Leaked San Diego ComiCon Rumors!

Summer convention season is upon us, and most publishers take the opportunity to use the bigger cons to announce their plans for the next year.  We’ve managed to intercept some of them from the L.E.M.U.R. satellite orbiting 22,300 miles above the earth, and are happy to spoil their plans.  For the children.

  • DC

    DC will no longer publish comics. Instead it will create and sell lines of merchandise based on the art of Jim Lee. Look for a glut of Batman figures, figurines, and girl’s panties. Also expect more figurines envisioning DC’s famous properties in a hyper sexy anime style.

    • DC will launch Crisis on Finite Earths, except set in the Marvel Universe as the Wolverine of Earth-X and the Spider-Man of Earth 3 finally meet and push the Gwen Stacy of Earth-1 off a bridge.  Then the worlds collapse or something.  Look, it’s just time that Marvel did this, too. Trust us, we’re pros.
    • Feeling that Miracleman rights are a little too close to getting sorted, DC announces they will hire Neil Gaiman to finish his run for them instead of Marvel.
    • Rob Liefeld will become Deputy Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics, assisting Geoff Johns.  They will also collaborate on a new title, tentatively scheduled to be a reboot of Jack Kirby’s Sandman.
  • Marvel
    • Thor figures front and center this fall, as he becomes a single mom.
    • Marvel will incorporate hidden Mickeys in each issue of each title they publish. Readers are encouraged to document each occurrence and mail it in. Entries will be checked for accuracy and winners will be selected every six months for a free trip to Euro-Disney.
    • This will be Marvel’s last year at SDCC.  Going forward they will be Spotlight Guests at the brand new San Diego DisneyCon the last week of July.

    Marvel is being exceptionally tight-lipped about this Fall’s Namor War. Bleeding Cool reports that they’ve come up with a name and 6 promo images but have absolutely no idea what to do with them.

  • Dark Horse Comics
    • In honor of Concrete’s 26th anniversary Dark Horse Comics ALL Dark Horse publications will participate “Concrete Month.” Stories will revolve around and feature Paul Chadwick’s iconoclastic creation.
  • Image
    • In the largest crossover of it’s kind, Kurt Busiek’s Astro City will cross over with Ed Brubaker’s Fatale and Jonathan Hickman’s Manhattan Projects.  Nick Spencer’s Infinite Vacation will make an appearance, but 8 months late.
    • Top Cow has decided to drop the charade and simply call itself Tits Comics.
  • Boom!
    • Roger Langridge will take over as Editor-in-Chief, put snarks in every title.
  • Archie
    • Archie Comics will shock readers in November with “Who Killed Archie Andrews?”
  • Diamond Distributors
    • In an effort to improve customer service, Diamond will be breaking itself into 12 smaller independent distributors based on geographic region. Griff Moran, a spokesperson for Diamond, assures that these “Diamond Chips” will only be 1/12th as incompetent as the original monopoly. Expect this change in January of 2013.

Alan Moore will write issues 9-12 of Adventure Time. You heard it here first!

Quarter Bin Treasure Chest

One of my favorite things about cons is back-issue diving.  And one of my favorite things about that is discovering insane old Silver Age books.  I thought I’d share a few I found at Denver Comic Con.  None of these were a quarter, but they were all under $2.

I’ve never read a Blackhawk comic before, but that’s just Silver Age madness!

The superhero boom is obviously upon us!

I thought this was the same character from our, but I was mistaken.

A note from the editor right on the cover? Always a good sign.

I don’t have to explain why this is awesome, right? It’s Superman and he Guardians!

It gets even crazier when Hitler shows up! Oh damn, I ruined it.

Giant robot? Check. Creepy old-school sci-fi name? Double-check.


Secret identity hijinx!

Denver ComicCon, Day 3

Yup, there’s a TARDIS.

At this point on Sunday Denver ComicCon has wrapped up, bringing to an end a very, VERY successful convention.

I’ve mentioned a few times that the con is a benefit for Comic Book Classroom, but I don’t think I’ve stressed how many kids were running all over the floor.  It’s a great thing to see, kids coming up in comicdom, after so many years of comics being stuck in the lowbrow end of the entertainment spectrum.  And to that end it’s been such a family-friendly show, deliberately so. 

