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Comics A.M. | Cosplay, and the fight against harassment

NYCC's "Cosplay Is Not Consent" poster, designed by Amy Reeder

NYCC’s “Cosplay Is Not Consent” poster

Cosplay | Visiting New York Comic Con, Andrea Romano takes a look at the world of cosplay, the issue of sexual harassment — one person notes it’s certainly not exclusive to cosplay, observing, “There’s harassment when a woman is just wearing a crop top on the street” — and efforts being made to stop it.  Convention organizers placed their new anti-harassment policy front and center this year, and it seems to have helped: There were just eight reported incidents of sexual harassment during the four-day event. [Mashable]

Conventions | Fensterman talks at greater length about NYCC’s anti-harassment measures in this article, which contrasts the comics scene with what’s going on in the gaming world. [Time]

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NYCC attracts a reported 151,000, surpassing San Diego

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New York Comic Con is now the largest pop-culture convention in North America, with producer ReedPOP reporting it sold tickets for this weekend’s event to 151,000 unique individuals.

Comic-Con International has been forced to cap attendance at about 130,000 due to the capacity San Diego Convention Center, leading organizers to turn to nearby hotels and Petco Park for additional space. New York Comic Con last year strained the limits of the Javitz Center with 133,000 attendees. However, ReedPOP Global Senior Vice President Lance Fensterman told ICv2.com that by expanding Thursday to a full day this year, organizers were able to sell another day’s worth of tickets.

This year’s figure doesn’t include the inaugural New York Super Week, the weeklong series of 110 events held at 25 venues across New York City, Fensterman said.

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NYCC | Just how many weapons are confiscated in a day?

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Like most pop-culture conventions, New York Comic Con has a fairly extensive weapons policy — one that prohibits the obvious, like functional firearms (yes, BB and air soft guns are included) and, perhaps, the not so obvious.

Under the heading of “obvious” also falls firecrackers and fireworks, chemical weapons, any kind realistic firearm that could be mistaken for a real one, sharpened metal-bladed weapons, brass knuckles and the like. Less obvious, and sure to complicate more than a few cosplay plans, are functional longbows and crossbows, clubs, water guns, nunchaku, whips, and “hard prop weapons” made of metal, fiberglass and glass.

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Fan-made ‘Nightwing: The Series’ gets darker with ‘Origins’

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The second episode of the fan-produced Nightwing: The Series will likely be bit of a crowd-pleaser, as it offers a glimpse of the Dick Grayson/Barbara Gordon relationship, and includes cameos by Jason Todd, Bruce Wayne and … well, you’ll see. However, it also tinkers with the Bat-family timeline, and seems to borrow from a still-controversial story to explain Dick’s change in identity from Robin to Nightwing. So … well, watch for yourself.

Created by Danny Shepherd and Jeremy, the Kickstarter-funded five-episode series premiered last week.

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College students dress up as Spider-Man for new world record

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A London costume costume brought together 398 college students Thursday to set a new Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Spider-Man.

Escapade, which last year set the record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Superman, partnered with manufacturer Rubies UK to provide participants with free licensed Marvel costumes. The event, which included aerial performances and a competition, also served as a fundraiser for the British military charity Help For Heroes.

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Comics A.M. | A look back at the 1964 New York comic con

A Thor sketch by Jack Kirby, from the 1946 convention program

A Thor sketch by Jack Kirby, from the 1946 convention program

Conventions | Ahead of New York Comic Con, George Gene Gustines shares producer Michael Uslan’s program from a 1964 comics gathering in New York City; it actually was released after the show, and includes some thoughts on how things could be improved, mainly by shifting the focus from buying and selling comics to bringing in creators so the fans could meet them personally. Nonetheless, Steve Ditko was there, and the list of registered participants included George R.R. Martin. [The New York Times]

Creators | Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa talks about taking Sabrina the Teenage Witch to the dark side in her new series, a Riverdale horror story in the same vein as Afterlife With Archie. In this case, rather than zombies, Aguirre-Sacasa is drawing inspiration from the 1960s film Rosemary’s Baby. [Hero Complex]

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Nightwing goes on hunt for Deathstroke in fan-made web series

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Danny Shepherd and Jeremy Le made a bit of a splash in summer 2012 with the release of their fan film Batman: Nightwing Vs. Red Hood, leading them to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign — they exceeded their $20,000 by nearly $15,000 — to fund a web series focusing on Dick Grayson.

The result surfaced this week with the debut of Nightwing: The Series, which sends Batman’s former sidekick on a search through the streets of Bludhaven for Deathstroke, who murdered a U.S. senators and numerous others. The second of five episodes arrives Oct. 6.

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Working Iron Man gauntlet fires actual missiles

iron-man-missle

Like Tony Stark himself, Patrick Priebe likes to update his Iron Man armor. Last year the custom-props builder wowed us with a functioning gauntlet that fires lasers powerful enough to burn objects and pop balloons, but now he’s taken things to the next level, or perhaps one or two after that.

Forget all of that kiddie stuff, the Mark II (sure, let’s call it that) fires an honest-to-goodness missile. None of that Nerf nonsense, either; there’s smoke and an explosion! You can check it out in the video below.

