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1. The Bendis Board goes bye-bye and so does a slice of comics history

Jinxworld Forums The Bendis Board goes bye bye and so does a slice of comics history

On Friday, the long running—22 years!—Brian Bendis message board shut down with the above message, and al of its archives went with it.

The Bendis Board was especially busy in the golden age of the message board (1998-2004) and hosted forums for many comics pros, including Gail Simone, David Mack, Kelly Sue DeConnick. I guess some of that will be available on the Way Back Machine, but with the CBR boards being scrubbed, the Bendis Board going away, and rumors of several other foundational message boards being shut down, a lot of comics history is vanished in a way that print just doesn’t offer. As I’m always reminding people, THE INTERNET IS NOT FOREVER.

Former forum member Albert Ching has a good look back including the reminder that it was an incubator for a whole generation of comics pros who posted and became friendly there, including Nick Spencer, Charles Soule, Joe Eisma, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain. A refugee message board has been set up here, according to comments.

I was active on the boards for a little while before time ran out, but there were some good people there…and some jerks, as always, but mostly good times.

 

powers copley heyward1 The Bendis Board goes bye bye and so does a slice of comics history

Anyway, the Powers TV, er, filmed entertainment show, is in the works with Sharlto Copley as Christian Walker and Susan Heyward as Deena Pilgrim. I know Copley won;t be using that super South African accent he had in Elysium, but I can dream on. “My WAFF.”

7 Comments on The Bendis Board goes bye-bye and so does a slice of comics history, last added: 9/23/2014
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2. Nerdist launches ‘Just Cosplay’ with Stella Chuu episode

Just Cosplay   Stella Chuu as David Mack s Kabuki on Vimeo

There’s a new show on the Nerdist Channel called ‘Just Cosplay’ and I was given a sneak look at the first episode, live now. It features Stella Chuu at Emerald City as she goes around cosplaying as Kabuki from David Mack’s series of the same name. The series will follow popular cosplayers and show how they make their costumes.

I have a short tolerance for video but I watched this all the way to the end. Chuu is industrious and looks amazing. Her choice of the 90s indie icon Kabuki—and her quest to find anyone who recognizes the character—is a real sic transit gloria mundi thing, but when was the last time an issue of Kabuki came out anyway? Anyway, I also enjoyed the glue gun and sewing machine scenes in this show.

Nerdist is launching another cosplay show, Origin Story, which premieres on October 24 and is described as “mad-libs on meth” and stars Andrew Bowser. OK then.

1 Comments on Nerdist launches ‘Just Cosplay’ with Stella Chuu episode, last added: 9/6/2014
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3. Shocking Russian dash cam video captures furry beatdown

I’m addicted to Russian dashboard camera videos. The best ones have loud Russian disco playing, but they are pretty much all good, revealing a sullen post-modern, post GTA world of grey skies (occasionally streaked by shocking meteors), endless snow, brutalist architecture and of course, bad driving. Why Russians love dashcams so much isn’t quite clear but it has something to do with police brutality.

Anyway, the above video is staged, I’m 99.99% certain, as a car stops after being cut off and a mascot brawl ensues. Even if it is phony, it is still funny as heck.

Oh and if you want to see more Russian dashcam videos, here’s an example of a monthly compendium. In internet speak, what happens at 2:57 will blow your mind!
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5 Comments on Shocking Russian dash cam video captures furry beatdown, last added: 9/4/2014
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4. SDCC ’14: First time diary: the time of her life

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by Chandler Banks

[Ed. note: Chandler Banks is a 17-year-old cosplayer/journalist who went to Comic-Con for the first time this year, and agreed to share her experiences with us. Although folks in the comics business have our own dread and anxiety about The Big Show, it's important to remember that for many people, it's a magical experience. I'm sure you'll be as fought up in Chandler's enthusiasm as I was.]

Before SDCC this year, I was a long-time nerd that had never been to a convention. And man, did I pick a hell of a con to start with. As a 17-year-old girl bound to a dinky little knee scooter for the weekend thanks to a recent ankle surgery (if you’re reading this and you were there, yeah, that was me), I knew I had a weekend ahead of me that was as exciting as it was daunting. I had a general idea of what SDCC is about, but in the end it was bigger and better than I had imagined in just about every way.

WHAT BLEW MY MIND
The size. I live in New York; I’m no stranger to grand scales. But the image of SDCC that I had built up in my head was nothing compared to the view in the exhibit hall alone. Art, comics, collectibles, apparel, further than the eye can see. It’s its own world that’s so easy to lose yourself in for the weekend.
The cosplays. I, like most people, got to the exhibit hall early in the morning before it opened so as to get my badge as early as possible. I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of pictures of to-die-for cosplays online, but seeing all of them in the flesh (or paper mâché) is entirely different. Honestly, I wish I would’ve alotted myself more time for open-mouthed gaping on the sidewalk.
The great outdoors, but with free wi-fi. When packing for the con, I asked my convention veteran friends for advice. They told me two things: Leave room in your luggage, because you’re going to buy a ton of merch’, and if you’re sleeping out on the Hall H line, pack as if you’re going to spend the night in the woods because it’s like camping just nerdier.
• Speaking of friends, I got to meet my  GISHWHES (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen) team for the first time.  They’re even cooler than I thought they’d be, and they’re really my closest friends that are into comics and “fandom” the way I am. I had my friends and was surrounded by a whole slew of people with the same interests as me for the first time. Talk about liberating!               
This is the first time i’ve seen any big celebrities in the flesh. I gave Mary J. Blige’s dad a ride home from Dunkin Donuts once (he turned out to be pretty cool), but that’s about it. This weekend I got to see these people that I’ve respected and admired for so long up close and personal. Once it actually hit me, it was surreal.
• Contrary to what the internet made me dread, no thirty-something-year-old guy in a My Little Pony shirt and a matching fedora pointed to my Captain America shirt and declared me a fake geek girl. At least not to my face.m
San Diego! I had only been as far south as Santa Monica in the past, and boy San Diego was a very pleasant surprise. The Gaslamp Quarter where the Convention Center is located is gorgeous, and there are plenty of off-site SDCC activities around in case you somehow tire of the exhibit hall and the panel rooms.
• Speaking of off-site, I’m going to take a second to gush about The Nerd Machine. Run by Chuck’s Zach Levi, for the past few years they’ve been offering the Nerd HQ experience for free. This year and the last it was held at the beautiful Petco Park (about a five minute walk from the Convention Center). The popular events there include Conversations for a Cause panels and Smiles for Smiles photo ops, both fairly priced and the proceeds of which go to Operation Smile. I went to the Supernatural panel this year, and it may have been the highlight of my already amazing weekend. It’s much more intimate than the Hall H/Ballroom 20 panels I attended since the room seats around 300 compared to Hall H’s ~6,100. The actors are more relaxed like this, tickets are sold ahead of time so there’s guaranteed seating. No camping out! Just get there in time for the panel if you have a ticket, and if you couldn’t get one they usually let around 50 people in for standing room. If any celebrities you’re interested in ever have a Nerd HQ Conversation, you won’t regret going. Or maybe just use the beautiful Petco Park as you and your friends’ home base and hang around the gaming gallery. They also have some pretty killer merch’.
You never know who you’re going to see.   Stephen Colbert surprised everyone as the moderator for the Hobbit panel. I accidentally got on line for a George RR Martin signing. Aisha Tyler surprised us as the moderator for the SPN Nerd HQ Conversation (I sat two feet from her. /screams). You can meet and chat up with comic industry legends (I got a Thor drawing signed to me by Neal Adams). There was a guy hanging around the Hall H panel that I suspected was Osric Chau from Supernatural (because that’s exactly the kind of thing he would do, so naturally, I took a selfie with him. Spoiler alert: it was actually Osric Chau.

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The whole atmosphere surrounding the event.  Now here’s where I get really sappy: As great as it was to see all the work that artists and fandom merch retailers etc. brought, my favorite thing about SDCC was the overall atmosphere of the convention. It’s not about bringing a wad of cash to California to buy all the merch you could get online just sans shipping, it’s not even about looking at all the cosplays (although don’t get me wrong- those seriously kicked ass). Because everywhere you go, you’re reminded that the industry could not and would not exist without the love the fans bring to the table. At every Hall H panel I saw, an actor or producer would set time aside to personally thank the fans for keeping them going, and express that they only hope that they deliver material worthy of them. Everyone’s there to immerse themselves in an environment built on and for an appreciation of art in some form(s). I met a couple that was going on their 8th year in a row attending together. They weren’t particularly die-hard fans of anything, they just liked what the convention is all about. It’s different things to different people at different points in their life. It’s seeing a community that otherwise lives in your laptop laid out before you. I must have turned to the crowd and declared “these are my people!” to my friends three times before they told me the joke was getting old (that didn’t stop me from doing it twice more, mind you).

