§ Mark Fiore won this year’s Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Already a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Fiore is the first to win for creating video content which run on the the San Francisco Chronicle’s web site, Newsweek.com, Slate.com, CBSNews.com, MotherJones.com, NPR’s web site and is currently being featured on online news sites ranging from KQED and Truthdig.com to The Progressive and DailyKos.com.

Ruben Bolling was the finalist.

§ The other day I mentioned that the matter of Comic-Con, the San Diego convention center expansion, and now the Chargers attempt at building a new stadium/convention center was really a matter of local politics. And it’s a little hard to parse these things from afar at times. However, here’s a juicy conspiracy theory about how the need for a new stadium and convention center might play out. I have NO IDEA if this has any resemblance to reality whatsoever, but since we like to play imaginary convention here at The Beat, let’s play along with this one. The report is from a Chargers blog and the evidence is from a Chargers podcast–and sports media is especially prone to baseless speculation. So once again, take it all with a LOT of salt. The basic idea is that the plan for a convention center expansion will never pass because it would need 66% of voters to approve a massive tax hike. Unlikely. However SD Mayor Kevin Faulconer still supports this plan, but NOT the idea for a Chargers downtown stadium with extra convention space downstairs, or the Convadium, as its being called.

According to the theory, support for a plan (convention center expansion) that will never pass may be deliberate:

During this week’s episode of the Squadcast, Ben Higgins told a story that he had heard from a source. The story was that the owners of San Diego’s downtown hotels don’t actually want a Convention Center expansion, contiguous or otherwise. They would prefer that Comic-Con and other big conferences continue to be forced to rent the hotel ballrooms out when they come to town. As such, it makes sense for these hotels to support a vote that they don’t believe will pass. The hoteliers (hotel owners) were responsible for a lot of the funding of Mayor Faulconer’s successful campaign, and so, he is indebted to them. Lucky for him, they’re on the same side as Comic-Con on this one….even if the two parties are actually hoping for different outcomes from the vote.

The contiguous Convention Center expansion bill is expected to be put up for a vote this June. What if it doesn’t pass? Well, according to this theory, when it fails to get the required votes, the Chargers’ scheme will look like the only way forward to get any improvements in downtown facilities.

The Mayor hopes that, since he tried it their way first, Comic-Con will not leave town and will instead support the Chargers’ plan for noncontiguous Convention Center expansion. He also hopes that the hoteliers don’t attempt stand in the way of a raised tourism tax, which would be used to add money towards a general fund (which is why it’s a 50% vote and not 66.6%) that could be used to pay for the stadium and/or hotel upgrades in the downtown area, although there isn’t much they’d be able to do except delay things in court. I think.

As preposterous as some of this backroom scheming sounds–I can’t see San Diego’s voters approving ANY kind of tax hike, 50% or 66.6%—it’s also discussed on the Voice of San Diego podcast. I don’t know if I’ll have time to listen to that this week, but maybe we can get Agent Torsten to dig in to all of this.

Is any of this true? Will San Diego ever get more convention center space and/or a new stadium for the Chargers? I’m sure some day the stadium part will happen, but by then we may be going to the movies to see Deadpool 5. Or dead.

§ In other convention news from the weekend, Wizard World Cleveland was a hit, , as reported by several outlets:

Thousands of pop culture fans gathered this weekend to meet the stars of film and television and the world of comics. And if things couldn’t get any better, a convention spokesman announced that the popular Wizard World convention will return to Cleveland in 2017 for the third consecutive year. Dates are scheduled for Feb. 24-26, 2017. So start working on your costume.

§ North Dakota’s Fargo-Moorhead Comic Con was also a success!

Organizers say there are activities for people of all ages. There are lego building and coloring contests, and even a party and dance for adults last night. Participants say one of the best parts is going to the lecture panels. “Like I meet new people and network with new vendors and learn things I didn’t know about new fandoms,” said Emily Beierle, Rebel Base Executive Officer.

This show will also be held again in 2017.

§ I also kept reading about the First Little Apple Comic Con in Manhattan and wondered why I hadn’t heard about a local show to me. And then I realized. Manhattan KANSAS.

For their first event, Smith said his goal was to have 500 people show up, and he even expected to take a loss for their first Con. Before the event started, 500 people had bought their tickets online ahead of time, Smith said. “As a first-year Con, 500 people would be a little better than breaking even,” Smith said. “We had 500 people before 11 this morning.” Smith said that although he thinks about 1,500-2,000 people attended the event, the number could have totaled near 3,000 by the end of the day. Smith said they hope to expand and get even more attendees next year.

§ Books Kinokuniya in Manhattan, NY is experimenting with variant covers for some limited edition graphic novels:

Over the next five months, Kinokuniya will offer trade paperback editions of four non-Japanese graphic novels with new cover art in limited runs. These will be sold in its stores in the U.S., the Middle East, and Asia. Variant covers are a marketing and promotional strategy often used in traditional American comics periodical publishing—some U.S. comic books have multiple covers for the same issue—although the tactic is seldom used for the book format.

§ In the wake of the Deadpool movies massive success, Fox is adding A NEW MARVEL MYSTERY MOVIE, but pushing back Gambit to 2017. Gambit, starring Channing Tatum, just got a director—Doug Liman—so there was no way it was going to come out this year. Fox announced the dates for two movies but no titles, as is tradition: October 6, 2017, and January 12, 2018. The 2017 film is believed to be Gambit but the other one? Deadpool 2? Or another Fantastic Four movie? What do y’all think? I have a hard time seeing a Deadpool movie—or any movie the studio likes—released in the deadzone of January but this is a new world we’re dealing with.


§ An article entitled 5 Times That DC Comicbooks Were Really Racist/Sexist covers comics of the 50-70s but includes the above panels. Oh dear. No way that could ever happen today!