One of the under-analyzed indicators of comics’ recently improved health is the seemingly exponential growth of convention attendance. Rarely does a Comics A.M. goes by where some convention, even a smaller, regional one, isn’t reporting how attendance is up from the previous year and they’re expecting even more the next; often it’s in the thousands, headed into tens of thousands.
That seems to be in direct contrast to conventional wisdom: Digital comics sales are increasing, most comics creators are a tweet away, and travel in this still-sluggish economy is still cost-prohibitive for a lot of fans. Yet, just as print sales in the direct market have been steady, and even improving, attendances at comics conventions is up virtually across the board.
The leader of this pack is easily New York Comic Con. In just seven short years, it has positioned itself as the comics convention of the year, providing stiff competition for the long-held leader Comic-Con International. In fact, New York Comic Con hit San Diego-sized attendance numbers this year.
In one of the most incredible crossovers ever, Wonder Woman and Sailor Moon faced off in an epic dance battle during the 2013 Streetstar dance festival in Stockholm, Sweden. The two dancers — France’s Lasseindra (Wonder Woman) and Finland’s Ida “Inxi” Holmgren (Sailor Moon) — went up against one another in the Vogue Femme Final Battle dressed in full costumes. Although the competition took place back in February, the video was only posted last month on Streetstar’s YouTube page, and showcases some incredible impressive dancing, bringing a crossover battle the likes of which have yet to be seen in a comic.
The battle routine takes place over the course of seven minutes, and it gets progressively more and more ridiculous, showcasing nigh-superheroic invulnerability to floor impact until a winner is crowned.
I realized this morning that, despite a fairly steady stream of ongoing titles, miniseries and one-shots over the past two decades, I’ve never read a comic featuring Deadpool. Therefore, the sum total of my knowledge about Marvel’s popular Merc With a Mouth comes from Wikipedia, trailers for that recently released video game and those “Deadpool vs.” videos. Y’know, the ones where someone dressed as the character dances and fights his way through a comic convention, to “Gangnam Style,” or whatnot.
If Deadpool comics were about him dancing, only occasionally inappropriately, with the denizens of the Marvel Universe while taking periodic breaks to seek out tacos, I’d probably buy them all. And that, strangely enough, brings us to the latest video, in which Deadpool sends up
Alan Thicke and Gloria Loring’s theme song to The Facts of Life Robin Thicke’s inescapable “Blurred Lines” — with a little help from the Marvel Universe — in “Merc Lines.”
I apologize in advance for the tune getting stuck in your head again.
Edmonton, Canada’s premiere anime convention, Animethon, is celebrating their 20th Anniversary this weekend. Over 7000 fans came out to the event, enjoying the blistering summer day, with costumes, concerts, shopping and more!
More images after the jump. Warning: Image heavy!
Digital comics | Financial-services company The Motley Fool touches upon how digital has helped to boost the comics industry, rather than undermine print sales as some predicted it would. “Digital has not to anyone’s observation pirated the sales of comics. It looks like just the opposite,” writer and charts-watcher John Jackson Miller tells the website. And then, because it’s The Motley Fool, the story veers off into what investors can learn from digital comics — specifically, “three forces [that] conspired to transform digital from a threat into a catalyst”: quality, format and access. [The Motley Fool]
Creators | Brian K. Vaughan talks about producing the CBS sci-fi thriller Under the Dome and writing Saga as well as his digital comic The Private Eye. His take on Saga: “I definitely wanted to write about the experience of fatherhood and parenthood while also recognizing that’s extremely boring for most people. How do you talk about these mundane topics in an exciting way? Hopefully setting this story in a wacky sci-fi fantasy universe has given us room to tell this story with some visual spectacle and just Fiona Staples being awesome.” [USA Today]
What began Saturday night in Boca Raton, Florida, as a seemingly harmless photo shoot for an upcoming comics convention, quickly turned into a tense confrontation with police.
According to Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander, concerned residents approached two officers to report they saw four or five people donning body armor and taking guns from the trunk of a car. The cops immediately rushed to the top floor of a nearby parking garage, where they found five men in “military-style outfits” brandishing firearms; one had two samurai swords strapped to his back. You can see some of their weapons and gear, including a Deadpool mask, in the photos above.
An event like Comic-con International draws more than 100,000 people, and because of its popularity, certain groups will take advantage of the large crowds to have their voices heard. Aside from the artistic endeavors, pop-culture marketing and general excitement, during Comic-con, the streets of San Diego also became a platform for special-interest groups.
Mistaken for Pee-wee Herman, Doctor Who cosplayer encounters fundamentalists
I’m not going to lie: When I first saw the protest signs at Comic-Con, I thought they were a joke — some sort of bad-taste marketing scheme that would unveil itself as part of a B-movie. I was here when the Westboro Baptist Church protested a couple of years back; this wasn’t them. But alas, it’s another religious fundamentalists group wanting attention.