BE PREPARED FOR
Waiting in line. This is where it’s extremely handy to come with friends. If you’re in one of the bigger “fandoms” and know , it will probably have its panel in Hall H
Poor health and hygiene. Everyone has a different experience, but as a first time con-goer I got absolutely caught up in doing as much as I possibly could before the convention ended. I got in late Friday night, slept in my hotel room. Them by 7:00 am Saturday I was getting my passes and going to the exhibit hall and queueing up for a panel in Ballroom 20 and then finagling my way into Hall H and freaking out over the Marvel panel’s SDCC exclusive footage and running out of Hall H to battle to get back in line for Hall H (hello darkness, my old friend) for Sunday’s Supernatural panel and trying to sleep while reveling in my own sweaty filth and getting a surprise cup of coffee from Misha Collins (he was wearing a wolf t shirt and a cupcake apron and he handed me a cup and suddenly I was someone who drinks coffee) and then going back to the exhibit hall (I could’ve spent all weekend in there and not seen anything) before having to run across the street for a Nerd HQ panel and going back to the exhibit hall to soak up as much as I can before it closes until next year, and THEN maybe stopping to realize that you haven’t eaten or slept* or maybe even breathed in 48 hours.
• To clarify: I wouldn’t change any of that for the world. Just be prepared for it is all.
• *DISCLAIMER: there are plenty restaurants and sleeping accommodations in San Diego, and I’m a girl that loves her food and sleep. But my friends and I were simply too busy to even remember that hunger and sleep-deprivation were things.
• Line drama. For the smaller halls, this isn’t real an issue, but I’ll give you a rundown of how Hall H works. SDCC’s getting bigger each year, so the infamous Hall H lines get more hectic each year. The line for Saturday’s panels included big hits like Marvel and The Hobbit, so the line started at 11:30 a.m. on Friday. People start forming “unofficial” lines off-site as early as they could so they can be at the front, and those lines get dispersed until such a time that security declares it time to select an unofficial line to be the official unofficial line that will be the line moved to the tents on-site where the official lines stay for the night. One security guard will tell you you’re on the right line, then another security guard will come along an hour later and tell you you’ve been on the wrong line this whole time. Sorry, bud. It’s just as confusing and chaotic as it sounds. Worth it? Totally.
Spending money. I spent all of mine. I would have spent more if I had more. I needed to buy all the things.
A lot of walking. Especially since I was handicapped for the weekend, it takes its toll. Wear comfy shoes, unless comfy shoes don’t go with your cosplay. Then you work that cosplay.
WHAT I’M TAKING AWAY FROM THIS

I want to go back next year. Seriously, if you have the chance, go. I was anxious about going on one leg, but I’m so glad I didn’t let that stop me. What a wild ride.

3 Comments on SDCC ’14: First time diary: the time of her life, last added: 8/9/2014
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5. SDCC 2014: The Beat picks the most offbeat panels at Comic-Con

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We know Comic-Con is a crowded, tumultuous place, with a noise level akin to being sucked through a jet engine and a similar toll on the body. But perhaps there are a few peaceful eddies and tranquil pools where you may find a moment to relax…and learn something. We’re not saying the following panels are bad—in fact among them are the best—but for various reasons they may be less frantic or stress inducing. BUT see the end of the list for the surprise twist that will bring a tear to your eye!

THURSDAY 

1:00pm –  2:00pm
A Mercs Life For Me: What It Takes to Be a Mandalorian Room 29A
James Sebree (San Diego chapter leader), Sal Attinello (Manda’galaar), Todd Mullin (Haran’galaar Clan), and Quinn Pendleton (member approval rep.) discuss the ins and outs of the Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club. Topics include introduction to costume construction, overview of member requirements, and getting your costume approved. Also, Loren Toy (Manda’galaar) on 3D printing for costuming, and Kristina Schlosser (Haran’galaar clan) and Erica Heinrich (Manda’galaar) on building a custom female Mandalorian.


What is a Mandaloran you could be asking yourself? And are they taking our jobs? Confession: I had to Google this. And I was right! See end of the column to see if you were too! One of many panels that still appeals to a limited specialist audience.

1:45pm –  3:15pm
Comic-Con How-To: Gray Scale Copic Markers Room 2
Adam Hughes will use the warm and cool gray Copic markers to render the tones on a drawing. Fellow artist Allison Sohn will narrate the process while Adam draws. Hughes has been working in comics for over 25 years. Some of his work from the past year includes a story in Batman Black and White as well as the covers to the Vertigo series Fairest and the Dark Horse series Rebel Heist.


Coptic markers you say? ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz…oh wait it’s Adam Hughes? Never mind.

3:00pm –  4:00pm
ComicBase User Group Meeting Room 29A
Attention all comic collectors! ComicBase, the world’s premiere software program for managing comic collections, will be holding their annual user group meeting with creator Pete Bickford. This once-a-year presentation will discuss the latest features and news about ComicBase and Atomic Avenue.


I’m temped to go to this just to find out what people who use advanced software to manage their vast comics collections talk about when they talk about advanced software to manage their vast comics collections.

4:30pm –  5:30pm
Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries Hall H
A discussion between a couple of blockbuster directors on the art of filmmaking and a wide-ranging discussion about the future of film.


Can never live up to the hype.

4:30pm –  5:30pm
Thunderbirds at 50 Room 8
As Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s iconic Thunderbirds series turns 50 next year, Jamie Anderson (Anderson Entertainment) executive producers of the new Thunderbirds Are Go series Richard Taylor (Jane and the Dragon, The Wot Wots, LOTR), and Giles Ridge (Harry Potter: Behind the Magic, The Illustrated Mum) talk about heritage programs, and the importance of remaining true to the ethos that made the show so successful first time around. Join the Thunderbirds team for this Q&A, moderated by head writer of the new series Rob Hoegee (Slugterra, Generator Rex, Teen Titans).


Many years ago I wondered if Thunderbirds fandom was doomed to die out, as there was no new product and the materials seemed to be caught in a quaint but downward nostalgic spiral. Well, this is where the lone survivors will gather to discuss continuing on in a hostile environment.

6:00pm –  7:00pm
Batman ’66 Hall H
Holy Bat Panels! Get all the details on the most anticipated home entertainment release in fanboy history when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment reunites pop icons Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar on the Hall H stage for a Bat-tastic look at Batman: The Complete TV Series. The actors behind Batman, Robin. and Catwoman, along with moderator Ralph Garman, will give you an inside sneak peek at all the exclusive content within this blockbuster home entertainment release, as well as exhibiting dazzling HD remastered footage from the landmark series. Batman: The Complete TV Series will be released in November 2014.


AGAIN? Seriously haven’t there been about 12 zillion panels with the Batman cast at every rickety dinky con since time began? Old.

FRIDAY

11:00am –  12:00pm
The Official Aspen Comics 2014 Panel Room 9
Frank Mastromauro (co-owner), Peter Steigerwald (co-owner), Vince Hernandez (VP, editor-in-chief), Mark Roslan (VP, director of design and production), David Wohl (Executive Assistant: Iris), J. T. Krul (Jirni), Siya Oum (Lola XOXO), Scott Lobdell (Superman), Paolo Pantalena (Jirni),Giuseppe Cafaro (Fathom: Kiani),Jordan Gunderson (EA: Assassins), Lori Hanson (EA Assassins), and Beth Sotelo (Fathom) will reveal upcoming Aspen titles as well as projects on the horizon. They will also hold a Q&A session with fans. All fans in attendance will receive a gift courtesy of the publisher.


See Thunderbirds. Gotta give ‘em credit for sticking around in a hostile environment though. I don’t remember the last time I heard someone say they read an Aspen comic.

1:30pm –  2:30pm
Game Your Brain to Superhero Status Room 24ABC
National Geographic Channel’s Eric LeClerc (illusionist, Brain Games), David Rees (Going Deep with David Rees), Tony Gonzalez (The NFL Today analyst, You Can’t Lick Your Elbow), and Dr. Armand Dorian (ER physician, You Can’t Lick Your Elbow) join together for a series of interactive experiments that will mess with your mind and show you that what may seem superhuman is actually within your reach.


What does this even mean?

3:30pm –  4:30pm
Women Below the Line Room 26AB
Sheyne Fleischer (assistant editor, The Bachelor, Hells Kitchen), Tess Folwer (writer/illustrator Game of Thrones Exclusive Animation, Rat Queens), Alicia Minette (prop fabrication: Sushi Girl, Man at Arms), and Aubriana Zurilgen (creature creation: Steve Wang’s Creature Workshop, MasterFX), will explore the nontraditional roles of women in the comic and entertainment industries. Female editors, illustrators, prop fabricators, and creature creators will relate their success stories and how to follow your dreams in the industry, while exploring gender roles in the creative professions. Moderated by Glenn Freund (League of S.T.E.A.M.).


Great going, ladies! Now someone get you off this marginalizing panel and on the stage with the big boys. A woman on every panel, not one panel for every woman.

