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Wizard World Inc., which debuted in January 2011 as a publicly traded company, reported nearly $11.2 million in convention revenues in 2013, but still claimed a $3.6 million net loss for the year.
According to documents filed today with the Federal Exchange Commission, those revenues amounted to an increase of 66 percent from 2012, attributed to the expansion from seven conventions to eight, and “management running better advertised, social media driven events resulting in an increase in attendance.”
Wizard World also increased ticket prices, as well as “the overall size and scope of each event,” leading to an average per-convention revenue of about $1.4 million (up 45 percent from 2012).
As described, the channel will offer sci-fi, fantasy, horror, gaming and animation content using a business model that blends advertising support and premium subscriptions. The latter will provide exclusive access to “exclusive access to the events, panels, talent, and fans that make the Comic Con experience so exciting.”
“This is an exciting day for the fans of pop-culture around the country,” Wiazrd World CEO John Macaluso said in a statement. “To have 24/7 access to all the content that Cinedigm and Wizard World provide collectively provide, at the touch of a button, provides tremendous value for our fans.”
Wizard World, which is scheduled to host 16 conventions nationwide this year, is compiling panel coverage that will premiere on the as-yet-unnamed channel.
Following the announcement last month of their variant program, Marvel and Wizard World have unveiled Neal Adams’ cover for Miracleman #2, to be given to VIP attendees of the Feb. 7-9 Wizard World New Orleans.
As part of the arrangement, a limited-edition cover will be available at each of the 16 Wizard World Comic Con events scheduled this year, beginning Jan. 24 with Miracleman #1 at Wizard World Portland in Portland, Oregon.
Limited to 3,000 copies, the color version of Adams’ Miracleman #2 will be provided free at registration to all VIP attendees at Wizard World Comic Con; the black-and-white sketch version, limited to just 2,500, will be available for purchase at the Wizard World Store on the exhibition floor. Adams will be on hand to sign the books.
Other guests at Wizard World New Orleans include Doctor Who star Matt Smith, Stan Lee, Mike Mignola, Jim Cheung, Eric Powell, Chris Claremont, Marv Wolfman and J.G. Jones.
Marvel, whose relationship with Wizard Entertainment soured in the waning years of the magazine, has teamed with Wizard World for a series of convention-exclusive covers.
They debut next month with Neal Adams’ color and black-and-white sketch variants for Miracleman #1, available next month at Portland Comic Con, and Miracleman #2, available in February at New Orleans Comic Con. More exclusive variants will follow at each of Wizard World’s 14 other conventions across the country.
Stage | Dancer Daniel Curry, who was seriously injured during an Aug. 15 performance of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, made his first appearance since the accident at a benefit concert held Monday that raised $10,000 for his medical bills. Curry was injured when his leg was pinned by an automated trap door — he blames malfunctioning equipment, producers say it was human error — resulting in fractured legs and a fractured foot; he has undergone surgeries and unspecified amputations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Actors’ Equity have launched investigations into the accident, and Curry’s lawyers are exploring a possible lawsuit against the $75 million show and the equipment suppliers.
During previews of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark — before the March 2011 firing of director Julie Taymor and the sweeping overhaul that followed — no fewer than five performers were injured, the most serious previously being aerialist Christopher Tierney, who fell about 30 feet in December 2010, breaking four ribs and fracturing three vertebrae. He returned to rehearsals four months later. There have been no major accidents since the show opened in June 2011. [The New York Times]
Wizard World has announced the addition of seven cities to its 2014 convention schedule, bringing the total to 15. The company, which trumpets the lineup as “the largest Comic Con Tour ever,” suggests there also may be “room for additional expansion.”
The new cities are: Atlanta; Louisville, Kentucky; Minneapolis; Richmond, Virginia; Sacramento, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. They’ll join returning shows in Portland, Oregon, New Orleans, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago, Nashville, Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio.
Noticeably absent from that list is New York City, which played host in June to the newly rebranded Wizard World Comic Con NYC Experience.
Conventions | The New York Post previews what’s now called the Wizard World Comic Con NYC Experience, which kicks off in about three hours at Basketball City (Pier 36) in New York City: “Wizard cons, which are kind of a traveling road show hitting cities across the country, tend to focus more on celebrity appearances and (paid) meet-and-greets than other shows. But they still have plenty of programming that will scratch a given itch. And there will be plenty of comics/memorabilia/ephemera dealers to help empty your wallet. [Parallel Worlds]
Editorial cartoons | The Cartoonists Rights Network International will honor Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan, who has been imprisoned on charges of sedition for the past seven months because of his cartoons critical of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
Over the decades we’ve gotten Stan Lee comic books, Stan Lee voiceovers, Stan Lee movie and television cameos, Stan Lee action figures and Stan Lee playable video-game characters. Now make way for Stan Lee cologne.
The 90-year-old comics legend has partnered with JADS International, which last year released an Avengers-themed line, to create Stan Lee Signature Cologne. Described as “a fresh and sophisticated fragrance for the adventurous,” it contains a blend of “bergamot, ginger, white pepper, basil and violet, and features layers of cedar, vetiver and musk accords.”
In short, what I imagine Stan Lee smells like.
Retailing for $24.99, each bottle of Stan Lee Signature Cologne comes with a message from the Generalissimo himself. It will be available on the JADS website and at Comic-Con International and Wizard World shows.
“Fans know me best as someone who creates superhero characters and stories for comics, movies, TV and the web, so this is a highly exciting step for me to expand into the cologne world as well,” Lee said in a statement “Not only do I want fans to look sharp like their favorite superhero and their Generalissimo here, but I thought wouldn’t it be fun to offer them the chance to smell like one to … whether they have a date or a rendezvous with an ally.”
