Boston Comic Con
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.”
Legal | Egyptian artist Magdy el Shafee, creator of the graphic novel Metro, was arrested by security forces in Cairo and is being held in Tora Prison. The arrests weren’t directly related to his graphic novel, which was banned by the regime of Hosni Mubarak; el Shafee went to Abdel Moneim Riyad Square to try to stop a showdown between protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood, and ended up being arrested in a sweep that rounded up 38 people. [Words Without Borders]
Legal | The local paper profiles Susan Alston, who has been active in the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund since the 1990s and even ran it for a while from the garage of her Northampton, Massachusetts, home. [Masslive.com]
With the Boston Comic Con being postponed due to the lockdown that was in place until last night as police searched for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, several area comic shops are holding impromptu events this weekend with various creators. Here’s a rundown if you’re looking for something to do in Boston today, and if we missed any, please let us know in the comments section:
• As noted in CBR yesterday, Larry’s Comics in Lowell, Mass. is hosting a mini-con — Slum-Con? — featuring Mike Choi, Sean Gordon Murphy, Cesar Feliciano and many more. Check out the shop’s Twitter feed for a live stream of the event.
• Comicazi in Davis Square, Somerville, has announced that it will host a “Not-The-Boston-Comic-Con Get-Together,” with guests Tim Seeley, Tim Sale, Don Rosa, Agnes Garbowska, David Mack, Ming Doyle, Erica Henderson, and possibly some others on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham will have a meet-the-artists event featuring Carlos Pacheco, Craig Rousseau, Kelly Yates, and others from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday.
• Studios at Porter Mills, in Beverly, will host a Beverly Comic Con from 4-9 p.m. on Saturday. “Tons of artists on hand (including many that would have been at Comic con) and a few special guests!”
• Comicopia will host Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb, the artists for the Adventure Time comic, from 1-3 Sunday.
(Hat tip: Brigid Alverson)
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.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. There’s plenty to do this weekend on both coasts, as Boston and Washington, D.C., play host to Boston Comic Con and Awesome Con, while Fan Expo Vancouver explodes in British Columbia and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books arrives at the University of Southern California.
Meanwhile, our contributors select their picks for the best comics going on sale Wednesday, including Danger Girl Trinity #1, Popeye Classics Vol. 1 and Marshal Law: The Deluxe Edition. Plus, a preview of Bandette #4!
The Creator-Owned Comics panel at Boston Comic-Con drew together five creators with a range of experiences to discuss the fine points of making and marketing their own comics. The panelists were Ben Templesmith (Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse), Becky Cloonan (Wolves), Joe Benitez (Lady Mechanika), Geof Darrow (Shaolin Cowboy), and Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl). The moderator was Brian LeTendre of the Secret Identity podcast.
The panel began with a discussion of how the comics landscape has changed over the years. “It’s changed completely,” said Ben Templesmith. “Every small publisher in the comics media, they have all now pretty much been swallowed up by bigger fish. Everyone in the main media is getting involved in comics and buying up small publishers.”
Cloonan, on the other hand, doesn’t see much difference in the way she sells her self-published comics. ” When I first started doing mini-comics, it was almost exactly the way I do them now,” she said. “I go to conventions and I bring my suitcase filled with comics; I just sell more. It’s funny how much social media and the industry has changed, but I still handle it and approach it much the same way I did in college.”
Digital comics | Archie Comics becomes the latest comics publisher to get a web-based store, allowing readers to purchase digital comics on basically any device that runs HTML5. While Marvel and DC have web stores built on the comiXology platform, this is the first time their competitor iVerse has gone outside the iOS. [Comics Alliance]
Awards | Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza is the winner of this year’s Oregon Book Award in the Graphic Literature category. [OregonLive.com]
Digital comics | Scott Kurtz, who knows a thing or two about digital comics, ponders the implications of Mark Waid’s aggressive move toward the digital realm: “This is something I’ve been warning my friends in webcomics about for a while now. That eventually, someone famous from the comic book industry would figure out that they should try what we’ve been doing for the last fifteen years or so, and would follow suit. All it would take is one or two high-profile creators succeeding at being ‘webcomicers’ and suddenly everyone would jump over. And the term ‘webcomic’ will finally die and just become ‘comic.’” [PvP]
This weekend’s Boston Comic Con has all the virtues of a small show and most of the virtues of a large one as well. The headliners of this year’s show, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, are Mad Magazine artists Al Feldstein, Al Jaffee, and Paul Coker. That alone would get me onto the T, but there’s plenty of talent for all tastes: Peter Bagge, Simon Bisley, Becky Cloonan, Greg Horn, Jamal Igle, David Petersen, Jill Thompson, and Skottie Young are among the featured guests, while the Artists Alley will be graced by, among others Ming Doyle, Jarrett Krosoczka (creator of the all-ages Lunch Lady books), Adventure Time team Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline, and local favorites the Boston Comics Roundtable. There’s a solid lineup of panels, and Marvel Comics will be doing portfolio reviews.
