New York Comic Con reportedly attracted more than 130,000 attendees over four days, meaning the six-year-old event is now roughly the same size as Comic-Con International, which has had to cap attendance because of space limitations. Last year, NYCC drew about 116,000 people; in 2007, its inaugural event, there were just 15,000.
ICv2.com receives the news from Lance Fensterman, global vice president of organizer ReedPOP, who lays out some of the changes this year, including a reduction in the number of three-day passes (allowing more new people to attend each day), and the use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) to try to clamp down on fraudulent badges and badge-sharing among exhibitors.
“I think we had wildly underestimated our fraudulent ticket issue,” Fensterman told tells the website. “We had the exact same number of ticketed people per day as last year, but if you looked at the common spaces, they were 40 percent less congested. We had a pretty big counterfeit problem.”
Despite objections by the San Diego Chargers and concerns about public access to the waterfront, the California Coastal Commission on Thursday unanimously approved the $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, viewed as critical to keeping Comic-Con International in the city.
While the blessing of the commission — it’s a state agency with regulatory oversight of land use and public access to the California coastal zone — removes one major obstacle, U-T San Diego notes there remains pending litigation to the project’s financing scheme, which calls for a hotel surcharge of 1 percent to 3 percent. Hoteliers have already agreed to the plan, and a judge has upheld the assessment as legal, but opponents have appealed the ruling, arguing the arrangement amounts to privatizing the city’s taxing authority.
Conventions | A even bigger obstacle than the San Diego Chargers to the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center could be the California Coastal Commission, which must approve the project before it can proceed (the stage agency has regulatory oversight of land use and public access to the California coastal zone). The commission’s 11 members are meeting today through Friday in Mission Valley, where they’re expected to consider staff objections about reduced access to the bay; a bridge, estimated to cost about $42 million, from the foot of Fourth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter has been floated as a solution. A public hearing is being held Thursday. The expansion of the convention center is viewed as critical to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015. [U-T San Diego]
Conventions | The San Diego Chargers are opposing the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center — viewed as crucial to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015 — saying it will interfere with plans for a new football stadium. Instead, the NFL franchise proposes building a second venue a few blocks away, which would be part of a complex that included the stadium but would not be contiguous with the existing convention center. [Los Angeles Times]
Conventions | Meanwhile, on the other coast, New York Comic Con is about to begin, and Luke Villapaz has seven tips for surviving the con. One additional point, though: While it’s nice that NYCC has its own mobile app, chances of its actually working inside the Javits Center, which is notorious for its many cell phone dead zones, are slim. [International Business Times]
Given that Wednesday is the series finale of Futurama — at least until it’s resurrected again — it seems only appropriate that we showcase this eBay auction of a piece of original art by Bill Morrison, signed by him, series creator Matt Groening, Producer Lee Supercinski, Executive Producer David X. Cohen and the entire cast.
Anyone who attended the Futurama panel last month at Comic-Con International, where Groening used the piece to “cheat” in his draw-off against animation director Edmund Fong. (You can see the video below.)
The current bid for the drawing, which measures 48 inches by 36 inches, is $1,125. All proceeds from the auction will benefit TLC (Tiny Loving Canines), a nonprofit small-dog breed rescue in Simi Valley, California. The auction ends Sept. 8.
The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards celebrated its 25th anniversary this year at Comic-Con International in San Diego. For a quarter century, the most prestigious award in comics has been recognizing the best — or, depending upon your perspective, getting it wrong for two and a half decades. However you feel about the results, the Eisners are established as our most respected and classy way for the industry to recognize excellence and put its best foot forward to the larger world.
It didn’t seem like there was a lot of acknowledgement of the anniversary, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to dive into the archives, sift through way too many numbers and names, and present 25 fun facts, figures and random whatnots.
So here now are 25 fun facts about the Eisner Awards:
Warner Bros.’ announcement of a “Batman vs. Superman” sequel to Man of Steel at Comic-Con International triggered a 161 percent surge in digital sales of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in July, setting a record for a full-priced DC Entertainment digital title, Variety reports.
The publisher previously mentioned “a huge jump in month-over-month [digital] sales” of Frank Miller’s pioneering 1986 work, but didn’t offer more than that. Like most publishers, DC doesn’t reveal actual sales figures for either print or digital.
The influential four-issue miniseries brings an aging Batman out of retirement a decade after the death of Jason Todd to save Gotham from sinking deeper into decay and lawlessness. With the help of a new, female Robin, Carrie Kelly, the Dark Knight ends the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city and confronts two of his greatest enemies. But then he must face his former ally Superman in a battle that only one will survive.
Although Man of Steel director Zack Snyder was quick to caution at Comic-Con that the sequel wouldn’t be an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, actor Harry Lennix read dialogue from the book — “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat” — and Miller was reportedly set to meet with the filmmaker.