The other interesting thing about DCC is not only is it extremely comic-focused, it’s very CREATOR-focused.  As expected there were dealers about, and I managed to find some great bargains, but it wasn’t wall-to-wall back issues.  I’d say a good 40-50% of the floor space was filled with comic creators.  That leads to a much different vibe, because with less retailers I think there were more people TALKING about comics than other shows where we all slide from longbox to longbox with our pull lists, hardly taking time to speak to the people around us other than comparing scores.

Dalek Boy, Doctor Who Boy, Cyber MAN.

It’s a strange thing to say, since I spend roughly 40% of my waking hours thinking about comics, but I still left the convention center each night even MORE enthusiastic about comics.  (It doesn’t hurt that the Cellar Door anthology that FotB Andrew and I contributed to was out and available at the show, but it’s not even the main reason.)

With a little more time to let it sink in, I’m sure I’ve got some suggestions for how to make DCC better for next year, but it’s worth noting that the Denver Post is reporting that attendance could hit 20,000 for the weekend, making it the second-largest opening for a convention either.  (They also did the legwork and found out the floorspace is 100,000 square feet, so thanks to them for taking that off my plate.)  And as the con was wrapping up, the DCC organizers made the announcement that will keep guests talking about the Denver’s con throughout the next year: Stan Lee has been confirmed as a guest for 2013.

I’ve got to say I’m exhausted, and all I’ve done is work a couple 4-hour shifts and wandering the floor for three days.  The organizers, who have been living and breathing this con for the past 3 years must be ready to collapse.  But I hope the exhilaration of pulling of such a massive undertaking keeps them going long enough to grab a pint of Fantastic Pour and rest on their laurels for a bit.  But just for a little while, because we’re going to do this all over again in 12 months.  See you there.

This is my favorite picture from the con.

Denver ComicCon, Day 2

Sorry, bear. If you didn’t get your tickets in advance you’re all out of luck.

What a day at the Colorado Convention Center!  And to that end, I’m going to try something new and go with subject headings rather than fussing about with transition sentences.

The Lines

I was surprised that despite rumors of a huge sellout for today, ticket lines never looked insanely long.  In fact, I never saw them as long as the line I waded through last night.  And perhaps DCC noticed a lack of signage in the lobby, too, as today there were volunteers guiding people where they needed to be.  (Though I still think signs would be more efficient.)

How to Draw Phineas and Ferb. And a penguin.

The Work

This was my first time volunteering for a con, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  My assignment was crowd control for one of the meeting rooms, and since it was one of the smaller rooms everyone just came and went as they pleased so there wasn’t much to control.  So four hours of my day was essentially watching panels and monitoring batteries in the camcorder DCC was using to record the panels (hopefully they’ll show up online).

The Crowd

Despite obvious enthusiasm and a large turnout, I found everyone I ran into to be part of a pretty chill, relaxed group.  Everyone was polite, friendly, and psyched.  It’s a nice change of pace from San Diego, where everyone is rushing hither and yon with miles of floor space to traverse.  Truth be told, this is a great size for a con (I should really try to find the square footage).  It’s enough to keep you busy for a full day or more, but not so much it feels like you’ll never make it to everything.  I swear, in San Diego I feel like it takes a full day just to get the lay of the land, much less go anyplace and shop or talk to people.  Several creators (Barry Kitson, Mike Allred, Joseph Michael Linsner) had very long lines, which was nice to see.

Charging for Autographs

Neal Adams, art legend (and personal fav’rite)

It isn’t specific to this con, but it puzzles me so I’ll mention it.  The idea of charging for autographs confuses me a bit.  Sketches I understand since there’s work and craft involved.  But for just signing your name?  That seems a bit off to me.  I understand trying to encourage customers to buy your wares, but especially in the case of celebrity signings when there’s nothing to buy it seems unnecessary.

Perhaps I’ve just always been under the false assumption that signings are ways of promoting yourself and/or giving something back to the fans, but $20-$50 for a couple minutes of time just feels mercenary. 

Compared to James Marsters, the $5 it costs to get Neal Adams to sign a book is pretty minor, but Neal Adams is really the person who got me started down this path.  Not to pick on Mr. Adams, but he’s put me in a bit of a quandary.  I’ve been a huge fan of his for almost as long as I’ve been reading comics and getting a signed book would be really nice.  But at the same time, is that something we should pay for?  (I watched Jason Aaron sign about a foot of comics for one guy last night.  For free.)  To be fair, anything you buy in his booth gets signed for no charge, but quick head sketches on a color print will run you $70, and commissioning art can go for $500-$700 and UP.

What do you think about charging for autographs?  Any and all comments welcome, I’m curious what you think. 


