaheim 2013 kicked off yesterday at the Anaheim Convention Center, with badges for Friday selling out at some point during the day. Saturday and three-day badges already sold out, so it looks like just Sunday is left if you were hoping to attend but didn’t purchase your badge in advance.
There weren’t a lot of announcements coming out of the show yesterday, and in fact I’m not completely sure what could be considered “WonderCon news” and what was just, um, news, but here’s a round-up of stuff you may have missed from Friday:
• 2014 will bring a crossover between DC’s two Earths, according to Earth 2 writer James Robinson. “If I’m talking about a big event that’s happening in 2014, it’s all these characters meeting each other,” said Robinson, citing Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Justice Society during his spotlight panel in Anaheim. Robinson also said his goal was to make sure the writers involved in the event were invested in the story, and described himself as “the point guy” when it comes to the event, saying that Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio are also very involved. Earth 2 is also getting its own Batman, and the book will also feature the introductions of Starman (Ted Knight), Red Arrow (Earth 2′s version of Green Arrow), Hourman, Wildcat, Mister Miracle and Big Barda in the future.
At least a couple of times over the course of the weekend, Bill Willingham talked about his goal for the Fabletown and Beyond convention he hosted in Rochester, Minnesota. He may not have actually used the term “bucket list,” but that’s essentially what the show seems to have been for him: an opportunity to throw the kind of comics convention he wanted to attend and to see if other creators and fans would enjoy it just as much. From the standing ovation he received at Sunday’s closing ceremony, it appears he was right.
Chris Roberson pointed out to me that Fabletown and Beyond was a lot like fantasy and sci-fi literary conventions. It had that feel from the opening ceremony (an idea Willingham freely admits to stealing from fantasy/sci-fi shows) to the final farewell. It was completely focused on comics and storytelling, and it was a uniquely intimate experience. The show was only designed to accommodate a maximum of 500 attendees, and it got 505. That meant I kept seeing the same faces over and over again all weekend — creators and fans alike — so that by the third day, even people I never talked to were familiar. Instead of a hectic event where people rushed from place to place trying to see and do everything they wanted to, it was a relaxed environment that felt more like just hanging out with friends. Really smart, interesting friends.
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Following events like last year’s ImageCon and MorrisonCon, Fabletown and Beyond is the most recent comic convention devoted to serving a specific segment of readers: in this case, fans of what Fables creator Bill Willingham describes as “Mythic Fiction.” Fabletown and Beyond takes place this weekend in Willingham’s community of Rochester, Minnesota, and celebrates comics that include and update “fairytales, folklore, myth, legend, talking animals, and characters from literature.”
The festivities begin at 3 p.m. Friday and run practically non-stop until 6 p.m. Sunday. Programming is scheduled to go late into the evening on Friday and Saturday with the convention’s bar (an even more important element of this convention than most) staying open until 2 a.m.
The convention will take place in two locations, connected by skyways to allow attendees protection from the Minnesota weather. The dealers’ area, Artist
Alley Boulevard, and programming rooms will be located in in the Mayo Civic Center, with the opening ceremony and other special events held in the Kahler Grand Hotel. The hotel is also the location of the Elizabethan bar (re-named the Kill Shakespeare Bar for the weekend) that will be taken over for the exclusive use of the convention.
The Society of Illustrators has announced the programming schedule for the 2013 MoCCA Arts Festival, held April 6-7 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. This will be the first festival after the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art transferred its assets to the Society in August.
“We are thrilled to offer two full days of discussion and learning to festival attendees and exhibitors,” Executive Director Anelle Miller said in a statement. “We have designed this year’s programming to be focused on the artists and their work and are honored to have so many talented and inspiring individuals involved.”
See the schedule below. Tickets are available for purchase online.
The 93-minute melee for badges was only the first hurdle on the road to Comic-Con International. The next trial is this morning at 9 PT, when the mad dash begins for discounted hotel rooms in San Diego. Obviously, attendees don’t have to go through this process to find accommodations, but they’re likely to end up paying two to three times the Comic-Con rate.
Nearly 60 hotels, from Downtown San Diego to the airport to Mission Valley, are part of the convention block, offering room rates ranging from $149 to to $357 per night during the July 18-21 event. All but three offer shuttle service to the San Diego Convention Center, so even if you end up in the hinterlands, you’ll likely be no more than a 45-minute ride away. Unless you’re in Mission Bay, then … sorry.
The London Super Con happened over the weekend, complete with a sizable roll call of legends attending (including Neal Adams, George Perez, Bill Sienkiewicz and Brian Bolland). These days, it wouldn’t be a U.K. comic convention without a fresh batch of photographs turning up in the Twitter stream of 2000AD super-fan John Burdis and friends dragged up as Mega City One judges, administering some on-the-spot justice to his fellow convention goers. This time, there were some familiar faces to be spotted amongst his willing victims: There are literally hundreds of shots like these on Burdis’s Facebook gallery. Also seen at Facebook: a very jolly-looking Batman sharing a joke with Judge Court.
Noting that co-founder Ed Kramer is still “a stockholder despite our desires otherwise,” DragonCon issued a statement on Friday to address the “great deal of discussion” surrounding the accused child molester and his association with the convention.
Much of that discussion has been driven by novelist and comics writer Nancy A. Collins, who late last month asked professionals to boycott DragonCon because of its continued continued connection to Kramer, who was extradited back to Georgia in January on child-molestation charges dating back to 2000. Although Kramer resigned from the board following his original arrest, he continues to receive annual dividends from his one-third stake in the for-profit corporation — $154,000 for 2011 alone, according to Atlanta Magazine — while stalling his criminal case for more than a decade and suing co-founder Pat Henry and DragonCon/ACE Inc.
“No matter what Dragon*Con does or says, funds from the convention will continue to go to Edward Kramer until either he dies or the corporation that runs the convention dissolves and reincorporates under another name,” Collins wrote. “Dragon*Con knows what needs to be done, but has been dragging its feet on this matter, and has gone to great trouble over the last 12 years to hide the fact that they continue to fund Edward Kramer’s lifestyle. [...] It is up to the Professionals — we writers, artists, musicians, editors, actors, and film-makers — to make a stand, as we are a large part of what attracts (at last count) 50,000 fans to the convention each Labor Day.”
According to the statement from DragonCon, organizers have made multiple attempts to sever ties with Kramer, including efforts to buy his shares.
“Unfortunately, Edward Kramer’s response to our buyout efforts was repeated litigation against Dragon*Con … thus our buyout efforts have been stalled. The idea proposed of dissolving the company and reincorporating has been thoroughly investigated and is not possible at this point. Legally, we can’t just take away his shares. We are unfortunately limited in our options and responses as we remain in active litigation,” the statement reads, noting that they hope the upcoming trials will “provide a resolution of Edward Kramer’s guilt or innocence, and therefore a cause of legally divorcing ourselves from him once and for all.”
You can find the entire statement below.
No doubt those of you who are planning to go to Comic-Con already know this and are probably hunkered down in front of your computer (or computers) with your browser (or browsers) already opened and ready to rock. (And maybe Twitter as well, as the excitement has already begun).
As I noted earlier this month, you have to have a Comic-Con Member ID to be able to be buy a badge. If you don’t have one, you won’t be buying badges today — the site is closed to new registrations and will not reopen until next week.
Also, if you purchased a four-day badge with Preview Night during pre-registration in August 2012, or if you are a professional or guest of professional who has registered for a Comic-Con 2013 professional badge, you are not eligible to participate in open online registration and can’t buy any badges today.
Watch for updates here as badges go on sale (and sell out).