5:00pm –  6:00pm
Hermes Press: A Celebration of The Phantom, the First Masked Hero Room 9
Be the first to see the premiere, concept, and design of Peter David and Sal Velluto’s New Phantom comic book series together with a multimedia presentation about the history of the The Ghost Who Walks. Sal Velluto (The Phantom, Flash, Justice League Task Force, Black Panther), the artist for the new series, will discuss the direction and philosophy of the book and show off artwork from issue #1. Daniel Herman (publisher, Hermes Press), Graham Nolan (Batman, The Phantom, Rex Morgan, M.D.), and Thomas Andrae ( Batman and Me, Creators of the Superheroes, Walt Kelly: the Life and Art of the Creator of the Art of Pogo) will discuss the history of the character, the classic strip and comic books, and the all-new version (which brings back the classic Phantom) of this iconic character.


See Thunderbirds.

5:15pm –  6:15pm
Celebration of 24-Hour Comic Day Room 18
This year marks the 10th anniversary of 24-Hour Comic Day. Come by and help celebrate! Participants will reminisce about past years while also discussing how to make October 4, 2014 the best 24-Hour Comic Day ever. (This panel is open to all Comic-Con attendees.)


How can you cram this into one hour?

6:35pm – 8:05pm     
The Musk of Tusk: An Evening with Kevin Smith Hall H
After all the interesting and exciting movie panels are over, Hall H belongs to a middle-aged man who once worked with BatFleck! Ask ComiKev questions and get ready to say #WalrusYes as Kev premieres the trailer to his first film in three years: the twisted, transformative tale of Tusk! Wrap up a busy Friday with the Clown Prince of Comic-Con!


It’s nice to see that Kevin Smith has embraced his place as the It the Living Colossus of 90s nostalgia.

7:00pm – 8:00pm     
Simpsons Collectors Group Room 29A
Simpsons collectors of the world, unite! Take a break from the busy Comic-Con floor and get a chance to meet some of your fellow collectors of Simpsons merchandise from all over the country. Meet the other Simpsons collectors you see on the message board and put faces to names. This gathering, hosted by the staff of the SimpsonsCollectors.com website, is a great chance to network with other collectors and share your experiences in the hobby with others.


Isn’t this what a convention used to be about? Just people with odd hobbies finding kindred souls?

8:30pm – 9:30pm     
Klingon Lifestyles Room 6A
Klingons, weapons and ohhhh, yes there will be live action bat’leth sword battles. Come join the fun and mayhem for the 21st annual Klingon stage play. Watch the Stranglehold Klingons travel to distant worlds to bring glory back to the empire! Enter the Trek costume contest-prizes awarded for best dressed, largest red shirt group, and more. All alien races welcomed. If you love stage plays and love SWAG even more, come and support the only live-action Star Trek fan-based play to boldly go where no play has gone before!


Talking about the 90s…this event is in its 21st year, and is one of two or three “throwback” panels from when Under the Sails was new! Visit it to marvel at the sight of this living dinosaur!

SATURDAY/

1:00pm – 2:00pm     
Little Lulu and John Stanley Fan Group Room 29A
One of the most memorable kids’ comics ever created (yet with remarkable “all-ages” appeal), Little Lulu has generated a worldwide fan following. Learn more about this classic comics character and the renewed interest in the other delightful works of the great John Stanley, and join in for a scripted reading of a Golden Age Little Lulu story. All are welcome!


Another throwback, this one possibly going back to the 80s! Do you realize what is must feel like for a group that has been meeting at the con for over 20 years? In the meantime, God bless Mike Richardson for publishing that completely Little Lulu line a few years back, and Tom Devlin at D&Q for Stanley and Thirteen and the other great Stanley/Tripp books.

8:00pm – 9:00pm     
Science in the Stories of H. P. Lovecraft Room 4
Iconic weird tale author H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), in his introduction to the story The Call of Cthulhu wrote: “We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we s Hall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.” Was he right? A panel of scientists and Lovecraft experts will discuss the science behind Lovecraft’s stories and what modern research has revealed about humanity’s place in the cosmos. With Cody Goodfellow (Deepest, Darkest Eden: New Tales Of Hyperborea), Shane Haggard (Chemistry instructor, San Diego City College), Leslie S. Klinger (The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft), Andrew Leman (The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society), and Lisa Will, Ph.D. (astronomy and physics professor, San Diego City College). Moderated by Aaron Vanek (The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon-Los Angeles).


Although this sounds niche-y, when I looks at the RSVP list online it had more people than most comics panels.

SUNDAY

12:00pm – 1:00pm     
Dr. Zhivago’s Innovation in Education: Basic Cartoon and Animation Using Vector Graphic Tools for Kids Room 30CDE
Dr. Marie Zhivago (professional cartoonist and published children’s book author) and Dr. Eric Banatao (principal of Eastlake Elementary School, Chula Vista, CA) discuss how students learn basic cartoon and animation using an industry standard vector-based app and software on iPads and computers. Kids learn early how to use current technological tools to help stimulate and develop young artist’s creative imagination. Join Dr. Zhivago and Dr. Banatao for this Q&A session.


UNless you like….quantum graphics. I think you would need to be a child to have the comprehension for this panel on a Sunday morning at con.

12:00pm – 2:00pm     
Ball-Jointed Dolls Collectors Group Room 29A
Doll owners and enthusiasts discuss the world of ball-jointed resin dolls from companies such as Elfdoll, Volks, Fairyland, Iplehouse, and many others. This year artist Bo Bergemann of Bergmann Dolls will talk about sculpting and manufacturing BJDs. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn the basics about BJDs and pick up tips on customizing, maintaining, and photographing these beautiful dolls. Share the beauty of your own unique doll, or just see the many dolls on display. From tiny to towering, it’s a great opportunity to experience the different types of dolls in the world of BJDs. Make new friends, both real and resin!


Just tell people you are going to Comic-Con to learn about the world of BJDs. They didn’t know it was that kind of place. This panel has also been going on for more than a decade. Someone needs to make a documentary just about this, the John Stanley group and the Klingon lifestyles, for a look at the original gangsters of fandom.

12:30pm – 1:30pm     
Comic-Con How-To: Building Your Fandom Armada Room 2
Let’s discuss relationships and fandom. Bring your OTPs, gather your Armada, and cross over into an expert presentation by two DeviantArt masters, with Kay Purcell (damphyr) and Aun-Juli Riddle (aunjuli), as they help you navigate more ships than have ever crossed the worlds of fandom.


What in the heck is this? No one expects the Spanish Armada. Buehler? Anyone?

4:00pm – 5:00pm     
Disney Pin Trading: Past, Present, and Future Room 29A
Back for a second year at Comic-Con is Pin Pics, an exclusive insight into the world of Disney Pin Trading. Lead panelist Barry Koper (Disneyana expert) will take you back to the beginning of the Disney pin-trading hobby.Anthony and Samantha Medina (Pin Pics presidents) will take you through modern trends in trading and discuss the future direction of Disney pins as collectibles. Jennifer Colyn (Pin Pics event director) moderates, followed by Q&A. All pin traders, Disney enthusiasts, and collectors welcome.


Despite being in the VERY LAST slot for programming at the con, this panel still had several hundred RSVPs.

And now a serious note: although I started this column as a bit of a laugh (and to spotlight the many archaeological layers of the Con) the RSVP system on the website allows you to see how many people intend to attend each session. And even things like Disney pin collecting got more than many many deserving comics panels. I won’t go into details or hold anyone up to embarrassment. I was disheartened to discover this, although not that surprised. But even though comics are once again the low man on the totem pole of the party they started, I do think the above list gives a little idea of the variety of fantoms that Comic-Con embraces. It’s a big tent, yes, and right now some people are sleeping in that tent waiting for a panel in Hall H.

What about it? Do you go to comic-con for the ball jointed doll panel or John Stanley? We’d love to hear from you.

7 Comments on SDCC 2014: The Beat picks the most offbeat panels at Comic-Con, last added: 7/24/2014
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6. Singapore cosplayer finds room for all his mecha parts in amazing Ikea ad

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Okay this is an ad for Ikea, but it is also a fantasy for most of us. Like, a Sex in the City/Axe ad level fantasy.

Imagine being a cosplayer in your small room, and all the parts of your Axis Powers Hetalia, Slam Dunk and other costumes are just strewn about, willy nilly, making your tiny living quarters a squalid mess. LIke you do. And then Ikea comes along and magically, wonderfully, enchantingly CLEANS EVERYTHING UP and puts all your wigs, satin gowns and plastic swords in a Besta or a Kassett. Lots and lots of Kassetts. And when you come back by MAGIC you have a clean organized home! And even your girl/boyfriend approves.

Admit it, you’ve had this fantasy MORE than the one about a $50,000 shopping spree at Nordstrom’s, haven’t you?

Frank is a Singapore cosplayer who has competed in the World Cosplay Summit for his country. And he has lived the fantasy.

However, it is only a fantasy, as one of the you tube commenters put it. “And truth be told…that room will be tidy until next con.”

So so true.

