§ First off, the Boston Comic Con—which had to be postponed after the Boston Marathon Bombings and subsequent manhunt—is being held this weekend, and many of the original guests are going. Hope it’s a success, as the postponement must have caused many financial problems for the organizers:
This year, the convention takes place on Aug. 3-4 at the Seaport World Trade Center, a 120,000-square-foot venue. The first convention was only 10,000 square feet. The convention was originally scheduled for April 20-21 at the Hynes Convention Center but needed to reschedule because of the lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombings. When Kanieff, who owns AutoBright Car Care Center, first developed the idea of Boston Comic Con, he approached Framingham business owners Jim Talbot and Jack LeFevre of Bedrock Comics. Bedrock Comics, on Rte. 9, has now become “the unofficial office” for Boston Comic Con, Kanieff said. “The Boston Comic Con vibration is alive and well at Bedrock Comics,” he added.
§ The origins of two seminal comics are remembered.
— Here’s an exhaustive history by Andrew Aydin of Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, the comic book that inspired John Lewis and many others to fight for their rights and make America the place it needed to be. (Aydin is the co-author of MARCH, Lewis’s comics autobiography.) Sometimes a comic can change the world:
As I came to learn, the story of Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story is tightly tied to the Civil Rights Movement’s early days. The true breadth of its history, of who made the comic book and what role it played, has been largely overlooked. Yet, it is a powerful example of an unconventional idea serving as an extraordinary source of inspiration.
— On a less momentous but still epochal level, that “On the internet no one knows you’re a dog” by Peter Steiner cartoon is now 20 years old—and remains the New Yorker’s most reproduced cartoon ever. Michael Cavna has the documentary version::
“I wasn’t interested in the Internet, exactly,” the Ohio-bred artist/novelist tells Comic Riffs, “but I did subscribe to an online service early on, more out of curiosity than anything else. I soon let the subscription lapse.”
§ Kickstarter is here to stay, but several recent projects have strained the trust of backers. The most notorious new one is the case of the promisingly titled board game The Doom that Came to Atlantic City. Developed by Lee Moyer and Keith Baker, a Kickstarter organized by Erik Chevalier raised $122,874. But after a year Chevalier admitted that he had spent all the money starting a game company and, whoops, the game isn’t going to come out.
After much deliberation I’ve had to make this decision. I’ve informed Keith and Lee and neither at all happy with this situation. Every possible mistake was made, some due to my inexperience in board game publishing, others due to ego conflicts, legal issues and technical complications. No matter the cause though these could all have been avoided by someone more experienced and I apparently was not that person.
No, you were not. There was quite a bit of outrage about this, as a more flagrant example of taking the money and running. However, the story had a happy ending for the game, anyway, as Cryptozoic, itself the beneficiary of a $3 million crowdfunder, has picked up the game:
Ever since the Forking Path cancelled the Kickstarter, we creators have been trying to find other ways to resolve the situation. A number of companies reached out to us and offered to print Doom, but neither one of us felt good about selling the game unless you were taken care of first. Fortunately, Scott Gaeta of Cryptozoic Entertainment felt the same way. We’ve entered into an agreement with Cryptozoic that will finally bring Doom to life… and more important, it will get you the game that you ordered. Cryptozoic will be providing you with a copy of Doom free of charge – and retailers, you’ll get as many copies as you were due from your reward tier. While they can’t provide all of the rewards offered by The Forking Path, Cryptozoic is evaluating the tiers and considering possibilities. You’ll receive an email from Cryptozoic in a few days with more details.
§ And, those people who bought SULLIVAN’S SLUGGERS internationally still haven’t gotten their books after two years, and are starting to get riled up; in a statement to another website, creator Mark Andrew Smith admitted he was a ninny:
People pledged for the Kickstarter knowing I had zero publishing experience and zero shipping experience. I built the Kickstarter by seeing what others were doing and most of what I did wasn’t based on calculations it was done intuitively and from looking at what others had done and what had worked for them and modeling those.
To be clear: admitting you’re a ninny is not a basis for ripping people off. OK? Gary Tyrrell has more on the Doom situation and the general chance for fraud:
I don’t think that Kickstarter is fundamentally broken (at least not yet — its use as a second-order financial instrument is something I’m still wary of), and I think that people don’t exercise enough due diligence, at least in some communities of Kickstarter. I’ve written before about the reasonably dismal record of people campaigning to fund dead-tree comics who have no experience (writing, drawing, publishing) and figure that a promise that the story will be so awesome you guys is enough to magically produce thousands of dollars — and that comics people generally don’t buy it¹. Conversely, I’ve learned that the boardgame sector of Kickstarter is (anecdotally, at least) willing to take flyers on new, unproved talent, perhaps because importing Eurogames is so bloody expensive, getting burned for US$20 or US$25 every third or fourth campaign may still get you more product for your expenditure than you would see otherwise.
§ Retailer story of the day: A new store on Staten Island! And this time it’s owned by a lady:
The shop features unique merchandise, including T-shirts, toys and collectibles as well as comic books. Visitors will find a range of other off-beat items, like Dr. Who salt and pepper shakers and Staten Island souvenirs. There is a selection of zombie-themed and sci-fi items as well. Ms. Ghigliotti said Hypno-Tronic Comics carries a wide range of comics — everything from “My Little Pony” and “Archie” to more adult genres that are, in her words, “very spicy.” “They’re both very interested in the world of comics,” said friend and publicist Linda Winkler. Varuolo had operated an online business earlier and done well, so they are going into the bricks and mortar venture feeling fairly confident that they can succeed, said Ms. Winkler. Ms. Ghigliotti had worked for the city’s Human Resources Administration for 28 years before deciding to pursue something else.
§ All of the news these days seems to be about movies, so here’s a photo roundup:
Sentinels! And Bryan Singer!
Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, maker of the Sentinels—oh yes, yes. This is from the Trask Industries viral website—all for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. For you mutie fans, lots to dig up.
Hm, A little Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Vibe there, but I guess enough time has passed to be nostalgia, right?
§ Karl Urban believes that a Dredd sequel can be made if the fans wish hard enough. And what Karl Urban believes, we believe:
He added, “I don’t quite know the full mechanics of how it breaks down in terms of what the real financial reality is to make a sequel to Dredd, but I am really heartened by the fact that just about every day, every single day, people come up to me and tell me how much they love that movie and how much they want to see more. We’ll see.”
§ Finally, that dismal sounding live action remake of AKIRA is back on track with director Jaume Collet-Serra. Hurrah? This version is set in New Manhattan and features white guys riding around on bikes, instead of the Tokyo original and appropriate cast. Will New York City be destroyed? If so, I give this movie an automatic thumbs down!