Only time will tell, friends!

Spider-Man out of carved pumpkins. I haven’t found an organic place to put this yet, but damn if it isn’t amazing (pun intended).

Denver ComicCon, Day 1


I not sure why the bear is so angry…

After months of anticipation, we’re finally here: the first day of the inaugural Denver ComicCon.  I admit, I was a bit worried.  Ever since I moved out to the Mile High City, I’ve felt it’s the right size for a good comic convention.  Sure, there are a few hotel cons every year, but those are hit or miss.  The bad ones are REALLY bad, and even the good ones can just be back issues with the occasional local creator.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that — I love those cons! — but I’ve always thought Denver could support more.

While I hoped for the best, I wasn’t really sure what to expect on a Friday night — or at all — from the convention.  Would guests come?  Would talent come?  Let me say, whatever my expectations were they were far exceeded. 

We got off to a bit of a rocky start.  There’s little signage in the lobby, so it’s not obvious where to go for anything, from tickets to the convention floor entrance.  However, it just took a little wandering to find the ticket line.  I bought my ticket in advance, but the line to claim wristbands for entrance took about 45 minutes to work through.  It moved at a brisk clip, but if tomorrow is anything as busy as I expect (rumor has it the con has sold out of all 10,000 Saturday passes) there should really be twice as many ticket booths, along with line guides to make knowing where to go a bit easier.*

Fortunately it moves quickly.

When walking into the main hall the first thing you see is the Comic Book Classroom, a program that helps get kids into comics and reading.  This is really as it should be, since CBC is the beneficiary of all con proceeds, and the intent of the con is to make the kids the stars of the show.  And it works great!  The kids are front and center, drawing, making Captain America shields and other arts and crafts, and sitting next to other family-friendly creators.

Doin’ it for the kids of Comic Book Classroom.

Moving further in…Well, it’s everything you’d expect!  Not as big as a San Diego, obviously, but certainly bigger than the sadly-defunct Big Easy Comic Con (the only other “major” convention I’ve been to).  Everything is logically and easily laid out.  Artists Alley takes up most of the center-rear of the floor**, with celebrity signings along the back wall.

Jason Aaron will sign a LOT of comics for you! Also, be super-cool.

Off to either side are the dealers, everything from anime to steampunk gear to Star Wars squadrons to toy and comic dealers.  Oh, and the guy selling replicas of Batman ’66 gear, which I’m afraid to say may be my splurge of the con.

What I found most reassuring was the focus on comics.  Sure there were media and game people there, but comics really are the focus.  And to that end, there were far more creators of indie books and artists than even back issue dealers.  I find that somewhat disappointing as a collector, but exciting as a lover of the medium.  The floor felt more excited and engaged and everyone I spoke to was really excited about COMICS, rather than snagging an exclusive toy or catching a movie preview.

But because it is so heavily comic-focused there are some really top-notch creators present this weekend.  I got a chance to meet Jason Aaron (Ghost Rider, Wolverine, X-Men), Ben Templesmith (Fell, Wormwood), and Paul Horn (Cool Jerk).  Also present and on the to-meet list for the rest of the weekend: Mike Allred (Madman, X-Statix, I, Zombie), Gail Simone (Secret Six), James O’Barr (The Crow, ’cause I’m a secret goth) and Ethan Nicolle (Axe Cop!) 

And as I stagger to bed to try to prepare for another full day of conventioneering, I sleep soundly knowing the gaming tables will be running all night long.

Pretty remarkable costumes on the floor.

* I admit, I say this with a bit of self-interest.  I’ll be working the crowd control line tomorrow afternoon!

** Behind the Rock Band stage and the famous cars of stage and screen display.  Pictures to come, don’t you worry.

Denver Comic Con: A Legend is Born!

As regular readers know, I’ve been pretty pumped about the Denver Comic Con (two words, thank you) and Literary Convention, set to come to the Mile High City in June.  We got the chance to chat with Matt Deragisch, DCC’s Social Media Coordinator, to talk about the con, the literary conference, and try twisting his arm into giving us a guest exclusive.

L.E.M.U.R. – There have been plenty of hotel cons and indie gatherings in the Denver area, but as far as I know this is the first time anyone has tried to put together something of this size and scope.  Why is now the right time for a large-scale convention in Denver and how did DCC come about?

