EXCLUSIVE: Battleworld Gets Dangerous in Marvel's July 2015 Solicitations
When you think of America’s nerdiest cities — OK, if you think about them — your mind likely gravitates toward San Diego, the summer destination of tens and thousands of people each July for Comic-Con International, or San Jose, known as the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” or Seattle, home to Amazon, Emerald City Comicon and Penny Arcade Expo (and neighbor of Microsoft).
But when the real-estate website Movoto.com compiled its own list of the 10 nerdiest cities in the United States, none of those locations came out on top. Heck, San Diego didn’t make the cut at all.
Noting that co-founder Ed Kramer is still “a stockholder despite our desires otherwise,” DragonCon issued a statement on Friday to address the “great deal of discussion” surrounding the accused child molester and his association with the convention.
Much of that discussion has been driven by novelist and comics writer Nancy A. Collins, who late last month asked professionals to boycott DragonCon because of its continued continued connection to Kramer, who was extradited back to Georgia in January on child-molestation charges dating back to 2000. Although Kramer resigned from the board following his original arrest, he continues to receive annual dividends from his one-third stake in the for-profit corporation — $154,000 for 2011 alone, according to Atlanta Magazine — while stalling his criminal case for more than a decade and suing co-founder Pat Henry and DragonCon/ACE Inc.
“No matter what Dragon*Con does or says, funds from the convention will continue to go to Edward Kramer until either he dies or the corporation that runs the convention dissolves and reincorporates under another name,” Collins wrote. “Dragon*Con knows what needs to be done, but has been dragging its feet on this matter, and has gone to great trouble over the last 12 years to hide the fact that they continue to fund Edward Kramer’s lifestyle. […] It is up to the Professionals — we writers, artists, musicians, editors, actors, and film-makers — to make a stand, as we are a large part of what attracts (at last count) 50,000 fans to the convention each Labor Day.”
According to the statement from DragonCon, organizers have made multiple attempts to sever ties with Kramer, including efforts to buy his shares.
“Unfortunately, Edward Kramer’s response to our buyout efforts was repeated litigation against Dragon*Con … thus our buyout efforts have been stalled. The idea proposed of dissolving the company and reincorporating has been thoroughly investigated and is not possible at this point. Legally, we can’t just take away his shares. We are unfortunately limited in our options and responses as we remain in active litigation,” the statement reads, noting that they hope the upcoming trials will “provide a resolution of Edward Kramer’s guilt or innocence, and therefore a cause of legally divorcing ourselves from him once and for all.”
You can find the entire statement below.
Ed Kramer’s extradition to Georgia last week on child-molestation charges dating back to 2000 has again cast a spotlight on his relationship with DragonCon, the Atlanta convention he helped found nearly 26 years ago.
The 51-year-old Kramer hasn’t been directly associated with the event since his arrest in August 2000 on charges of sexually abusing two teenage boys. However, he continues to receive annual dividends from DragonCon — $154,000 for 2011 alone, according to Atlanta Magazine — after attempts to buy out Kramer’s stake in the for-profit corporation proved unsuccessful. The litigious Kramer has filed two lawsuits against co-founder Pat Henry and DragonCon/ACE Inc.
But horror author Nancy A. Collins, who was among the first to speak out against Kramer, contends DragonCon organizers haven’t done enough to extricate themselves from its co-founder. And so in a proposal circulated Monday by Stephen Bissette, the former Swamp Thing writer calls for professionals to boycott the convention in an effort “to cut off the flow of money” to Kramer, “who has been using the 150K+ a year he receives each year from DragonCon to avoid trial and manipulate the justice system.”
Legal | DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer, who hasn’t been associated with the show since 2000, has been brought back to the Gwinnett County Jail and booked on child molestation charges that date back to August 2000. The 51-year-old Kramer was released on bond after his initial arrest following accusations that he sexually abused three boys, and has avoided jail and court for more than a decade because of his health problems, although he was under house arrest for a while. He was arrested again in Connecticut in 2011 for violating the conditions of his bond after he was allegedly found alone in a hotel room with a 14-year-old boy. Atlanta Magazine ran a lengthy expose on Kramer last year. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
When Marvel orchestrated the wedding of Northstar to his boyfriend Kyle Jindau in this summer’s Astonshing X-Men #51, it received considerable attention from the media for it forward-leaning acknowledgment of gay rights. And earlier this month at Dragon*Con, a longtime gay couple and an army of cosplayers recreated that special moment.
Professional costume maker Brian Parsley and his longtime boyfriend George Lewis recreated the moment (as Northstar and Kyle, respectively), in front of an enormous crowd of friends and fellow cosplayers. While it wasn’t an official marriage ceremony (as Georgia has a ban on same-sex marriage), the Florida-based couple said if Georgia allowed it they would have made the ceremony official. Here is a video from the event:
Following Dave Johnson on Twitter is always good value (he’s a funny guy), but especially these last few days, as he posted the sketches and commissions he’d done at Dragon*Con over the Labor Day weekend. Plenty more can be found below, including one that’s maybe a little NSFW.
