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Legal | A former Emerald City Comicon volunteer has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing convention organizers of using volunteers as unpaid employees in 2014 and 2015. While it’s true that the volunteers signed on willingly — in fact, it’s rather competitive — the lawsuit argues they do work that’s essential to the convention and therefore ECCC is violating state labor laws by not paying them. “In Washington, the base is that if you are an employer, you have to pay the minimum wage,” says Hardeep Singh Rekhi, the plaintiff’s attorney. “We don’t believe that someone should be able to profit off unpaid labor, even if it’s something people love to do.” The plaintiffs estimate that there are 250 people in the affected class, i.e., people who performed the functions of employees but were not paid. Had ECCC been a nonprofit, it might have been exempt, but it was not. This year, the convention was run by ReedPOP, which did pay the staff. [Seattlish]
Attending a comic convention dressed as a Redshirt from Star Trek is, y’know, fine but not exactly inspired. But attending a convention dressed as a Redshirt, and then posing with other cosplayers as they “kill” you over and over again? Genius!
That’s what Timothey Adam did last weekend at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, recruiting cosplayers dressed as characters ranging from Batman and Harley Quinn to Chewbacca and the War Boys to put that Star Trek trope to the test.
Kodansha Comics will celebrate the 35th anniversary of Akira next year with the release of a box set characterized as “the ultimate, definitive English edition” of Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering cyberpunk manga.
The announcement was made over the weekend at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, where the U.S. imprint of Japanese publishing giant Kodansha also trumpeted the same-day digital release in English of Attack on Titan and 16 other titles.
Dark Horse has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at three limited-edition variant covers produced for the upcoming Emerald City Comicon: Lady Killer #1 by Joëlle Jones, Past Aways #1 by Scott Kolins, and Fire and Stone: Prometheus—Omega #1 by Patric Reynolds.
Limited to just 500 copies, each variant will available for $5 throughout the show, while supplies last, at the Dark Horse booth (#802). There will also be an ECCC variant for Frankenstein Underground, the new miniseries by Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart.
Legal | Malaysian cartoonist Zunar was arrested last night on sedition charges stemming from a tweet criticizing the court that upheld the sodomy conviction of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. On Tuesday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar posted a screencap of the offending tweet, which said, “Followers (Barua-barua) in black robes were proud in delivering judgement. Reward by Mr Politician must be lavish,” reflecting the popular opinion that the conviction was a political ploy by the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak to silence Anwar. Zunar then tweeted a cartoon of Najib as the judge handing down the verdict. Although his lawyer said Zunar offered to come in to answer questions, he was brought to the Dang Wangi police station, where he can be detained until Saturday — or longer, if police renew the remand order. [The Rakyat Post]
Just days before HeroesCon kicks off in Charlotte, North Carolina, organizers have released a code of conduct addressing harassment and cautioning exhibitors about images and materials that exceed the event’s PG-13 standards.
Signed by founder Shelton Drum, the policy extends beyond the exhibition floor to after-hours events at host hotels, and spells out that, “HeroesCon is dedicated to providing a fun, safe and harassment-free convention experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion.”
Although North America comic conventions are typically thought of as male-dominated events, that doesn’t appear to have been the case with this year’s Emerald City Comicon.
According to a survey of attendees, 52 percent identified as female, compared to 46 percent as male; 2 percent of respondents “referred to themselves in non-binary terms,” including agender, genderfluid, genderqueer and “a nebulous glow cloud.”
Of course the survey isn’t completely accurate, because not everyone filled one out, and of those who did, probably not everyone did so honestly (I’m willing to wager the person doesn’t really gender-identify as “Cthulhu”). However, as The Mary Sue notes, “at the very least, you cannot say that women were rare or a minority in the community.”
Emerald City Comicon may not come with the metric ton of announcements that Comic-Con International does, but in a way it’s all the better for it. Comics still feel as if they’re front and center just where I like them, and the announcements have more charm because they aren’t screaming to be heard over the din of film and television rollouts.
One year, I’ll get up to Seattle to experience the event firsthand, but in the meantime, I get to absorb all the news and photos like everyone else, as they’re posted online. ECCC even streamed all of its panels on flipon.tv. Anything that happened in Room 301 is free for anyone to watch. Everything else can be purchased with a full archive pass for $14.95. Or if, you don’t want to sit through hours of panel footage, there’s CBR’s coverage or, heck, try Google or something.
A number of announcements jumped out as particularly noteworthy, so let’s run through The 6 Best Things from ECCC. And from my count, Dark Horse won Emerald City. Your miles may vary though, so post your favorites in the comments.
“The message that we send when we don’t represent the broader culture in our stories is that ‘You are other.’ … As a community, as an organism, it is a thing that makes us ill. It is actually bad for us.”
– Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of Captain Marvel and Pretty Deadly, speaking about the need to diversity the kinds of characters that appear in comics, at the “Broadening Comics Readership” panel at Emerald City Comicon
Comic Book Resources contributor George Tramountanas tapped into the Speed Force this weekend to capture an unexpected gathering of Flashes at Emerald City Comicon.
At this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon, Dark Horse announced two collections featuring early ElfQuest material by Wendy and Richard Pini.
In August, fans can expect The Complete ElfQuest Volume 1: The Original Quest, a 720-page, black-and-white collection of “what is now known as The Original Quest.” It will include a gallery of concept art, pinups and covers, as well as commentary from the Pinis.
Then October brings ElfQuest: The Original Quest Gallery Edition. In what sounds like something akin to IDW’s Artists Edition series, it will collect Wendy Pini’s original artwork from the first five issues of “The Original Quest.” According to the press release, “Each page is carefully scanned from Wendy Pini’s original art to capture every stroke and detail. At 12 1/8″ by 17″, it’s as close to holding Pini’s original art as a fan can get.”
The Complete ElfQuest Volume 1: The Original Quest goes on sale Aug. 6. ElfQuest: The Original Quest Gallery Edition will arrive in comic shops Oct. 8 and bookstores Oct. 21.
Legal | Algerian cartoonist Djamel Ghanem is seeking asylum in France as the prosecution and plaintiff appeal his acquittal on charges that he insulted Algeria’s president in an unpublished cartoon drawn for the newspaper Voix d’Oranie. The newspaper brought the criminal charges against Ghanem; in possibly related news, Ghanem is suing his employer for seven years’ unpaid wages. Ghanem now claims Algeria wants to make an example of him. [Radio France International, Ennahar Online]
Conventions | Mark Rahner, who has been going to Emerald City Comicon since the first one in 2003, initially as a reporter and then as a creator, talks about why the event has grown so big (75,000 attendees are expected this weekend) and why it’s still awesome anyway. [Seattle Weekly]
Conventions | Rob Salkowitz, who wrote a book about Comic-Con International, looks forward to this weekend’s sold-out Emerald City Comicon, and explains why it represents the convention of the future: “One reason ECCC is such an ideal place to talk about the future of comics is because the show itself looks like the future of comics–at least the one that I call ‘The Expanding Multiverse.’ Supportive of creators and celebrities alike, embracing the broadest conception of styles and subjects from indie work to mainstream superheroes, self-consciously diverse and inclusive in its conception of fandom, ECCC and shows like it represent a sustainable path forward for geek culture in an age of super-saturation and sensory overload.” Salkowitz will be a participant, not just a fan: He has developed a programming track on comics and digital culture that will feature a number of people (IDW’s Ted Adams, Monkeybrain’s Alison Baker) giving short presentations, similar to the format and spirit of TED Talks. [ICv2]
In 2012, Marvel gave Carol Danvers a promotion from “Ms. Marvel” to “Captain Marvel,” along with a new uniform and her own ongoing series. That move swiftly won over a very passionate, dedicated fanbase, and the “Carol Corps” are gathering to celebrate in Seattle on the eve of this year’s Emerald City Comicon. The venue is high-profile, and fitting given Danvers’ background as an Air Force pilot: The Museum of Flight, the world’s largest private air and space museum.
The event, dubbed “Carol Corps Celebration,” will include appearances from Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer of both the original Danvers-as-Captain Marvel solo series and the subsequent relaunch debuting in March), Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson and Christopher Sebela, who’s co-written several Captain Marvel issues with DeConnick. Tickets are $20, and will include “the opportunity to meet awesome featured guests, mingle with them and each other, socialize and enjoy the main exhibits in the Museum of Flight,” plus light snacks and beverages. (ECCC admission is not included.) All proceeds will be donated to the Girls Leadership Institute, an Oakland-based nonprofit.
The Carol Corps Celebration happens 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 27; Emerald City Comicon takes place March 28-March 30 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
Publishing | Dark Horse President Mike Richardson discusses how he became one of the first publishers of manga in the United States, explains how the company selects its titles, and suggests some manga for first-time readers. [Previews]
Digital comics | Retailer Ron Catapano points to the comiXology server crash triggered by the response to the free Marvel comics promotion as “the problem with digital content that fans keep complaining about”: “I can’t read the books I paid for because I can’t save them on my own computer and I’m limited in what I can save to my tablet by the small storage on tablets. Instead, the books I pay for are kept by comiXology and as long as I have a high speed internet connection available… I can log on and read my books on their web site or I can download a few to my tablet. BUT NOT TODAY … because someone decided it was a good idea to put 700 Marvel issue #1’s up for free at the same time.” [ICv2.com]