1 Comments on Singapore cosplayer finds room for all his mecha parts in amazing Ikea ad, last added: 3/7/2014
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7. Salt Lake CIty’s FanX drew 100,000

Well it’s seems the Salt Lake City con hits its goal with 100,00 attendees, according to a press release. That would make it the third biggest show in the US. Show Runner Dan Farr is very bullish on the show:

“I still feel really strongly that we haven’t even tapped but a small percentage of the potential market of attendees that would have a good time here,” he said. “People can see ads or they can see messages on Facebook or they can see billboards or whatever it may be, but until they really experience it, you have a hard time really knowing what an event is like. Once you have more people experience it, they’re going to tell more of their friends … what they missed out on.”


Salt City’s first con was held last fall, and this was a second show on the schedule. The next one in September will add even more space and expand to the rest of the downtown area. The event had a big focus on nerdlebirties—Star Trek, Nathan Fillion, Karl Urban—and it seems to have delivered a great experience for fans.

Last year’s show has a lot of crowding and fire marshall problems, but those were solved this time out:

Greg Gage, who manned the booth for his Sugar House store, Black Cat Comics, loved seeing how happy everyone was. He remembers how, during the first Salt Lake Comic Con, some people had to wait three hours to get into the building, and were met with discouragingly dense crowds once they did.

But this year, the organizers doubled the floor space and, as far as Gage saw, managed the lines much better this time compared to last.

“People could move in and out, there were no traffic jams of cattle like in September,” Gage said. “They came in and were a little more ready to have fun.”


Last year’s event drew either 50,000 or 80,000—both numbers were reported—so this is a big leap> and yes, I heard from a few folks who thought the 100K number was a bit inflated. I reached out to Farr to find out how they counted attendees, and will report any response. Some shows count one ticket as one person, some one ticket on one day as a person, so it varies.

But…what ya gonna do? There isn’t a Better Business Bureau to monitor comic-cons. Inflated attendance has been part of the game for a long time, and with cons becoming big business, numbers are going to get more spectacular…and with that should come greater scrutiny. Looking at the above video and photos of the show it certainly looks crowded and fun, but not necessarily 100,000 strong. I don’t mean to throw shade on what was obviously a good time for everybody, but I’ve talked to many many show runners and been to many many cons. I’ve been talking to the SD folks and the ReedPOP people for years, and the show growth they’ve gradually reported seemed to jibe with what people experienced on the ground.

However many people attended the show, it’s clear that Salt Lake City is a great market for a comic-con.

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92,057

https://www.facebook.com/SaltLakeComicCon

1 Comments on Salt Lake CIty’s FanX drew 100,000, last added: 4/25/2014
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8. Demographic research: They like Magic the Gathering in Alaska

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Well is seems that those Facebook demographic analysis that our own Brett Schenker has been delving into, can be used for just about anything. Estately has used FB demos to come up with The Nerdiest States In America – to do it they analyzed the percentage of users in 12 foundational categories:

Star Trek:  The Next Generation
Cosplay
Harry Potter
Star Wars
Anime Movies
Dungeons & Dragons
LARPing (Live Action Role-Playing)
Doctor Who
Fantasy Lit
Lord of the Rings
Magic:  The Gathering
Comic Books


As you can see from the above chart, Utah is overwhelmingly the nerdiest state—perhaps explaining the massive turnout for the Salt Lake City Comic Con—ranking #1 or #2 in eight different categories.

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There are some interesting trends at a glance — for instance Vermont ranks #25 overall but #2 in Horry Potter and #5 in Lord of the Rings. Alaska and Wyoming, the most remote states, are #1 and #2 in Magic the Gathering, conjuring a Hopper-like painting of silent lonely tundras punctuated only by the slap of cards on a table.

If you’re wondering about comics, the top five states are

New Mexico
Kentucky
Arizona
Utah
Colorado

The least nerdy area? Washington DC followed by Mississippi.

[Photo: cosplayers Renna Mira, Shelby Shoaf, Susan Stoffer Sorensen and Eric Sorensen at Salt Lake Comic Con]

Via Robot 6

5 Comments on Demographic research: They like Magic the Gathering in Alaska, last added: 4/26/2014
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9. We Are Comics tumblr is a hit!

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It’s Monday morning and if you are feeling cranky I guarantee that browsing the We Are Comics tumblr will make you feel better. As reported by Steve Morris over the weekend, this is a Tumblr run by Rachel Edidin, Arturo Garcia, Elle Collins, and Sigrid Ellis, with social media help by Jen Vaughn, where people simply tell their stories about reading comics. All kinds of people, all ages, colors, genders…because comics ARE for everybody. I loved scrolling through and reading readers origin stories…they are so varied and enthusiastic and feel of love for imagination and creativity. It’s inspiring!

The above photo is from the entry by Christina “Steenz” Stewart, who is assistant Manager at Star Clipper, a comics shop in St Louis. She’s not a special case; she’s TYPICAL of the kinds of people who have come to the medium. And I think most people in the business get that now.

So, it turned out okay after all! Go out and be awesome.

2 Comments on We Are Comics tumblr is a hit!, last added: 4/30/2014
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10. CBR introduces new zero tolerance message boards — who else will follow suit?

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[Steve Morris contributed to this report.]

Yesterday CBR owner Jonah Weiland took strong action against the nest of trolls that had set up housekeeping in the CBR forums: he wiped the slate clean. Existing forums will be up for two weeks while people retrieve material they want to preserve. After that it’s a whole new ballgame, one with new rules.

Effective immediately, in place of the forums will live the new CBR Community, a discussion area that will still facilitate conversation and debate, however passionate — but will show zero tolerance for intimidation or abuse of all members of the community, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identification. CBR and all areas of its website and operations will be a safe space for all people, of all levels of involvement. We’re starting from scratch, providing everyone with the opportunity to build a new community, together. Rules will be explicit, and once again — we will not tolerate anyone who doesn’t want to abide by them.

I believe there is value in building and fostering a community that is inclusive, diverse, accepting and compassionate. It is important, and it’s worth trying to build a better place for every fan, regardless of background or identity. I’m putting the money and resources behind this to make certain that those who have acted with hatred in their hearts are unable to spread their hate in our community again. I can’t stop them from spewing their trash elsewhere, but I can ensure they’re not welcome at CBR.

The move came as a result of the extremely negative response to Janelle Asselin’s Teen Titan’s cover critique, which led to extremely dismissive and insulting response and eventually to rape threats.

Predictably, in the remaining forum, there are long threads devoted to people complaining about “political correctness” and “censorship.” It’s a little disheartening how many posters would rather have an unpoliced community of insulting trolls, but I’m not surprised.

Internet message boards have been a mixed blessing ever since the first packet was sent to DARPA. On the one hand, it allows every one an equal say. On the other hand, it allows everyone an equal say. In the “message board” era, it quickly became clear that all boards needed moderation of some kind. I cut my internet teeth on CompuServe where a gang of vigilant moderators enforced various rules, and you would see most of the pioneers of the comics internet —from Neil Gaiman to Rich Johnston—peacefully discussing Xena Warrior Princess all together in one grazing herd.

However as commercial boards — on Comicon.com, TCJ.com and CBR evolved form the late 90s on, they became less lawful places, boards abuse and Goatse became the “winning” argument in any discussion. There was some great discussion but the nutters tended to drive people away. And you had to relaly have a strong stomach to stand up to it. The number of women who posted was pathetically few, helping foster the idea that women weren’t interested in geek topics.

Some will remember the Warren Ellis forums on Delphi, later The Engine. The latter was a place where the policy of incredibly strong moderation made it both a where women felt comfortable posting AND posting pictures of themselves topless. Paradise, in other words. Ellis had a strong personality and the discussion was brisk and informative especially WITH the mods, of Filthy Assistants as they were known. Of course there were people who got banned and sulked and railed against “political correctness”. In 2002. So the same arguments are made over and over and over again.

Here at the Beat we also have a zero tolerance policy for abusive comments. And if you become a particularly annoying circular arguer, you will also get removed. I’ve had to revoke the accounts of well known people when they wouldn’t play by my rules. My time for moderating comments is limited, but I take the job seriously. And I’m proud of the community we have here at the Beat. It may not be perfect but it is generally civil discussion.

A lot of people believe in taking away discussion boards, but I think it’s part of the culture of the internet. I just want that culture to be better. Strong moderation makes strong message boards, and there is no way around that.

So who will be next to clean up their forums? IGN? Bleeding Cool? MIllarworld? The only reason not to is a fear of losing traffic I think, but even there the tradeoff in intelligence is a win win. This is a big internet and trolls have Reddit and 4chan to be disgusting if they so choose. The lowest common denominator will always have a bigger influence than it should on anything that is crowd sourced, but it’s time for the gatekeepers to take a stand.

So I ask again: who else is going to prove they are strong enough to take a stand?

20 Comments on CBR introduces new zero tolerance message boards — who else will follow suit?, last added: 5/1/2014
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11. REAL throwback Thursday: Comics Fandom 1969

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I stole this link from Tom Spurgeon, and I’m just as fascinated by it as he is: it’s a photo of the 1969 Comic Art Convention Luncheon Photo, July 5, 1969 at the Statler Hilton Hotel as annotated and archived by old time fanzine artist John Fantucchio. (Hit the link for a big version — wow negatives are cool!) Here in one place you see Comics 1969 — from legendary Marvel production manager Big John Verpoorten in the back to (gasp) teen Gary Groth in the front row. Fantucchio has been trying to identify everyone in the photo and he’s made a pretty good stab at it.

