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1. SDCC ’15: Art of Comic-Con, Sergio Aragones, and Announcement from Mayor Faulconer

Covers of Souvenir Guides arranged into an artpiece

Covers of Souvenir Guides arranged into an artpiece

By Nick Eskey

It’s one week and counting until the geek fest known as San Diego Comic-Con, a celebration of popular culture in television, comics, movies, cartoons and more, begins. Once known as “San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con” which took place in the basement of U.S. Grant Hotel’s basement, the then three-day event has become the juggernaut that we all know today.

Goals and Ethics

Much of Comic-Con is self-contained within the convention center. In recent years however, festivities related and unrelated to the C.C.I. have spread outward into downtown. There will be many offsite parties and exhibits coinciding with everything.

The Art of Comic-Con is right now on display at the Downtown San Diego Library. Situated on the 9th floor, it encompasses artwork spanning the life of the convention. The room is a history of artistry that have either been used for Comic-Con, or featured in their accompanying souvenir guides. Upon entering the space, a collage of artwork used for the Comic-Con guides covers a wall and spills to the floor. As the convention grew, so did the scope of the guides. It gives a glimpse into how things have changed for the convention. Simpler artwork and font begin to evolve, becoming edgier and commanding attention.

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Logos throughout the years

The exhibit officially kicked off on June 20th with a reception featuring legendary cartoonist Sergio Aragones. In his usual fashion, he was more than willing to sign for autographs and pose for pictures.

Sergio Aragones, looking friendly as always

Sergio Aragones, looking friendly as always

Going clockwise, more art is displayed. A timeline shows how the logos changed through the years, featuring much of the whimsical toucan. Posters used for hyping big movies and shows that were coming out that particular year are on display, flanking the logo used for Comic-Con today made in Lego bricks. At the end of the opposite wall, a giant mural made in 2009 by Sergio himself to celebrate 40 years of the convention commands the space. And to the right of that, framed in glass is some of the original artwork used for the convention guides. One of my absolute favorites is Dave McKean’s rendition of Morpheus (“Sandman”) used for 2013.

Dave McKean's Sandman cover for 2013's Souvenir Book

Dave McKean’s Sandman cover for 2013’s Souvenir Book

In the center of the room however is probably the most exciting stuff. In class cabinets, over 60 artists are featured; the likes of Sergio Aragones, William Rotsler, Joyce Farmer, and more have their work on display. Work celebrating the rise and existence of Comic-Con. After all, San Diego Comic-Con came into being with the purpose of celebrating the artistry of those that entertain us with their work.

Art of Comic-Con

Looking at glass

Artists on display

Yesterday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer used this room as a platform for an announcement. He stated that Comic-Con’s stay has been extended into 2018. Not only that, the mayor assured that there are plans to expand the convention center.
It only makes sense that he’ll do what he can to keep the convention here. It brings millions of direct and indirect money to the city, and with the possibility that the Chargers football team will be relocating, we want to keep it here even more.

Art on display

Next week as many will be engaged at the convention, we should all keep our ears peeled. It’ll be very likely that the details of Comic-Con’s future and the conventions development will be talked about more in depth. When it comes down to it though, it’s not the money or the tourism that we care about, is it? As fans of various genres, we want to keep the convention here so we may continue to celebrate our love of geekdom as one community.

So if you have the time, I highly encourage you to check out The Art of Comic-Con, if at least to remind yourself what it’s all really about.

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2. *WEDNESDAY UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By: Nick Eskey

Welcome back toy enthusiasts to the last installment of exclusive Funko toys for the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con. Well known for their POP! line of figurines, Funko strives to “cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.”

Though there might be more Funko toys announced, these are the last of the exclusives for Comic-Con to be revealed. Remember, there will be no pre-buy option this year. If you see any merchandise that you want, then you need to buy them at the booth while supplies last.

Without further hullabaloo, here’s the last of the reveals:

Pop! Heroes: Batman v Superman - Batman v Superman 2-pack

Pop! Heroes: Batman v Superman – Batman v Superman 2-pack

What ever happened if the Man-of-Steel fought against the Dark Knight? With this Batman v Superman 2-pack, you can play-out this epic fight of fights for yourself. Maybe Batman’s batarang is made of kryptonite?

Pop! TV: Breaking Bad - Blue Crystal Heisenberg

Pop! TV: Breaking Bad – Blue Crystal Heisenberg

Still reeling over the series end of Breaking Bad? Well this Blue Crystal Heisenberg (funny I know) will keep your withdrawals at bay. Just don’t upset the guy. He looks a little trigger happy.

Funko is excited to announce the debut of Pop! Tees at this year's San Diego Comic-Con!

Funko is excited to announce the debut of Pop! Tees at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con!

Steering away from the toy merchandise, Funko will also be selling the wearable variety. These shirts feature some of their best selling figures. Much like their POP! toys, these tees are displayed in fun colorful boxes.

Pop! Tees: SDCC Freddy Funko

Pop! Tees: SDCC Freddy Funko

Paying homage to the company’s mascot, this Freddy Funko tee has been made exclusively for San Diego Comic-Con. See Freddy in all of his splendor as he walks around the convention with collectibles, admittance badge, and light saber in hand.

Pop! Tees: Masters of the Universe - Disco Skeletor

Pop! Tees: Masters of the Universe – Disco Skeletor

All hail Disco Skeletor! This Masters of the Universe villain in his variant colors demands respect as he attempts to once and for all conquer Castle Grayskull.

Pop! Tees: Freddy Funko 8-Bit Pixelated

Pop! Tees: Freddy Funko 8-Bit Pixelated

For you “old-school” types, this Freddy Funko 8-Bit Pixelated tee will be the perfect fit. Whether he’s on his way to rescue a princess, or jump on top of baddys’ heads, he’s sure to be super.

Pop! Tees: Ghostbusters - Burnt Stay Puft

Pop! Tees: Ghostbusters – Burnt Stay Puft

Is there anything worse than burnt marshmallows? A gigantic Burnt Stay Puft marshmallow man, of course! Instead of having to clean this traveler off of every surface, best to stick to this shirt.

Pop! Tees: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Skyline Group

Pop! Tees: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Skyline Group

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Skyline Group tee shows the sewer-dwelling crime fighters on top of two buildings.

Pop! Tees: Marvel - Black Widow Shield (Women's Sizes Only)

Pop! Tees: Marvel – Black Widow Shield (Women’s Sizes Only)

And last on our exclusives list, this Black Widow Shield tee flies onto the scene. Unfortunately for her male fans, this shirt is only available in women’s sizes. Though I’m sure this will not stop some fellas.

Thanks for faithfully tuning in everybody for these Funko updates everybody. I can’t wait to see all of you at Comic-Con ’15!

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3. SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By Nick Eskey

Funko, the company best known for their “POP!” line of figurines, will be releasing a plethora (great word huh?) of Comic Con exclusives this year. A new list of additions will be released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until June 29th, so make sure you check back for the latest news.

This year to the pleasure of some Con-goers, and dismay of others (especially resellers), Funko is not offering a pre-buy option. So those who want these hot toys better fight for their lives.

Without further ado, here’s a peak of what’s in store so far:

Pop! Movies: Penguins of Madagascar - Cheesy Skipper

Pop! Movies: Penguins of Madagascar – Cheesy Skipper

If you love those little black and white flightless birds of the Madagascar movies, this Cheesy Skipper is waiting for you. Complete with a bag of their favorite “cheezy dibbles,” this leader of the covert penguin group also is sporting a cheese flavor-dust motif.

