Comic Conventions Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
As recent controversies surrounding the successful Denver Comic Con and the canceled River-Con illustrate, organizing a comics convention is riddled with potential pitfalls. If you need further evidence, look no further than Julian Lawler, whose El Paso Comic Con has experienced more than its fair share of difficulties.
In a preview of this weekend’s event El Paso in Comics (EPIC), KFOX TV14 runs down the criticisms made against what Lawler characterizes as “the most scrutinized comic con in the country.” There apparently have been “many” instances in which celebrities (most recently Shannon Elizabeth) claim they’ve been wrongly promoted as appearing at the convention, which the organizer attributes largely “agent breakdown communication.”
Wizard World Inc., which debuted in January 2011 as a publicly traded company, reported nearly $11.2 million in convention revenues in 2013, but still claimed a $3.6 million net loss for the year.
According to documents filed today with the Federal Exchange Commission, those revenues amounted to an increase of 66 percent from 2012, attributed to the expansion from seven conventions to eight, and “management running better advertised, social media driven events resulting in an increase in attendance.”
Wizard World also increased ticket prices, as well as “the overall size and scope of each event,” leading to an average per-convention revenue of about $1.4 million (up 45 percent from 2012).
Comic-Con International has kicked off its “Early Bird Hotel Sale,” offering a limited number of rooms in Mission Valley and the airport area at special rates before general housing opens.
Beyond the geographic restrictions — no downtown rooms are included in the sale — there are some other notable conditions, including full, non-refundable “prepayment” at the time of the book. Nearly all of the hotels also require a minimum three- or four-night minimum stay. The early-bird rates expire on April 8, after which reservations are non-transferable.
Attendees staying Mission Valley and the airport area would need to take a 15- to 20-minute shuttle or cab ride to and from the San Diego Convention Center. Twenty-four-hour shuttle service to Comic-Con begins at 7 a.m. Thursday, July 24 and continues through 7 p.m. Sunday, July 27.
The first wave of guests includes Rafael Albuquerque, Frank Cho, Joe Eisma, Jenny Frison, Alex Maleev, Dustin Nguyen, Mike Norton, Greg Pak, Tim Seeley, Charles Soule and Brian Wood.
ReedPOP, producers of New York Comic Con and the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, anticipate 10,000 to 15,000 attendees for each of the two days of Special Edition: NYC, which they bill as a “pure comic-focused show.”
“It’s really about creators, artists, dealers and some publishers,” Lance Fensterman, ReedPOP’s global vice president, told Comic Book Resources last week. “We’re trying to keep it really pure to comics, [with] a little bit of kind of an indie bent to it. Just something for that pure comic fan, and something for the creator community.”
Like New York Comic Con, which last year attracted a reported 130,000 people over four days, Special Edition: NYC will be held at the Jacob Javits Center. NYCC 2014 is scheduled for Oct. 9-12.
A town hall meeting planned for Sunday by Save Denver Comic Con was postponed after the convention’s board of directors and its ousted co-founder agreed to re-enter mediation.
Their dispute became public last week when Charlie La Greca, one of the founders of the nonprofit Comic Book Classroom and its program Denver Comic Con, launched SaveDenverComicCon.com to air his grievances against the board and rally support. In an open letter, he accused the board of removing him without explanation, mishandling $300,000 in revenues, and failing to live up to the organization’s educational mandate.
On Thursday convention organizers responded, spelling out their educational programs, denying any misuse of funds (and later providing a preliminary financial overview), and asserting that La Greca was aware he was precluded from serving on the board by his acceptance of a $10,000 contract position; that contract wasn’t renewed following Denver Comic Con 2013.
Responding to accusations made by one of the event’s co-founders, organizers insist “Denver Comic Con does not need saving.”
A letter posted on the show’s website addresses many of Charlie La Greca’s allegations, most notably that he was unceremoniously forced from the board of the organizing nonprofit Comic Book Classroom and that $300,000 in revenues from the 2013 convention remain unaccounted for.
“Allegations of misuse of funds are wholly untrue,” the statement reads. “As an applicant for 501(c)3 status, CBC’s financial statements are a matter of public record; the 2012 990 form is on file with the IRS, and when the fiscal year 2013 records are completed they will be filed and will also be publicly available as a matter of course.”
According to The Denver Post, co-founder Charlie La Greca claims he was unceremoniously removed from the board of directors of the nonprofit Comic Book Classroom, which organizes the event. The other founder, Frank Romero, has resigned.
“I set out my whole life to bring my passion and love of comics and geekdom to others,” La Greca writes in an open letter posted on the newly launched website SaveDenverComicCon. “I did not and will not give up on this organization that I envisioned and co-founded and so believe in. Nor have I or will I leave it.”
