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Comics A.M. | Harry Harrison dies; Marvel ends Premiere Classics

Harry Harrison

Passings | Artist and writer Harry Harrison, who worked with Wally Wood on many EC Comics — and persuaded them to start their sci-fi line — has died at the age of 87. Harrison is best known in science fiction circles as the author of the Stainless Steel Rat stories, and the movie Soylent Green was based on his 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! [The Comics Reporter]

Publishing | Marvel is ending its Premiere Classics line of hardcovers collections with Vol. 106. [Blog@Newsarama]

Conventions | ComiCONN is this weekend, and although it is the largest comics and sci-fi show in Connecticut, you won’t need your jet pack to navigate it, says Life With Archie writer Paul Kupperberg. Kupperberg and Peter David will be among the guests. [Connecticut Post]

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Gareb Shamus acquires Connecticut convention, brushes off critics

Gareb Shamus

Gareb Shamus

Just as his Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con kicks off today for its 10th year, Gareb Shamus announced he’s acquired another convention, bringing the total to 13. This time it’s the fledgling ComiCONN, which was held for the first time in May in North Haven, Connecticut.

In what’s become standard practice for these Wizard World acquisitions, the convention’s organizers will remain to “promote, advise and consult on the show.” They’ll also continue to operate their own local events.

The renamed Wizard World Connecticut Comic Conn will debut sometime in 2011 in Hartford.

But back to Shamus and his Philadelphia show, the subjects of a fawning preview — the convention “appears to be bigger and better than ever,” mainly because “Gareb Shamus is back in charge” — in this morning’s Philadelphia Daily News.

After the repeated drubbings the Wizard empire has received, maybe it’s due a softer spotlight. Still, even the company’s defenders are likely to admit the article is a little … much. Witness, for instance, this passage, explaining away the recent decline of Wizard’s convention arm. It turns out it was an unfortunate result of Shamus’ flirtation with mixed martial arts fighting and the International Fight League:

“I had left Wizard for a number of years,” said Shamus, whose Wizard brand is arguably the most popular, powerful and influential name in comics. “Around 2003, when I felt the company and conventions were healthy and in good hands, I decided to try something different.” […] “These shows take a lot of time and a lot of money,” Shamus said. “I thought others could handle them, but then decided I had to get back to the company.

And the cancellation of shows in Los Angeles and Arlington, Texas? That was “all just part of a grand plan dating back to when I came back in 2008.”

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