Chicago Comic-Con…how to get a cheap hotel room

With the blisters of San Diego barely healing, a few hardy folks are girding their loins for this coming weekend’s Chicago Comic-Con (formerly Wizard World Chicago). However, folks who booked their hotel through the con website may still have time to save a buck or two. A creator we’ll call “Thunderdome” writes:

I’m staying with an artist in Chicago for the Chicago Comic Con (formerly WW Chicago).  He booked a room at the Hyatt at the “con rate” of $145 per night (booked via Wizard).  I thought that sounded steep (I’ve stayed at said hotel before for about $99 per night).  I got online,, and sure enough, the room was $129 per night on Thurs, $104 per night (!!!) on Fri and Sat.  So I called the hotel directly, told them I was coming in for the con, and they quoted me the $145 per night rate.  I mentioned the online rate, and they said it was correct, and had no idea why the room would be higher for the con rate.  Needless to say, I booked at the online rate and saved $100 for the three days. 

Possibly more disturbing?  I booked a room at the Hyatt (the hotel attached to the frickin con!) 6 days before the con with NO PROBLEM.  Pretty much the opposite of SDCC. 

1. Screw the con rate, book on your own, you save money by NOT MENTIONING THE CON!
2. Look for a sparsely attended Chicago Comic Con. 
3. Bring on the Reed show.  

Check out: Hope Larson’s MERCURY cover

The cover to Hope Larson’s next graphic novel is now up at Amazon. We want.

Manga goes mobile…who will follow?

The NY Times has a piece by Miki Tanikawa on manga’s shift to mobile phone distribution in Japan, and we expect that just about every word of this article will strike as a hammer blow to US publishers. Most of the move is in women’s comics, and the customers are women:

“It brought back memories,” she said, adding that she had once owned the whole series, which she kept in her room. “I sold all of them because they were crowding the space. But for just a few clicks on my mobile, I was able to read them all again.”


But perhaps the most crucial driver behind the cellphone comic boom is its attractiveness to women. You can tell just by looking at the best-selling titles on mobile comic sites — all involve romance. “It’s a bit hard commenting publicly on this, but the most popular comics on the mobile are adult-oriented ones for women,” including love stories with sexually explicit content, Mr. Nakabayashi said. Translation: Women who do not want to be seen reading these titles in public places like the train helped create the market for manga on the cellphone, which accords them privacy in ways that magazines and books do not.


If the migration is slow, it is the publishers themselves standing in its way, critics say. Publishers of leading titles like Kodansha, Shueisha and Shogakukan — who are also leading book publishers — have in most cases released content for mobile use that had already been published in magazines and books.


So while the explosion in cellphone manga is not a simple story of migration from print to digital, most experts agree that the future of manga lies more on the mobile than on paper.

You need to read the whole thing, but those are the talking points. Now, this could be a evolutionary offshoot that isn’t applicable in the US — there aren’t many US comics for women, after all — but most trends from Japan eventually find some US expression.

Ignore this article at your peril.

SD09: Panel audio files now up

Jamie Coville has now uploaded a ton of panels from Comic-Con, including many of our must-sees which we didn’t:

Secret Origins of Comic-Con. (61.8mb, 67:32)
Participants of the first and early San Diego Comic cons tell their stories of how it all began. Panelist include Richard Alf, Greg Bear, Dave Clark, Ken Krueger, Mike Towry, Scott Shaw!, Barry Alfonso, Roger Freedman, Ken Krueger, and moderated by William R. Lund. This panel gets cut off before it ends, due to a dead battery.

Indie Comics Marketing 101. (41.7mb, 45:33)
How to market your comics if you are not a big publisher. BOOM! Marketing director Chip Mosher, The Beat’s Heidi McDonald, and filling in for Shanon Wheeler is popular blogger and creator Kevin Church. Chip goes through the mindset and some rules on marketing yourself, Heidi and Kevin go through some do’s and don’ts on the press end. The panel is moderated by the former manager of development and content at MySpace, Sam Humphries.

Spotlight on Jerry Robinson. (41.8mb, 45:43)
Moderator Mark Waid interviews Jerry Robinson about his career in comics, particularly focusing on his early Batman days and his latest work as a guest curator for an exhibition on Superhero comic art.

