SDCC’16: Watchtower Thursday: No Major Headlines, Just the Unusual Stuff That Happens Every Year

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One day down! Three more to go!

What happened? Lots! Let’s get to it!


The top news of the day:

Comic-Con 2016: Mayor, city officials welcome attendees to ‘Starship San Diego’

Donning uniforms from the original “Star Trek” television series, city officials Thursday helped open the 47th annual Comic-Con International by welcoming attendees to “Starship San Diego.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, dressed as Capt. James T. Kirk, said the annual celebration of the popular arts at the San Diego Convention Center will go “where no convention has gone before.”

Not only did the Mayor officially open the show (which past mayors have ignored), but he did it in cosplay.

Geeks… we have won. (For you Trekkers, San Diego gets a shout out in “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Otherwise, it’s all about San Francisco.)


Local artist gets last minute Comic-Con call

Cavanaugh says he was able to contact his printer and get a fresh crop of prints just two days before the event, which was the first San Diego Comic-Con the North Park resident has been a part of.

“I live in a dirt alley in North Park and to go from that to this biggest stage in the world for comic books is huge,” Cavanaugh said.

Less than a handful of local talent are participating in the event. At least two other artists are involved in the 4-day convention, which features more than 720 exhibitors.


2016: A year in gay geekdom

The San Diego Union-Tribune summarizes the year in review for pop culture’s depiction of alternate sexualities, and Archie Comics once again gets lauded.


Comic-Con: These superheroes fix costumes for free

Kimmell, 31, and Brown, 28, have been coming to Comic-Con for many years but they say this is their third year attending as the people who repair broken cosplay costumes. They carry everything from glue guns and yarn to safety pins, tape and sharpies, and they can put together just about anything, except maybe iron.

We caught up with the San Diego duo that works under the name “The International Cosplay Corps,” as the two of them made their way through the crowds inside Comic-Con. The first rescue of the day was a broken Batwoman.


Only Comic-Con fills more San Diego hotel rooms than…

The 15-year-old from Newbury Park isn’t like the thousands of cosplayers who came as Pikachu, Harley Quinn or even Retired Captain America: She’s in a gown.

It’s a colorful, strapless, floor-length gown with rows of ruffles cascading from the waist. And it’s handmade.

Made by Melody, actually, out of the free tote bags given out at the doors of the convention.

The latest, in a long tradition of “tote couture”.


Thank Goodness! Stephen Schwartz Reveals Wicked Movie Details

Hmm… that’s strange.. When the article first posted, they reported that the release date would be in December 2019, which coincides with the release of a yet-to-be-named Disney live-action musical adaptation. (Pocahontas? The Hunchback of Notre Dame?)

That information is now gone (without a correction), as is my comment.

You can watch the actual announcement at Playbill. There will be four new songs added (so that it qualifies for a Best Song Oscar).


WBCP AND DCE LAUNCH WORLDWIDE SUPER POWERED LICENSING AND MERCHANDISING PROGRAM FOR DC SUPER HERO GIRLS

The expanded DC Super Hero Girls merchandise program brings an array of product with licensees from Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA), Latin America, Asia-Pacific and more. Licensees throughout the EMEA region include IMC for youth electronics and role play; D’Arpeje with an outdoor collection of scooters, skates, in-line skates and protective gear; Sambro with pocket money and creative play items; Character World with fun bedding; Pyramid bringing posters and gifting accessories; and Airval for personal care products including fragrances and bath gift sets; among many others.

Latin America will see strong support for DC Super Hero Girls with key licensees from Mexico to Brazil to Peru and more, including Photo Pack with leisure luggage and handbags to pack and run; Regalos Siglos XXI with dinnerware for meals and snacks to always be super; Importadora y Exportadora Rosen with cool backpacks; Foroni with school-cool notebooks; Grendene with stylish sandals; and Riachuelo with an apparel collection including jackets, blouses, shorts, dresses and more.

Asia-Pacific will also bring the super heroic program to kids and fans in the region with licensees from Asia, Australia, Japan and more, including the DC Super Heroes branded stores in China, Singapore, Malaysia, which will be carrying a range of DC Super Hero Girls-inspired kids apparel; as well as PT Rajapaksi Adyaperkasa with speedy footwear; and PT Indo Prima with houseware for kids to create their very own DC Super Hero Girls world. Additional licensees include Caprice bringing apparel, outerwear and houseware collections for kids; Mitch Dowd with super-sleepwear; and Hunter Leisure with more creative arts & crafts, stationery and sporting goods; and more.


JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION Comic-Con® 2016 Highlight Reel #WBSDCC

JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION producers gave Comic-Con 2016 attendees a first look at the highly anticipated Warner Bros. Animation series coming soon to Cartoon Network. During the show’s Thursday, July 21, panel, which also included voice cast members Kevin Conroy and Diedrich Bader, attendees were treated to this special highlight reel previewing all the upcoming action fans can expect every week. #WBSDCC (© 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Whoa…  Swamp Thing? Hourman? Yeah…


Comic-Con: IDW Publishing to Reprint Forgotten Comics with ‘It’s Alive!’ Imprint

The new imprint, called It’s Alive!, will see former acquisitions editor at Dover Publications Drew Ford head up a line of restored reprints of classic material that has been out of print for some time (and, in many cases, forgotten by most). The line’s first title will be a comic book adaptation of Sax Rohmer’s 1919 novel Dope by Trina Robbins, which will be re-released with a new foreword by C. Spike Trotman and afterword by Colleen Doran.

Among comics publishers, IDW seems to have the strongest booklist. Keep an eye on them… their reprint editor bullpen is a Dream Team!

(And Mr. Ford, I’d like to see a reprint collection of Tales From The Heart.)


Comic-Con: DC’s ‘Rebirth’ Brings Sales Boost for Superhero Comic Line

“Even given our expectations for Rebirth, it has more than 100 percent exceeded our projections,” co-publisher Dan DiDio revealed. Although he shied away from offering specific figures, one detail explained the scope of the relaunch’s success: Retailer orders for releases in the first week of August were roughly equivalent to DC’s entire sales in April this year. “When you put a number up like that, you sit and you start to giggle,” he said, laughing. “You think, ‘Holy shit, this worked!'”

According to DiDio’s fellow co-publisher, Jim Lee, Rebirth differs from traditional comic book launches in that sales have been rising after the first issue, with the second and third issues increasing orders from retailers based on interest from customers. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” Lee said. He is an industry veteran who has worked at Marvel and Image and is attending his 30th Comic-Con this year.


Blame those endless Hall H lines on Jeff Walker, the man who brought Hollywood to Comic-Con

“Comic-Con was the perfect convention to grow like it did,” said Walker, a publicist and media consultant who lives and works in a rambling house and office in Laurel Canyon. “It had location. It had pros in the business fans wanted to meet. … It was the biggest tent in terms of fandom.”

Some, though, believe the mating of these two worlds has created a beast much too beholden to the Hollywood bottom line.

“Jeff brought movies to Comic-Con to fit comic book tastes,” said Len Wein, a comic book writer and editor known for creating Marvel’s Wolverine and DC Comics’ Swamp Thing and editing DC’s seminal series “Watchmen.” “But now [the convention is] this science-fiction fantasy show that acknowledges comic books. That’s because of Hollywood studio money and power. I think there’s friction here and there between the studios and the cons.”  He added, “I call Comic-Con the Bataan death march with Wookiees.”

My opinion: Comic-Con (and comics shops) evolved from science fiction fandom. Comic-Con has always been a science fiction convention, creating a big tent to attract a variety of fans, with a large emphasis on comics.


San Diego Police Department sniper monitors Comic-Con

San Diego Police Officer Tito Santos stands at the top of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront parking structure, surveying the surrounding area with binoculars, rifle at his side.“With terrorism across the globe — France last year — and Dallas and Orlando, you have to make adjustments,” San Diego Police Department spokesman Lt. Paul Connelly told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

Comic-Con creates a unique challenge in terms of security, with many fans attending in costumes replete with fake weaponry.


Comic-Con 2016: Moana heroine won’t have a love interest in the film

Musker and Clements made a point to say that Moana doesn’t have a love interest in this story and that it’s a film about the heroine finding herself.

The pair also revealed that Johnson sings in the film with a song specifically written for him by one of Moana’s composers, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton).

FINALLY!  This is the movie I hoped Brave would have been. Think it will make more money than Rogue One?


Google Play Books introduces Bubble Zoom

At San Diego Comic-Con 2016, we just announced Bubble Zoom: a new way to read digital comics on phones and tablets. Using the same technology to recognize objects in photos, we trained our system to identify speech bubbles in comics. Bubble zoom expands the speech bubbles of a comic one-tap-at-a-time, making them super easy to read on your mobile device. It’s much easier to read digital comics one-handed as Bubble Zoom automatically identifies and expands each speech bubble for readability. No more compromising the full-page experience or getting lost while panning around.

First, Google… they are called “speech balloons“.  More intriguing… this feature was part of CrossGen’s Comics on the Web reader, of which Disney owns the patent.

FIG. 10 illustrates a magnified dialog balloon. When the user rolls the cursor on the top of a dialog balloon, the selected balloon 1002 automatically magnifies its size to provide easy reading to the user without the user clicking the mouse. The user can select the size of the expanded dialog balloon through buttons 704.


It’s official. Comic-Con 2017 will take place the weekend after Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim! 10 days that will test the endurance of many journalists and fans…


…and now, pictures:

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