Pop! Marvel: Ant-Man - Black Out Ant-Man

Pop! Marvel: Ant-Man – Black Out Ant-Man

Just in time for Marvel’s newest movie, Ant-Man makes the scene equipped with his black and red power suit. Get him before he shrinks out of sight.

Pop! Disney: Big Hero 6 - 6" Baymax Unmasked

Pop! Disney: Big Hero 6 – 6″ Baymax Unmasked

Need a personal healthcare companion who also knows how to kick major butt? This 6 inch Baymax Unmasked is your man. Err… robot. Don’t let this super-sized lover of hugs get passed you. Just look at those giant eyes!

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil' Gruesome (Green)

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil’ Gruesome (Green)

Hannah-Barbera cartoons have a place in animated history. This little blood sucker, affectionately named Lil’ Gruesome, is from the “Wacky Races” series. Changing it up from his normal purple to a truly gruesome green, this monster will be racing straight to Comic Con.

ReAction: Terminator 2 - T1000 with Hole in Head

ReAction: Terminator 2 – T1000 with Hole in Head

What’s better than an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator? A shape-shifting cop Terminator! From Terminator 2, we have this somewhat posable T1000 figure reminiscent of the toys sold in stores in the 70’s and early 80’s. Adding to the cool factor is the hole in the head from one of the movie’s most famous scenes.

Hikari: Universal Monsters - Antique Verdigris Metaluna Mutant

Hikari: Universal Monsters – Antique Verdigris Metaluna Mutant

And last on our Monday reveal list is this gem from classic Japanese cinema. This Metaluna Mutant is packaged in a black and gold box and limited to 500, so it’ll be a must get for all exclusive toy collectors.

Stay tuned and check back for our Wednesday reveal!

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4. *Sunday UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By Nick Eskey

Thanks for tuning in geeky guys and gals to this Sunday update of SDCC ’15 Funko toy release. Better known for their “POP!” line, Funko strives to “cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.”

Just as a reminder, this year Funko will not be taking pre-buys of their products. So if there’s any of these exclusive toys that you want to get, best to get them onsite or see if a lucky con-goer buddy will help you out.

Without further delay, here’s the addition to our list:

Pop! Disney/Pixar: Inside Out - Sparkle Hair Joy

Pop! Disney/Pixar: Inside Out – Sparkle Hair Joy

Disney’s Pixar, which arguably can be thanked for the recent revival of the Disney brand, has just recently released their newest movie “Inside out.” Involving the personified personality traits in people, this Pop figure from the movie features Sparkle Hair Joy. Don’t work, there’s enough anger and depression in the film to balance this perpetually happy and hyperactive lady.

Pop! TV: Sesame Street - 6" Flocked Mr. Snuffleupagus

Pop! TV: Sesame Street – 6″ Flocked Mr. Snuffleupagus

Whether he’s being an imaginary character that only a large yellow bird can see, or a real thing, this 6 inch super sized Snuffleupagus from the much beloved Sesame Street will be materializing to Comic-Con. Who doesn’t want to own a Snuffy?

Pop! TV: Once Upon A Time - Regina

Pop! TV: Once Upon A Time – Regina

Once upon a time, there was a toy who wanted nothing but to rule. Now with your help, this Regina from the Once Upon a Time series can rule your figure collection. And look, she’s got an apple for you too as a gift. How thoughtful!

ReAction: Arrow - Arrow Unmasked

ReAction: Arrow – Arrow Unmasked

Protecting your crime riddled shelves is this ReAction Arrow Unmasked. Complete with 1970’s style packaging and limited posable action, this fantastic plastic will be a must have.

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy - 6" Mossy Groot

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy – 6″ Mossy Groot

Guarding the galaxy is a big job. Thankfully, this Dorbz XL Mossy Groot is the humanoid plant you’ll be wanting for the job. Featuring a healthy growth of 6 inches, this happy creature will keep everything happily dancing along.

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy - 6" Nova Suit Rocket Raccoon

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy – 6″ Nova Suit Rocket Raccoon

And lastly, the big wooded Groot can’t go too far without his furry compadre. Dorbz XL Nova Suit Rocket Raccoon will be providing 6 inches of vinyl sharp tongued humor to your collection. Despite his gruff exterior, look how cute he is!

Thanks for tuning in, and see you fellow nerds for our next installment. Stay tuned!

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5. *WEDNESDAY UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By: Nick Eskey

It’s that time again, legion of toy lovers; The Wednesday update for the Funko toy exclusives for San Diego Comic-Con 2015.

Well known for their super popular POP! Toy collection, Funko strives to “cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.” As a reminder, there will be no pre-buy option available this year. So if you need or want any of these beauties, best to pick them up at the Funko booth, or see if you can bribe a random person (we do not condone the practice of bribery).

Not to hold out any longer, here are the latest additions:

Pop! Star Wars: Princess Leia [Boushh Unmasked]

Pop! Star Wars: Princess Leia [Boushh Unmasked]

Though not one of her better remembered ensemble, this Star Wars Princess Leia [Boushh Unmasked] POP! is still pretty fetching. You’ll wish this bounty hunter was looking for you.

Pop! Marvel: Avengers: Age of Ultron - Grinning Ultron

Pop! Marvel: Avengers: Age of Ultron – Grinning Ultron

Just when you thought you saw every scary robot to date, this Grinning Ultron decidedly takes the cake. We don’t know why he’s so happy, but let’s hope we never find out. He’s sure to give a few nightmares.

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil' Gruesome (Red)

Pop! Hanna-Barbera: Lil’ Gruesome (Red)

Before we know it, we’ll have an army of these Lil’ Gruesome figurines in a rainbow of colors. Joining his green and yellow brothers, this Red Hannah-Barbera character is my favorite so far.

Pop! Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy - Nova Rocket with Potted Groot

Pop! Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy – Nova Rocket with Potted Groot

At the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, did you find yourself a little misty eyed? No? Just me? Well… I’m sure this Nova Rocket with Potted Groot will find a way to tug at those heartstrings.

ReAction: Terminator 2 - T1000 with Hook Arms

ReAction: Terminator 2 – T1000 with Hook Arms

Any machine that can become liquid, a solid, or take the shape of any person is pretty sweet. This T1000 figure from the Terminator 2 movie is sporting his kick-butt Hook Arms, as well as vintage-esque packaging from when toys were simpler than the crazy articulated ones of today.

Vinyl Idolz: Ghostbusters - Marshmallowed Egon Spengler

Vinyl Idolz: Ghostbusters – Marshmallowed Egon Spengler

And lastly, this Vinyl Idolz from the Ghost Busters movie is a gooey exclusive. Marshmallowed Egon Spengler comes with his ghost containment pack, ghost detector, and white marshmallow splotches. I hope that stuff can come out in the wash.

As we’re getting closer and closer to San Diego Comic-Con, expect a few more toy leaks on the way. Stay tuned doers of all things nerdy!

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6. *SATURDAY UPDATE* SDCC ’15 Exclusive Funko Toy Announcements

By: Nick Eskey

Hello again toy enthusiasts, and welcome to another installment of San Diego Comic-Con Funko releases! You know Funko, the purveyors of the highly popular POP! series of collectible figurines, who also vow to “cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.”

Monday will be the last announcement for San Diego Comic-Con exclusives, so make sure to check back soon. And remember, there is no pre-buy option this year. So if you see any of these toys you want to get, you’ll have to visit the booth while supplies last, or cry into your Lean Cuisine.

