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Conventions | At a press conference Thursday to kick off FanXperience, the Salt Lake Comic Con spinoff event, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker declared Jan. 29, 2015, as “Salt Lake Comic Con’s Day of Heroes.” Organizers, who have capped ticket sales for the second annual event at 70,000, say they expect a sellout. The Deseret News also looks at the origins of Salt Lake Comic Con in a profile of founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, who were introduced to comic conventions not as fans but as entrepreneurs. FanX continues through Sunday. [KSL.com]
Festivals | Reporter Alex Turnbull files a video report from the Angoulême International Comics Festival that includes segments on the tributes to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, the Belgian cartoonist Hermann, and a 24-hour comics challenge. [France 24]
The first Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience, a spinoff of last fall’s Salt Lake Comic Con, attracted more than 100,000 attendees over the weekend, organizers say, making it the third-largest comics convention in the United States, behind Comic-Con International and New York Comic Con.
“I’ve said all along that we have the best fans in the world right here in the western United States, and they proved it again with their support and attendance at Salt Lake Comic Con FanX,” Salt Lake Comic Con founder Dan Farr said in a statement. ”We set our sights high with a goal of 100,000 attendees and because of the tremendous backing and encouragement from the fans we knew that we could achieve this lofty achievement.”
Digital comics | Jeff Gomez examines the implications of Amazon’s planned acquisition of comiXology, opining that it will give comics a wider reach but also force publishers of superhero fare to broaden their appeal beyond the core demographic: “The books will now be exposed to millions of newcomers, so it will behoove major publishers to make their stories more female-friendly, streamlined, and accessible. With comiXology’s new aim to make ‘every person on the planet a comics fan,’ publishers will need to consider new genres, greater variety, and more varied age groups.” [Business Insider]
Digital comics | ComiXology will continue to offer its Digital Storefronts for retailers, and it will not allow Amazon to target users of its Pull List service with its own offers, according to spokesman Chip Mosher. Also, no changes are planned to comiXology’s other retailer tools. [ICv2]
Conventions | The Salt Lake Comic Con spinoff event FanXperience is shaping up for its April 17 debut with the addition of KidCon, a pavilion dedicated to younger attendees. “We don’t want the impression that we have KidCon there for everything else to become less kid-friendly,” says co-founder Dan Farr. “Although I would imagine 99 percent of the people that are coming are going to take their kids throughout the whole hall, it’s just to have an area where they can go and spend a little more time with their kids.” The inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con in September drew an estimated 80,000 attendees; organizers anticipate as many as 100,000 for FanX, which will have almost double the floor space. [Deseret News]
Legal | The judge was a no-show for what was supposed to be the announcement of the verdict in the trial of Algerian cartoonist Djamel Ghanem, who stands accused of “insulting the president of the republic” in a cartoon that was, bizarrely, never published. Ghanem’s lawyer says the verdict has been postponed; the cartoonist faces up to 18 months in prison and a fine of 30,000 dinars ($380 U.S>) if found guilty. [Global Post]
Organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con, whose sold-out inaugural show in September attracted a reported 70,000 attendees, have announced two events for next year: Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience (April 17-19), and the second annual Salt Lake Comic Con (Sept. 4-6), both at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Fans in and around Utah have spoken and made it clear that one event a year is not enough,” Dan Farr, the convention’s producer, said in a statement. “This FanX will build upon the accomplishments of the first Comic Con and has expanded into virtually the entire Salt Palace Convention Center. With continued support from the fans we can rival the largest Comic Cons in North America.”
The success of the first show, characterized as Utah’s most well-attended convention, reignited discussion of a new mega-hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. The proposed $350 million project, which would have been funded in part with tax dollars, was narrowly defeated by the state legislature in March.
The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus will headline April’s FanX, joined by his co-star Chandler Riggs, Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members Brent Spider and Marina Sirtis, X2 actress Kelly Wu, and Firefly actor Adam Baldwin.