Legal | Writer Scott Henry details the lengthy attempt to prosecute Dragon*Con co-founder Ed Kramer on charges of child molestation. The case began in 2000 and has yet to go to trial. [Atlanta Magazine]
Publishing | Bandai Entertainment will discontinue sales of manga, novels and anime, with the final shipment of manga going out at the end of October. The company, a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Entertainment, had stopped publishing new work in January and was focusing on sales of its existing properties. [Anime News Network]
As many of us are gearing up for the long holiday weekend, an anticipated 50,000 fantasy, comics and gaming fans descend on Atlanta for the 26th Dragon*Con. The event includes this morning’s annual parade down Peachtree Street, the masquerade and the Guest of Honor Awards Banquet.
As usual, the guest list includes a sizable comics contingent, including Neal Adams, Mark Bagley, J. Scott Campbell, Peter David, Kevin Eastman, Sean Galloway, Paul Jenkins, Dave Johnson, Stan Lee, Ted Naifeh, Dustin Nguyen, George Perez, Don Rosa, Bill Sienkiewicz and Bernie Wrightson.
Dragon*Con continues through Monday.
Next month will see the release of the final installment in Van Jensen‘s and Dusty Higgins‘ Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series of books, Of Wood and Blood, Part Two. To mark this milestone as well as find out what creative projects he intends to pursue in the future, I cajoled longtime friend of the blog Jensen to do an interview. I was pleased to learn that while Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer is coming to a close, Joe Pimienta is illustrating Jensen’s upcoming graphic novel, The Leg. More immediately, Jensen will be busy this upcoming weekend in Atlanta–as he will be at Dragon*Con, so be sure to visit him if you are there.
Tim O’Shea: You’re ending Pinocchio on a high note, while the project seems to still be doing well. Why step away — and how hard was it to do?
Van Jensen: When Dusty and I were working on the first volume, I came up with this notion of how to explain where Pinocchio came from (the original story has him as a sentient piece of wood that is carved into a puppet, not a puppet that’s magically brought to life) and tie that into the origin of the vampires. We realized it would make a perfect contained storyline; the question was always whether the book would sell enough for us to explore the whole story.
Publishing | Matthew Garrahan’s profile of reclusive Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter is somewhat sharper than the Los Angeles Times story linked last week, as it includes accusations that the 69-year-old billionaire threatened an employee, made a racially insensitive remark, and maneuvered Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney and three other executives (all African-American women who reportedly referred to themselves as “The Help”) out of their jobs. Nikki Finke follows up at Deadline with details of Disney and Marvel’s attempts at damage control, as well as the news that Disney has settled with the three former execs. [Financial Times]
Retailing | Comics shop veteran Amanda Emmert, executive director of the retailers’ association ComicsPRO and owner of Muse Comics in Colorado Springs, talks about retailing, the health of the industry, and the popular perception of comics shops as men’s clubs: “I have new customers who walk in and tell me how strange it is for a woman to work in a comic book store or a gaming store. Their experience comes more from watching The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory, as you pointed out, than from seeing a great number of stores, though. I am very lucky to work for ComicsPRO; I get to work with hundreds of stores around the country, a large percentage of which are owned or operated by women.” [Colorado Springs Gazette]
Legal | Edward Kramer, co-founder of the 25-year-old Dragon*Con held each Labor Day in Atlanta, was arrested Tuesday and charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment of a child after police allegedly found him in a Connecticut motel room with a 14-year-old boy. Kramer, who was first charged 11 years ago with child molestation and aggravated child molestation, never went to court after his lawyers argued that Kramer was physically incompetent to stand trial, due to a degenerative spinal condition and chronic pain. Kramer was under house arrest until 2008, when a judge ruled that he could travel, although conditions of his bond stipulated that he report his whereabouts on a weekly basis to the district attorney’s office and that he have no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16. On Wednesday a judge signed an order revoking Kramer’s bond, and the district attorney said Kramer will be extradited back to Georgia.
Pat Henry, current chairman of Dragon*Con, posted a statement on the convention’s website: “Edward Kramer resigned from the Dragon Con Convention in the year 2000 after being indicted on felony charges in Gwinnett County. He has not had any role in Dragon Con planning or activities since that time. Since 2000 the convention has been managed by three of the other founders. These men have been involved with the convention since the beginning. They are chairman Pat Henry, and board members Dave Cody and Robert Dennis. In these eleven years the convention attendance has grown from less than 10,000 to over 46,000 this past Labor Day.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution]
Publishing | Marvel reportedly has issued a round of Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices to Google in an effort targeting Blogger sites that serve as clearinghouses for links to pirated comics. (Blogger was purchased by Google in 2003.) One such blog, Comics Invasion, already has been shut down. [Bleeding Cool]
Passings | Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad passed away Saturday of natural causes. He was 86. The winner of three Pulitzers, an achievement matched by just two other cartoonists in the post-World War II era, Conrad worked for the Los Angeles Times for nearly 30 years, and earned a place on President Nixon’s infamous “enemies list.” [Los Angeles Times, Comic Riffs]