“We know that our fans — and fans of pop culture — come from all races and beliefs, and any sexual orientation,” Bruce MacIntosh, director of programming, said in a statement. “Denver Comic Con guests and programming are deliberately geared towards informing and entertaining the fanboy and fangirl in all of us! Being inclusive of the entire community — both the communities of Denver and the pop-culture community as a whole — has been a focus of DCC since its inception.”
Informa, the multinational media company that last summer bought Fan Expo Canada organizer Hobby Star Marketing, has purchased Dallas Comic Con and the related Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days. Founder Ben Stevens will remain as director.
A statement on the convention website states, “this partnership will help these shows realize their true potential with new access to extensive resources and expertise.”
Launched in October 2002 by C2 Ventures, the company owned by Stevens and Philip Wise, Dallas Comic Con has grown from 5,000 attendees to about 20,0000, leading to a relocation in May from the Irving Convention Center to the Dallas Convention Center. Stevens and Wise continue to own C2.
As described, the channel will offer sci-fi, fantasy, horror, gaming and animation content using a business model that blends advertising support and premium subscriptions. The latter will provide exclusive access to “exclusive access to the events, panels, talent, and fans that make the Comic Con experience so exciting.”
“This is an exciting day for the fans of pop-culture around the country,” Wiazrd World CEO John Macaluso said in a statement. “To have 24/7 access to all the content that Cinedigm and Wizard World provide collectively provide, at the touch of a button, provides tremendous value for our fans.”
Wizard World, which is scheduled to host 16 conventions nationwide this year, is compiling panel coverage that will premiere on the as-yet-unnamed channel.
Preregistration for the 2014 Comic-Con International in San Diego started at 9 a.m. Pacific today for those who attended the con this past July — and of course have a valid member ID/registration code.
According to many, many people on Twitter, registration seems to be progressing slowly but surely, with many excited to have bought their tickets already while others anxiously wait in the virtual line.
As Steve noted earlier this week, the purchase process has been changed from years past, adjusted with user feedback in mind. By far the largest shift in protocol is the change to a random distribution system as opposed to the first-come, first-served policy of the past.
The Comic-Con Twitter account has not been updated since 9 a.m., which is probably a good sign if you’re in the queue for tickets — no doubt the next update we’ll see will be the first notice of tickets selling out. I’ll provide updates as those occur.
Last week, when I was packing my bags to go to the Angoulême International Comics Festival, I kept having to explain to people — even comics people — what it was.
Now that I’m back, it’s not a problem any more.
This year’s selection of Bill Watterson as the winner of the Grand Prix d’Angoulême, and the president of next year’s festival, has put Angoulême on the map for more U.S. readers — or at least, it has sent the cartoonist’s fans scurrying to the map to see where it is.
What follows is a series of first impressions from my first trip to Angoulême; check out Publishers Weekly (which provided me with a press badge) for more solid coverage, and of course no one can capture an event like Heidi MacDonald.
There are a lot of reasons to go to Angoulême — the international array of creators and publishers who are there, the opportunity to get the hottest new BDs and of course, French food, scenery and wine all spring to mind — but to me, the most impressive thing about it was that I was in a place where comics really mattered. Comics aren’t a niche product in France; they are available everywhere, they are widely read, and they are taken seriously. In my previous sojourns in France, long before I was a comics journalist, I was accustomed to seeing a rack of hardcover, full-color comics at the grocery store, train station, and bookstore.
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Let the madness begin: San Diego Comic-Con International badge sales begin this Saturday for a “preregistration” sale — meaning only those who bought a badge last year and have a valid member ID/registration code will be allowed to purchase badges. An email will be sent to eligible attendees with a registration code at least 48 hours in advance. While the actual sale doesn’t begin until 9 a.m. Pacific, attendees will have the opportunity to enter their codes starting at 7 a.m. to enter a waiting room.
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival has expanded its already-impressive creator lineup with the addition of international guests Christophe Blain, Abel Lanzac, Luke Pearson, Jeff Smith, Mimi Pond and Kuš.
“The comics medium is thoroughly celebrated the world over,” Festival Director Christopher Butcher said in a statement. “I’ve had the great fortune to travel around the world, and I’ve seen how both the medium and its authors are highly-regarded … it’s my privilege to bring a little bit of that sentiment, that respect, back to Canada through TCAF.”
Previously announced featured guests for the May 10-11 event include Darwyn Cooke, Michael Deforge, Lynn Johnston, Kazu Kibuishi, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki.
Naturally, the subject matter — the Sentinel of Liberty flinging his mighty shield in front of Willis Tower, now the second-tallest building in the United States — is no accident: Sure, the convention is held at Chicago’s McCormick Center, but there’s also the matter of Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opens just three weeks before the event.