Conventions | Kandrix Foong, founder of Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, cautions latecomers that all 56,000 tickets for this weekend’s event are sold out. “We tell everybody now: ‘There are no on-site ticket sales,’” he said. “So they say: ‘OK, I’ll just try my luck when I get there.’ ‘No, no, no, you don’t understand. There are no on-site ticket sales. The end. If you show up you will be turned away. Sorry, but that’s the way it’s going to be.’” [Calgary Herald]
Conventions | Wizard World has released its annual report for 2012, and while its convention business was way up, from $3.8 million to $6.7 million, the company still finished the year with a net loss of $1 million. [The Beat]
Conventions | Comic-Con International organizers have issued a statement regarding the technical problems many experienced Saturday while attempting to purchase badges for this year’s event: “Comic-Con badge sales opened this past Saturday and while the allotted badges were processed there was clearly an issue with some customers experiencing a frozen screen. We, along with Epic registration, are in the process of investigating this and hope to have an answer as to what occurred. Please know that we take this issue very seriously and offer our sincere apology for those who found themselves in this predicament. Thank you for your understanding in what we know was a very difficult experience for many.” Badges sold out in a little more than 90 minutes. [Comic-Con International]
Creators | Following last week’s news that Stan Lee has canceled his sold-out Thursday engagement at a Toledo library event due to “a very serious circumstance,” Wizard World has announced the 89-year-old writer won’t be appearing as scheduled at this weekend’s Ohio Comic Con in Columbus. Responding to a blog post titled, “Is Stan Lee OK?” the administrator of the Stan Lee’s Comikaze Facebook page wrote, “It sucks Stan had to cancel [the Toledo event], but you know the man doesn’t just do conventions. he puts in a hard days work creating. Its really sad that the Toledo Blade had to go spread nonsense. If you want to be up to date on stan then follow us, cuz he kinda owns our company. Its sad that a some blogs are scaring fans. not really nice.” [The Beat]
Creators | Artist Molly Crabapple, who was arrested Sept. 17 in New York City during a protests marking the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, writes about the experience and her involvement with the movement. [CNN.com]
Already host to the Stumptown Comics Fest and Rose City Comic-Con, Portland is also home to publishers Oni Press, Top Shelf Productions and (in nearby Wilwaukie) Dark Horse, as well as countless creators, ranging from Brian Michael Bendis and Colleen Coover to Greg Rucka and Matt Fraction.
The event, alternately referred to on the company’s website as Wizard World Oregon Comic Con and Wizard World Portland Comic Con, will be held in the Oregon Convention Center (site of Stumptown Comics Fest). The first announced special guests are The Boondock Saints stars Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco, and comic artist Greg Horn.
“We are thrilled to be adding Wizard World Portland Comic Con to our 2013 schedule of events and introduce a new region to our exciting shows,” Wizard World CEO John Macaluso said in a statement. “The city of Portland and Oregon Convention Center are a great fit, and the timing is ideal on the convention calendar.”
Conventions | Wizard World Chicago Comic Con kicks off today with a guest list that includes Stan Lee, George Perez, Neal Adams, Greg Capullo, Humberto Ramos, Carlos Pacheco, Barry Kitson, David Mack and Chris Burnham. The convention continues through Sunday in Rosemont, Illinois. [Wizard World]
Creators | Cyriaque Lamar has a brief interview with Matt Kindt about Mind MGMT #0, which is being solicited now for a November release. (Issues 1-3 are already available.) Here’s Kindt on the look of the comic: “For this project, I wanted it to be less like you’re picking up a comic and more like you’re holding a story, right down to everything outside of the panels. I want it to feel interactive, something you don’t just drift into. I tend to read graphic novels over issues — I can’t remember thirty days ago from a bit of story. I wanted each issue something you’d go back to every month. My goal was give the book as much depth as possible to reward monthly readers.” [io9.com]
There’s probably something to be said for Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, who’s somehow managed to parlay washboard abs and an unnatural tan into a high-paying career as a reality-television (ahem) personality, clothing designer, vitamin-pusher and celebrity endorser. I don’t know what that might be, mind you, but definitely … something.
Now that he’s conquered the worlds of tanning, reality TV, workout DVDs and puzzling public-service announcements, Sorrentino is (naturally) turning his attention to comic books — one that, like his autobiography, he didn’t write himself. Instead, the still-untitled comic from Wizard World and MPS Entertainment is written by Paul Jenkins, illustrated by Talent Caldwell and colored by Paul Mounts. Sorrentino, in the proud tradition of Bob Hope and Jenna Jameson, will only star.
Today Wizard World officially unveiled the cover by Greg Horn (below) that, according to the press release, “depicts ‘The Situation’ fully charged and ready to go.” I’ll just leave that alone.
“I was confident that an amazing artist like Greg Horn would come up with a great look, but I was still blown away by his painting,” Sorrentino said in a statement. “It has me more excited than ever to see what’s coming next.” I should probably leave that alone, too.
Nearly four months after Wizard magazine founder Gareb Shamus resigned as president and chief executive officer of Wizard World Inc., the company has announced the appointment of John Macaluso as his replacement.
Shamus shuttered his publishing empire in January 2011 and took his nearly 20-year-old company public as Wizard World, which at the time boasted pop-culture conventions in a dozen cities. That number has since been whittled down to six: Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago, Columbus, Austin and (in 2013) New Orleans.
Macaluso, who joined Wizard World’s board of directors in May, is a California businessman who sold his garment-manufacturing company California Concepts in 2007.
“I am excited to continue the momentum that the Wizard World Comic Con shows have built, and to help develop new strategies to take us to new levels of success,” he said in a statement. “We have an outstanding lineup of events on the schedule with highly talented celebrities and artists and an outstanding team of professionals in place to maximize the Wizard World experience.”