Has the great comic-con contraction begun?

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What goes up, must deal with thinner oxygen at higher atmospheres. The last two years have seen unprecedented growth in comic cons/ media events around the world, with many showing spectacular growth.

But as we keep pointing out in our “When a con is crap” recurring feature, this also means a lot of fly by nighters and unprepared rookies are jumping in and not achieving the results they might have hoped for. And along the way, unsuspecting vendors, guests and attendees are getting caught holding the empty oxygen tank.

Although run by industry vets who are neither fly by nighters or rookies, the cancellation of Detroit Fanfare is the most prominent in a bunch of recent shows that will not go on as planned.

The Cherry City Comic Con in Salem, OR, scheduled for March, has been cancelled and, oh, by the way, vendors didn’t get back their deposit money: 

Savannah Glitschka is among the vendors left high and dry when the organizer of the Cherry City Comic Con canceled the event – and likely kept her deposit money.

Complaints about the event were filed with the Better Business Bureau. Organizer Mark Martin – who registered his business with the Secretary of State in June — remains unavailable, despite repeated attempts over days by KOIN 6 News to talk with him.

Glitschka is a college student who paid the $60 deposit for a spot at the event scheduled for spring. She paid the money in August for a table to display and sell her art work at the Cherry City Comic Con.

“So not only is the Con not happening, we don’t get to sell out stuff out, we don’t even get our refund for the money we spent in the beginning,” she said. “And that sucks.”

According to the latest post on the show’s Facebook page, the previous organizer, Mark Martin, is no longer in charge, and the show has been transferred to something called B.A.M. Solutions, Inc. File under “Developing.”
Apparently something called The Lonestar Comic Con did much the same thing earlier last year.
Heroes Expo,  “the newest anime, gaming, and book convention in South Texas” was to be held this very weekend but…not any more.

And then there’s ConComics, which was planned for San Antonio TX in March 13-15. But oops! Better unpack that suitcase.

While I’m not aware of the details surrounding these cancellations and postponements, I do know word is out among vendors to beware of shady organizers. Inflated attendance and guests who were never actually booked are becoming more and more common, and with people STILL getting into the convention business in droves, “con games” are a very real thing.

So you know of more cancelled cons or suspect exhibitors? Let me know and help spread the word.

Is Norman Reedus Killing Comic-Con?

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I know you thought the “con kerfuffle” had faded away, but I think it’s definitely an ongoing burning issue for the industry, in a rapidly evolving field, and Chris Butcher, retailer and a show runner himself for TCAF, as well as booth runner for Udon, has posted a brilliant summation that puts all the eggs in one basket and then hits that basket out of the park:

Butcher identifies several trends, which I’ll list for argument:

1. The make-up of the attendees of comic book conventions is changing.
We got that.
2. The make-up of comic convention organizers is changing, too.
I’ve been covering that quite a bit here; people are getting into comic cons just to make money not because they like comic cons.
3. Professional Fans & ‘Personalities’, which is to say Youtubers, Professional Cosplayers, etc.
I alluded to this here with the news of Wizard’s “Social Con” concept. YouTube and Vine stars like the homophobic Nash Grier are coming to Wizard Worlds and drawing huge audiences of teenaged girls who are not there for comics. Sure these Justin Beiber-lites will be delivering Little Caesar and the anger to trivia questions in a few years but for now they are the biggest celebs at shows for a very young demographic.

4. Comic Conventions Are Filling Up And Selling Out, Earlier and Earlier
Again, something The Beat has been harping on and watching for years.

While we may know all this is happening, Butcher goes ahead and ties a ribbon around the home run basket with this graph – emphasis his.


The changing convention landscape is inherently shitty for people who make comic books. Art comix, indy comics, mainstream comics, whatever comics, the changing makeup of conventions is hostile to people who want to make and sell comics at comic conventions. And let me be clear, this is comic books and graphic novels, as opposed to ‘prints’ or crafts or whatever manner of tchotchkes makeup most exhibitor tables these days. Basically, comic book conventions are aggressively attracting an audience who don’t necessarily value books, or comic books.

And here is the real problem. I had a long post set up that covered all the late breaking posts in the Denise Dorman affair, but I’ll forego long analysis for a simple but brutal truth: people who call their event a comic-con, invite comic book people to spend money on tables and then do not promote the comic aspect of the show are basically strangling the comics part for the equation.
I don’t mean to suggest that your average cartoonist calving away over a Howard the Duck commission is as big a draw as Norman Reedus, but unless the cartoonists in artist alley and elsewhere get some kind of promotion that includes them in the modern comic-con, they are eventually not going to want to go to shows any more.

I don’t propose that show runner who have spent a six figure guarantee on William Shatner promote him in the same breath as Dave Dorman. However, show runners need to give comics some play! I’ve seen too many con websites that only mention celebrities and don’t even throw the name of a comics guest up on the slider. PEOPLE, IT’S FREE, IT’S ADDITIVE.

As evidence of what I’m talking about, I’d like to point to this very very typical local news story about the recent Wizard World Nashville.

The focus is on a typical local news human interest story—a nice one about an autistic lad who contemplated suicide finding a superhero persona to give him hope—but not ONCE in the entire piece are comic book makers mentioned. Collectible card games, video games, the Green Power Ranger, cosplayers, everything EXCEPT ACTUAL COMICS AND THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THEM. Like, that’s why they call if COMIC-CON!

And to be brutally frank that’s most stories I see about cons that have a “media mix.” Costumes, celebrities and a cute kid or two. Actual comic book creators are not mentioned or else shuttled off to the side. (Occasionally a topical superstar like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman will get a call out, or someone else with a movie coming out. But that’s the exception to the rule.)

I’ve seen Wizard World’s PR man call out comics creators in his news blasts, and I realize that local news anchors are going to go for the most obvious stories—Captain Spectrum—but would it really HURT to introduce a telegenic or quotable comics creator to the press as well? Is it entirely impossible?

Cartoonists are being written out of the comic-con story at a very fast pace, and unless something is done, the entire culture of cons is going to be completely shifted to a “remember when there was a broadcast involved in broadcast TV?” narrative.

AND NOW just for the record more links, on the Matter of Selling at Cons:

• Denise Dorman clarifies she and husband Dave don’t hate Cosplayers

• And another follow up: How to Exhibit BETTER at Conventions

Denise and I went back on whether nerdlebrities and high autograph charges were ALSO impacting sales. Aside”Totes maggots!” should be the answer to every question ever.