Matt Deragisch – Now is the right time for this kind of comic convention because the comic scene in the greater Denver area and Colorado at large has been brewing. It’s time to showcase that body of interest. There’s so many different angles and interests that come from the people organizing this convention, yet they all share the same passion for comics. That’s the place this convention is coming from as it’s all to support the Comic Book Classroom.

L.E.M.U.R. – Since the con is a fundraiser for it, what is Comic Book Classroom?

MD – Comic Book Classroom is a 6 week curriculum where students learn to read or advance their reading proficiency through the use of comics then are tasked to create a comic themselves. CBC uses state standards and has put together a curriculum that is being asked for across the state, and starting to be asked for outside the state faster than materials and teachers can be tapped. There’s clearly a need and a desire for this program and part of Denver Comic Con is to showcase that.

L.E.M.U.R. – Comic conventions are no longer only the province of San Diego or Chicago.  Other than a good cause, what will DCC offer that no other con has?

MD – Passion. We’re not another ReedPOP convention, or a simple vendor floor convention now in Denver. Those cons are great as well, but at the end of the day everything they’re doing is to throw a great show and make some money. We also want to have a great show, but we’re raising money for Comic Book Classroom, nobody behind this con will directly make any money from Denver Comic Con. We care about comics, we care about the program we’re promoting. We care about putting together the best show we can possibly give Denver. I think our attendees will feel that difference come June.

L.E.M.U.R. – Most people think of comic cons as just a fun weekend, but there’s also a literary conference attached to this one.  What was the motivation behind adding the literary component, and what is the goal of those three days? Is it a lit conference attached to a con or is it the other way around?

MD – The Literary Conference is its own animal. It takes place June 13-15, Wednesday through Friday, while the Convention will 15-17 Friday through Sunday. Dr. Christina Angel has been the real heart and soul of the Literary Conference. I think it’s great that we can have this component as well, to show  the literary potential held in comics. With this conference in one hand and supporting the Comic Book Classroom in the other, all being headed by Denver Comic Con, we really embody this full argument that comics are a noteworthy medium. We can get people reading with comics, they can be great forms of entertainment and fanfare, then we can show that they have the same potential for artistic and literary creativity as any other medium.

Good luck talking to Jason Aaron; I'll be the one hogging all his time asking questions about Shark Rider.

L.E.M.U.R. – What kind of community/retailer involvement do you have lined up?

MD – We are working very closely with local retailers to make sure this convention will be as successful as it can be. We know that our first line of interest, and our most vocal supporters will be all the local comic book stores. Ideally we can make a big enough spark locally to garner some new customers as well, and that’s what the retailers are hoping for, it creates a great synergy. We’re even working with locally started Drawer Boxes to make the most of what the local scene can offer.

We’re tied to the community beyond that though. We have ties to the Denver Drink and Draw, and to Homebrew Comics from Boulder. There’s a lot of different people from different walks of life working to make sure this convention succeeds.

L.E.M.U.R. – Which panels are you looking forward to the most?

MD – I’m going to break form on this question and answer this personally, as we’ll be covering so much fandom between our animation, media, and comic guests. If you look closely we have an amazing line of Vertigo talent and seeing if we can fit all of that talent in one room would be a blast. Also Zach Howard who’s a local talent did the art for an amazing IDW mini, “The Cape” and having the opportunity to hear him talk about that process is something I’m looking forward to.

Come get your mint-in-box Star Trek: The Next Generation Wesley Crusher action figure signed...

L.E.M.U.R. –  What kind of experience can fans expect on the convention floor? Publishers? Retailers? Pros?

MD – You’ll see the Retailers, Pros, local artists, and a little bit more. Despite everything we’re still a first year con. We’ve had a lot of interest and it’s been one of our hardest struggles to try and get publishers on the floor. We have a great deal lined up and are fitting in everything we can, I feel positive that we’ll have something lined up by the convention weekend. Something you can expect to see is the graduates of the Comic Book Classroom on the floor signing their work side by side with the pros.

L.E.M.U.R. – What are you most looking forward to showcasing?

MD – The community. Having lived in Colorado my entire life it always felt odd that Denver didn’t have a big comic convention. Having the chance to show that there is a community and there is an interest here in Colorado is huge, and it feels like a victory to see this whole event coming together.

L.E.M.U.R. –  There have been several big-name guests announced from all areas: Jason Aaron, Mike Allred, Billy West, Wil Wheaton…Can we convince you to tell us someone who hasn’t been announced yet?

MD – I wish! I really do, but when we announce and how we announce guests can be ‘a thing’ with agents and contracts involved.

