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Boston Comic Con has grown over the past few years, but it still manages to keep that hometown-convention ambiance, even while drawing in top comics creators like Scott Snyder, Jeff Smith and Sergio Aragones. The focus is still firmly on comics, although it’s branching out a bit; John Barrowman and a couple of other actors were there, and there was a costume contest as well.
Last year, the con had to be rescheduled at the last minute in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, but it came back bigger and better in a new location, the Seaport World Trade Center. It kept the momentum going this year, expanding from two to three days, while shaking out some of the bugs. Organizers made a strong effort to eliminate the long lines that plagued the con last year by starting distribution of wristbands the day before the show. On Saturday morning, as lines stretched around the convention center, they sent out an email informing con-goers who hadn’t bought their tickets yet that the line was long and they might think of attending instead on Sunday.
Publishing | Seconds, by Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, had an impressive debut, landing at No. 2 and No. 5 on the BookScan chart of graphic novels sold in the book channel in July. The book had a standard edition and a Barnes & Nobles exclusive. ICv2 reckons if there had been a single edition, Seconds would have topped the list; instead, the No. 1 spot went to the latest volume of Naruto. It was also a good month for DC Comics, which charted seven titles, six of which involve Batman.[ICv2]
Publishing | In an overview of the comics and graphic novel market, ICv2 reports direct market retailers are optimistic despite flat sales in the first half of the year. [ICv2]
Welcome to “Report Card,” our week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is typically a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.
So find out what we thought about The Bunker, Detective Comics, X-Factor and more.
This was a tough year for Boston Comic Con: It was originally scheduled for the weekend after the Boston Marathon, and although organizers worked tirelessly not to cancel the event, the venue was within the lockdown zone following the bombings, and the load-in day coincided with the massive manhunt forsuspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In the end, they had no choice but to shut down the convention. As most of the talent was already in town, local retailers sponsored a number of mini-cons.
Despite the cheerful we-can-get-through-this attitude of that weekend, things were looking pretty bleak. And then Boston Comic Con came roaring back, in a new venue and with a new attitude. This year, it felt less like a local event and more like a big-city con, with a smattering of publisher booths and an array of top-tier talent. The convention has grown quickly, from 1,000 attendees at the first con in 2007 to 15,000 last year. This year, with a bigger venue and more guests, I’m guessing the final number will be even higher.
Conventions | Retailers in the Boston area talk about the importance of Boston Comic Con to their bottom line. This year’s event will be held Saturday and Sunday. [The Boston Globe]
Creators | Nate Powell, who got his start distributing photocopied minicomics at punk-rock shows, talks to his hometown newspaper about working with Rep. John Lewis on March, drawing a Percy Jackson graphic novel, and life as a full-time comic artist: “There’s a whole lot of constant hustling as a cartoon artist, and really I credit DIY punk as far as shaping the way that I navigate the world to allow me to still tap into the constant hustling necessary to keep my head above water.” [Arkansas Times]
Conventions | Boston Comic Con is coming this weekend, and founder Nick Kanieff talks about how it has grown from 900 attendees at the first con, in 2007, to an expected 15,000 for this year’s event, which was rescheduled because of the Boston Marathon bombings. [MetroWest Daily News]
Publishing | Denis Kitchen discusses the return of Kitchen Sink Press to publishing as an imprint of Dark Horse. It kicks off in December with an anthology, The Best of Comix Book. [Publishers Weekly]
Creators | Peter Steiner’s cartoon, captioned “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” is the most-reproduced cartoon in the history of The New Yorker. On the 20th anniversary of its publication, Steiner looks back on its creation, which came about almost by chance, and the ways the world has changed in the interim. One interesting nugget: The most-reproduced cartoon in The New Yorker has brought its creator a total of $50,000 in royalties over the past 20 years. [Comic Riffs]
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. This weekend, we turn our attention to Boston Comic Con, which bounces back after being postponed in April amid the search for the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
However, Saturday is still five days away, so first the ROBOT 6 contributors take a look at what’s arriving in stores on Wednesday, and make their choices for the best bets. Keep reading for the first issue of Captain Midnight, the final issue of It Girl and the Atomics, and more …
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!