New York Comic Con Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
In a scene reminiscent of the annual rush for Comic-Con International badges, the New York Comic Con ticket website crashed Thursday as hopefuls jostled for passes to the Oct. 9-12 show.
A perusal of the event’s Twitter feed provides a catalog of some of the problems as organizers offered advice to frustrated ticket buyers — “If you’re in the queue, do not hit refresh” — before announcing sellouts of four-day and three-day passes, and tickets for Saturday and Kids Day. As of this morning, tickets remain available for Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
The Insightful Panda offers a play-by-play of what it contends “went wrong” with the process, highlighting a mix of technical difficulties and apparent miscommunication. The blog also notes that three-day passes have already made their way onto StubHub, where they’re listed at 400 percent of their original price.
Conventions | Lance Fensterman, ReedPOP’s global senior vice president, talks about his company’s strategy of focusing on a few big shows, rather than a lot of smaller ones, and gives the numbers for last month’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo: Attendance was about 62,900, up 18 percent from last year, and the show floor grew by 15,000 square feet. Attendees are mostly in the 18-to-35 age group, and the majority are male, although the proportion of women at C2E2 has increased by 6 percent since 2011. Male or female, many of the folks on the floor seem to be “casual consumers” rather than “hardcore fans”: About 50 percent of attendees at New York Comic Con were there for the first time. “Depending on which exhibiting company you’re talking to, they either love it or they’re not sure what to do with it,” Fensterman said. “You’re delivering new readers and new potential consumers. We think it’s cool that you’re getting that fresh perspective, not quite so jaded (been there, done that).” [ICv2]
Publishing | I talked with TOON Books founder Francoise Mouly about her new imprint, TOON Graphics, which will feature “visual books” (picture books and comics) for readers ages 8 and up. The line launches with three titles: Theseus and the Minotaur, by Yves Pommaux, Cast Away on the Letter A, by Fred, and Hansel and Gretel, retold by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti. [Publishers Weekly]
Commentary | Former DC Comics senior editor Joan Hilty tackles the issue of sexism in comics and calls for publishers to include more women in their senior editorial rank:. “Women are getting the bestselling books into stores and greenlighting the million-dollar movie franchises, but they’re barely represented among the creative executives who map out the universes and storytelling strategies. That’s where you cement broad-based, long-term loyalty to authors and characters, tap new audiences and trends, and grow readership, without which none of those books or movies would exist.” [The Guardian]
Comic-Con International organizers have announced that four-day passes will not be sold for this year’s event, and that the Preview Night option will only be available to those who buy badges for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The news arrives just a month after preregistration was postponed until early this year so EPIC Registration could “fine-tune” the online system that so often frustrates would-be attendees. No specific time frame was offered for when preregistration will be open to those who bought badges in 2013, only “sometime in early 2014.”
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.
Graphic novels | France 24 examines the Thursday release of Asterix and the Picts — the first album by new creative team Jean Yves-Ferri and Didier Conrad — from a political perspective, noting that the story, in which Asterix and Obelix journey from ancient Gaul to Iron Age Scotland, has already become part of the current debate about Scottish independence. [France 24]
Creators | Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who spent a night in police custody last week on charges of “suspicion of causing a disturbance,” spoke to the press this week. Liming, who has more than 300,000 followers on his microblog account, first ran into trouble two years ago for one of his cartoons, but police told him that China has freedom of speech and he could continue drawing. Nonetheless, another of his cartoons, depicting Winnie the Pooh (a frequent cartoon stand-in for Chinese President Xi Jinping) kicking a football was deleted and suppressed by censors. “For them, drawing leaders in cartoon form is a big taboo,” the cartoonist said. “I think the controls on the Internet are too harsh. They have no sense of humor. They can’t accept any ridicule.” [Reuters]
Largely overlooked in the hustle and bustle of New York Comic Con was Disney Press’ official announcement of Space Mountain, a 176-page graphic novel based on the theme-park attraction. News of the project was surfaced in August.
Written by Bryan Q. Miller and illustrated by Kelley Jones and Hi-Fi Design, the book will be released May 6 under the Disney Comics umbrella. Disney Press also released a two-page preview and promotional poster for Space Mountain. Here’s the synopsis:
The year is 2125 and the Magellan Science Academy has given two lucky cadets ‘golden tickets’ to join a team of space explorers on a special field trip to journey 24 hours into the future. But when their mission goes unexpectedly wrong, the two kids must band together with a miniature flying saucer sidekick to save themselves and their crew — and return to Space Mountain — before time runs out and the universe is destroyed!
The first book in a planned trilogy, Space Mountain will be followed by Return to Space Mountain (2015) and Battle for Space Mountain (2016).