Golden and Silver Age of Comics. (69.1mb, 75:31) Panelists include Murphy Anderson, Gene Colan, Ramona Fradon, Russ Heath, Jack Katz, Jerry Robinson and Leonard Starr. The group tells stories about their time in comics. The panel is moderated by Mark Evanier.

COMICSPRO: Selling More Comics and Graphic Novels: A Forum for Publishers. (54.9mb, 60:01)
Joe Field (ComicsPro President and Flying Colours owner), Phil Boyle (Coliseum of Comics chain owner) and Judd D’Angelo (Earth 2 chain co-owner) give instructions to publishers and creators on how to sell more comics.

Spotlight on Dwayne McDuffie. (45.8mb, 50:02)
Dwayne McDuffie receives an Inkpot Award and just does a straight Q&A with the audience. He answers questions about writing comics and animation. In particular, about Fantastic Four, Damage Control, Static Shock and the Milestone Universe, Justice League, Teen Titans and Ben 10.

2009 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. (154mb, 169:17)

The Black Panel. (74.1mb, 81:00)
Moderated by Michael Davis. This laugh out loud funny panel’s participants include Ludacris, Michael Jai White, Kel Mitchell, Prodigal Sunn, Jimmy Diggs, Reggie Hudlin, Denys Cowan, and surprise guest Nichelle Nichols. There was also a performance by singer Asia Lee, Queen of Cali. Artist Ken Lashley was in the crowd and stood up to participate towards the end. There was much promoting of upcoming projects and some Q&A from the audience.

Spotlight on Sheldon Moldoff. (42.4mb, 46:22)
Mark Waid interviews Sheldon Moldoff about his career, in particular about his time working on Batman. Moldoff also talks about the time he sued DC and won (but still continued to work for them) and his very bad experience with Bill Gaines. I should note I missed about the first 5 minutes of the panel.

Spotlight on Denis Kitchen. (94.5mb, 54:04)
Kevin Dooley gave a very long introduction to Denis Kitchen and also ran a quick moving power point showing lots of Kitchen’s underground art. They talked a bit about his career, what he’s doing now and took questions from the audience.

Comic-Con: El Cortez Memories. (45.6mb, 49:51) Moderated by David Scroggy, this panel includes many early comic con goers and they tell funny stories about the old El Cortez hotel the comic con used to be held in. On the panel was Sergio Aragonés, Mike Friedrich, George Clayton Johnston, Jack Katz, Lee Marrs, Mike Royer, William Stout, and Mark Evanier.

Harvey Kurtzman Tribute. (46.9mb, 51:14)
Panelists include Paul Levitz, Denis Kitchen, William Stout, Charles Kochman and Harvey’s daughter Nellie Kurtzman. Panel is moderated by Mark Evanier. The group talk about Harvey, his strengths and his career path in an open and honest way.

The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel. (51.9mb, 56:42)
Mark Evanier is the moderator. On the panel is Bill Mumy, Mike Royer, Steve Saffel, and the inspiration for the 5 String Mob from Jimmy Olsen comics, Barry Alfonso, Roger Freedman, William R. Lund, Scott Shaw! and Mike Towry. The panel talks about Jack, point out that several of the audience members also have Jack Kirby connections as well.

Coville’s pictures are also online.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 8/3/09

§ Joseph Shahadi looks at sociological messages at the First Asian American Comic Con

§ Johanna wonders why Marvel isn’t selling more GNs on Amazon.

§ In India, one comics series goes far beyond being bagged and boarded:

What McLain repeatedly heard from ACK readers is that the comic books seemed to almost radiate a spiritual force. In many households, other comics were seen as a waste of time and discarded, but ACK was preserved carefully. Grandmothers covered them with those brown wrappers used to cover school textbooks to keep them clean. Nieces and nephews inherited bound volumes from uncles and aunts. Some even confessed to seeing the images of the gods and goddesses as pictured in the comics when they closed their eyes to worship.

Link via Bleeding Cool, and you should probably just read that whole post.

§ We missed the announcement of a Chris Ryall-penned Bat Boy comic, but we won’t miss it when it comes out!

§ NY Times writer Peggy Orenstein goes shopping for her young daughter:

Although I know little about the character, here was a stage I could get with. I trolled eBay for Supergirl lunch boxes, Spider-Woman action figures, even a Wonder Woman Barbie. Yes, superheroines have the proportions of Lady Gaga — more mammary than muscle — which is definitely unnerving, but I was willing to overlook that for now. Besides, I rationalized, who can blame a superheroine for wanting to be supercute?