Without any more procrastination, here’s the next installment:

Pop! TV: Arrow - The Arrow: Unmasked

Pop! TV: Arrow – The Arrow: Unmasked

We can’t get enough of the show “Arrow.” Feed the hunger with this ruggedly-handsome Arrow: Unmasked. His arrow will go straight… to your heart!

Pop! Disney: Big Hero 6 - Transluscent Glitter Emoticon Baymax

Pop! Disney: Big Hero 6 – Transluscent Glitter Emoticon Baymax

How would you rate the “kawaii” factor of this toy? The Translucent Glitter Emoticon Baymax from Pixar’s “Big Hero 6” always rates a big smiley face in my opinion.

Pop! Movies: Minions - Gone Batty

Pop! Movies: Minions – Gone Batty

Can you imagine you’re life without a minion? Not only do they get the menial tasks done while you are plotting world domination, but they do it in historical style. Joining the large POP! minion collection is this Gone Batty. Wearing a purple cloak and showing off some pointy fangs, this blood sucker should be flying into your hands.

Pop! Disney: Tangled - Frying Pan Rapunzel and Burnt Pascal

Pop! Disney: Tangled – Frying Pan Rapunzel and Burnt Pascal

Not too long ago, every Disney princess would be the equivalent of a damsel in distress; but not this feisty lady. Frying Pan Rapunzel and Burnt Pascal are ready for a fight. She’s got cookery, and she knows how to use it!

Dorbz: Marvel - X-Force Deadpool

Dorbz: Marvel – X-Force Deadpool

The impending “Deadpool” movie has comic fans squealing with delight. Satisfy your Deadpool cravings with this X-Force Deadpool, dressed in his alternative grey onesie. If you don’t get it… well I just don’t know what this anti-hero will do to you. So, why chance it right?

Dorbz: Guardians of the Galaxy - Mossy Groot

Dorbz: Guardians of the Galaxy – Mossy Groot

And rounding it up, from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” we have this Dorbz Mossy Groot. We’ve already seen this fella on our list, but instead of the XL we are getting the regular size. Options are good to have.

Thanks for tuning it guys and gals, and don’t forget to come back for our last exclusive Funko releases post!

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7. SDCC ’14: Beyond the Convention Center

sdcceventspic

by Hannah Lodge

For some, the real glamour of San Diego Comic Con lies beyond the confines of the convention center. For four days, the Gaslamp quarter is transformed into an outdoor festival, with parties, guest appearances, live music, free food, and entertainment happening in parallel of the announcements and panels held behind closed doors. Here’s a sampling of unofficial events happening outside of the convention center halls.

Thursday (or ongoing)

Gotham Zip lining: From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday until Sunday, fans will have the opportunity to channel their inner batman and zip line (130 feet long, 30 feet h
igh) through Gotham-esque landscape. Souvenir photos will also be available, and the event will take place between the convention center and the Hilton Bayfront. If the experience leaves you too exhausted to walk home, Uber will also be featuring Gotham-themed cars to pick passengers up for free rides. To hitch a ride, select the Gotham PD under the Uber slider in the app or follow uber_sd on twitter.

Nintendo Gaming Lounge: From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, the Marriott Marquis and Marina Ballroom will feature the Nintendo Gaming Lounge. Featured games include 3DS features like Super Smash Bros, Sonic Book and Siesta Fiesta and Wii U titles like Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad, Sonic Book and Skylanders Trap Team. Admission is free and no badge is required.

BioWare Development Team & Dragon Age Inquisition: From 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Thursday, Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry Lounge at 379 4th Ave (Jolt N’ Joes) will host coffee & donuts with the BioWare Development team and will demo the newest installment in the Dragon Age Series, Inquisition, which releases this fall. Demos will continue throughout the weekend. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Borderlands Laser Tag: From 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nerdist and 2K Games team up to bring Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel laser tag to Petco Park. The event will also feature an oxygen bar and live events. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Adult Swim Fun House & Dome Experience: Starting 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Adult Swim will feature interactive experiences at Petco Park parking lot. The Fun House is a giant castle that will force guests to crawl, side, and sing their way through. The Meatwad Dome Experience features a two-story, 40-foot Meatwad planetarium with animated content that requires a “this event has loud music, flashing lights, and  images that could trigger seizures” caution on the label. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Jay & Silent Bob Podcast: At 5 p.m. Thursday, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes will perform a live podcast to celebrate the release of their new book. The event takes place at the American Comedy Co. at 818 B 6th Ave. Tickets are $35 and include a signed copy of the book.

MTV Fan Fest & Fandom Awards: At 5 p.m. Thursday, Linkin Park will perform at Petco Park for MTV’s Fandom Awards. Entrance is free but requires a Comic Con badge.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Welcome Party: From 8 -11 p.m. Thursday, the CBLDF party will feature exclusive comics and a chance to mingle with creators like Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Scott Snyder, Chris Burnham, Nick Dragotta, Nick Pitarra. The party will also feature original artwork and an alchemy/fragrance lab from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Suggested donations of $10-$20 at the door.

NerdHQ Fan Party: Starting at 9 p.m., the annual Nerd HQ will kick off with a fan party at Petco Park. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Friday

Cape/Cowl/Create: From 12 -7 p.m. Friday, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment will celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary with an art exhibit at the Hard Rock Hotel. The exhibit will include the unveiling of life-size recreations of The Dark Knight’s cowl headpiece and cape from the upcoming video game as well as talent appearances, including Zack Snyder, Will Arnett, Mister Cartoon, and Buff Monster.  Some of the art pieces will be auctioned for charity. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Boxtrolls Food Truck: Though the truck will be available throughout the Con, at 1 p.m. the truck will be at the Petco Park Interactive Zone to feature Bug Chef David George Gordon, who will demonstrate his edible insect creations. Event is free and no badge is required.

Appleseed Alpha Screening: At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sony will screen the animated movie Appleseed Alpha, from the author Masamune Shirow (creator of Ghost in the Shell). The event is free but first-come-first-serve (RSVP on EventBrite recommended) and will take place at Reading Cinemas.

Danny Elfman Concert: At 8 p.m. Friday, composer Danny Elfman will perform in a concert featuring the scores from Tim Burton movies. Highlights include Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Big Fish, and The Corpse Bride. Tickets are between $28 – $90 and the event takes place at the Embarcadero Marina, directly behind the convention center.

Adam Savage Incognito: At 9 p.m. Friday, Tested.com is throwing a celebration for cosplayers, featuring Mythbusters star Adam Savage. Savage will demonstrate some of his most memorable cosplay and will reveal a meticulous replica of one of his favorite movie props of all time.  The event is 21+ and will be held at Side Bar, 536 Market St.

Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Jammy Party: Adult Swim’s Tim & Eric will feature a first look at their new series, Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories, from 11 pm – midnight on Friday. The screening will take place at Petco Park’s parking lot (at the bottom of the pedestrian bridge) and requires pajamas and a free RSVP (RSVP on Adult Swim’s Comic Con page).

Saturday

Enhance Cosplay with Greg Nicotero: From 12 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Walking Dead special FX designer Greg Nicotero will demonstrate custom make-up designs for fans at the Super Hero HQ cosplay lab, located at the Courtyard by Marriott (100 Park Blvd). Free make-up touch-ups will also be available through the convention at the lab.  The event is free and open to the public.

George R.R. Martin Q&A: From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, George R.R. Martin will conduct a public Q&A at the Super Hero HQ at the Courtyard by Marriott. The event is free and open to the public.

Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival: From 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, beer aficionados will gather at the Embarcadero Marina Park North to sample from more than 40 breweries. The event will also feature food trucks, a costume contest and live music. Tickets are $45 ($20 for designated drivers).

ZombieWalk: Returning for its 8th year at Comic Con, the Zombiewalk will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday and starts at Children’s Park (corner of Island & 1st Ave). The event is free and open to the public.

Norma Reedus Q&A: From 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Norma Reedus (a.k.a. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead) will do a live Q&A at Super Hero HQ in the Courtyard by Marriott. Reedus will also judge cosplay costumes and select and crown the King and Queen of Cosplay.  The event is free and open to the public.

The Walking Dead Escape: From 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Walking Dead fans can purchase tickets for the survival-driven event, which forces Survivors and Walkers to climb, crawl, slide and hide through brutal scenarios, to either live or become infected.  Tickets are $95 or walkers and $50 for survivors and the event takes place at Petco Park.

Doctor Who Comic Creators Signing: From 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, writer Nick Abadzis, artist Elena Casagrande, cover artist Alice X Zhang and editor Andrew James will be on-hand at the Comickaze store, 5517 AB Clairemont Mesa Blvd. In addition to signings, the event will feature quizzes and a Doctor Who costume contest.

Thrilling Adventure Hour & Welcome to Night Vale Cross-Over Show: TAH & Welcome to Night Vale will be teaming up at 8 p.m. Saturday at Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway. The event will feature Marc Evan Jackson, Craig Cackowski, Hal Lublin, Mark Gagliardi, and show creators Ben Blacker & Ben Acker. Tickets range from $24 – $122.

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8. SDCC: Dynamite Nabs Will Eisner’s The Spirit

Spirit_Archives_Vol_1_1.jpgby Brandon Schatz

One day before the madness of this year’s San Diego Comic Con officially begins, Dynamite has announced their future intentions for Will Eisner’s The Spirit.

Most recently, the character has been a tangental part of the DC Comics line, starting with a ongoing originally helmed by Darwyn Cooke in 2006, before moving the character over to their ill-fated First Wave line alongside pulp heroes such as Doc Savage. He also briefly appeared in a Rocketeer crossover at IDW through an agreement with DC, who still held the rights for publication at the time.

This addition to Dynamite’s line makes perfect sense, as they seem to be building quite a library of pulp heroes. The company’s predication for those heroes to interact in various mini-series should make for some interesting content down the line. As it stands, we are still waiting on news as to who will be the creative team on any new book, as well as what form such a series would take.

More on this as it develops.

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9. The Beat Podcasts! – SDCC ’14 Day 2: Don Rosa, Eleanor Davis, Lucy Knisley & Archie Comics

logo-pod-more-to-come-1400.pngLive from San Diego Comic Con, it’s More To Come! Publishers Weekly’s podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In part two of More To Come’s San Diego Comic-Con special, Calvin Reid talks to Don Rosa about Scrooge McDuck, European fans and Carl Barks; Eleanor Davis on her new book How to Be Happy; and Lucy Knisley about her new book An Age of License. Meanwhile, Heidi MacDonald interviews Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito and sr. v-p Alex Segura about Life With Archie, dead Archie and zombie Archie. All this and more from Publishers Weekly’s More To Come!

Listen to this episode in streaming here, download it direct here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the PublishersWeekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

 

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10. The Beat Podcasts! – SDCC ’14 Day 5: Chuck Palahnuik

logo-pod-more-to-come-1400.pngLive from San Diego Comic Con, it’s More To Come! Publishers Weekly’s podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In part five of More To Come’s San Diego Comic-Con special podcast, Calvin Reid interviews award-winning author Chuck Palahnuik about his decision to write the sequel to his hit ‘Fight Club’ in comic book form, and the comics professionals who helped it happen. This has been San Diego Comic-Con 2014 from Publishers Weekly’s More To Come!

Download this episode direct here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the Publishers Weekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

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11. The SDCC Talk Back: Return to Onsite Sales, and More Disability Resources

President of the Comic-Con board of directors, John Rogers, returns for the Talk Back.

President of the Comic-Con board of directors, John Rogers, returns for the Talk Back.

By: Nick Eskey

Signifying the end of the four day odyssey that is SDCC is the Comic-Con Talk Back with John Rogers (president of the Comic-Con board of directors). As it normally does, the room has a line that runs the length of the room all the way to the back, and then some. The pressure is thick in the room. A mini argument even breaks out in the middle of the line before the Talk Back begins. Last year, the main points of discussion were the crass behavior of security, and Hall H issues in general.

Some of the more minor things that were mentioned maybe once or twice were; the ridiculousness of how Ace Parking decided to sell parking spots during the duration of comic-con instead of on a day-to-day basis, trying to add real-time line numbers to the online ticket queues, and how ill-informed the security can be. “If you have a solution for well informed security guards, I’d love to hear it,” said John looking over his glasses. Another thing was the bathroom passes given to those in Hall H. “How can you keep track if the same person is returning with the pass?” Rogers agreed to it, but reminded “We tried scanning people’s passes one year to keep track, but the process took too much time. I wish there was a simple way.”

A great number of discussion was over the frustrations regarding the online registration, and that people wanted a return to the onsite badge sales. John responded by saying, “Unfortunately because of the growing popularity of the convention, onsite sales would only increase wait times for everyone.” Despite this fact however, those who proposed the return stayed resolute to their request. One woman went so far as to ask, “well how about next year can you get me extra passes? I’ve been trying to get other family members some tickets, but I don’t understand the website. What can you do for me?” Rogers looked surprised, and went to say, “There’s a large demand and not enough to meet it. I don’t know what I can do.” “What about the press and the professional people? They get passes? What can you do for me?”

For those that can’t get into Hall H, or rather not brave the lines, there is a room designated for a Hall H play back. One of the downsides to it however is the lack of exclusives. Studios ask for certain things to be only viewable in the hall, so as to lessen the risk of recording. One man proposed that John give the studios an ultimatum. That they allow exclusives in the play back room, “or else. Comic-con  doesn’t need them. They need comic-con.” “We are about being fair and equal to everyone,” said Rogers. “How fair would it be if we don’t let 6’000 people get to see it because 900 people can’t?”

For serious issues, there certainly were some big ones this year. An observation of mine was that there were quite a bit of handicapped individuals lined up this year compared to las. And for good reason, for all of them had something to say. A couple points were that the comic-con website was not as insightful as some of them would have liked to, sometimes even confusing to the point of frustration. A large issue was especially the handicapped line for Hall H. As one gentlemen put it, “we didn’t have provisions such as the able bodied people did, and we weren’t given wristbands.” At the part about the wristbands, Rogers looked surprised. “They didn’t give you wristbands?” he asked. About two other people in the crowd also seconded it. “It wasn’t supposed to be that way,” answered Rogers. Apparently a line moderator deemed it “useless” for those in the line to have wristbands.

For Hall H, any handicapped person is allowed an attendee to help them traverse the lines and crowds. But one oddity that one woman brought to light was how the disabled individuals were then being separated from their attendees when led in the hall, and those left behind had to wait. “By the time I was allowed in, it was an hour and a half later,” said the woman. She also observed most of the attendees weren’t even allowed to sit next to those they came with. Rogers apologized and full heartedly agreed that in no world should something like that happen, and also would find out what was going on.