• An interview with Dorman that has more background.

• An exhibitor named Marc Alan Fishman has an excellent round up on the “new breed of conger.”

Allow me to answer in kind. The general population – those Instagram-obsessed fans – gives more than just a shit for those creators who take the time to reach out and communicate. I say this admitting freely I’ve never seen Dave Dorman. And we’ve exhibited at the same shows more than once. I don’t know how specifically Dave exhibits. But if he is like others I’ve seen over the last seven years… he may sit, smiling, awaiting those loyal regulars to come with cash in hand. In short, it’s not enough anymore. It hasn’t been that way in a long time.

• Months ago, Gene Ha also looked at how to sell at conventions and suggested some links.

Artist Thom Zahler offers his thoughts:


To me, there are advertising shows where I set up and hope to break even, and selling shows, where I generate revenue. San Diego is definitely an advertising show. But by the article, it sounds as if the Dormans treat SDCC as a selling show. And she also mentions that they could make more money being in the studio rather than setting up at some shows. Let’s talk about that.

Using that paradigm, I’m shocked that San Diego would ever be a good show. If your setup costs are $7000, you’ve got to sell that to break even. So what would a good show have been? $10,000? $15,000? The amount of product you’d have to sell to generate isn’t something I can conceive of. I suppose it’s possible for someone with a body of work different than mine, but it still seems like a lot.

At San Diego, and shows in general, I do what I can to get my costs down. My booth is $2500, but I split it with someone to make that number more manageable. Same with my hotel. I go to Target and get a flat of water and snacks so I’m not living on five dollar coffee and three dollar pretzels. I even designed my own shelving system that would fit in my suitcase so I could save the significant cost of shipping racks to the show. The less you spend, the quicker you turn a profit.

So if the numbers don’t work on a show, or you’re not getting what you want out of it in terms of networking or exposure, it’s your duty as a businessperson to cut that loss. I do a hefty convention schedule, but there are one or two shows I’m dropping because the math doesn’t work. That’s my responsibility.

• Ryan L Schrodt has an excellent post on What is killing comic book conventions? that brings up what Butcher and I have been talking about.


3. SHOWRUNNER RESPONSIBILITY
PROBLEM: Personal responsibility for comic book creators is huge when it comes to making money at conventions, but it isn’t everything.  Some responsibility falls upon the convention organizers.  Prohibitive ticket costs will keep attendees from spending money in Artist Alley.  Poor layouts could mean that some creators are completely missed.  Scheduling your convention against another convention or a major local event will mean low attendance.  And promotion? You damn well better have promoted your comic book show or no one is going to show up.  Even the greatest creators ever will not make any money if they are guests at a poorly run convention.

SOLUTION: If you are running a comic book convention, keep these things in mind.  Make sure that your ticket prices will cover your expenses and keep your expenses relatively low, especially in your early years.  If you are charging Wizard World prices for your convention that only has 20 guests, you won’t make any money and neither will the creators.  Likewise, if you have 100 creators and you are charging hotel ballroom convention ticket prices, you won’t make enough money to continue throwing conventions.  If you place the biggest name at the show in the middle of the aisle, their line will keep the people next to them from making any money.  Don’t put comic creators next to the bathroom or in the darkest corner of the hall.  Make sure you promote your comic show at local colleges and comic book shops.  Do you r research by attending other more successful comic book conventions and emulate what makes them successful.

Finally, one guy gives up on wizard.

• And FINAL PLUG: Tomorrow at the ICv@ conference I will be moderating a panel on comic cons with an ALL STAR LINE-UP!!!!!


The Con Explosion
The rapidly expanding con scene is an important part of the changing audience for comics, a place where potential new customers are mingling with more committed fans, and the opportunities are great.  Who are these new attendees, and what does it mean for the medium?  Our speakers have data and personal experience to help us find the answers to these questions.
• Christine Bohle, Sr. Category Marketing Manager, Eventbrite
• Patrick Bradley, EVP Digital Media & Entertainment, Wizard World, Inc.
• Shelton Drum, CEO, Heroes Convention
• Lance Fensterman, Senior Vice President ReedPOP
• Meg Lemke, Chair, Comics & Graphic Novel Committee at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and Contributing Editor at MUTHA Magazine
• Rob Salkowitz, author, writer of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture
• Moderated by Heidi MacDonald, comic editor and commentator from The Beat


TOTES MAGOTES YOU ARE NOT GOING TO WANT TO MISS THIS.

Con Wars: What’s happening on the Cosplay competition circuit front

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by Lawrence Brenner

[Editor’s note: As a non-combantant in the cosplay wars, I’m not sure how much actual warfare is involved in this, but as with all things con, competition is heating up.]

Cosplay is one of the most visual and important aspects of conventions especially in the last ten years. It is one of the greatest and creative expressions of fandom, displaying a multitude of art forms combined. In addition, many cosplayers are employed in multiple capacities by companies to help in the promotion of their products, services, etc. Cosplayers themselves are also a new form of retailer for and at conventions (and con goers) who sell various products based on their likenesses as various characters and interpretations of from different properties, and this includes props and commissions. In fact, many cosplayers and photographers/videographers go to conventions to photograph and videograph different cosplayers and be the subjects of photos and videos.

Since the beginnings of many of conventions cosplay has been a part of them. (I was thinking of linking the io9 article about cosplay in the 1970s.) In almost all conventions, there are various cosplay contests with the largest one usually run by the convention, referred to as the masquerade. In recent years there have been rise of larger cosplay competitions with significant monetary prizes and cosplay competitions as part of a circuit on a national and international level.

There are several that come to mind that are very well known such as the World Cosplay Summit, the EuroCosplay Championship, the Madman National Cosplay Championship in Australia, and now ReedPOP’s Quest for the Crown Champions of Cosplay with NYCC hosting the Eastern Championships of Cosplay with C2E2 being the finals. They call the “Quest for the Crown” “a new global Cosplay competition circuit that celebrates the very best in Cosplay design from all over the world.” (Side note: I actually wonder why Wizard World has not created one of their own given the number of conventions they have, which has increased in the past year.)