The nice thing about a small con like this is that it’s more relaxed than a big con. It’s easier to talk to artists at their tables and to browse the work of new creators if you don’t have the crowd at your back. If you’re in the area, it’s well worth checking out. I highly recommend taking public transit if you can–street parking is difficult and the garages are expensive–but I wouldn’t let that stop me from coming in if a car was my only option. The Pru garage offers significant discounts if you spend ten bucks in the restaurants or shops there. The upside is that unlike a lot of convention centers, the Hynes is located in an actual urban neighborhood with lots of interesting restaurants and shops, so you’re not stuck eating $9 turkey sandwiches for lunch.
See you at the con!
Creators | Ali Ferzat, the Syrian cartoonist who was abducted and beaten last year because of his criticisms of the government, was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” “Tyrants often don’t get the jokes, but their people do,” Pulitzer Prize-winning Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker writes in his tribute to Ferzat. “So when the iron fist comes down, it often comes down on cartoonists.” [Time]
Publishing | In one of its wide-ranging interviews with comics publishers, the retail news and analysis site ICv2 talks with Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson about the state of the market, the loss of Borders, his company’s 2011 layoffs, webcomics, and some early missteps with its digital program: “Quite honestly we’ve run into a few issues because the programs that we’ve done haven’t worked as well as we wished. We created some exclusive material and got less participation than we had hoped for. [...] We gave codes out to retail stores to drive customers into their stores. They could pick up the exclusive content by going to their participating comic shop. Evidently we didn’t do a good enough job getting the word out, so we’re retooling that.” [ICv2.com]
One of the reasons I go to comic cons is to wander the Artists Alley in search of good comics I never heard of before. I came back from Boston Comic Con with a big stack of postcards, print comics, and jotted notes, so the three comics here are just the beginning of the deluge.
Boots and Pup has been around for a while, but creator John Y. told me that he was moving to a six-day-a-week schedule this week. That’s a brave statement, because the comic has been on hiatus since 2007, but John tells me he has a two-month buffer already in place. The comic is colorful, simply drawn, and kid-friendly yet witty enough for older readers to appreciate.
At the Agreeable Comics table, Kevin Church was pushing Lydia, which is a spinoff of another webcomic, The Rack. “You can read it on its own,” he said, and indeed, I read the print comic on the way home from the con and found myself laughing out loud. It’s workplace humor with a wry twist, illustrated by Max Riffner in a nice, expressive yet simple style in black and white.
Finally, I stopped off at Jason Viola’s table to tell him how much I liked his comic Herman the Manatee, in which Herman, a manatee, bumps his head on a boat in every single episode. (In the second series, Herman does move on to other things.) Jason gave me a carefully crafted minicomic of another story, Who Is Amy Amoeba? (language NSFW), the story of an amoeba who can’t stop dividing, and suffers multiple identity crises because of it. It’s a very clever idea, well executed and simply drawn, and well worth a visit, as are all of Jason’s comics.
Politics | Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean has apologized for calling Neil Gaiman a “pencil-necked little weasel,” but contends the author and comics writer should return the $45,000 fee he received in May 2010 for speaking at the Stillwater, Minn., library (Gaiman donated the money, minus agents fees, to charity). Dean’s original remarks were made during a discussion of how the state’s tax-generated Legacy funds for the arts are spent. He was quoted as saying that Gaiman, “who I hate,” is a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”
Now, however, the Republican lawmaker has dialed back the rhetoric while standing by his underlying criticism. “My mom is staying with us right now,” he tells Minnesota Public Radio. My wife’s out of town, and she was very angry this morning and always taught me to not be a name caller. And I shouldn’t have done it, and I apologize.”