“Batman did pretty well, so I sat down with the head of DC Comics. I really wanted to do Kamandi [The Last Boy on Earth], this Jack Kirby character. I had this great pitch … and he said, ‘You think this is gonna be for kids? Stop, stop. We don’t publish comics for kids. We publish comics for 45-year-olds. If you want to do comics for kids, you can do Scooby-Doo. And I thought, ‘I guess we just broke up.’”
– Paul Pope, relating his attempt to pitch an all-ages (or perhaps young-adult) title to DC Comics, during his Comic-Con International conversation with Gene Luen Yang.
Pope has previously mentioned his idea for Kamandi, a collaboration with writer Brian Azzarello that he described as “a violent adventure story for young readers with a boy lead character.” He’s even revealed a few pieces of art from the pitch. However, as the artist noted in 2010, “if DC would’ve given me & Brian Azzarello a Kamandi series, I’d never have created Battling Boy.”
While many fans and creators documented their experiences at Comic-Con International with blog entries and tweets, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks (Friends With Boys, The War at Ellsmere) went the extra mile or two by recording her trip in comics form.
Within those panels she offers a glimpse of her very first Comic-Con, five years ago, before jumping ahead to this year’s signings and panels — and her introduction to one of her “greatest creative influences,” Joss Whedon. It’s a fun read.
If you read about, or saw, with envy Community creator Dan Harmon’s triumphant return to Comic-Con International wearing a custom-made, if somewhat haphazardly constructed, Iron Man costume, now’s your chance to make it your own. OK, maybe you don’t envy it; maybe you’re just a die-hard fan of Harmon or the NBC comedy. Whatever the case, the suit is being auctioned on eBay.
It’s legitimate, as the seller appears to be Rob Schrab, Harmon’s longtime writing partner and creator of Scud: The Disposable Assassin, and the Community creator announced the auction himself on his website. If you still somehow question the costume’s authenticity, the top of the chest plate is signed by Harmon and — better still! — it “Smells like Dan!” What more proof could you ask for?
“I don’t see a vast difference [between Comic-Con and political conventions]. Here at Comic-Con, you see people dressed in different ways, but even in some political conventions, you see people with a lot of flags and colors, especially some of the young women, who will put all types of things in their hair, and some of the men. Politicians like to stand out, like people to pay attention to them. Here, I think it’s the real world. Comic-Con is the real world and to see people bringing their little children and seeing all the little children all dressed up enjoying themselves — that’s a great feeling, seeing them have fun.”
– Congressman John Lewis, talking with CBR TV about his first experience at Comic-Con International, where he promoted March, the upcoming graphic-novel trilogy from Top Shelf Productions recounting his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
Publishing | ICv2 has one of its periodic Big Interviews with DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, this time covering how new readers are finding digital comics, how variant covers are working and graphic novel sales in bookstores, among other topics. Here’s Lee’s rather elliptical take on the flurry of recent changes in creative teams: “Without getting into the specifics, from the outside looking in, it might look like there’s a string of changes that point to one common theme, as you suggest. But from the inside looking out, you’ll see that each one has a different set of circumstances and conditions that ultimately led to the conflicts or the resignations or changes in creative personnel.” [ICv2]
Retailing | ICv2 also reports that Amazon and Overstock.com are having a price war on graphic novels, and readers are the beneficiaries. The website did a little shopping around and found a handful of graphic novels priced at up to 70 percent off full retail. [ICv2]
Publishing | As the movie version of 2 Guns heads toward theaters this weekend, BOOM! Studios CEO Ross Richie talks about his company’s “creator share” model and his career in comics publishing, from Malibu Studios to Atomeka to BOOM!, which he co-founded on a suggestion from Keith Giffen, whom he describes as “the Aerosmith of comics”: “If Steven Tyler came up to you and said, ‘You really ought to produce albums,’ you probably would listen.” [The New York Times]
Legal | The prosecutor for Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers has decided not to pursue sedition charges against cartoonist Leslie Chew, who was arrested in April on charges stemming from a cartoon at his Demon-Cratic Singapore Facebook page. Chew still faces charges of contempt of court for “scandalising the Judiciary of the Republic of Singapore.” That case will be heard on Aug. 12. [Straits Times]
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 read on to find out what we thought of The Unwritten #51, Gamma and more.
As if his surprise appearance at Marvel Studios’ Hall H presentation on Saturday — dressed as the god of mischief, no less — weren’t enough to forever endear him to fans, actor Tom Hiddleston also gleefully acted out the plot of the upcoming Thor: The Dark World at Comic-Con International using Loki and Thor action figures.
You can watch the video below. But fair warning: There may be spoilers. The new trailer for director Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World debuts Aug. 7.