From the press release itself: “The Crown Championships of Cosplay debuted at ReedPOP’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo earlier this year, and New York Comic Con represents the kick-off of a larger Quest for the Crown competition that will span multiple events, all leading up to a final again set in ReedPOP’s C2E2. ReedPOP, with over 15 events around the globe, looks forward to setting up additional stops in the Quest for the Crown from the US to Australia, creating a new, worldwide platform to showcase the Cosplay community.”

The Quest for the Crown Cosplay Competition Circuit is easily doable for ReedPop and it is not the first they have created. Originally, when there was a New York Anime Festival it first hosted a part of the World Cosplay Summit and then created its own large prize the Yume Cosplay Prize in 2009 that was won by the team of Yaya Han and Anna Raper, and had other conventions serving as preliminary rounds for the competition.

Since then ReedPop has expanded nationally and internationally with multiple conventions across the world including America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Their properties include NYCC, C2E2, PAX Prime, PAX East, the Singapore Toy, Game, & Comic Convention, PAX Australia, PAX South, Oz Comic-Con, Star Wars Celebration, Star Wars Celebration Europe, among others that are sure to be announced.

There is also something very important to know: the concepts of pop culture conventions are global, some of them also having a “comic con” name but the fact this there are many all over the world on six continents. [Read more…]

Wizard expands to a “minimum” of 22 shows in 2015

As we reported the other day, in 2015 Wizard’s convention schedule is expanding even more, and they are adding nine new territories in 2015, including
San Jose, Calif.;
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.;
Cleveland, OH
Raleigh, N.C.;
Indianapolis, IN
Las Vegas, NV
Des Moines, Iowa;
Madison, Wis.;
Greenville, S.C.

Additional cities (new and returning) may also be added in the coming weeks.

According to the PR, at least 12 of the 16 events from 2014, plus the “Bruce Campbell’s Horror Fest” will return, including long running Comic Cons in Chicago (Rosemont, Ill.); Philadelphia; New Orleans; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas and newer events in Portland, Ore.; Minneapolis; St. Louis; Sacramento, Calif.; Nashville, Tenn; Richmond, Va.; and Tulsa, Okla.

And here’s the line-up:

(*denotes new show) (all dates and venues subject to change):

Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con, January 9-11, Ernest N.Morial Convention Center
Wizard World Portland Comic Con, January 23-25, Oregon Convention Center
*Wizard World Wisconsin Comic Con, February 6-8, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis.
*Wizard World Indianapolis Comic Con, February 13-15, Indianapolis Convention Center
*Wizard World Cleveland Comic Con, February 20-22, Cleveland Convention Center
*Wizard World Presents Bruce Campbell’s Horror Fest, March 6-8, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Ill.
*Wizard World Raleigh Comic Con, March 13-15, Raleigh Convention Center
*Wizard World Las Vegas Comic Con, April 24-26, Las Vegas Convention Center
Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con, May 1-3, Minneapolis Convention Center
Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, May 7-10, Pennsylvania Convention Center
Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con, May 22-24, America’s Center
*Wizard World Greenville Comic Con, May 28-30, TD Convention Center, Greenville, S.C.
*Wizard World Des Moines Comic Con, June 12-14, Iowa Events Center
Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con, June 19-21, Sacramento Convention Center
Wizard World Richmond Comic Con, July 31-August 2, Greater Richmond Convention Center
Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, August 20-23, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Ill.
*Wizard World San Jose Comic Con, September 4-6, San Jose Convention Center
Wizard World Columbus Comic Con, September 18-20, Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio
Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, September 25-27, Music City Center
*Wizard World Fort Lauderdale Comic Con, October 2-4, Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center
Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con, October 23-25, Cox Business Center
Wizard World Austin Comic Con, October 29-31, Austin Convention Center

Most of the new events will be held in the Feb-Mar time frame. The schedule avoids July altogether and stops for November, December.

Many of these shows are in cities with existing shows, and I know of several instances where Wizard tried to originally schedule their new show right against an existing show but backed down after negotiation. And how many of these shows are up against other local events? The mineeapolis con seems to be right up against Spring Con once again.

Like we said, that Golden Goose is looking a little woozy whee comic-cons are concerned.

More and more and more comic cons are on their way


Photo: Tucson Comic-Con by Henry Barajas

Are con wars just heating up? Calvin Reid and I surveyed the showrunners after this weekend’s three con pile-up and it sounds like things are just getting started.

In particular, it turns out Special Edition: NYC was just a warm-up for what could be smaller comics shows everywhere.

He also acknowledged that Special Edition is an experimental concept and the show is likely to be used as a template for organizing comics shows in “underserved” markets around the county. Armstrong said feedback from fans, publishers and artists has been “overwhelmingly positive.” Armstrong said, “fans want access to creators in a more intimate environment,” he said, and creators have expressed “satisfaction in being able to have meaningful and less hurried interactions with their current fans and new readers.”

Armstrong acknowledged that the show as scheduled competes with the two other local comics shows over the same weekend—EternalCon in Garden City, NY and the New York Comic Fest in White Plains. But he also emphasized that no decision has been made on where or when the next Special Edition will be held, or even if it will be in New York.


Ya hear that? Special Edition is coming!

NYCF’s Crucial Entertainment announced that the Asbury Park Comic Con will be replaced by the East Coast Comicon, to be held April 11-12, 2015. “We outgrew Asbury Park,” he continued, “and while we love the town, it’s difficult putting on a con in a hotel or an old convention hall. We haven’t given up on Asbury Park, we like to think that like Frosty the Snowman it’ll ‘be back again one day.'”

EternalCon was the only show that gave numbers — more than 3000 fans each day. And yes it will be back next year.

According to reports, Wizard is poised to expand into even more territories next year, including just about any city big enough to have a stop-light or dedicated froyo outlet. If ReedPop is lining up its own brand of smaller, comics-focused shows, we could be looking at a very crowded schedule indeed.

Con Wars are back in Minneapolis!


Here’s a brief local TV news spot showcasing the unfortunate timing of the new Wizard World Minneapolis—May 3-5—and the long running Spring Con thrown by the MCBN (Midwest Comic Book Association) —held May 17-18. I first reported on this last year, and Wizard’s John Macaluso insisted that they hadn’t known about the local show, and weren’t trying to conflict with anybody—even though at one point Wizard had offered to purchase the MCBA show.

According to Nick Postigliano, one of SpringCon’s organizers, the controversy has actually helped his show, as social media activity is way up and a lot of local cartoonists are supporting the show.