While he’s already been announced I can say our most overlooked guest is Noah Van Sciver He has a graphic novel about Lincoln coming out soon called, “The Hypo”. He also has an amazing indy comic series named “Blammo”. He’s even still turning out weekly strips for the Westword, well worth your time to check out his work.

Denver Comic Con runs June 15-17 and the Literary Convention is June 13-15.  Tickets, guest lists, and more info can be found at denvercomiccon.com.  For the latest breaking info, follow @DenverComicCon on Twitter and hit their page on Facebook.

Last Dispatch: Wizard World New Orleans.

So…yesterday was a good day at the convention, but today was a great day. Like most other conventions, Sunday is the day to really get to talk to people and move around. There just aren’t as many people around. If you’re daunted by the price of the two day admission, but you want to get some autographs, some books, and chat up some pros, trust me when I say that the Sunday beats the Saturday. Everybody from looky-loos and casual fans to hardcore fans on a budget go on Saturday. Sunday is much more relaxed. So it was again this year at this con. There’s only one downside to Sundays: sketches are hard…if impossible to come by. I’ll post some time about getting sketches from folks, but for now suffice it to say that the artists are working during the second day to fill the obligations of the first…mostly.

But my general thoughts on attending a con are not why you’re here. You probably want to hear about the Stan Lee panel and the William Shatner Q & A.

As you might surmise from his exuberance in the media, Stan Lee looks like he’s genuinely having fun. His interactions with the crowd at the Q&A were warm and friendly. The man seemed to enjoy being there and interacting with the people. Sure there wasn’t anything revelatory today, (after so many years that wasn’t likely anyway) but it was a joy to listen to him speak about his career and his creations. As an English teacher, the greatest part of the session was his genial insistence on proper grammar. He corrected the moderator and a fan. It was a hoot! For an 89 year old man, there was a great deal of sharp give and take with the crowd. It was easily the best panel I’ve ever been to, and most likely ever will go to. AND I got to take a picture with him! It’s a rare thing for me to smile outside of laughing, but standing next to Stan Lee in that photo is a fool with a huge goofy grin.

The Shatner panel was a fairly different tone. Although he was standing in front of the table the entire time, there was a greater sense of distance between him and the audience. Mr. Shatner was entertaining, and he certainly knows how to work a room, but the tone was more like a monologue than a conversation. After he mentioned that he’s about to open a one-man show, I realized that this panel was probably a rehearsal for his show. Answers to questions were followed by anecdotes that didn’t always tie to the question. It felt like he had these set things he was going to say come hell or high water. Distance and all aside, it was an enjoyable panel.

Another thing worth noting about this year’s convention is the increased presence of costumes. There were some really impressive ones too. You’ll see a couple below taken by friend of the blog Southall. Remarkably, steam punk seemed to outnumber any other theme. There were quite a few Dr. Whos and Star Wars stormtroopers. Regrettably there were also a hand full of goddamn furries.

Well, that’s it until next year.

Dispatch from Wizard World: New Orleans

In its sophomore year, Wizard World New Orleans is working hard to impress. Last year they were testing the waters to see if New Orleans could support a convention. The problem was that everything about last year’s convention was small. Don’t get me wrong; I had fun last year. I got to meet Adam West, Walter Koenig, and Kevin Maguire, but the convention didn’t have much else going. Few panels and relatively meager offerings in terms of vendors. It was…small and unimpressive… especially if you’re trying to convince people to attend annually.

This year everything is bigger. It’s much more in line with my other experiences in the comic book convention world. For starters, there have been some impossibly huge draws as far as guests go. Both Stan Lee and William Shatner are appearing. In addition, George Perez, Norm Breyfogel, and Mark Texeira have tables in the artist’s alley. Last year, there was a dearth of comic vendors with backstock much less bargain books. This year it’s very different. Tons of boxes of books as well as no less than three booths with substantial $.5o boxes.

Unlike last year, there was also much more in the way of fan costumes. Although there was more in the way of steampunk than the law should allow, there was also fair representation of the comic book world… including a phenomenal Aquaman and Mera which I’ll post tomorrow.

The con has room to grow though. The main area for improvement needs to be the lack of presence by any of the major comic companies…or the minor ones for that matter. To my mind, it’s still essentially a local con until the companies make an effort at attending.

I’ll have picks and panel summaries tomorrow. For now, suffice it to say that this is a good second year in a convention’s life. Today was a good day... oh… and there was beer sold on the convention floor.