EXCLUSIVE: Grodd Strikes in New "The Flash" Photos
Conventions | A reported 86,500 people attended the third annual Denver Comic Con over the weekend, up from 61,000 in 2013. The event is undergoing some growing pains, however, with organizers quickly rescinding an announced cart-service fee for next year’s convention following complaints from vendors. Even without that additional charge, some exhibitors remain unhappy about the proposed increase in booth fees. [The Denver Post]
Creators | Stan Lee arrived at Sydney Airport for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo and was immediately presented with a “Captain Australia” shield, colored gold and green rather than red and blue. The Supanova Pop Culture Expo kicked off today, and continues through Sunday. [The Daily Telegraph]
Comics | Hussain Al-Shiblawi says he doesn’t usually mind the pamphlets he regularly receives from the local Bible Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia; even though he’s Muslim, he finds them inspirational. But he takes strong exception to the latest one, a Jack Chick tract titled Unforgiven, which claims that all Muslims are going to hell. The pastor, who declined to go on camera, says his church doesn’t create the pamphlets, it just distributes them, but he’s willing to meet with Al-Shiblawi to discuss the comic. [WDBJ News]
Passings | Retailer, creator, superhero fan and occasional crime-fighter Geoffrey Patterson Sr. died Sunday at age 72. The owner of Geoffrey’s Comic Shop in Gardena, California, Patterson created the character Captain Greedy, who appeared on local access TV and in the shop, as well as in comics. “Patterson was well-known for his eccentric love of super heroes,” writes Jordan England-Nelson. “His home in Torrance is decorated inside and out with super-hero statues, wooden cutouts and other comic book memorabilia. The home would get hundreds of visitors on Halloween, when Patterson would hand out comic books with candy and let people check out his superhero-themed graveyard.” And Patterson chased down purse snatchers and other wrongdoers on several different occasions, at least once while wearing his Captain Greedy costume. [The Daily Breeze]
Last year I questioned how in the world The Caped Brewsader could beat out Fin Fang Foam as the name of Denver Comic Con’s official beer (there were accusations of poll-rigging — seriously). This year, you’ll hear no complaints from me, as tonight convention organizers and Breckenridge Brewery will introduce their latest collaboration … Brews Wayne. Brews Wayne!
According to Breckenridge, the full-body amber ale has an “herbal and floral punch of aroma with woody undertones. With a hearty malt base and lively hop character, Brews Wayne is the perfect beer for the playboy by day and superhero by night.”
A town hall meeting planned for Sunday by Save Denver Comic Con was postponed after the convention’s board of directors and its ousted co-founder agreed to re-enter mediation.
Their dispute became public last week when Charlie La Greca, one of the founders of the nonprofit Comic Book Classroom and its program Denver Comic Con, launched SaveDenverComicCon.com to air his grievances against the board and rally support. In an open letter, he accused the board of removing him without explanation, mishandling $300,000 in revenues, and failing to live up to the organization’s educational mandate.
On Thursday convention organizers responded, spelling out their educational programs, denying any misuse of funds (and later providing a preliminary financial overview), and asserting that La Greca was aware he was precluded from serving on the board by his acceptance of a $10,000 contract position; that contract wasn’t renewed following Denver Comic Con 2013.
Responding to accusations made by one of the event’s co-founders, organizers insist “Denver Comic Con does not need saving.”
A letter posted on the show’s website addresses many of Charlie La Greca’s allegations, most notably that he was unceremoniously forced from the board of the organizing nonprofit Comic Book Classroom and that $300,000 in revenues from the 2013 convention remain unaccounted for.
“Allegations of misuse of funds are wholly untrue,” the statement reads. “As an applicant for 501(c)3 status, CBC’s financial statements are a matter of public record; the 2012 990 form is on file with the IRS, and when the fiscal year 2013 records are completed they will be filed and will also be publicly available as a matter of course.”
According to The Denver Post, co-founder Charlie La Greca claims he was unceremoniously removed from the board of directors of the nonprofit Comic Book Classroom, which organizes the event. The other founder, Frank Romero, has resigned.
“I set out my whole life to bring my passion and love of comics and geekdom to others,” La Greca writes in an open letter posted on the newly launched website SaveDenverComicCon. “I did not and will not give up on this organization that I envisioned and co-founded and so believe in. Nor have I or will I leave it.”
“We know that our fans — and fans of pop culture — come from all races and beliefs, and any sexual orientation,” Bruce MacIntosh, director of programming, said in a statement. “Denver Comic Con guests and programming are deliberately geared towards informing and entertaining the fanboy and fangirl in all of us! Being inclusive of the entire community — both the communities of Denver and the pop-culture community as a whole — has been a focus of DCC since its inception.”