By this time it should be fairly evident that Wizard shows are here to stay and should be given the popularity of the events. They aren’t for everybody, but they are for somebody. The show calendar schedule is dotted with these kinds of “near misses” however, and you’d have to be pretty naive to think that there isn’t some overall strategy in show planning.

That said, this con culture shows no signs of slowing down, at least not as long as Bruce Campbell and Nathan Fillion are in need of some extra cash. Wizard is smartly targeting smaller markets like Tulsa, Reno, Nashville, Richmond, VA and so on…places that don’t have huge established shows. (It looks like the New York show from last year is off the schedule.)

While the timing—planned or not—is far from ideal, it sounds like SpringCon 2014 is also on its way to being a successful show.

Are you going to either or both of these conventions? Tell the Beat how they went!

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[Via Kevin Melrose]

Denver Comic Con board releases statement: “Denver Comic Con Does Not Need Saving”

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UPDATE: Convention director Christina Angel has released her own statement on FB.

The he said-she said of the Denver Comic Con-troversy just got ratcheted up a notch as the Con board has released a statement refuted the charges made by co-founder Charlie La Greca earlier today. The statement pretty much directly contradicts Le Greca’s claims about his removal from the board and the inactivity of the Comic Book Classroom activities.

While there’s more to come on all of this, if you want to see it played out in real time, check out the Denver Comic Con Facebook page, where a lively debate is taking place in the comments.

Comic Book Classroom (CBC) and its major funding program, Denver Comic Con and Literary Conference (DCC) remains true to its not-for-profit mission of children’s literacy.

Prior to the 2013 con, Charlie LaGreca, one of the six co-founders of CBC and DCC, (the other founders are Christina Angel, Illya Kowalchuk, Bruce MacIntosh, Frank Romero and Michael Newman) took a paid contract position with the organization. As was discussed at length with Charlie, the bylaws of the non-profit necessitated that in order to draw a salary he would need to step down from the board—as he agreed. Another founder, Frank Romero, stepped down from the board for personal reasons in January 2014. The rest of the founders continue to work tirelessly towards the mission of children’s literacy—sometimes up to 80 (unpaid) hours per week in these months leading up to the con.

Charlie was paid $10,000 was the only founding member who was paid. After the 2013 con, Charlie’s contract was not renewed. In the months following the convention, CBC and Charlie went to a number of mediation meetings. And therefore his nonparticipation has never been in question. We deeply regret that the matter has jumped from mediation to the court of public opinion.

Allegations of misuse of funds are wholly untrue. As an applicant for 501(c)3 status, CBC’s financial statements are a matter of public record; the 2012 990 form is on file with the IRS, and when the fiscal year 2013 records are completed they will be filed and will also be publicly available as a matter of course.

The organizational structure that is being built around one of the nation’s largest conventions is a result of its success and popularity. We’re expecting 75,000 attendees this year; we’re planning more than 300 hours of educational programming and have dozens of comic creators and celebrity guests. Since the 2013 con, CBC has invested in the development of more mature processes and policies and staff to ensure there’s a CBC that lives beyond any of its founders.

Every hour and every dollar spend by CBC goes towards securing the non-profit mission. There have been a number of developments on the classroom front since the 2013 convention:
• There is currently a CBC class in session at Sanchez Elementary in Lafayette, Colo.
• CBC is working with the City and County of Denver to integrate the curriculum to the Youth One Book One Denver Project, a program that involves approximately 2,500 kids.
• CBC is working with Platte Forum to teach high school students that are at-risk but showing promise the curriculum. They in turn will teach it to younger kids.
• CBC recently wrote a grant with The Conflict Center to execute programming at Sims-Fayola International Academy in the aim of authoring comic books to develop emotional intelligence and critical decision making as those relate to being an adolescent male.
• Additionally, CBC staff are currently planning dozens of hours and specific programs designed around children’s literacy at its largest annual program, Denver Comic Con.
As the curriculum and materials are rebranded to adhere to legal and education standards, classroom activities will see an uptick in the summer of 2014.

Additionally, it’s because of its fiscal responsibility that CBC is positioned for growth in 2014 and beyond. The future plans for the organization include multiple curricular sets being widely available to educators, a YouTube instructional channel, a scholarly conference to be held concurrent to DCC and eventually, its own physical classroom space.

CBC encourages anyone who believes its mission isn’t being tended to carefully enough to volunteer. As a non-profit, we’re only as good as the people who stand with us to provide children’s programming at the convention—including activities in the Kids’ Corral—and the teachers, educators and administrators that apply their many talents to the CBC curriculum.

Thank you for your continued support.

Con Wars: Denver Comic Con co-founder La Greca pens open letter following removal

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Charlie La Greca (center) and other Denver Comic Con runners in happier days.

Boy oh boy. These con wars are getting more and more complicated.

Denver Comic Con is in its fourth year and last year experienced exponential growth. Originally founded as part of a Comic Book Classroom, a non-profit outreach program designed to increase awareness of comics to children, the con was a means to fund that outreach. Now, co-founder Charlie La Greca has penned an open letter charging that he has been removed from the con, and $300,000 raised has not gone towards the CBC program:

The Denver Comic Con achieved success in its inaugural year, 2012. In DCC’s second year, we brought in over 61,000 attendees and became the fifth largest comic convention in the U.S. It was a great accomplishment and, as founders, Frank and I knew that we could not have done it without the generosity, support, and hard work of the artists, publishers, vendors, fans, and community.

However, the last eight months have been fraught with difficulty and tumult, and I am left questioning the ethics and values of the people that Frank and I brought on to the CBC Board of Directors. We were somewhat inexperienced and should have better selected a Board who was perhaps dedicated to the Comic Book Classroom mission and making sure that the focus and funds raised from the DCC convention indeed went to teaching kids.

That has not happened: Since the 2013 convention, it seems the teaching and literacy programs have been nonexistent; Frank Romero has resigned and I have been removed from control of the Board; there are allegedly up to $300,000 in revenues from the 2013 DCC alone, that remain unaccounted for, and some of which appear to be funneled towards high profile legal posturing.

There’s much more to La Greca’s letter — read the whole thing in the link. Among his other charges: his name and that of co-founder Frank Romero—who has resigned from the board—have been removed from the Wikipedia page; and no Comic Book Classroom events have been held for a year.