Bad news for tech-heads, but good news for emergency rooms: Priebe isn’t releasing any plans for tutorials.

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Constantine & Zatanna team up in ‘Justice League Dark’ fan film

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Getting a jump on NBC’s Constantine, Kevin Housand, Charles Winston Propst and One Riot One Ranger Productions have created Justice League Dark, an 11-minute short that sends the DC Comics occult detective and Zatanna on a mission to rescue her father — with a little bit of help.

The fan film also serves as a prologue of sorts, teasing the introduction of at least one other character from DC’s supernatural stable, which would presumably lead to the establishment of Justice League Dark.

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Hoping for a sequel, fans declare Oct. 1 ‘The Day of Dredd’

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Seeking to convince studio executives there’s an audience for a sequel to the 2012 comic book adaptation Dredd, some dedicated fans has declared Oct. 1 the second annual “Day of Dredd.”

The inaugural campaign in 2013 helped to drive the film up the Blu-ray and DVD charts, generating publicity in the process, and this year organizers are seeking to do it again: The want fans on Wednesday to buy Dredd again, watch it with friends, talk about it online (using the hagshtag “DayofDredd, of course) — whatever they can to draw attention to the film. That includes signing 2000AD’s official petition.
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Happy National Comic Book Day, everybody!

national comic book day

Because readers have undoubtedly been counting down the days on their calendars, it’s probably unnecessary to say what today is — but we’ll do so anyway: It’s Sept. 25, National Comic Book Day!

No, not Free Comic Book Day; that’s in May. National Comic Book Day, the unofficial holiday whose origins are as mysterious as its observers are scarce. As we noted last year, no one takes credit for its founding — heck, no one seems to know when it began — it receives little to no industry support, and there are no traditions tied to it (however, you can always try asking your local retailer for a free comic).

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Cosplayers and the changing convention scene

CCI2014-SatFloor-46-5b244Writer and producer Denise Dorman, wife of artist Dave Dorman, kicked off far-ranging discussion with her recent post about the shifting convention scene, and how it’s affected their income — specifically, her view that cosplayers have become to the “new focus” of the events, to the detriment of creators, publishers and vendors.

It’s certainly true that comics conventions have become more popular and more numerous than ever, and with their success comes an evolving experience both for attendees and exhibitors. However, Dorman’s essay is front-loaded with a lot of perplexed annoyance at kids today and their cosplaying, Instagram and selfies.

Unfortunately, much of the discussion that’s followed so far has focused on defending cosplayers. That was my initial response too — after all, I’ve seen some people wearing elaborate and imaginative costumes walking on the floor with their overflowing bag of comics, or their original art delicately being transported somewhere safe. Plenty of cosplayers love comics, and if they stop at a booth, you can bet people around them are checking out both them and the table they’re perusing. I’ve seen it happen so often at Comic-Con International.

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Stan Lee would like fans to be more accurate with their praise

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The legendary co-creator of such superheroes as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men, Stan Lee has attracted countless fans over the course of a seven-decade career. While he clearly treasures all of them, he asks for one thing from them: a little accuracy.

“I kinda don’t like it when people come over to me and say, ‘I’m your biggest fan,'” he says in the new installment of “Stan’s Rants.” “But I think, how do they know they’re my biggest fan? Have they checked all my other fans? I might have a bigger fan somewhere. And are they referring to the fact that they’re my most enthusiastic fan, or perhaps in height? They’re my tallest fan?

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It’s not an off-brand Groot, it’s a ‘Cuddly Plush Alien Tree’

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There are a lot of products offered on Etsy that likely would be frowned upon by most film studios, television networks and publishers — posters, jewelry, clothing, toys, etc., featuring properties protected by trademark and copyright. However, there’s something wonderfully charming about Handmade Stuffs‘ off-brand plushes based on well-known fictional characters.

Sure, the stuffed creations are plenty cute in and of themselves, but the imaginative (and hopefully non-infringing!) names are what really sell them. Take, for instance, “Cuddly Plush Alien Tree” (“This adorable botanical extraterrestrial is ready to guard the galaxy with you!”), or the sold-out “Cuddly Plush Furious Director” (“He may only have one eye, but he’ll always be on the lookout for bad guys!”)

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Winners announced for 10th annual Joe Shuster Awards

rat queens1The winners of the 10th annual Joe Shuster Awards were announced Saturday in Toronto. Named in honor of Toronto-born artist Joe Shuster, co-creator Superman, the awards recognize the best of the Canadian comics world.

In addition to the traditional awards, this year’s event included the introduction of the T.M. Maple Award, which honors “someone (living or deceased) selected from the Canadian comics community for achievements made outside of the creative and retail categories who have had a positive impact on the community.” The first recipients were the late Jim Burke, aka T.M. Maple, who wrote more than 3,000 letters to comic book letter columns between 1977 and 1994, and the late Debra Jane Shelly, longtime volunteer at Toronto conventions and comics events.

The winners are listed in bold below. The Beat has photos and audio from the ceremony, held at Back Space Toronto.

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