Though not everything was complaints. There was quite a bit of praise over the issuance of wristbands for the Hall H line. “It made it so much easier to counter people cutting when others have been waiting all day.” One man commented on how he wished he could grab multiples for those that couldn’t be with him at the time, but John pointed out that if they allowed this, “there’d be the risk of people selling them to others.”

It was good to see that one of the main points from last year was surely worked on. I maybe heard of one guard issue this year. I personally could see that they were more professional in their manor. But the Hall H issue is still on the table. In fact, it might be getting worse. And with all the issues that arose this year with disabled services to compound it, there was definitely a disconnect somewhere.

3 Comments on The SDCC Talk Back: Return to Onsite Sales, and More Disability Resources, last added: 7/28/2014
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12. Baseball, Comic-Cons, and Paying Volunteers

Minimum WageYesterday The Mary Sue published an article noting that for-profit comic-cons might be violating federal labor law by not paying minimum wage to workers improperly classified as volunteers. However, a recent case involving Major League Baseball shows how commercial comic-cons could beat the tag.

The use of free labor by for-profit companies has become a hot issue in recent years. Internships have become a particularly touchy topic – class action lawsuits by former interns have prompted some companies to end their unpaid internship programs, although there are at least a couple high-profile cases on appeal in which companies are challenging the Department of Labor’s standards for determining whether an intern is actually an employee.

Given how costly it can be for a company to fall afoul of federal law on this issue, it is indeed prudent for the companies that run comic conventions to assess whether it is legal for them to use unpaid volunteers. This is especially conventions run by for-profit companies, since charitable nonprofits enjoy a special exemption from minimum wage and overtime requirements in regard to volunteers. The Mary Sue has once again performed a service to the community in calling attention to this important issue.

With that in mind, in making this analysis it’s important to be aware of both the law’s requirements, the specific practices of each company, and the exemptions that are available outside the one given to charities.

First, since conventions produced by ReedPop — NYCC, ECCC, C2E2 — were mentioned in the post, it’s worth noting, as several “volunteers” have stated in the original comments thread and a related Reddit thread, that ReedPop pays volunteers minimum wage as official crew. Calling people volunteers in this context is a great way to foster a sense of community and community — one of things for which Lance Fensterman and company are to be commended is the way that they have fostered this communal sensibility while maximizing return on investment.

But not every for-profit comic-con that brings on volunteers gives these workers compensation – in fact, depending on the convention, you might actually be required to pay a fee for the privilege of helping the company out! Although this may seem on its face like a violation of federal law, there’s a legal loophole that has enabled countless commercial businesses to use volunteers in the standard sense of term.

Over the years the federal Fair Labor Standards Act has accumulated dozens of exemptions for a wide range of ventures, from homemakers making wreaths to C-level executives. For a company that operates a program taking place within a limited period of time during the year, there is one exemption in particular that catches the corporate attorney’s eye: minimum wage and overtime requirements do not apply to “any employee employed by an establishment which is an amusement or recreational establishment…” that operates no more than seven months a year or meets a financial test as to revenue generated at different times of the year. (29 USC 213(a)(3))

There are several cases that show how a commercial comic-con can take advantage of this provision, but the ruling perhaps most on-point was issued just a year ago in the Southern District of New York – coincidentally, the same federal district in which the New York Comic-Con takes place. Chen v. Major League Baseball Properties was brought by a former volunteer for the 2013 All-Star Week FanFest at the Javits Center (!), and the volunteer made arguments similar to those made in the intern lawsuits: volunteers at the event met the criteria for employee status, and thus Major League Baseball should have paid them at least minimum wage.

Major League Baseball — and the court — disagreed. As the court observed, although Major League Baseball operates all year long, Department of Labor regulations distinguish an entire enterprise from an “establishment,” which specifically refers to “a distinct place of business.” The exemption was put in place to accommodate seasonal ventures employing people for discrete periods of time in activities that might offer “non-monetary rewards.” The court concluded Major League Baseball’s FanFest was analogous to the amusement and recreational activities in view when legislators originally enacted the exemption, and the plaintiff’s federal as well as state law claims were summarily dismissed.

The plaintiff has appealed the district court’s ruling – in fact, it was argued in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today, March 30 – but as noted above, there are a number of cases in other circuits that have reached similar conclusions. What’s more, even if the appeal succeeds, the main case being cited in opposition focuses on aspects of one baseball team’s operations that are distinguishable from a comic-con. For instance, while the team in question utilized its stadium for events throughout much of the year, comic-cons typically take place in rented facilities for discrete periods of time.

The analysis gets somewhat trickier for an entity operating multiple conventions. For instance, let’s assume that Wizard World doesn’t pay its volunteers — there’s nothing about compensation in the volunteer information packet, at least; Wizard World volunteers don’t even get munchies or parking reimbursements. The fact that Wizard World operates year-round could be grounds for arguing that the seasonal establishment exemption doesn’t apply, but there are also clever counter-arguments and organizational strategies that could persuade a court to disagree. Others have tried and succeeded with even more daunting facts – which, on a related front, is why the NCAA doesn’t have to pay taxes on ads sold for March Madness.

The seasonal exemption has long been a lifeline for companies offering an opportunity to volunteer for ventures that operate on a limited-term basis, such as amusement parks, outdoor swimming pools, Oprah’s Life You Want Tour, and New York Fashion Week. If you are an unpaid commercial comic-con volunteer who believes a lawsuit for back wages would be a clear home run, expect Major League Baseball Properties and cases like it to be deployed to strike you out.

1 Comments on Baseball, Comic-Cons, and Paying Volunteers, last added: 3/31/2015
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13. Aspen Comics Announce SDCC Plans

 

That time of the year my geeks love is almost here. SDCC is so close. Before everyone starts complaining about the lines and the availability of soft pretzels all over San Diego, Aspen Comics are letting fans know what they can expect to see and hear about on pop culture’s grandest stage.

This October, the publisher [Aspen Comics] will debut the action/adventure saga set in Feudal Japan, Oniba: Swords of the Demon, by Paolo Pantalena (Fathom Blue, Red Hood/Arsenal) and Vince Hernandez (Fathom: Kiani, Charismagic). This all-new Aspen series will center around Yukiko, a deadly ronin on a quest to eradicate the ancient demons plaguing her land, as well as her past. The zero issue will feature two covers by Pantalena, and the series will include covers by Pantalena, as well as Mahmud Asrar (All New X-Men), Joe Benitez (Lady Mechanika), Laura Braga (Witchblade), Eric “Ebas” Basaldua (Fathom Blue), Mirka Andolfo (Damsels in Excess, Vampirella), Sabine Rich (Executive Assistant: Assassins) and more to be announced. This will be Aspen’s first standalone zero issue released in over three years.

Oniba_Paolo Oniba_MahmudAsrar ONIBA_00_Paolo

 

Aspen will reveal a new series from creator and writer David Wohl (Executive Assistant: Iris, Witchblade, Aphrodite IX) featuring art by veteran Aspen artist Giuseppe Cafaro (Fathom: Kiani, Trish Out of Water). This all-new Aspen title will be Wohl’s first new series since the popular Executive Assistant: Iris property debuted. The story centers on a young woman given a rare and powerful gift that soon turns out be something far more dangerous than she could ever imagine.

 

This Fall, Aspen will further expand Siya Oum’s hit title, Lola XOXO, with the anticipated second volume from creator Oum. Following the conclusion of the first spin-off mini-series, Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam, Oum will hint that the series will see even more expansion in the upcoming year, with new spin-offs and other Lola XOXO products in the works. November will also see the trade paperback releases of Lola XOXO: Volume One and Lola XOXO: Wasteland Madam Volume One.