While some hints of discomfort at the con have been circulating for a while—especially after last year’s event experienced huge lines and crowds, leading to complaints of disorganization—the current kerfuffle seems to be pretty acrimonious, with La Greca claiming that he has been unable to reach any current board members regarding his dismissal.

The Beat contacted Christina Angel, a current board member, who said that a statement with their side of the controversy will be released later today.

In the mean time, La Greca has launched a Save Denver Comic Con site, and plans an open town hall style meeting for Sunday, Feb. 23 at 3 pm to be held at Dead Academy, 841 Santa Fe Dr..

We’ll update this story when the new statement is released but…developing. Failure is an orphan, etc etc etc.

Here’s the letter that was sent out late last year by the current convention board announcing La Greca’s removal:

ReedPOP adds summer comics show in New York—and so does everyone else

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A photo from the 1971 Phil Seuling show in NYC. Photo via Scott Edelman.

It may not be Con Wars, but it is con crunch. With the exploding popularity of comics/pop culture shows around the world, more and more events, some of them highly localized, are springing up. And as cons get more popular, suitable dates are becoming harder and harder to find.

New York is currently home to three major events—the indie focused MoCCA Festival in April, the sprawling New York Comic Con in October, and the art comics focused Comic Arts Brooklyn in November. And now a summer show is coming: ReedPOP, the organization behind NYCC, is launching Special Edition NYC June 14-15 at the Javits Center. The show will be purely comics focused, without the video game/movie distractions of NYCC, and held in the popular shed-like “North Hall” where artists alley was held the last two years of NYCC.

Ironically, this weekend – Father’s Day — is already hosting two other shows in the New York metro area: New York Comic Fest (thrown by Crucial Comics) in White Plains, and EternalCon in Long Island’s Garden City. It’s also the same weekend as Denver Comic Con – meaning guests are going to be in high demand. It’s also the week before Heroes Con in Charlotte, and Wizard World Philadelphia, two good-sized shows that have shared a date for quite a while without too much recent conflict.

As news of the summer Reed show circulated, The Beat was contacted by both EternalCon’s Frank Patz and Crucial’s Cliff Galbraith. It’s fair to say they weren’t thrilled by the timing, but they are also resigned to the crunch of available dates. We also reached out to ReedPOP’s Lance Fensterman to find out more about Special Edition.

According to Fensterman, ReedPOP had been kicking around the idea of a second show New York for two years. The original idea was to hold it at the same time as Book Expo, also held at Javits and run by Reed; unfortunately getting the space for what would be an ideal juxtaposition wasn’t possible.

The vision for Special Edition is “artists dealers and a few publishers if they want to participate,” says Fensterman. There will be panels but they will be more intimate, creator Q&A’s taking about work. “We really view this as a creator and fan driven event. I don’t see it expanding beyond comics.”

Fensterman hopes SE:NY (I just coined that) will have more of an indie vibe—an area where NYCC has been lacking—but it will not be billed as that. “We hope to have those brands and artists represented, but because of any number of reasons, those people [may not] come out. We want it to be artist driven and that will include, we hope, a huge indie contingent.” The show will be much more affordable than NYCC for artists and dealers, however, and Fensterman hopes that will encourage more diverse exhibitors.

Reed was aware of one of the other shows during planning and found out about the other one. Once the date was set, they did reach out to the other shows, and going forward, Reed will work to make sure dates don’t overlap. It is an unfortunate situation, Fensterman acknowledges, but that weekend was the only one available at the very busy Javits Center. “We went through availability on time frames we wanted and our first several choices were not available.”

“We know it’s not ideal,” he continued. “We try to be respectful of other events happening, but it’s an increasingly busy schedule.”

Both Galbraith and EternalCon’s Patz acknowledge that Reed reached out to them. According to Patz and Galbraith, they were told that SE:NY would not try to get guests already committed to the other two shows.

Galbraith (like ReedPOP, a regular advertiser at The Beat) announced his show last year, and says he had been hearing about the Reed show for a while, and “At the time I thought it was odd since it takes a long time to plan an event, invite guests, and do publicity. [ReedPOP’s] Mike Armstrong did contact me on the day everyone found out. So, yes they were thoughtful enough to call me and apologize, but not enough to tell me back when I could’ve done something. Armstrong did tell me Reed Pop wasn’t interested in poaching any of my guests and we’ve had no defections.
It is a popular time for show, says Galbraith. “It’s a good week, school’s getting out for the summer, the weather’s not too hot yet. We throw Asbury Park Comicon in April, so we need a bit of time to get our bearings before jumping into another con. Also, June 14 was the only date that was available for Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY.”

Patz threw his first show last year, and had a much bigger turnout than expected in an area that hasn’t had it’s own comic-con for quite a while. (For non New Yorkers, Long Island is kind of its own world.) He’s expanded to two days for 2014, with an eclectic lineup that also focuses on toys, cosplay and movies. (It’s held in a museum with an attached theater.) Confirmed guests include Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Billy Tucci and Mick Foley. “I had the date before everyone else, and local people knew about my show,” he told The Beat. While he’s considering moving his dates, that would put him in conflict with the same shows everyone else is up against. “When I planned this show I didn’t want to be near any other shows. No one was doing a show on Father’s Day weekend. Now it’s the most popular day of the year.”

Galbraith, who also puts on the Asbury Park Comic Con in April, plans to go ahead with his original dates. “Guests are booked. The venue is booked. Ads have been run. Flyers and posters are printed with June 14th emblazoned on them. The guests have other commitments on other dates. But we do have those guests, so if you want to meet Scott Snyder, Mark Waid, Herb Trimpe, Dick Ayers, Fred Hembeck, Shawn Martinbrough, Bob Camp, Larry Hama, Paul Levitz, Vivek Tiwary, Fred Van Lente, and John Holmstrom, then NY Comic Fest in White Plains is the only place you can do that on June 14th.”

Putting on comic cons seems to be a growth business, he adds. “I joked to a friend the other day ‘you know all those guys who opened those WE BUY GOLD HERE shops after the recession started? I think they’ve moved into the comic convention business.’ I’ve seen a lot of shaky cons pop up.” At the same time, he’s philosophical. “Let’s be clear, I got into this only a few years ago, and I can’t cry now that someone else is moving in on me. Business is business.”

