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Last year, convention hopefuls were frustrated by glitches and rapid sellouts of multi-day passes as producer ReedPop was faced by unprecedented demand: Four-day tickets sold out in eight weeks in 2013, compared to just 40 minutes in 2014. When additional tickets were later offered at select retailers, beginning with Midtown Comics in Manhattan, thousands lined up for what was described as “a very nerdy Black Friday.”
Takeshi Obata, the renowned artist of Death Note and Hikaru no Go, made his first U.S. appearance earlier this month at New York Comic Con, where he participated in a couple of panels, met with journalists and signed autographs. Viz Media, which played host to Obata, was on hand to capture video (below) of the artist banging out sketches of Death Note characters Ryuk and L for undoubtedly ecstatic fans.
Obata spoke with ROBOT 6’s Brigid Alverson at the convention about character design, saying, “The clothes I put the characters in obviously become part of the characters, so I am really careful about how I dress them, for sure. I take a lot of care in that.”
Crime | A man was spotted on security video last week at New York Comic Con stealing a one-of-a-kind, 20-inch Dunny figure hand-painted by by Jon-Paul Kaiser valued at $2,000, plus two other items, from the Clutter Magazine booth. [DNAinfo New York]
Legal | Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who uses the pen name “Biantai Lajiao” (Perverted Chili Pepper), has applied for a visa to remain in Japan, saying he’s afraid to return to China. Liming’s account on the Chinese social media site Weibo, where he published his cartoons, was shut down in August, and the People’s Daily newspaper has called him a traitor and accused him of being pro-Japan. Last year, he was arrested and held overnight on charges of “suspicion of causing a disturbance.” “China’s situation surrounding freedom of speech has worsened during these six months,” Wang said in an interview. “I have no idea where the borderline is (between what is permissible and what is not anymore).” [The Asahi Shimbun]
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]
What a difference a decade makes. New York Comic Con is now North America’s biggest comic book convention, attracting a reported 151,000 people to this year’s event, and surpassing Comic-Con International, which has been forced to cap attendance at about 130,000. In just eight years, producer ReedPOP has managed to surpass what San Diego organizers took 40 years to build.
It may sound like exciting news, but here on the West Coast, we’re crestfallen, heartbroken even. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for nearly 15 years, which virtually makes me a native. The city has a long-running rivalry with New York City, which always goes on about how it’s the best at everything. Well, you can have your best pizzas, but this was ours! OK, sort of. San Diego is close enough to LA to pretend as if Comic-Con International is ours. Let’s face it: Every other part of Southern California is essentially a suburb of Los Angeles, so it’s always been a point of pride that although modern comics were born in New York City, here is where they’re celebrated the loudest and biggest.
Conventions | ReedPOP Senior Vice President Lance Fensterman talks about how New York Comic Con reached 151,000 attendees this year, what went well, what could have gone better, and what he learned for next time. The new badges and check in/check out system, introduced last year, let producers know exactly how long people stayed at the show, and that turned into a nice surprise for two attendees: “There was a couple [last year] who literally spent every minute that was possible at New York Comic Con for three and a half days. We reached out to them and did something special for them—gave them a bunch of free stuff and free tickets because they were at the show longer than anyone who wasn’t paid to be at the show.” [ICv2]
Political cartoons | Egyptian cartoonists Mohamed Anwar and Andeel discuss the difficulty of critiquing Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who doesn’t tolerate dissent; Anwar is a cartoonist for a mainstream newspaper and pulls some punches as the tradeoff for reaching a wide audience, while Andeel has moved over to the alternative press, where he can speak more freely. [The Guardian]
Yen Press announced at New York Comic Con a late of new licenses that includes Prison School, adaptations of the light novels Chaika, The Coffin Princess and Trinity Seven, and a new project from Svetlana Chmakova.
The Hachette Book Group imprint will also reissue Kaoru Mori’s Emma — previously released as part of DC Comics’ CMX line — in a series of five hardcover omnibus editions.
A full list of the announcements, and their descriptions, can be found below.