Lola_Vol2 LolaXOXO

 

2016 will also see the introduction of Aspen E-Book Novellas, beginning with the release of a new Executive Assistant story by writer Heather Finley (Executive Assistant, Zombies vs. Cheerleaders) featuring a young assassin named Zinnia, and her love affair that threatens her future—as well as her present.

 

Aspen Comics is expanding upon the first two releases from their Aspen Novels line of prose novels, “The Lost Spark” and “Seven to Die,” with a third new novel, “The People Vs. Planet Earth” by writer Vince Hernandez. This intergalactic drama will feature an alien forced to defend the planet Earth from imminent extermination at the hand of a much more advanced planet.

 

Aspen’s planned graphic novel release schedule for the final quarter of 2015 and into 2016 will see over eleven new and returning out-of-print trade paperbacks released via the publisher’s commitment to bolster their trade paperback shelf presence, beginning with the Lola XOXO trades, Jirni: Volume One, Charismagic: Volume One, Michael Turner’s Soulfire and Fathom sold out volume one and two reprints, as well as Soulfire: Volume Two for the first time ever. New trade paperback releases include Psycho Bonkers: Volume One and The Four Points: Volume One.

 

Aspen will be premiering new Aspen Convention Exclusive Hardcover Editions of their popular series at this year’s Comic-Con, beginning with the release of Michael Turner Presents: Aspen The Extended Edition hardcover by Geoff Johns and Michael Turner and the Damsels in Excess hardcover edition by Vince Hernandez and Mirka Andolfo. These convention-exclusive editions will be highly limited to 50 copies each.

 

Aspen’s Big Dog Ink imprint will see the conclusion of the re-mastered Shahrazad, Critter and Legend of Oz: The Wicked West series this year and the publisher will begin debuting the all new Aspen-BDI titles in 2016, as well as the first ever BDI Annual Issue featuring a selection of new stories from various BDI properties and creators. The publisher will debut the first ever Art of BDI: Volume One at this year’s Comic Con at the Aspen Comics Booth #2321, featuring artwork from Big Dog Ink’s large assortment of talented artists including J. Scott Campbell, Jen Broomall, Mike Debalfo, Eric “Ebas” Basaldua and more. BDI publisher Tom Hutchison will be on hand at the Official Aspen Comics Panel 2015 to discuss the imprint’s future titles and more.

OZwickedwest-01(cmyk)

BDI Artbook Cover

On the merchandise side, Aspen Comics will release an all-new Aspen Comics T-Shirt for both men and women available exclusively at the Aspen Comics Booth #2321, and the publisher will reveal a sneak peek at their long-awaited line of Aspen apparel and products at their panel featuring many of Aspen’s popular characters and titles. This new line will emphasize both men and women’s fashion, providing options for all fans of Aspen Comics. Comic Con 2015 attendees will also be able to purchase Aspen’s new string-back tote bag directly from the publisher’s booth #2321.

 

Fans attending the Official Aspen Comics SDCC Panel 2015 will also receive a one-of-a-kind panel-exclusive variant copy of Critter #1 featuring an Aspen Comics/Big Dog Ink jam cover by artist Alex Konat (Fathom, Eternal Soulfire). Aspen strongly encourages fans to arrive early to ensure their copy.

Critter-01a-Ossio-Prev

 

It looks like this will be the year Aspen finally brings apparel back to their catalogue. For the last few years the publisher has worked extensively to find the right licensing company to produce clothing. As we get closer to the show we’ll learn more about what the exclusive hardcovers look like and what else the publisher might announce at the show.

 

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14. 12th Doctor and Clara land at the San Diego convention center in a story only available at SDCC

With the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) less than a month away, news is coming in fast and furious on con-exclusives. Titan is offering a cornucopia of SDCC only merchandise, with triptych covers featuring the 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors, an SDCC exclusive story line featuring the 12th Doctor and Clara battling a mirror-bound alien threat at the con itself, and two 10th Doctor vinyl figures including a 50th anniversary 10 wearing 11’s Fez! Titan will be at booth #5537. From Titan:

DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR SDCC EXCLUSIVE

When the Twelfth Doctor and Clara turn up at San Diego Comic Con, a quick selfie outside the TARDIS reveals an alien threat among the con-goers and cosplayers! The green-skinned Lady of Neverness can only be viewed through mirrors, photos and quantum snapshots, and has turned up in the background of photos all over the convention! But if enough people view her at the same time, she’ll gain the power to breach into our dimension… to feed on the life-force of the whole planet! Can the Doctor and Clara defeat her and save the day?

Find out in this exclusive new short story, only available at San Diego Comic Con 2015! Plus, go behind the scenes of the comic with writers George Mann and Cavan Scott, and artist Rachael Stott – and get an early in-print glimpse of the Doctor Who 2015 Event – Four Doctors! All under two amazing covers from fan-favorite artist Alice X. Zhang!

When writer Cavan Scott talked to us about taking on the Ninth Doctor back in March, he mentioned he would be adding another Doctor to the long list of Time Lord incarnations he’s written for. This issue is what he was hinting at! Scott has previously written for Doctors: 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and now 12! The issue offers a choice of two gorgeous covers from Zhang, who really lovingly captures the Doctors and now a Companion in her oil-paint portraiture style:

COVER A -DOCTOR WHO THE TWELFTH DOCTOR SDCC EXCLUSIVE

COVER B -DOCTOR WHO THE TWELFTH DOCTOR SDCC EXCLUSIVE

Then there’s that nice series of interlocking covers featuring the three Doctors looking very British in front of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. The special covers are unique to SDCC, and contain the latest issues in the ongoing series of the Doctors.

Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor #14, which is the penultimate issue of the ongoing series, finds 10 and Gabby separated by an “ancient force from the centre of the galaxy” according to the release from Titan. Can Gabby hold her own alone? Check out our interview with series writer Nick Abadzis to get your 10th Doctor fix before the issue drops.

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #14 is part one of a two-part season finale, that teams Al Ewing and Rob Williams up on writing duties for what Titan calls “an unmissable mini-epic.” Will companion Alice “find peace — or be marooned far from Earth? Will Jones fulfill his cosmic rock god destiny — or die among the stars? And who will be left to join the Doctor as we head into Year Two?” Check out our interview with Ewing and Williams and see if the spoiler hints they gave us have come to pass yet…

And finally Doctor Who: Twelfth Doctor #11 finds the Doctor and Clara “Fresh from their adventures in Las Vegas” and apparently  the Doctor and “eager for a change of scenery, but their next destination aboard the TARDIS will prove a SHOCKING change of pace!

 Check out the the neat Triptych effect below of the SDCC exclusive covers below:

triptych_

But what would a menu of SDCC con-exclusives from Titan be without adorable vinyl figures? Fear not, you’ve got your pick of tiny Tennant’s:

Doctor Who TITANS 3_ 10th Doctor Fez

Doctor Who TITANS 4.5_ 10th Doctor

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15. SDCC Roundup

Hokey smokes, it cannot be Thursday already! A week since SDCC began! I have got to wrap up this wrap-up!

Well, first things first. The Comics for Teens panel recap I promised is up at GeekMom today. Excellent lineup of writers—Cecil Castellucci, Hope Larson, Gene Yang, and Nate Powell, with moderator Scott Westerfeld—talking about their work. This kind of discussion is exactly why I brave the crowds each year.