EternalCon, NY Comic Fest and Asbury Park Comicon all fit into the role of smaller local shows. Patz has made a point of reaching out to local business and exhibitors, and Galbraith points out that transportation and parking are much easier in the ‘burbs. “Dragging kids into the city can be exhausting. At our shows, mom or dad can pull up and park close to the venue, and meet creators, buy some comics, enter the kids in a cosplay contest and be home by dinner time.”

Even before ReedPOP formally entered the picture, Eternal Con and New York Comic Fest were having a small con crunch themselves. “I was aware of a show in Long Island, but when we announced NY Comic Fest for June 14th, 2014, Eternal Con had not announced their date,” says Galbraith. “I actually reached out to Frank Patz of Eternal Con just two weeks ago and asked him if we could work out something for next year. He was very happy that I contacted him. There’s no reason to see this as a zero sum game, we talked about things we could both benefit from. I talk to Mitch Hillock of Connecticut Comic Conn all the time. I recently contacted Denver Comic Con to ask if I could copy their harassment policy — I think it’s important we all use the same language regarding that matter.”

While some have suggested an organization for con runners, Fensterman says that could run into anti trust policies. Still, at ReedPOP they stay in contact with may con organization to avoid date conflicts.

While everyone involved with the situation seems resigned to the inevitable problem of who will go where, there doesn’t seem to be much they can do about it. Patz is seeking to differentiate his show with more activities and celebrity guests. Still, he says “It’s ironic that [ReedPOP] wants to help smaller publishers and little guys and yet, they are potentially crushing two little guys.”

Fensterman is aware of the problems, and hopes that ReedPOP will do what it can to ease the pain, including the non-poaching policy. “We’re not jerks,” he says. “We try not to be bullies and we’re not going to be aggressive towards others. We would never do that.”

The Great Father’s Day Confluence is just part of the greater picture of New York’s comics culture, says Galbraith. Despite DC Comics’ impending move to the west coast, it’s still the historical home of much of the comics industry. “NYC is constantly changing, and so are its cons. They have to, or they better, or somebody smarter, quicker, or more innovative will eat their lunch,” says Galbraith. “Mike Carbonaro [who threw the Big Apple cons and has a show coming up in March] once had the whole city to himself, now he’s a footnote. When Wizard bought the Chicago Con in the 90s, I thought they’d be in Javits within five years — they blew. In any business, you have to move on an opportunity or someone else will grab it. I started my shows because I was fed up with the big cons. Nothing against them, but I wanted something else. I didn’t care that some guy who played Thor or a zombie was at a con. I was there to sell comics and hang with other comics folk. Other people can throw a con, I’m throwing a party. Let’s celebrate the art form! Let’s not obscure the view with Hollywood stars and wrestlers when we have such talented people who make amazing things like comics.”

Galbraith remains busy with many ventures, including “closing a deal for a nice big juicy venue [for 2015] that I think is going to surprise a lot of people.” Given the success of his 13thDimension website, “we’re also working on something new called Monsters and Robots. It’ll be a website about all things monsters and robots, a lot of it toys, rare toys, the new vinyl designer toys, it’s really Rob Bruce’s area of expertise. We’re also launching a Monsters and Robots Con in Manhattan in 2015. And we’re looking to throw a comic con in Trenton or Princeton NJ; there’s some interesting venues in those towns. We also have our eyes on two cities outside of the NY/NJ Metro area. We have an interesting venue for a sci-fi con as well. We’re having a blast doing this and we’re really just getting started.”

ReedPOP is also moving forward; they just announced the acquisition of the Oz Comic Con in Australia and Fensterman spends most of his time traveling to other parts of the world finding the ideal situation for new shows and acquisitions—always looking for territories where there are good facilities, and most importantly, a strong fan base.

Given Galbraith’s plans to put on more shows, there may be more Con crunches in the future: Fensterman says ReedPOP will announce another event for New York later this year – one that has nothing to do with comics. One thing’s for sure, there are going to be very few weekends for NYC comics folks to say “Gee, I have nothing to do.”

Photo source: Scott Edelmann

ReedPop teams with Oz Comic Con as rumors of New York show swirl

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ReedPop, the company that puts on New York Comic-Con, C2E2 and so on, has been hinting at international expansion for a while now and now it’s confirmed that they are partnering with Oz Comic Con, a company that puts on various Australian pop culture shows. Reed’s Lance Fensterman is apparently in Australia to kick things off, and OCC’s Rand Ratinac (shown above with Fensterman) is all smiles about the move. “We’ve had aspirations to build it into something that is a destination not only for guests but the show itself,” he told the Herald Sun. “ReedPop isn’t our short cut, but our booster to make it faster and better so that it reaches the potential sooner than what we would do ourselves.”

Upcoming Oz Comic Con events include a Perth show in March, Adelaide in April, Melbourne in July and Brisbane and Sydney in September. Nerdlebrity guests include William Shatner, Jason Momoa, Boo Stewart and the like.

The piece in the Herald Sun didn’t explain the nature of the partnership, but I’d guess that it would include ReedPop helping with logistics and planning and promotion and so on. ReedPop previously teamed with the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention, although that show doesn’t have a date a present for 2014.

Closer to home for most Beat readers, rumors of a June Reed show in New York seem to have materialized in the shape of a letter going out to prospective exhibitors, and obtained by The Beat. The show—called Special Edition—would be held June 14-15 at the North Pavilion at Javits and would be comics only. Essentially, it would be the hugely successful and well-liked Artist Alley part of New York Comic-Con, without all the other icky stuff. Here’s the letter:


Dear [redacted]:

How are you? I hope all is well! I wanted to be the first to share some very exciting news with you! 
 
As you already know, ReedPop has always put on killer events like C2E2 and NYCC; well, this summer we are going to be launching our newest event called SPECIAL EDITION!  Special Edition will be focused purely on comics… and the best and brightest the industry has to offer! 
 
I wanted to offer you a complimentary table and to be featured at Special Edition in NYC, June 14-15, 2014 at the Jacob Javits Center; hosted in the North Pavilion, this intimate setting will give creators an incredible opportunity to showcase their work and a chance for fans to get up close and personal with their favorite creators.
 
We would really love for you to be a part of our inaugural installment of this new cutting edge event! In exchange for your participation at the show, we would be happy to provide you with a complimentary artist alley table.
 
Please let me know if you are interested and available to talk about this opportunity, we’d love to have you! We would like to lock you in as soon as possible, so we can announce your appearance along with our launch announcement. If you could please get back to me by 2/12 it would be greatly appreciated!
 