As always when I look at these old timey wimey photos, the first thing I always notice is that EVERYONE WAS SO SKINNY. Big John is tall for sure, but he’s just a normal sized guy now. The young Bill G. Wilson in the front would probably have been considered a bit chubby at the time and he’s petite for these days. The reason I bring this up (besides more proof of how over fed we are now) is that the stereotype of the “fat fan” didn’t come along until later. It’s true that when I started going to conventions in the 80s there were quite a few people around who would be considered large and in charge—and there were some prominent comics folks who were considerably overweight—but at the protoplasmic stage this wasn’t true.

Also, Gary Groth is still skinny, 45 years later. Someone needs to investigate that.

10 Comments on REAL throwback Thursday: Comics Fandom 1969, last added: 5/10/2014
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12. Celebrate Torsten’s “Nerd Birthday” With His Crazy Party Favors!

Everyone has milestone events which they remember (or wish to forget).  Some are small memories, like a first kiss, while others can be momentous anniversaries marked each year.

May 25th is one such day for me.This Star Wars Day/International Towel Day marks thirty years of my actively reading, collecting, studying, proselytizing comics.  May 25, 1984, I walked into a grocery store, and was instantly seduced by a black-suited Spider-Man.It’s the day I became a nerd/geek.  Sure, there were things before which I geeked about, like most kids.  But comics…that set me on a crazy journey around the world, meeting some amazing people, sharing my passion with everyone who would listen!

But comics aren’t my only geek passion!

I’m a polymath, soaking up all sorts of crazy stuff!

Here are some of my crazy interestest, and some crazy links you might not have realized existed!  (Or blotted out in your youth to save on psychiatry bills!)

Comics

Geez…  so much is out there already… what can I find…?

Comics retailing!    The architects!  How to get there!

comic-book-display-system

LEGOs

The wiki.

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The Lego Millennium Falcon graphic novel!

(Take THAT, Ikea!)

Adam Reed Tucker, the genius behind the Lego Architecture series!

MAD Magazine

Why MAD doesn’t release these digitally…?

And here’s the unaired 1974 pilot…

Video Games

If you want to really delve into the history of videogames, read:

Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984 By Van Burnham

Here’s a site for laserdisc arcade games, including one of early anime!

Reading

Go study and read everything by Ellen Raskin.  Had she not died at 56, she might have been the first author to win a Newbery and a Caldecott Medal.  She wrote, drew, and designed books, and all are worth a few hours escape.

Animation

Remember Saturday morning cartoons?  Remember when the networks would air a special the Friday night before, to introduce the new series?  Yeah, they were usually pretty cheesy… here are three samples…

Superman meeting Bugs Bunny and Yogi Bear, at a party thrown by Avery Schreiber and Jack Burns?

ALF playing detective?

Boss Hogg trying to swindle Scott Baio out of his discoteque?

Ah… to return to those innocent naive days when I hadn’t yet developed a critical eye.  (Yes, I thought the Star Wars Holiday Special was spectacular when it first aired.  Now, I think I can last five minutes before revealing the location of the  rebel base, Gilligan’s full name, and the lyrics to “Louie Louie”.)

If you’re really into pain, check out “Shirt Tails”, “Get Along Gang”, and/or “Care Bears”.

Cable Television

Weekend nights, USA would show “Night Flight”, an interesting mix of music videos, short films, and cult classics.  MTV might have been cool, but Night Flight was hep.  Here’s a memorial site.

And a playlist from YouTube:

Comedy

The comedy record to seek out: “Retail Comedy @ Wholesale Prices“!  Here’s a sample: “Mr. Wizard and Timmy”.  The entire album is comedy gold!

(Right, Don.)

Music

I’ve got a predilection for TV themes, especially the full versions which cut out stanzas so there would be more time for story and commercials.

I’ve made a series of posts over on Google Plus, with the tag #forgottentvlyrics.  Star Trek, Andy Griffith, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie…

Here’s one of my favorites, first heard during the end credits to the Buck Rogers movie!  If it was remixed, it would make a great graduation song!

That’s all for this year!  Hope you had a great time!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

5 Comments on Celebrate Torsten’s “Nerd Birthday” With His Crazy Party Favors!, last added: 5/28/2014
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13. Interview: The coming of BookCon

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This Saturday the previously business only trade show Book Expo America will turn into the very first BookCon, an event that is open to the public (8000 advance tickets have been sold) and very much modelled on the successful New York Comic-Con. Both shows are run by Reed Exhibitions, the world’s biggest business-to-business (B2B) event planner, but BookCon is being run by ReedPop, the consumer show arm of Reed. Although Lance Fensterman, a frequently quoted personage on this site, runs ReedPop, BookCon’s manager is Brien McDonald, who has been working on BEA proper for five years. I was offered a spot to interview McDonald, and given my fascination with convention culture, I couldn’t turn down the chance.

In some ways, the coming of BookCom was inevitable. I’ve been attending BEA for years, and it’s a perfectly nice trade show, but when compared with the energy and excitement of a Comic-Con, it’s a wet noodle—which is weird because prose authors are way more popular and famous than comics creators! Yet both organizers and publishers have struggled with the idea of how to bring the passion of book readers to an event like a Comic-Con. Publishers have been wary of going face to face with the public, and the logistics of the event weren’t clear.

But a solution has been found. While tomorrow and Friday will be the traditional BEA with trade only programming and author signings, exhibitors who want to remain for BookCon will all be set up in a specific area that will convert to a consumer show, where for the price of only $30 you can look at books and meet and hear authors like John Green, Jodi Picoult, David Mitchell, Holly Black, Carl Hiasson, Stan Lee, and so on. Some of the celebrity authors from BEA will be hanging around like Amy Poehler, Jason Segal and Jason Bateman. And the film version of Green’s beloved novel The Fault in Our Stars will be given the equivalent of a Hall H presentation with a panel featuring the producers and Green. (And probably a star or two unless I miss my guess.)

Given that many of these authors successfully appear at actual comic-cons, it’s really only the quiet—and hugely popular—lakes of mainstream fiction and non fiction “fandom” that are being accessed here. While the whole idea seems sounds—book fairs around the country like the huge Miami Book Fair or the bustling Brooklyn Book Fair are hugely popular for instance—BookCon stumbled right out of the gate with the announcement of its first panel, “Blockbuster Reads: Meet the Kids Authors That Dazzle”– which happened to feature four white men, Daniel Handler, Jeff Kinney, James Patterson, and Rick Riordan. In a world where, unlike comics, female authors and readers are dominant, this seemed pretty odd. (Rachel Renee Russell, the African American author of the Dork Diaries series has since been added to the panel.) As if this wasn’t enough, the second list of guests was all white—unless you count Grumpy Cat, who is Siamese. The social media outrage was so intense this time that a whole hashtag was coined, #WeNeedDiverseBooks. And in response a panel on diversity was added.

If BookCon is a lot like Comic-Con in this regard, it may eventually be more like it in the pleasurable engagement of readers with their literary idols. As I am always saying, meeting the author of your favorite book is an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. It’s done all the time as those book fairs I mentioned, signings and other book events show. Translating that experience from the orders and meetings focused world of BEA to a whole new experience may take a while. But, the transition is, I feel pretty sure, just the start of an even wider application of the Comic-Con Experience to other things.

THE BEAT: I was really curious about BookCon and how it evolved. People have been talking about this kind of thing for a long time, but how did Power Readers Day go to BookCon under ReedPop? I know Reed runs BEA but how did BookCon go over to ReedPop?

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MCDONALD: We have this long standing amazing b-to-b show, which is Book Expo America, with so much great content there and so many great authors available to us. Since we’re in New York City, the perfect place for a book and pop culture event, it just made sense to take the leverage and the equity we had in the publishing world through Book Expo, and then infuse that with the ReedPop way of doing things with fans first. We had a lot of great things kind of right in our hands, and we were able to collaborate and bring in the ReedPop philosophy to books and book related content.

THE BEAT: I know for years, everybody has been looking at BEA and then they look at New York Comic Con. And they’re like, “hmmmmmm?” [laughs]

MCDONALD: This is my fifth BEA and my previous job and still a lot of what I do is working with our key clients in the publishing world, and I wish I had a dime for every time I went to a meeting and were asked, can we get some of that Comic Con energy? Not that there’s anything wrong with the b-to-b side of Book Expo, that has a distinct purpose and it’s excellent and it’s great and it’s achieving certain objectives, but people like the zeal of a fan based event.

THE BEAT: Right. The zeal, that’s a great way of putting it actually. What kind of transition did you make for the show?