Conventions | Attendance at Denver Comic Con topped 48,000, well over last year’s total of 27,700. Crowds were so heavy on opening day that the fire marshal and convention staff turned away 6,000 people. Guests included Star Trek‘s William Shatner (who was filling in for a double-booked Stan Lee) and George Takei, who stayed late on Friday so every fan could get an autograph. [The Denver Post]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez talks about Marble Season, which is quite a departure from his previous graphic novels: “I’d been doing too many zombies and too much horror and crime, and I wanted to back off and do something pleasant. But I thought, can I do a pleasant story? And the only pleasant story I have is good memories from childhood. I wanted to connect to readers in a more genial way.” [The Telegraph]
In a matter of hours, the doors will open on the Colorado Convention Center for the second annual Denver Comic Con, which has grown by leaps and bounds from its wildly successful inaugural event. That first show drew 27,800 attendees — double what co-founder Charlie Le Greca had expected — but ticket sales for this installment are up 47 percent over last year.
However, the convention’s growth isn’t calculated solely by tickets: Artists Alley will feature more than 220 creators, while the number of panels have increased from 150 to 250.
Conventions | Stan Lee has canceled his appearance at Denver Comic Con, held May 31-June 2, citing a conflict with filming for a cameo in a Marvel movie. William Shatner has stepped in to take his place. Nonetheless, a reporter snagged a pre-convention interview with Lee, in which he talks about what makes a convention great and how comics help kids learn to read, and counters a common criticism: “Some people will say, ‘Why read a comic book? It stifles the imagination. If you read a novel you imagine what people are like. If you read a comic, it’s showing you.’ The only answer I can give is, ‘You can read a Shakespeare play, but does that mean you wouldn’t want to see it on the stage?'” [The Denver Post]
Charities | Matthew Price rounds up efforts by the comics community to help those in Oklahoma devastated by the tornadoes. [NewsOK.com]
Last year, Denver Comic Con teamed with Breckendridge Brewery to create Fantastic Pour, an American-style wheat beer that was served during the event and at several area establishments. This year, the two collaborated on a Belgian Wit brewed with Buddha’s hand fruit, and then launched a contest for fans to come up with a name to rival last year’s.
The winner, the Denver Post reports, is “The Caped Brewsader,” submitted by Nathan Bowker. For his effort, he wins a year’s supply of beer, four collector-edition Denver Comic Con Brewsader pint glasses, a Breckenridge beer-tap handle of the Brewsader, and some other swag.Bowker’s entry somehow beat out Joshua Bray’s “Kal Ale” — yes, that’s a Superman reference — which rightfully won the fan vote, and “Fin Fang Foam,” which should have won everything. Seriously: Fin Fang Foam!Ben Templesmith will design the label, pint glass and tap-handle art for The Caped Brewsader. Denver Comic Con will be held May 31-June 2.
Legal | In a motion for summary judgment filed Monday in the long-running legal battle for the rights to Superman, attorneys for Warner Bros. are revisiting their 2009 argument that the estate of Joe Shuster has no grounds to reclaim the artist’s share of the copyright to the Man of Steel. They point to a 1992 agreement in which the estate relinquished all claims in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included DC Comics paying Shuster’s remaining debts follow his death earlier that year, and providing his sister Jean Seavy with a $25,000 annual pension. Daniel Best has the documents, while Jeff Trexler provides context, noting that the new filing “filing wasn’t a Perry Mason-esque unveiling of surprising new facts. Rather, it was a routine motion for summary judgment.” A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20. [20th Century Danny Boy, The Beat]
Video games | Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai has revealed a video game will be released later this year for smartphones, tablets and personal computers based on his long-running historical action-fantasy comic. Called Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin, it’s not the first video game to feature the samurai rabbit: Samurai Warrior: The Battles of Usagi Yojimbo debuted in 1987 for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. Expect more details next month at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Facebook]
Conventions | Organizers of the Denver Comic Con anticipate that this weekend’s show was their second-largest ever. Batgirl writer Gail Simone praised the show, noting it sold out Friday and Saturday: “Sheesh, both Friday and Saturday completely sold out, the place was packed. There are tons of interesting guests, lots of great panels, and a real emphasis on diversity. The attendees have huge percentages of females, there’s more cosplayers here than any con this size I have been to, and very welcome indeed, there are lots and lots of kids.” [Denver Post]