Looking forward to hearing back from you!
 
Thanks so much!
 
Mike

Although Fensterman wouldn’t confirm the show to Tom Spurgeon, comics pros I know are already planning to go to the show. This sounds like a great idea and a welcome addition to the New York mainstream comics calendar…except….

There are already two other localish show that weekend, Long Island’s Eternalcon and Westchester’s NY Comicfest, part of the Crucial Comics family of shows (they also put on the Asbury Park Comics show.)

Both of these smaller shows are run by area folks who know how to put on good events, and both serve the local community. I know the con calendar is crowded, but it would just suck to see them buried by Reed when both shows were long ago announced.

I made this suggestion to a few people, but maybe July is not the worst month for an East coast show. In my circle of friends, fewer and fewer people local East Coast artists go to San Diego, and although the industry is obsessed with the date, for artists and fans who don’t go, it would be just another weekend. I wouldn’t advise going up against Comic-Con, but July 4th used to be the date for several VERY successful shows, for instance.

Anyway, more comics in Australia and good old Con Wars heating up again, that’s today’s news line.

Con Wars in Minneapolis as Wizard World schedules show two weeks before Spring Con

A few years ago, comics water cooler gossip (and message boards) were enlivened by Con Wars, a series of conventions—mostly run by Wizard World—that were scheduled very close to conventions in the same cities. The most notorious example was a Wizard World which was planned a week prior to—and on the same street as —New York Comic Con. While it was a source of annoyance and conflict for many, eventually the con wars seemed to settle down as the increasingly busy convention schedule meant everyone just had to mind their own store and not worry about other cities—there were enough fans to go around.

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However, a letter circulating yesterday charges that Wizard’s Con Wars are on the rise again, this time in Minneapolis, where a Wizard show has been scheduled for two weeks prior to the well-established non-profit Midwest Comic Book Association’s SpringCon. Next year’s Spring Con is slated for May 17 & 18, 2014 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. According to the letter, Wizard has scheduled a show for May 3 & 4, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. (A check of the MCC website confirmed Wizard had booked those dates.)

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Here’s the relevant portion of the letter, written by the aptly named Fredric Wertham, who has been involved with the MCBA shows for years:

Recently, Nick Postiglione, one of the lead MCBA volunteers recently spoke with Peter Katz, Senior VP of Business Affairs& Development for Wizard who informed him “we had no idea that we were scheduling so close to the MCBAs event” and further continued that the proposed space (the Minneapolis Convention Center) “Only had the first weekend in May available to us”. The MCBA SpringCon dates for 2014 have been posted for quite some time on numerous industry websites and the MCBA website as well. In addition, one quick phone call inquiry to a space rental employee about space availability at the Minneapolis Convention Center put the lie to his availability statement. Evidently, the first week in May was specifically and strategically chosen.

Another interesting tidbit casually mentioned by Postiglione “About a year ago, we were approached by Wizard to see if we were for sale or absorption” he continued “I told them that given the fundamental structural differences in our respective organizations, that probably wouldn’t be possible. But we’d be happy to help their efforts in establishing a presence here. I just had no idea that they actually intended to land right on top of us. It’s an unfortunate situation, a huge disappointment for many of our volunteers, and ultimately a missed opportunity for the various communities we serve as well.”

There you have it. A group that has donated over 30 tons of food to the food shelves, over $100,000.00 to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the MN Lupus Foundation and the MN Literacy council, as well as promoting retailer and creator events and other regional events is about to be bullied about by the corporate Wizard World convention machine. Again, seems like the “new Wizard” is just like the old Wizard.


After reading these charges, we reached out to Wizard chairman John Macaluso to get his side of the story. According to Macaluso, the letter stated several things incorrectly, but he confirmed that the MCBA show “was not on our radar” when they were going into the new territory, and additionally, Wizard had no choice in the Convention Center dates. Although this would seem to be a bit of a research failing, he asserted that “we do do our research” when going into a new area.

Whatever the origin on the conflict, Macaluso repeated that he has no axes to grind with any other shows. “Scheduling conflicts do no one any good,” he told the Beat. “We’re trying to go into more cities, and we do everything in our power not to compete with anybody. Why would we want conflict? It would reduce the amount the attendees going to both shows.”

Given all the success of the convention circuit we’ve been covering for the last few years, it will come as no surprise to observers that Wizard is planning to expand its convention activities next year; Minneapolis is just one of several territories they are expanding into. Macaluso expects them to hold between 14 and 17 shows in 2014, and he said they would be looking at dates for other shows as they planned them. “We’re not looking to cause chaos,” he concluded. “We try to be mindful of conflicts with all the shows we do.”

While same week shows are unavoidable because of the explosion in comics shows in general, these kinds of problems do leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Luckily, as mentioned above, there seem to be enough fans to go around.

Wizard World Portland moves to January in 2014

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By all accounts last weekend’s inaugural Wizard World Portland show was a success. Steve Duin has a glowing report:

The first Portland Wizard World Con was a ridiculous success. I’d peg Saturday’s turnout at 6,000-8,000, or at least 10 times the crowd I’ve ever seen at Wordstock, the city’s increasingly sleepy book festival. Four hours after the doors opened, the ticket line at the Oregon Convention Center was still 250 geeks deep.

“For a first-year show, this is unprecedented,” said Greg Reece, a rare comics’ dealer from Frederick, Md.


In more happy news, next year’s show will be held at the Oregon Convention Center on Jan. 24-26—avoiding conflict with Emerald City, which is held in early March. So you can stick another fork in the latest chapter of Con Wars. It turns out there’s plenty o’ nerd to go around in the Pacific Northwest.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 2/25/13: Wizard World Hits Portland

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§ Graphic Classics is still turning out themed comics anthologies, and their new one is Native American Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 24, for which they hired as many actual Native American creators as possible:

Native American Classics presents great stories and poems from America’s earliest indigenous writers. Featured are “The Soft-Hearted Sioux” by Zitkala-Sa, “Anoska Nimiwina” by William Jones, “How the White Race Came to America” by Handsome Lake, and seven more tales of humor and tragedy. The book also features eight illustrated poems, including Alex Posey’s “Wildcat Bill” and E. Pauline Johnson’s “The Cattle Thief”. The series is edited by Tom Pomplun. Associate editors for this volume are noted Native American writers John E. Smelcer and Joseph Bruchac, who each contribute a piece to the book.