Gaiman, who responded to Dean’s initial comments early Wednesday on Twitter, has since expanded on his remarks on his website, writing in part, “I don’t like the idea that a politician is telling people that charging a market wage for their services is stealing.” [Minnesota Public Radio, Underwire]
Comics | A psychologist has been brought in to a Houston elementary school after a group of fourth-graders created a comic book allegedly depicting them holding a gun to the head of one of their classmates. [My Fox Houston]
Retailing | DC Comics has advised retailers to immediately unplug the $150 Green Lantern Animated Light Up Display after one of the signs caused a small electrical fire Saturday at Rick’s Comic City in Nashville. Other retailers have reported the smell of burning plastic coming from the displays. The publisher will notify stores in the next few days how it will rectify the problem.[ICv2.com]
Retailing | Borders Group lost more than $50 million in February and March as it sought bankruptcy protection and began liquidating 226 stores, a new court filing shows. [The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | Mike Searle, former editor of Wizard Entertainment’s defunct InQuest Gamer magazine, reportedly will replace Mike Cotton at Wizard World Digital. Cotton, who had been co-chief pop culture editor, left the company on Friday. [Bleeding Cool]
Conventions | Forces of Geek rounds up news from last weekend’s Boston Comic Con. [Forces of Geek]
Darwyn Cooke was one of the headliners at Boston Comic Con this weekend, but he wasn’t the only Cooke in the convention center. Wife Marsha and niece Candis dropped in on his panel to announce a project of their own: Teenage Satan, a digital comic they are creating along with artist Stephanie Buscema (granddaughter of John). The trailer above was animated by Darwyn Cooke, who worked in animation before turning his hand to comics.
The comic, which includes games and music, is a lighthearted, teen-friendly cartoon about an “emo sparkle Satan.” Teenage Satan is the son of Lucifer and his wife, Jezebel, and because this is hell, he is making his father’s life miserable—wait, that sounds like real life! Actually, we know it’s hell because he is making his father miserable by wanting to be good. Lucifer and Jezebel have been homeschooling their little devil, but when he hits ninth grade they decide to send him to high school. So with no prior experience with human interaction, Teenage Satan suddenly has to deal with all the travails of high school, including being bullied and having a crush on a girl who only has eyes for another.
Teenage Satan can be accessed as an app, via the website, or “through one of our distribution partners,” Marsha Cooke said, which presumably means a digital distributor such as comiXology, iVerse, or Graphicly. It will launch in September and will update daily with a mix of comics, games (such as 666 sudoku) and other content. Interestingly, the comic has an end date—December 22, 2012.
The inspiration for Teenage Satan came at Dragon Con, Marsha Cooke said: “We were walking through Dragon Con, and there were kids with their phones, and I was thinking, ‘I can’t believe they are playing Angry Birds with phones at a comic con.’”
Boston Comic Con isn’t one of your better-known cons, like SDCC or NYCC—heck, I live just north of Boston and I never heard of it until last year—but if you’re in the area, this year’s show looks like a pretty good bet, with guests like Darwyn Cooke, Frank Quitely, and Joe Kubert.
Right off the bat, BCC is better than 90 percent of comic cons because it is not in some sterile, isolated convention center. You know how you have to walk a mile from the Javits to get a reasonably priced sandwich? No problem here; the Hynes Convention Center is conveniently attached to a mall, and it’s located in the heart of the Back Bay, which is chock full of great little restaurants, funky boutiques, and bars with atmosphere. I used to live in the neighborhood, and it’s still one of my favorite places to go. When you’re at the Hynes, you know you’re in Boston.
Another nice thing about a small con is that conflicting panel times won’t drive you crazy; the panel schedule (warning: PDF) has only one strand, so if you want to see Stan Sakai, Darwyn Cooke, and Terry Moore speak, you don’t have to be in three places at once. Just stay in your seat.
And there will be interesting things to see and to buy! Sam Costello will be debuting the latest volume of his Split Lip horror comic, complete with a back cover blurb from me! Anthony del Col and Andy Belanger, two of the creators of Kill Shakespeare, will be there with an “exclusive digital promotion” as well as the news that they just got some financing to develop a film script based on the property. The Artists Alley lineup includes Thom Zahler (Love and Capes), Tak Toyoshima (Secret Asian Man) and a panoply of Boston-area talent. I just hope the show doesn’t get too successful, or they’ll move it to Boston’s own sterile, out-of-the-way convention center and it will lose much of its charm.
Conventions | On the eve of the inaugural Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, the Chicago Reader examines the escalating competition between convention owner Reed Exhibitions and longtime Chicago Comic Con organizer Wizard Entertainment: “It’s but one battleground in a war the two powers are waging across the country — an epic struggle that some observers see as a contest between the forces of good and, well, not so good.”
Writer Deanna Isaacs touches upon the rise of Wizard’s Rosemont event to the second-largest comics convention in North America, and its more recent decline. She quotes a couple of local retailers who have become “disenchanted” with the show. But Wizard CEO Gareb Shamus shrugs off the complaints: “Everybody’s going to tell you this or that. You’re talking about one person. We have 1,000 vendors at our show in Chicago, and they make a lot of money.”
The Daily Herald interviews C2E2 show-runner Lance Fensterman, who says he expects between 35,000 and 40,000 attendees this weekend. The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, offers its own preview, with eight “must-see” convention events, and brief Q&As with Alex Ross and Jeff Smith. [C2E2]