Dan DiDio informed his Facebook followers Thursday that he was set to appear on today’s episode of tje daytime talk show The View, and the DC Entertainment co-publisher did appear — not as an in-studio guest, but as one of several industry dignitaries who interacted with co-host Whoopi Goldberg at New York Comic Con.
Goldberg explained at the beginning of the segment that she attended the convention seeking advice on how to get her comic book idea published. In addition to DiDio, Goldberg — already a part of geek culture due to her role as Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation — sought the counsel of Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, Kevin Smith, Seth Green, Clare Grant, Ronald D. Moore, Diana Gabaldon, True Blood‘s Kristin Bauer van Straten and more, in a comedic montage segment.
“The greatest thing I discovered is it’s really family oriented,” Goldberg said of the event. “People come dressed with their families. … They’re happy to be there.” Watch the segment below.
Political cartoonists | Michael Cavna looks into a report by the Cartoonists Rights Network International that Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan was executed in July. Raslan was arrested last year by Syrian security forces and, together with a group of journalists, artists and other “intellectuals,” sentenced to life imprisonment. “Somehow, along the way to prison young 28-year-old Akram Raslan (and possibly others) was peeled off, taken out and executed,” the post said. “He is reported to be in a mass grave somewhere near Damascus.” However, CRNI’s Robert Russell told Cavna they have been unable to confirm the report, which came from a “reliable source” close to Raslan’s family. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | Heidi MacDonald and Calvin Reid file a comprehensive con report on New York Comic Con, including a conversation with ReedPOP Global Vice President Lance Fensterman and a look at the panels and booths. [Publishers Weekly Comics World]
Announced in March, the arena show tour will launch in July 2014, bringing Marvel’s most iconic heroes and villains to 85 cities across North America in its first two years. The live-action production will integrate a character-driven storyline with state-of-the-art special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts and martial arts for what producers say will “redefine the live show experience.”
In response to New York Comic Con’s controversial use of attendees’ Twitter accounts to send promotional messages, and the implementation of technology allowing organizers to track individual badges, a staff member for a leading digital-rights group has written an open letter asking all pop-culture conventions to “protect our secret identities.”
Longtime collaborators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani have been on a roll recently, partnering their Aw Yeah Comics store with Alter Ego Comics, tackling Itty Bitty Hellboy at Dark Horse, which will also collect their Aw Yeah Comics series, and bringing the “Li’l” treatment to several Dynamite Entertainment titles.
However, they’re not finished yet: Aureliani announced over the weekend on Twitter, “Big news out of DC comics and @dandidio1 says so: can you say: Tiny Titans?,” followed by, “Yes! It’s true! New Tiny Titans coming soon!” Although there’s been no official announcement, DC Comics Co-Published Dan DiDio re-tweeted the second message.
The Eisner Award-winning all-ages series, which ran for 50 issues from April 2008 to May 2012, depicts the lighthearted adventures of child versions of DC heroes (primarily the Teen Titans) at Sidekick City Elementary, where Deathstroke is principal and Darkseid is the lunch lady.
There’s no word yet on when, or in what format, fans should expect the return of Tiny Titans.
New York Comic Con reportedly attracted more than 130,000 attendees over four days, meaning the six-year-old event is now roughly the same size as Comic-Con International, which has had to cap attendance because of space limitations. Last year, NYCC drew about 116,000 people; in 2007, its inaugural event, there were just 15,000.
ICv2.com receives the news from Lance Fensterman, global vice president of organizer ReedPOP, who lays out some of the changes this year, including a reduction in the number of three-day passes (allowing more new people to attend each day), and the use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) to try to clamp down on fraudulent badges and badge-sharing among exhibitors.
“I think we had wildly underestimated our fraudulent ticket issue,” Fensterman told tells the website. “We had the exact same number of ticketed people per day as last year, but if you looked at the common spaces, they were 40 percent less congested. We had a pretty big counterfeit problem.”
Actor Troy Baker (Final Fantasy XIII, BioShock Infinite) has some enormous shoes to fill as he steps into the role of The Joker — a character voiced for the past two decades by Mark Hamill — in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins. If there were any remaining doubts as to whether Baker could embody the Clown Prince of Crime, they were likely erased during the video game’s New York Comic Con panel, where Baker performed The Joker’s monologue from Batman: The Killing Joke, to the roaring approval of a cheering crowd.
Watch the video below. Batman: Arkham Origins will be released Oct. 25.
By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! Doctor Strange is joining Marvel Pinball!
Zen Studios announced Saturday at New York Comic Con that the Master of the Mystic Arts will join the arcade pinball video-game lineup in December, pitting Strange (and his allies Clea and Wong) against his greatest enemies: “Strange’s rival sorcerer Baron Mordo has called upon the demonic forces of the Dread Dormammu and the Fear Lord, Nightmare, all part of his plot to assume the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme for himself.”