Variety has a mini NYCC special with a few pieces of interest. Tom McLean previews the con with an overall look at the convention biz::
Wizard’s Chicago event is the second largest in the business, drawing 58,000 attendees last summer, while its Philadelphia, Dallas and Los Angeles shows attracted 127,500 in 2006. Rob Felton, Wizard Entertainment VP for business development, says Wizard’s shows are part of “a continuous conversation” between its audience and its business partners, furthered by the company’s magazine and Web-based ventures.
Wizard shows have been criticized recently for repetitive programming focused almost exclusively on Marvel and DC. A 2005 Boston show was discontinued after one outing, and efforts to set up an Atlanta show have not materialized. Felton says the company has heard those criticisms and plans to address them in its upcoming shows.
WonderCon was taken over by the nonprofit management of the San Diego show in 2002 and moved from Oakland to San Francisco. The show drew 18,500 last year but faces a problem common to all shows: securing venue dates that don’t conflict with another such con.
“It’s really up to the convention center what days they make available to us,” says David Glanzer, spokesman for Comic-Con Intl. and WonderCon. “The most frustrating thing for us, especially in San Francisco, is we can’t block out dates as far in advance as we’d like to, and there’s a whole convention circuit out there that we have to be aware of.”
Freddy Krueger slashing his way through Elm Street, Gollum coveting his ring, Hellboy protecting mankind from all manner of demons, and the “Pan’s Labyrinth” Pale Man staring through the eyes in his palms: They’re among the most memorable movie characters of recent times, and yet, ironically, the actors who’ve portrayed them are virtually anonymous, except to the most rabid fans.
That’s because those actors — Robert Englund, Andy Serkis, Doug Jones and Ron Perlman, respectively — willingly submerge themselves in their characters, totally disappearing under layers of sophisticated prosthetics, often now augmented by complex combinations of digital effects, puppetry and electronics.
“The one place I get recognized is at comicbook geek-type conventions, where the fans have looked me up on Web sites and done their research,” laughs Jones, who happily admits to spending “the last 20 years under layers of makeup.” “At the local 7-Eleven, no one has a clue, and that’s nice, too.”
Finally, Steven Zeitchik looks at Fox Atomic’s strategy [DISCLOSURE: I am the editor of several Fox Atomic graphic novels.]:
The key, execs say, is not so much to hammer home the Fox Atomic name but to create entertainment and a mythology that exists independently of the films. This way, fans will stick around even when there isn’t a new release — and will also hopefully be there when there is one.
So the company created Fox Atomic Comics, a book-publishing line whose titles will be distributed to mainstream bookstores via News Corp. sister company HarperCollins.
Instead of just the usual roster of tie-ins, which are usually handled by an outside partner, the studio itself has hired creators in the manner of an A-list comics publisher.