MCDONALD: The Power Reader Day, that brand is over. It went pretty well the last year, but to plug fans and consumers into a b-to-b event doesn’t work all that well. And that’s no one’s fault, it’s just not the way that it should be. So we decided that Saturday would be BookCon and we’re going to put a concerted effort towards creating a fan experience. So we went out to every client and said if you want to activate with consumers here’s how to do it. If you don’t, that’s totally cool, if you want BEA to remain a trade only show for you, you’re more than welcome to do that. Many Book Expo exhibitors feel that BookCon is not applicable to them—distributors, e-book producers, and so on. It doesn’t make sense to pour consumers into those booths because there’s nothing there for either side.

In addition to the core exhibitors that will be there, we also have I think 45 new exhibitors coming in solely for Saturday in BookCon. So it’s cool from that perspective. But as far as the publishers that have decided to activate with consumers it’s who you think they are, Random House, Simon and Schuster, Abrams, MacMillan, and Chronicle, Diamond Distributors, Andrews McMeel, so it’s really cool. Publishers have been really receptive and they’ve raised their hands to do some cool things.

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THE BEAT: Well I’m fascinated by this story because I have been covering Comic Cons for many, many years, and the rise of Comic Con culture that we’ve seen in the past decade, spiraling out of control really for the past 5 years. I’m fascinated to see the change, because let’s face it, books are a lot more popular than comics. But a lot of people just like to quietly read a book about economics, and they’re probably not going to stand in line to meet the guy who wrote the book…but maybe they would if it was Thomas Piketty!

MCDONALD: Yes I think you’re definitely going to see that. There’s a film tie in to John Green’s work, but look at John Green on the Today Show when he was in Miami last week. Hollywood talent is attached, but John Green is at the center of that story. And that’s kind of what BookCon is trying capture, things like True Detective where people are so passionate about that but it was based on an older book that no one would have known about unless there was a TV show. Reading is very much a private enterprise, but it’s something that people are really passionate about and they build a community around it. I think one reason that cons are blowing up is [as a way to meet in person, as opposed to social media.]

THE BEAT: Well it is very experiential. The programming with Amy Poehler and Martin Short, obviously there’s some celebrity elements to it, but you also have a lot of just very famous book authors, much loved book authors. How did you approach the programming? What did you look at in Comic Con and say we’ve got to do that for BookCon?

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MCDONALD: When we started our conversation we had a whole lot of equity in the publishing world due to our work on BEA and to Comic Con. So we went out and just explained the concept to publishers. We pursued some people hard like we made hard asks, particularly authors, but then other publishers said hey this author has a super passionate audience, we’ve done a lot of cool live events with him or her, here’s what we could do. So we kind of went for content that has a great following, but we also looked at the cross over in pop culture too. We wanted stories that cross over into all different elements. And obviously we were able to make some big hits with a lot of actual celebrities, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Amy Poehler, Martin Short, those type of folks, and then also some celebrity type authors and then, I don’t want to say cult authors, but then you have someone who’s like a super literary guy like David Mitchell who has an amazing following. And then there’s Brandon Stanton, the photojournalist from Humans In New York. That’s someone to me who is very cool, telling a great story, and brings something different to BookCon.

THE BEAT: I notice you have speed dating which is a very popular event from Reed’s Comic Con events also. Funnily enough, it says registration for females looking for males is closed. At Comic-Cons it’s sometimes the other way around. [General laughter] Anyway, you’re also bringing these kind of fun, social events, I guess you could say.

MCDONALD: Social’s the perfect term. We want it to be immersive, we want people to go there from, the show’s open from 9, there’s activities going on from 9 to 6 and we want people to be busy all day and having a great time, doing different things, so something like speed dating is a perfect interactive activity. But then maybe you want to sit down and take in a panel or you want of embrace your comics side and go and see Stan Lee, but then your literary side and go see David Mitchell. So we try to offer people a pretty active lively day that has kind of different points. And the speed dating thing was definitely taken right from the Comic Con model.

THE BEAT: You also have some actual Comic-Con type events like Stan Lee and the Great Graphic Novel Panel. Is this an attempt to appeal to NYCC type attendees?

MCDONALD: Oh for sure. We definitely welcome them in and then hope they find some of our content enthralling.

THE BEAT: BookCon unfortunately got its most notoriety for the whole diversity issue. And there was sort of a, mis-messaging, or what would you call it?

MCDONALD: Diversity in books and in the publishing industry and in everything in life I mean is critical. And we wanted our authors to be as diverse as possible and we work with publishers to help ensure that’s happening. Now, there was what would we call it, I guess kind of a backlash about who we announced, and if I could turn back the clock I would change the announcement strategy a little bit. In the first [group of] authors that we announced, there wasn’t a lot of diversity. But as we kept saying, we’re not done yet. So by the time we get to the event on May 31st I think we’ll have a really good representation of authors from all sorts of backgrounds. And I feel confident that we’ve now achieved that, but when we came out of the gates, that wasn’t shown in the initial announcement. If I could change that we certainly would have, but there’s pressure to announce an event and build buzz and that kind of thing. So we went out with some of the bigger names that were not completely reflective of what our event will be when it goes off on May 31st. Since then we’ve been able to work with our partners and bring in some awesome content.

THE BEAT: Is there anything about BookCon that you’re especially looking forward to or you’re really excited about?

MCDONALD: The whole thing! When you’re planning these events you just want to get there. I’ve been in it from the B-to-b side like working BEA, but I’m actually really excited to be in with passionate book fans, which I consider myself one of, But I’m just really interested to see who turns out at the show and how they interact and what they love.

1 Comments on Interview: The coming of BookCon, last added: 5/29/2014
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14. BookCon showed that readers still love books and authors

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A line of kids to see nonagenarian Stan Lee.

So BookCon was, like the very first New York Comic-Con, a raging success that caught everyone by surprise. It may be surprising that so many thought the idea of putting some of the world’s most loved authors in front of an audience would be a questionable venture, but whatever the doubts, it worked. Ticket sales were “limited” to 10,000 and I think they all showed up at once at 9 am on Saturday morning.

I got to the Javits Center about 11 am, and people were already complaining about the lines and disorganization — apparently the entrance queue filled the entire downstairs hall, and the fire marshal shut things down at one point. I managed to get into the Stan Lee panel by flashing my Publishers Weekly badge, but when I left around noon, the entire area to get into the Hall E panels was cut off and no one could get into the staging area any more.

If it was a scene reminiscent of the first NYCC where state trooper has to shut things down and Dan Didio, Frank Miller and Kevin Smith all got locked out of their booths, it was reminiscent in another way: the people who attended were there because they has a passionate connection with the material and the people who created it.

The halls were jammed and bustling with excitement. Some of the comics publishers who were there complained that they hadn’t been fully briefed about what was going to happen and didn’t have enough material to sell. Another said they sold out by 11:30 am. For con-hard veterans this was a walk in the park.

The most amazing moment came when I went to the “Special Events Hall” at the Javits—the equivalent of Hall H—to see the Blockbuster Reads panel with  James Patterson, Daniel “Lemony Snicket” Handler, Rachel Renee Russell and Rick Riordan interviewed by Jeff Kinney. The room was packed, and there was an electricity in the air as the event approached, completely similar to the feeling in Hall H. When the authors came out they were greeted by screams and every time a book was mentioned there was more cheering. The attendees were sitting reading books, reading Kindles, writing reports.

I loved it. I didn’t find this a great experience because it was shifting the veneer of celebrity to authors, but because there was clearly such a strong engagement with readers who loved the books these people had created. I didn’t stick around for John Green, but apparently that was even more fervent.

And a word about that audience: according to one exhibitor I talked to it was 10-to-1 girls and women. “This is YA con,” author Scott Westerberg told me. And that’s exactly what it was, showing that the audience for stories told in book form is is still there as of 2014, despite all the gloomy predictions.

The show was not without other problems, as enumerated in a Vulture story by Boris Kachka

It was a good thing because, as McDonald says, “it was hairy today with ten. Believe me, we have a lot of work to do for next year.” Fans took their cues from shows like Comic Con, lining up so early for panels that organizers quickly lost control. By 10:45 a.m., the lower level was cordoned off. From the escalators above, the group waiting to see Stan Lee looked like a refugee camp. McDonald regrets front-loading most of the big stars and putting them in too-small conference rooms. “You want to fire the cannon right away,” he says, “but maybe next year there’ll be a little more staggering.”

Things eased up later in the day, but in front of the main events hall — host to Amy Poehler and Martin Short, followed by a slate of blockbuster children’s authors and the biggest draw, The Fault in Our Stars author John Green — the line turned into a roped-off swarm. Screaming teenage girls knocked over a barricade. Parents crowd-surfed out while the children remained. “It’s got to improve,” says McDonald. “But who wants to keep doing the same thing and not get better at it?”

As with the first NYCC, I think the ReedPOP folks picked up on industry misgivings about the enterprise, and perhaps underestimated the excitement. As a couple of people told me, the event was a success in spite of itself.

But, to be fair, nothing quite like it had ever been done before. There are book fairs which tend to focus on literary books, and comics, SF, Horror and Romance events which focus on certain genres. BookCon was aimed squarely at the most popular and populist area of the book world.