Crime | Two people were arrested Friday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after police say they tried to sell $9,000 worth of stolen comic books to a local retailer. Marcelo Hernandez, 24, and Stacie Niavez, 23, allegedly walked into Astro Zombies with three boxes of comics that matched the description and certification numbers of those stolen from a vehicle about two weeks earlier. The owner pretended to be getting price estimates but instead called police, who arrested Hernandez and Niavez outside the shop. Both were charged with receiving and transferring stolen property and conspiracy; Niavez was also charged with drug possession. [Albuquerque Journal]
Passings | Jon Kennedy, the former editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat and Arkansas Business, died Friday at age 96. He started work as an editorial cartoonist for the Democrat (now the Democrat-Gazette) in 1941, and served in the Army from 1943 to 1946, during which time he also drew cartoons and training materials. He went back to the Democrat and worked there until his retirement in 1988, then came out of retirement to draw cartoons for Arkansas Business from 1992 to 2005. He published one book, Look Back and Laugh, and was a member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists; he was also named Arkansas Journalist of the Year in 1988. [Arkansas Business]
A year after confirming the first comic series based on The Witcher, Dark Horse and CD Projekt RED announced at New York Comic Con that the video game’s legendary monster hunter Geralt is back for a sequel.
Writer Paul Tobin and artist Joe Querio will return for The Witcher: Fox Children, in will which Geralt boards “a ship of fools, renegades and criminals, where some passengers are more dangerous than others, but one is hiding a hideous secret!”
Vertical Inc. has announced the launch of Vertical Comics, an imprint dedicated to manga and anime-related books, leaving the publisher’s primary line to focus on contemporary Japanese prose works in crime fiction, fantasy and sci-fi.
According to Publishers Weekly, beginning in the fall, the new imprint will publish 20 new manga titles over the next year, with plans to expand to 30 t0 40 manga and anime-oriented works.
The New York-based company also announced at New York Comic Con that, following the release next summer of the Attack on Titan – Before the Fall: Kyklo light novel prequel, it will publish Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City, written by Ryo Kawakami, with illustrations by Range Murata. Yes, Range Murata.
Vertical also confirmed the release of the manga Prophecy, Vol. 1, by Tetsuya Tsutsui in November and My Neighbor Seki by Takuma Morishige in January, the anthology Dream Fossil: The Complete Collection of Satoshi Kon in summer 2015, and A Sky Longing for Memories: The Art of Makoto Shinkai in May.
Clementine, the pint-sized hero of the Walking Dead video game, is getting her own action figure, it was revealed Sunday during the Telltale Games panel at New York Comic Con. The figure, from McFarlane Toys, Skybound Entertainment and Telltale, will come in two versions — clean and blood-splattered. Each variety comes with with backpack, pistol and hammer.
Introduced in the game’s first season as a secondary character, 11-year-old Clem becomes the playable protagonist in Season 2. According to Skybound, “she is probably the figure we get asked to make the most often.”
Capping a string of joint announcements that included collections of the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip and more Marvel Artist’s Editions, IDW Publishing and Marvel revealed they’re partnering on a series of deluxe, limited-edition books.
Produced by IDW Limited, the Marvel Artist Select series will showcase stories hand-picked by the featured artist, packed in overized tray cases containing such extras as signed plates and original artwork. Each volume will focus on one Marvel character, beginning with Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, and many of the creators most closely associated with the superheroes.
“To be able to create limited-edition versions of the comic books we grew up on is a dream come true,” IDW President Greg Goldstein said in a statement. “This line is going to be something special. We plan on going to great lengths to create the kind of books that will be the absolute treasure of any fan’s collection. We’re going to work with the biggest names, and make sure we deliver an absolutely top-notch line of books.”
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.
Marvel will expand its forthcoming Star Wars line in April with Star Wars — Kanan: The Last Padawan, an ongoing comic that ties in to Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels animated series.
Announced today during the “Cup o’ Joe” panel at New York Comic Con, the series will be written by animation veteran Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Young Justice), an executive producer for Rebels‘ first season, and illustrated by Pepe Larraz (The Mighty Thor).
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.