Next: some important shoe business. I had a few inquiries about those zombie ballerina flats I posted the other day. Here’s a link to the Iron Fist website, but be warned: not safe for kids. Because I mean come on, how you can model shoes without an unlaced black leather bustier? Ahem.

 

My SDCC roundup so far:

Day 1: Quick Peek

My favorite costume: Neo-Victorian biologist (at GeekMom)

Day 2: Again with the Quick Peeks

Things My Kids Can’t Wait to See at SDCC (at GeekMom)

The Streets of San Diego (at GeekMom)

SDCC Day of Recovery

SDCC Diary: Thursday

SDCC Teen Comics Workshop (at GeekMom)—emphasis on art

SDCC Comics for Teens Recap (at GeekMom)—emphasis on writing

SDCC Diary: Friday & Saturday

I’m in the middle of my Comics in the Library recap now. And I should do a Sunday diary post before a whole new Sunday rolls around…

But I get kinda busy with other stuff, you know? Like watching someone read herself to sleep…again.

16. SDCC Diary: Sunday

Sunday was Jane’s turn. There was a manga-drawing workshop at 11 a.m. she was keen to attend, and I was hoping to get into the 10 a.m. Jim Henson panel. We arrived at the latter about two seconds after the room reached capacity, so we trekked to the other end of the convention center to see what was going on in the manga-panel room during the 10:00 time slot.

This turned out to be one of the most serendipitous events of the week, because what was going on in that room was the fantastic Teen Comics Workshop I blogged about at GeekMom.

After the workshop, I left Jane to enjoy her manga panel and I scurried off for a brief meetup with my pal Kristen and our fellow GeekMom Nicole Wakelin.


Me, Nicole, Kristen

Then I ran back upstairs to get Jane, who had enjoyed the manga workshop but said it wasn’t as cool as the other one. And then back downstairs to con floor—Jane’s turn to explore it from top to bottom. The whole time we were there, we were texting Kristen, who was also braving the crowds. Jane wanted her turn to see Vivi. We’re all a little Vivi-mad in this house. Alas, we never spotted each other, despite series of texts like: “We’re at the G4 booth RIGHT NOW.” “Great! We’re at Dance Party, be right there!” (These two booths were next door.) “Augh, we’re at G4, did we miss you???” (Later we discovered that we were at the G4 booth at the exact same time—but Kristen & Co. were right above us on the upper level.)

But Jane did get to meet up with someone very special. I took her to the booth of Daxiong, an artist Scott discovered in portfolio review two years ago. Daxiong was a highly acclaimed comics artist in China when, in 2008, he was imprisoned and tortured for illustrating a book called Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. After two months he was rescued by friends and came to the States.

As a WildStorm editor, one of Scott’s Comic-Con duties was to meet with artists who submitted portfolios, offering them advice and critiques of their work. When he looked at Daxiong’s work, he had only one thing to say: “When can you start?” Daxiong is now drawing comics for DC, Marvel, and other publishers. He and his translator, Mike Chen, are two of the nicest, most generous people I’ve ever met, and it was an honor to introduce my girl to them.

::kicks self for not getting a picture::

After that came my Biggest Doofus Moment of the year (so far; still time to beat it): we were wandering the floor and I found myself practically on top of the entire cast of The Guild. I’m a huge fan. They were sitting at a table, and what I realized later is that there must have been a line snaking away on the other end of the table. At my end, t

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17. Comic-Con Recap

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program with a recap of Comic-Con 2011. Warning that this post is a bit long.

For those of you who don't know, Comic-Con is a massive event for lovers of all things comics, books, video games, art, pop culture and other geeky goodness. It is made of awesome and is one of the highlights of my year. There weren't too many big studio panels I was interested in this year, which left me with room to scout out some of the smaller panels as well as wander the exhibit floor more.

Books publisher were there in full force, with a lot of focus on YA and fantasy. On Thursday I went to the No Damsels in Distress Here panel. The panelists were sci-fi and fantasy authors and the discussion was strong female characters -- what it takes to write them and the challenges of doing it. Not necessarily YA but a couple of the authors do have YA books. Panelists included Sherrilyn Kenyon, Seanan McGuire, Carrie Vaughn, Jeanne Stein , Chloe Neill, Merrie deStefano and Marie Lu. I was very impressed by all of them. They all had strong opinions and were very articulate in voicing them. It's clear that, while writing kick ass women still has its challenges, these authors are helping to break down those barriers by continuing to write strong characters.

  no damsels in distress here panel 
no damsels in distress here - from left to right: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Seanan McGuire, Carrie Vaughn, 
Jeanne Stein, Chloe Neill, Merrie deStefano and Marie Lu 

 I also went to two publisher panels, The Scoop at Simon & Schuster and What's Up Penguin. Both panels were packed and it is clear that the enthusiasm for YA is still going strong. It looks like a lot of exciting releases are coming down the pipeline and my to-read list has grown exponentially. There were also some really great raffle prizes during the panels. Unfortunately I did not win (boo!).

  IMG_0753 
Here is a shot of the Penguin Teen booth. I am actually on the wrong side here 
so you can see some of the Star Wars booth next door, but you get the idea.

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18. SDCC Comics in the Library Panel

One of the best panels I attended at SDCC was Comics in the Library, moderated by Gina Gagliano of First Second Books, featuring four librarians from different parts of the country:

• Candice Mack, LA Public Library
• Mike Pawuk, Cuyahoga County Public Library (Ohio)
• Eva Volin, Alameda Library (CA) [Twitter]
• Gene Anbaum, Unshelved [Twitter]

This is a writeup of my panel notes. I was writing quickly, so it’s possible I’ve made mistakes below—my apologies if so!

From left: Candice Mack, Mike Pawuk, Eva Volin, Gina Gagliano. Sorry I didn’t get Gene Anbaum in the photo!

What is your collection like?

Gina opened the discussion by asking the panelists to tell us about the comics and graphic novel collections in their library systems.

Candice is at a different branch now, but in the branch where she built a graphic novel collection, she began by moving comics out of Dewey Decimal order to designated shelves in the teen section, with signs to point readers toward them. This had a big impact on circulation. Later in the panel, she described creating a reading lounge with sofas in the teen section near the comics/GN shelves. This became quite popular with kids.

Mike works in a system that has 27 branches containing about 4000 graphic novels & manga for teens. There are also GN sections in children’s & adult.

Eva‘s system (three branches) has GNs in all departments.

Gene‘s branch has an extensive teen collection. The adult collection has a few titles, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis. Some kids’ GNs are hidden with rest of kids’ books—except Babymouse which has its own shelf.

Eva mentioned one series that didn’t move at all in teens. She moved to the children’s section; now it’s never on the shelf—it is constantly checked out.

Gene talked about deciding where to shelve things, especially manga with mature content.

Eva (addressing the issue of whether some comics may be too mature for children) said it’s not a librarian’s job to tell your child what he can read—that is the parents’ job. She thinks the comics rating system isn’t useful: you have to read the books or look at reviews to get a feel for actual content.

Gene mentioned that in his branch, sometimes they wind up with books in all three sections.

Mike started the job in 1996. At that time, all his branch had was a few volumes of Sandman and Bone. He wanted to build a collection. He likes it best when staff can order titles for their own branches—they know their communities.

How to start a collection

Mike talked about what percent of the collection is GN. In his system, the 4000 GNs are about 12% of total circulation. Teen (prose) fiction is about 10%, also roughly 4000 titles.