Sadly, artist and teacher Robby McMurtry was killed just weeks after completing his adaptation of Charles Eastman’s “On Wolf Mountain” for this volume. Publisher Eureka Productions and editor John E. Smelcer have pledged $1 for each book sold in the months of February and March 2013 to the Robby McMurtry Scholarship for the Arts. To make an additional donation, please find more information at www.robbymcmurtry.com.

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§ Tom Spurgeon interviews the great Richard Sala. Although there is much talk about his new book, DELPHINE, which is amazing, there’s also a lot about thigs that didn’t go so well, like his book for First Second and various Hollywood mishaps. But still, Richard Sala is still around and making great comics:

SALA: I don’t know. I’ve learned over the years to be much more patient about that. I’ve never been one of those cartoonists whose books are read and reviewed as soon as they’re released. No one is telling anyone that they have to read my books. But somehow people seem to find my work, eventually. I have a relatively small audience, I guess, but they seem enthusiastic and devoted. And with each new book, new readers go back and buy my older books, or so I’m told. I get letters from readers who have only recently discovered me all the time. Reviews will trickle in over months. I’ll get really thoughtful reviews of books that came out years ago. That actually makes me feel more like I’m a part of the big picture, the big sea of books — it’s kind of comforting. I feel like it points to the possibility that people will continue to discover my books long after I’m gone and that’s kind of gratifying.

 

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§ The first Wizard World Portland was held this weekend and it was a successful show by most accounts. Jeff Ellingsonposted a pretty bleak photo from the opening day on Friday:

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…but things improved, as this pic by Joe Keatinge shows.

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… and the Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker got to meet Stan Lee, so that must have been a big thrill for Rooker. And nice to see Stan up and about again after a recent bout with the flu.

This fellow has a balanced report on the show. There isn’t really anything to dislike about this show aside from the fact that it was scheduled the week before next week’s Emerald City Comicon in Seattle—Con Wars timing from the olden days that was never really explained. While it seems the show did well, that was still a douche move on Wizard’s part, so you can’t exactly wish the show well.

The Billion Dollar Hero
§ The nice people at HomeownersInsurance.com sent me this infographic they made about who spent more on their gear Iron Man or Batman. They worked hard on it.

Wizard World is back in New York City — without comics UPDATED

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Con wars are back! Only not warlike. After a long absence from the crucible of New York City’s cramped and expensive venues, Wizard World is coming back to the city that started it all with the WIzard World New York City Experience, to be held June 28-30 at Basketball City Pier 36. The venue is known to us but does recall the cavernous Pier 94 where Wizard held its 2009 show. The date doesn’t seem to conflict with anything too major, save for a few smallish cards and comics shows in the Midwest.

UPDATE: I understand that this show will NOT be a comics show in any way. Unless comics are “other attractions”:

celebrities, creators, sports stars, music, exhibitors, parties and other attractions

So there you go, Nerdlebrity Con 1 [Read more…]

Rose City Con and Emerald City Con team up

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Maybe a teeny bit of Con Wars fall-out as it’s been announced that Seattle’s biggest comic-con—Emerald City Comicon—is teaming up with Portland’s emerging con—The Rose City Comic Con. You’ll note both shows have matching logos now—which is totes adorbs.

Reading the press release, it reads as if the very well established and growing ECCC is helping the newer RCCC gird up and survive the arrival of Wizard’s Portland Comic Con. But you know, there’s lots of room for well run comics shows everywhere, and not everyone wants to meet Dean Cain again and again.

Seattle-based ECCC Corp., organizers of Emerald City Comicon (ECCC), the largest comic book and pop culture event in the Pacific Northwest, announced today a formal partnership with Portland-based FlashPoint Media to cooperate in bringing Oregon the convention it rightly deserves in the 2013 Rose City Comic Con (RCCC).
 
RCCC 2013 will be taking place September 21-22, 2013 at the Oregon Convention Center, and will be co-produced by both ECCC and RCCC, combining the talents and organizational efforts for one fantastic event. The first guest announced for RCCC 2013 is world-renowned illustrator Adam Hughes.
 
“This announcement kicks-off a fantastic partnership,” says ECCC Convention Director Jim Demonakos. “We are thrilled to team up with Ron Brister and his crew to help take the Rose City Comic Con to the next level!”
 
“We are so excited to work with ECCC and build upon what was started in 2012,” says Ron Brister, Rose City Comic Con founder. “ECCC has long been a favorite convention of ours and now, every six months there will be an amazing convention in the Pacific Northwest!”
 
This is the first step in an ongoing partnership between the two organizations to create the best in pop culture events for the Pacific Northwest. For complete details, visit the Rose City Comic Con website

Con Wars brewing in New York and Cincinnati

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With comicons nationwide becoming a key money maker for many entities, it seems that a few con wars may be brewing. We received two separate tips yesterday about potential calendar conflicts for 2013.

First, and probably unintentionally, Mike Carbonaro is bringing back his New York Comic Book Marketplace on April 6th — the same day as the first one of MoCCA Fest. We know of no bad blood between the two entities, so this can probably be filed under a mishap, as MoCCA’s dates haven’t been widely circulated yet. Also Carbo’s shows tend to stick to the Bronze Age—of both comics and nerdlebrities—so a guest/fan conflict isn’t likely.

The same cannot be said in Cincinnati where, we’re told, someone who had a falling out with an established con is planning one for the week before.

The Cincinnati Comic Expo is typical of the current crop of local shows: a steady rise from a one-day show to a 3-day full-service comicon. The locals seem mostly satisfied with it, from what we’ve seen and heard. Next year’s show is scheduled for September 13-15th.

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But not one particular local, who has started a Kickstarter for the similarly named Cincinnati Comic Con, which is planned for the weekend BEFORE the 2013 Cincinnati Comic Expo, September 6-8th.

The new shows bills itself as “The Convention Cincinnati Deserves” and has lined up guests, including Ben Templesmith and Tony Moore. The new show seems to have a more “comic-centric” focus than the Expo.

Now we don’t have a dog in this hunt, but we’re told the new show was organized out of a feud with the older show, and certainly putting your show on a week before another one has to be tagged “a shot across the bows.” So, a little aggression there.

Like we said, we don’t know who zoomed who in this, but it certainly does seem to be a classic Con War. If you know more details, email us.