PW has the inside story on the machinations between the publishing world and BookCon, which will go to four days next year:

Prior to the show, publishers were concerned about the about the “gear shift of “publishers looking forward to the fall while the aspect for consumers is now,” as Liz Psaltis, director of marketing for Gallery Books and Pocket Books put it. But Psaltis, echoing the sentiments of others, was elated to be experiencing a real opportunity to “hand sell books and talk directly to readers.” Ellie Berger, president of the Scholastic trade division, was happy with the initial BookCon, but said Scholastic will make changes for the 2015 event. “Next year we’ll be more strategic, based on the experience today. There are more kids, librarians, and educators today than the last two days, a very different crowd that we’re glad to see,” Berger said. With so many young women in attendance, Harlequin had a busy BookCon. “It’s fantastic. This is a great way for our fans to meet our authors, and we brought 12 authors today, from romance to teen novels. It’s very different today, with more of a buzz about the books that’s so contagious. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s inspiring to see how passionate the young readers are.” said Harlequin’s Michelle Renaud. Little, Brown gave away 500 copies of Michael Kortya’s The Prophet, to fans. “It’s been great to engage with readers directly. We really feel like booksellers, handselling,” said Miriam Parker, online marketing director for Little, Brown.

 

Most traditional publishers would rather walk barefoot over leprous vipers than face their customers. Once again, to be fair, their view may be colored by the fact that at BEAs most of the “power readers” tended to be older and extremely….eccentric. The younger, crowd that actually attended BookCon was a far cry from Power Reader day, and rather than being a dreaded chore, filled you with hope for the future of reading.

But given the long argument about opening BEA to the public, I think it’s fair to say that publishers will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into this world. But it will happen. I made a little video of the two sides of the show on Saturday:

Which side are you on?

Some more photos:

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I’m sure Torsten will have full coverage of this, but the LONE Starbucks at the Javits has now been converted from a kiosk to a built in, and the former kiosk area is now a carpeted seating area. Still looooong lines though.

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Print Ninja was just one of MANY companies that were there to offer author services and try to service te growing self-publishing and crowdfunding areas.

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This is the poster that Scholastic offered for Sisters, which has a 200,000 print run.

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ALERT CHRIS SIMS!!!!

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Lerner Books was promoting Three-Story Books: Birdcatdog by Lee Nordling and MEritxell Bosch, an innovative kids book that tells three interactive stories. It’s one of a growing number of books that are playing with the form in very sophisticated form.

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Want

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Carol Burrell of Abrams and librarian Karen Green beneath the eyes of Wimpy Kid.

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Blockbuster Reads with Jeff Kinney, Rick Riordan, Rachel Renee Russell, Robert Patterson and Daniel Handler.

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Illustrator Bob Staake signing!

 

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This was the scene in Hall E outside the panel rooms. Soon after the Fire Marshal didn’t allow any more people into the area. This is a similar situation to what happens at NYCC nearly every year, and it needs to be carefully addressed.

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This was the real dark side of BookCon, incredibly long lines for he ladies room. This one was about forty people. I even tried using my go-to-secret piddle bathroom, and there were 50 people who also know about my secret goto piddle bathroom.  At one point they literally turned a men’s room into a ladies room to accommodate the line.

 

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Once you finally did get into the bathroom this darkly genius promo greeted you on every stall. I got two post apocalyptic words for you: night soil.

 

One last gri,

5 Comments on BookCon showed that readers still love books and authors, last added: 6/3/2014
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15. Tell us what you think: Should The Comics Journal ditch its comments section?

As long as we’re harkening back to the internet of 10 years ago, as we are in this AMAZING THRILLING BEAT 10TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, one of the great hallowed traditions of the internet came under fire yesterday, with TCJ.com co-editor Tim Hodler wonderedif TCJ.com should turn off comments and encourage a “letter’s page” instead. Oddly, this inspired a flurry of comments. The “letters page” idea goes back to Blood & Thunder the letters page on the old print Comics Journal where industry titans would throw rocks at each other. Seriously these are a goldmine of Bronze Age defensiveness and invective. Would the same spirit be upheld in a world with instantaneous communication in every medium known to humankind? Not sure.

The tcj.com comment crewe is also a throwback to the original TCJ.com message board, a brutal, often trollish place. No quarter was asked, none was given on the TCJ boards. You had to live by your wits, and the same old arguments would break out on a weekly basis. Despite all this, it still qualified as social media for its day and fostered an indie comics community that survived and migrated, Elfquest-fashion, to a greener more temperate clime.

The jury still seems to be out, but while the TCJ comments maintain occasional flashes of brilliance and information—less since the death of Kim Thompson—they are also home to a nest of internet trolls, some of them ported over from the old system.

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This whole argument seemed to kick off some STRONG feelings on the webz! I see a whole bunch of folks were mixing it up on Twitter but to be honest, I was watching the Belgium-USA game and missed whatever started it. I do know the vastly male make-up of the comment crewe was dissed by some, some upheld the smattering of good info, others thought killing it all would be a mercy killing. And some people suggest moderation — I’m pretty sure the current boards are moderated, but it only takes a few rampaging wackadoos to throw everything off kilter. People used the phrase “pap pap” and that’s always funny.

There was also this suggestion first voiced by

Oliver_C says:

Don’t ditch comments. Moderate, limit and up/down-vote them.


Sub-reddit then! And Hodler replied:

We actually had upvoting in comments when we first relaunched the site, and it was wildly unpopular with readers. I wonder if things would be different now.


I’m a big Tim Hodler fan but doing things that are unpopular with your readers is often what’s best for them. Trolls hate moderation, controls and scrutiny by the authorities. And of course, up or down voting doesn’t assure that extreme positions won’t be supported. Yet TCJ’s audience is small enough that you don’t get general “look at me I’m being an asshole!” type posts.

I’m partial to comments, as you can see from this site, but only MODERATED comments. I check the comments here four or five times as day and have banned several people for being asshats. I’ve toyed with putting in the Facebook comment system but it hardly seems necessary right now. My vote for TCJ? Better modding. But if there isn’t time for that, try letters to the editor. It worked for Ben Franklin.

UPDATED: And Dan Nadel has announced the new policy and it’s EXACTLY WHAT I SUGGESTED!
Well, we certainly got a lot of comments about our comments. Here’s what we’re going to do until Monday, which will satisfy no one but ourselves: We will now moderate all comments and filter out anything we don’t find in some way productive or entertaining. We will be stringent about this, and thus will delete many of the types of things (Lee/Kirby nonsense, obvious bad-faith arguments, blatant trolling) argued against on the thread. Take into account that we are both devoted Howard Stern listeners (for you non-Americans, Howard Stern is a figure of wisdom and devotion who functions for many of us as a kind of benevolent spirit guide), so our standards are pretty enlightened. After Monday we’ll either decide to continue this policy or shut down the comments all together. How’s that for an anti-climax?

6 Comments on Tell us what you think: Should The Comics Journal ditch its comments section?, last added: 7/3/2014
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16. If it’s Power Girl this must be Dragon*Con (and PAX)

dragoncon saturday bill 14 If its Power Girl this must be Dragon*Con (and PAX)
Labor Day Weekend is a circled on the calendar of free-spirits of all shapes and species, as WorldCon, Burning Man, Dragon*Con and PAX are all on the schedule — no matter what you like to dress up as, there’s definitely a place to parade around and search for someone else dressed up for the ultimate fantasy.

The Mary Sue has a nice little gallery of Atlanta’s Dragon*Con and Seattle’s PAX; we snagged the above new style Power Girl from the former.

cosplayer If its Power Girl this must be Dragon*Con (and PAX)

MTV Geek has their Dragon*Con galleries arranged by category — comics, video games, etc.

And there’s this CNN GeekOut photo parade of the Dragon*Con costume parade, which also included Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno. This parade always looks like a blast — people have been talking abotu some kind of mass parade for Comic-Con for a while, which we’re sure would be fun but maybe a logistical nightmare. Anyway, the takeaway is MORE PARADES.

For more photos, there’s always good old Flickr, as old fashioned as that may be.
201209040118 If its Power Girl this must be Dragon*Con (and PAX)

For instance here’s a Bane from SEB-1119′s photo stream.

4 Comments on If it’s Power Girl this must be Dragon*Con (and PAX), last added: 9/4/2012
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17. Radio 4 Gather Stunning Voice-Cast for Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’

Well, this is certainly one of the most British things I’ve ever heard. Please whistle the theme tune to The Archers while you read this article.

Yesterday Neil Gaiman announced on his blog that BBC Radio 4 have gathered a stunning collection of actors to record a radio adaptation of his story Neverwhere, which was first seen on television in the 1990s. Co-written by Lenny Henry, the story was sort-of simultaneously adapted into a novel by Gaiman, which was subsequently rewritten and adapted into radio plays and, well, all sorts of stuff happened with it, really.