Gene said that in 2000, his branch had one shelf of comics/GNs. He was given $6000 to build a GN collection with but had to use the money in one month. He was forced to choose quickly, went with a lot of things he liked personally but tried also to choose broadly, outside his tastes. The manga he ordered flew off the shelves.

Someone (whoops, no attribution in my notes) said that in hi

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19. SDCC 2011 Roundup (final)

Day 1: Quick Peek

My favorite costume: Neo-Victorian biologist (at GeekMom)

Day 2: Again with the Quick Peeks

Things My Kids Can’t Wait to See at SDCC (at GeekMom)

The Streets of San Diego (at GeekMom)

SDCC Day of Recovery

SDCC Diary: Thursday

SDCC Teen Comics Workshop (at GeekMom)—emphasis on art

SDCC Comics for Teens Recap (at GeekMom)—emphasis on writing

SDCC Diary: Friday & Saturday

Comics in the Library panel

SDCC Diary: Sunday

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20. San Diego Teasers: Marvel Promise War

With HerosCon now settling into the dusty annals of past history, the time has come for companies to start promoting what will happen at the almost-here-taste-it San Diego Comic-Con. For Marvel, that means some new teasers for whatever will follow their Avengers Vs X-Men event. Two have been released so far, promising lucky readers that the much-hated characters Thor and Wolverine will finally have their uppance come, during a story simply known as ‘War’.

1340637350 San Diego Teasers: Marvel Promise War1340637352 San Diego Teasers: Marvel Promise War

This is likely to be a requiem-style miniseries following on from whatever the aftermath of AvX is, as you can see from the images of Thor’s broken hammer and Wolverine’s hand being…. well, who knows what’s happening in there. Expect a broken Captain America shield within a week, and probably some shredded Spider-Man clothes or something too.

Oh! Maybe this is something to do with that randomly-scheduled Brian Michael Bendis-written finale to the Avengers, Ultron War? That story has been slated to happen for over a year now, and there’s still no sign of it. In that case, expect a teaser image of Luke Cage’s beanie, which was accidentally put in the wash with some colours, and has now stained pink. What horrors. Marvel say that this story, whatever it is, will be announced at the Spider-Man panel during SDCC, on July 15th.

17 Comments on San Diego Teasers: Marvel Promise War, last added: 6/25/2012
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21. SDCC 12: The Girl with the Donut Tattoo gives food recommendations

201207091107 SDCC 12: The Girl with the Donut Tattoo gives food recommendations
A local SD foodie has provided what we all needed — a guide to good food around the con area. Topping the list: Ralphs, which also tops the list of fun places at 3 am. Seriously. You haven’t done con until you’ve gone to Ralphs at 3 am to see cartoonists, cosplayers and nerdlebrities wandering around buying carrot sticks, tequila and pie.

The post also reveals the earth-shattering, to us, news that a cheese shop has been opened at our hotel. While we mourn for our breakfast burrito, a new romance with a three cheese toasted sandwich may be beginning.

Author Darlene Horn is also debuting a new comic called The Girl With the Donut Tattoo, a collection of food-themed strips drawn by her husband, Paul Horn, who draws the webcomic Cool Jerk. They had us at the title alone. It’s available at Small Press table K10.

201207091115 SDCC 12: The Girl with the Donut Tattoo gives food recommendations

3 Comments on SDCC 12: The Girl with the Donut Tattoo gives food recommendations, last added: 7/9/2012
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22. SDCC: Bleeding Alliance of Beat Reporters

By Alexander Ané

For those who don’t know, the Bleeding Alliance of Beat Reporters is four of the biggest names in comic book journalism in one panel held during Thursday evening of San Diego Comic-Con and moderated by another big name in comics journalism, Douglas Wolk. Andy Khouri of Comics Alliance, Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool, Heidi MacDonald of The Beat, and Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter filed into the panel for an evening of talking about their publications and beliefs about other side of the comics industry most people don’t consider often: reporting about it.

Most of the time, if you look behind the curtain, you might hear about those individuals pecking at each other over various stories and events, but the level of professionalism shown among those panelists was something to be admired. Their job that evening was to inform us about comics journalism and the what life becomes when you follow that profession.

There was a great discussion about readership and how each publication handles their own followers. It clearly reflected each of their aims toward journalism and writing in general. In the end while all the panelists agreed that journalists write for themselves and writing news for the sake of numbers was a secondary priority there is a fine line where good quality reporting does become news or ratings worthy.

When asked about how each of them would make a living on journalism alone, it was mentioned that there has to be a sort of diversifaction in writing professions to be able to stay afloat. The fact that they emphasized being able to maintain a varied skill set was interesting because that seems to be a common topic in the comics industry when acquiring work.

3 Comments on SDCC: Bleeding Alliance of Beat Reporters, last added: 7/16/2012
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23. The Day after SDCC

…is always something of a blur. We’re wiped out. But the weekend was lovely. Exhausting, noisy, hectic, but lovely. A recap to come. Presumably. For now, a long happy sigh, a thwarted nap, and a very tall photo. Oh, and we posted a new comic at Thicklebit today. :)

steampunk stilts dude at San Diego Comic-Con

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24. SDCC 12: Making a Living in Manga

By Alexander Añé
The Making a Living in Manga panel featured Adam Warren, Becky Cloonan, Fred Gallagher, Audra Furuichi, Christopher Butcher, JuYoun Lee, Erik Ko, and moderator Deb Aoki. This was a very diverse panel, hosting a good lineup of professionals and publishers including a journalist devoted to writing about the manga industry. From there they began to discuss their experiences in the industry, where it’s going and what they look for when training and hiring new talent.

The focus of the panel was to help shed some light on how to be successful in the manga industry, hence the name, as a professional and as a student. Aoki introduced the audience to a diagram following the conventional life cycle of a manga professional, from early inspiration to publishing. It was interesting to note that the cycle included bypassing mainstream publishers all together and publish independently or even bypassing the conventional portfolio review process that takes place at conventions.

Panelists also confirmed that region has a huge factor in determining the success of a manga artist. Some regions, such as Japan, even have schools devoted to learning how to draw manga. A few of the panelists, admitted that they went to more conventional art schools and drew manga in secret. Later this turned out to be a more helpful situation because they were given a good background to build a stronger career. Another important notion was that success in the manga industry was far from immediate and that it took several years of work in other trades related to being an artist or writer to be able to have manga work fund itself.

The piece of advice that was repeated among the panelists most often was that artists needed to have a deep understanding of the fundamentals; not just in manga but in any sort of art. It might have seemed harsh when Erik Ko mentioned that publishers, “aren’t there to babysit,” artists on their projects but it reflects an even harsher truth in that when artists fall behind from lack of skill set, the rest of the production line suffers for it. The key is to be able to develop versatility that can strengthen your prospects of being hired or noticed.

1 Comments on SDCC 12: Making a Living in Manga, last added: 7/28/2012
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25. SDCC Hijinks

photo lifted from Lalitha's FB

Fun times at Thursday night’s Scholastic party at SDCC with my pals Allison Tran, Jenni Holm, and Lalitha Nataraj. I lifted this photo from Lali’s FB page—thanks!

Jenni and Matt Holm won an Eisner last night for Babymouse for President! Wild huzzahs from here.

pirateship

What’s Comic-Con without a full-size pirate ship in the harbor?

frankreade

This book caught my eye—the fictional adventures of pulp-novel hero Frank Reade in history. Gorgeous illustrations, intriguing premise. It’s on my take-a-closer-look list.

hyperionsdcc2013

Always fun to spot friends’ books at a show!

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