§ Jeet Heer examines The Gender of Coloring

I’d like to see someone do a good gender analysis of why women went into coloring. I’m inclined to see this as something more than mere sexism or the creation of a pink-collar ghetto. One factor at work is that for much of the 20th century, women were more likely to be associated with the decorative arts than men; in commercial comics coloring is often seen as a decorative . I’m not a gender essentialist so I don’t think women have an innately better color sense than men. But for historical and cultural reasons, women in our culture are more likey than men to be raised with color sensitivity.

Looks like I’m not the only person who hadn’t finished her con report!

Tripwire’s Joel Meadows begins his con report: One and Two, including the news that Diamond just isn’t going to carry the British comics magazine.

• Whitney Matheson recaps her meet-up.

• Val gets lots of quotes from folks about what happened

Buzz Dixon
The Small Press Area aisles were much wider this year and the seating area behind the tables was much roomier. I spoke to one small press publisher and overheard another, both of whom said the same thing: They saw little point in coming to SDCCI, spending money for a table, then working their tushies off all weekend to try to break even. This year they both opted to enjoy the show, network, and rely on the Internet for sales. Likewise, Artists’ Alley was smaller, and several of the larger booths/islands from previous years were downsized significantly (f’r instance, Tokyopop and Bud Plant seemed to be only half their previous size). I heard several retailers complain the crowd wasn’t spending like they used to; they seemed to place the blame on the economy and higher transportation/hotel prices this year, which meant many fans had a choice to either attend but not be able to buy stuff, or not attend and still not buy stuff.

Not SD09: Miyazaki at Berkeley


Posted by Mark Coale

During our high-powered breakfast (maybe brunch by the time Ace and FMB got there), The Beat requested that I try and write more for the site. So, here’s the first article about the non-SDCC portion of my travels recently.

I had always planned on only doing one day of San Diego, but for a while, wasn’t sure what to do for the weekend before coming back to the muggy Mid-Atlantic states. There were many possibilities: baseball games, futbol matches, even going to see Monument Valley. The deal was sealed when I found out that the legendary Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki was going to be in Berkeley doing a Q&A in conjunction with receiving an award from Cal’s Center for Japanese Studies.

When I told friends at the Con that I was only staying for a day (plus Preview Night), most were dumbfounded that I would make the trip for so brief a trip. But when I said that I was going to see Miyazaki, almost everyone immediately said, “Oh, that’s understandable” or “I wish I could go.” One unnamed Eisner winner said they were jealous and wondered how they could pull strings to maybe meet Miyazaki while he was briefly at the Con Friday.

It was certainly worth the trip. I haven’t watched his SDCC panel with Pixar’s John Lassiter, but I presume it didn’t have the coziness of his Berkeley talk. It was not in a small room, but a 1000-seat auditorium on a college campus likely beats trying to watch a cramped and sweaty panel in Room 20 or Hall H at the Con. And there was thankfully no one dressed as Ashitaka or Kiki. The closest we got was a number of people carrying Totoros in with them to the talk.

It’s always interesting to go to a panel where a translator is involved, because often, Miyazaki would make a joke and about a quarter of the room would laugh and the rest of us would have to wait for the translation to understand what was so funny. And Miyazaki made plenty of jokes during his 90 or so minutes on stage.

Miyazaki, prompted by moderator Roland Kelts, talked in a mostly-playful manner about some of the elements most associated with his films, such as nature vs technology and the use of female protagonists. He expressed dismay for how disasters are seen as “evil,” even though they are just part of nature and often have a cleansing aspect to them.

When asked about good and bad characters, Miyazaki said he often doesn’t have true villains in his pictures, since he did not like to make his animators draw evil people.

There was also discussion about Studio Ghibli’s animation practices and Miyazaki’s desire to continue making traditional animation films done with cels and not CGI, even though it was like “being in a raft in a sea full of speed boats.”

The Q&A session, both the moderator’s inquiries and the audience question portion, quickly sped by and Miyazaki was soon off the stage and a very satisfied audience poured out of the building, with a lot less pushing and shoving than one probably found in San Diego.

Considering this was likely a once-in-a-lifetime event (how often does Miyazaki appear in public in the US, now, if ever), it was certainly worth skipping out on SDCC.