I wasn’t going to give them what they sought, but then the man with the bullhorn called a Doctor Who cosplayer Peew-ee Herman.
We’ve seen Deadpool vs. Comic-Con 2012, Deadpool vs. “Gangnam Style” and, earlier this year, Deadpool vs. WonderCon, so it would’ve been more than a little disappointing if we weren’t treated another visit to Comic-Con International by the Merc With a Mouth. Thankfully, a video was uploaded this morning chronicling Deadpool’s return to San Diego, where he crashes a religious demonstration, torments a zombie, spars with cosplayers, and dances with just about anybody who’s willing to shimmy, thrust or Dougie.
Courtesy of the Image Comics Tumblr arrives what may end up being my favorite cosplay of Comic-Con International 2013: Alana and Marko from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Eisner-winning space opera Saga.
Here are a few sights from Comic-Comic International in San Diego:
With all of the hustle and bustle and early announcements, it may be a little difficult to believe, but Preview Night is still a day away, and Comic-Con International doesn’t officially begin until Thursday. By that time, we should be fully exhausted.
But before we experience information overload, let’s take a look at some of the pre-convention information trickling in, ranging from trolley schedules to etiquette and survival guides to where to live it up while in San Diego:
• Entertainment Weekly highlights ‘five comics to watch” during Comic-Con: Marvel’s Inhuman and “Inhumanity,” Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One, DC’s “Villains Month,” the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead, and Jeff Lemire’s Trillium.
• The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has increased trolley service on the Green Line, which provides direct transportation to the stations in front of the San Diego Convention Center. Service also will be expanded throughout Comic-Con; see a complete rundown on the MTS website.
Awards | Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton and illustrated by Greg Chapman, won the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a graphic novel, presented over the weekend by the Horror Writers Association. Winners with a comic-book connection in other categories include Caitlin R. Kiernan (novel, The Drowning Girl), Jonathan Maberry (young-adult novel, Flesh & Bone), and Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (screenplay, The Cabin in the Woods). [Horror Writers Association]
Graphic novels | Heidi MacDonald looks at Dark Horse’s plans to expand its Originals line of creator-owned graphic novels this year; upcoming releases include print editions of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s Bandette and Cameron Stewart’s Sin Titulo, as well as a new graphic novel, Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil. [Publishers Weekly]
Cosplay is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States, and it raises a whole raft of issues about boundaries, privacy and proper behavior. Someone else can write a book about that; what I found interesting about the recent cosplay pillow controversy was the set of assumptions underlying it. While this touches on the law, I should say up front that I am not a lawyer and what follows is commentary, not legal advice.
Here’s what happened: At last weekend’s AnimeNEXT, a cosplay photographer was selling pillows with photographs of cosplayers that he had taken. One of the cosplayers, Marie Grey, gave her version of events on her blog, complete with a photo of the pillow.
On Saturday evening, I received a tweet from my friend Carrie with a photo of me in my Dark Phoenix cosplay emblazoned on a pillow. She asked me if I was okay with it. Obviously… I was not. Upon getting my response, she spoke with the vendor (Eric [Pearce] of Imagesolutions), who claimed I had signed an agreement stating he could sell my image whichever way he pleased without asking.
Grey posed for Pearce and had indeed signed a release, but she believed the document allowed her photo to be used for promotional purposes only. Pearce provided The Outhousers with a photo release he claimed all cosplayers signed, and it is considerably broader than that:
The comics scene descended on the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens June 1-2 for the annual Comic Jungle event. Zoo animals received super-powered descriptors, while visitors mingled with comic artists, retailers, art societies and costumed heroes.
All attendees received a free copy of the Bug’s Life book Flik the Inventor as they were led through an array of newly labeled zoo residents. Some animals were described as having superpowers, such as flight, night vision and super-strength: Elephants were designated as super-hearers, while seals had the power to breathe underwater. Aquaman would be so proud!
Free events were plentiful, including a live art demo by artist David Colman at the Giraffe Enclosure, and visitors could pose for photos with Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Cobra Commander and the 501st Legion Star Wars fan organization.
However, there were also plenty of guests in costume, including an excellent Incredibles family, and a wee Captain America sporting a cape (see photos of both, below).
With the popularity of Hawkeye –both the Clint Barton version, starring in his own stellar comic and various Avengers titles, and the Kate Bishop version, currently appearing in that same stellar comic and the snappy Young Avengers — it’s not surprising that Hawkeye cosplayers are taking aim at conventions around the world.
If you’re wanting to sport the gear of the younger, female Hawkeye, but aren’t sure where to get started, here’s a Tumblr by a devoted Kate Bishop cosplayer that should tell you everything you need to know. It’s appropriately titled “Gosh I Love Arrows,” and I think she goes above and beyond in the creation of a set of trick arrows based on David Aja’s illustrations from issue #3.