This adaptation for radio, however, has managed to gather an incredible line-up of actors – several of whom sent this message across to Gaiman, which he shared earlier:

gaiman Radio 4 Gather Stunning Voice Cast for Adaptation of Neil Gaimans Neverwhere

Which sight excites you most? Manly David Harewood? Game of Throne’s Natalie Dormer? James McAvoy? Giles from Buffy? Benedict Crumpetpatch? Hold on tight, because this photo only skims the surface of an utterly incredible cast.

Also appearing will be Andrew Sachs, Sophie Okonedo, Christopher Lee, Don Gilet, Johnny Vegas, Bernard Cribbins, Lucy Cohu and Romola Garai. And that’s still not all! Gaiman also teases that there will be a few other secret cameos and appearances tucked in amongst everything else. Zoinks.

Scheduled for release as a 6-episode series in 2013, Neverwhere will be produced by Dirk Maggs. Okay, you can stop whistling now.

1 Comments on Radio 4 Gather Stunning Voice-Cast for Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’, last added: 11/30/2012
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18. One Week Until International Darkstar Day 2012!

You know how The Beat works now. While everybody else works hard on getting the best interviews, writing the strongest articles and the most incisive opinion pieces you could find, I run around in circles and yell excitedly about obscure D-List Marvel heroines.

Which brings us to the imminent arrival of 2012′s International Darkstar Day! A tradition dating back perhaps millennia, IDD celebrates Russia’s #1 Superhero, Laynia Petrovna!

Kalman Andrasofsky One Week Until International Darkstar Day 2012!

Darkstar by Kalman Andrasofsky

Currently a member of The Winter Guard and absolutely not floating lifelessly in orbit around the Earth, Darkstar was first created by Tony Isabella and George Tuska in The Champions, before getting taken on by writers like Bill Mantlo, Fabian Nicieza and Kurt Busiek. Secretly one of Marvel’s most popular characters, or so I keep telling myself, she was killed off by Grant Morrison in New X-Men. Boooo! But then she triumphantly returnedto life in the greatest Marvel storyline of all time, Darkstar & The Winter Guard, by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis. Hurray!

Danielle Corsetto One Week Until International Darkstar Day 2012!

Darkstar by Danielle Corsetto

How do we celebrate Darkstar Day? Well, let me elucidate ya. The basic premise of Darkstar Day is: people around the world draw pictures of Darkstar, and we post them online, and then we celebrate those pictures. It is… perhaps not the most revolutionary celebration. But it’s a fun one! If you want to take part, all you have to do is draw a picture of Darkstar – spend a week working on it or half a minute, it doesn’t matter – and then send it across to me at comicsvanguard@gmail.com. I will share every Darkstar I receive!

This year’s International Darkstar Day falls on the 18th December, so on that day I’ll be sharing some of the results with you right here, along with some of the great IDD offerings of the past. Guys, let’s do this! Tell your kids! Tell your parents! Gather around the fireplace and make IDD12 the biggest and best one yet!

Note: if you’d rather draw a picture of Pixie then that’s okay too

15 Comments on One Week Until International Darkstar Day 2012!, last added: 12/12/2012
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19. It’s International Darkstar Day!!

The big day is finally here! Ladies and gentlemen of The Beat, gather your young ones and race onto the street. Proclaim for all to hear, TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL DARKSTAR DAY, AND I FEEL GREAT!!!!

On this day we share the joy of Darkstar, Marvel’s least celebrated yet best superhero. Now you’ve returned back to your computer fresh from the street, lungs aching from the stress and feet covered in dirt (you could’ve at least put some shoes on, y’know – but I admire your impatience), let us bask in some of the art sent to me by a bevy of lovely artists!

First up is Isaac Leiro, whose work you can find every week at Stardark City. He offered both black/white and coloured versions of her, and I simply couldn’t choose between them. So I include both!

leirus2 Its International Darkstar Day!!

Up next is the work of Dr Sonic, who cuts characters into shape via construction paper and a rather sharp knife. Find him at http://docgold16.tumblr.com!

Dr Sonic Its International Darkstar Day!!

He appears on DeviantArt only as MohoFrappe, and his Darkstar could not be any more lovely!  Look how she swishes!

Affinity Its International Darkstar Day!!

 

Zhaxra offers a redesign (and new haircut) for Laynia Petrovna with his piece here, and you can find more of his art over at his DeviantArt page!

Zhaxra Its International Darkstar Day!!

Brilliant ol’ Rance Sims also offers a smart new redesign for the character, which captures ALL her class! He is on DeviantArt too!

 Shade2 Its International Darkstar Day!!

Finally…. oh dear, Isaac Leiro’s shown up again. And this time… well.

Leirus1 Its International Darkstar Day!!

Folks, International Darkstar Day is also my birthday. Can you even believe just how self-indulgent this entire post has been? I certainly can! But at least we all got some lush and tidy artwork out of it, can you not agree? What a great day this is. Three cheers for Darkstar! And hey — not forgetting…

DARKSTARDAY Its International Darkstar Day!!

EDIT!! More Darkstar has just arrived, from Studio YOLO’s Christa Cassano! If you look out the window right now, you’ll be able to see a small trail of sparks flying up out of sight, because MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED!

christa cassano Its International Darkstar Day!!

A Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to all, and to all… A HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DARKSTAR DAY!

6 Comments on It’s International Darkstar Day!!, last added: 12/18/2012
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20. The Beat’s Guide to Avoiding the DC SPOILER

TweetOh no! Spoilers have escaped onto the internet once more, this time for a DC title of some kind! How can you avoid reading these before you pick up the issue they relate to? Why, by following this winningly winning guide to avoiding all the places where it’s being spoiled! I won’t spoil the spoiler [...]

8 Comments on The Beat’s Guide to Avoiding the DC SPOILER, last added: 2/26/2013
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21. Watch! Jesse V. Johnson’s Wonder Woman Fan-Trailer

We all want Wonder Woman to be in a movie. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say we want her to be in EVERY film. And every TV show. Maybe a few music videos. But for one reason or another, we’re repeatedly disappointed by a world which does not seem to share our desire for Diana to take over the entirety of culture. She can’t get a TV show off the ground, her film scripts never get put anywhere near production, and Nicki Minaj hasn’t dressed up as her ONCE.

So step-forward first-time director Jesse V. Johnson, a stunt co-ordinator who has worked on films like Lincoln, Thor, and Spider-Man, to show how it’s done. Johnson today uploaded a film trailer for Wonder Woman, to show off his ability as a director for potentially-interested parties… and it’s pretty darned good, you guys. It’s even got this poster, created by Robert Sebree.

 NINA BERGMAN jump3 Watch! Jesse V. Johnsons Wonder Woman Fan Trailer

Casting actress Nina Bergman as Wonder Woman and Peter-flipping-Stormare as her Nazi captor, this fan film captures basically everything William Marston could have possibly wanted to see in a Wonder Woman movie. There’s fighting, and empowerment, some light bondage, and even a touch of psychological theory. Johnson describes the project’s origins:

It was my manager / producing partner Kailey Marsh’s idea to shoot the trailer.  She really believes I should be a studio director, and thought shooting Wonder Woman would be a great way to show off my skills in a fun way that people could get excited about.

So without further ado, here’s the trailer for the movie. What do you think?

Female Super Hero Fan Film from Jesse V. Johnson on Vimeo.

11 Comments on Watch! Jesse V. Johnson’s Wonder Woman Fan-Trailer, last added: 2/28/2013
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22. On The Scene: WonderCon 2013, THE VIKINGS Invade!

 On The Scene: WonderCon 2013, THE VIKINGS Invade!Any illusion I had that I was the only human being watching the new History Channel drama THE VIKINGS was shattered walking into a fully occupied large capacity convention hall, already packed fifteen minutes before the panel actually started. The description for the panel stated that some of the cast members would be there, but in fact, all three of the main cast members appeared, moderated by journalist Kate Hahn, and joined by History Channel EVP of Development and Programming Dirk Hoogstra.

And by the way, there are no aliens or Nazis in THE VIKINGS, at least not yet, but there is plenty of reasonably seasoned research into early medieval languages, cultures, and locations. The titular Vikings of the show are presented, refreshingly, as the protagonists, though the darker side to their pillaging lifestyles are equally represented. Visually stunning, the show’s on location shooting in Ireland and Northern Europe is one of its big selling points. The others virtues are strong acting and just telling a ripping good story of ambitious Ragnar Lodbrok as he seeks new territories to terrorize and vies for authority with a resentful and scheming local Earl. The strength of the show’s writing in the hands of Michael Hirst of THE TUDORS is also particularly apparent.

IMG 4830 300x225 On The Scene: WonderCon 2013, THE VIKINGS Invade!The panel opened with a season recap so far, highlighting Ragnar’s motivation in life. “Odin gave his eye to acquire knowledge but I would give far more”, he tells his twelve year old son. This quest drives the series and illustrates with plenty of axe swinging the maxim “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”.

The impatient crowd were delighted when dynamic leading man Travis Fimmel appeared (Ragnar), but ecstatic when he was joined by female lead Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha) and the triad of central characters was completed by George Blagden (captured Anglo-Saxon monk Athelstan). Despite the simple entertainment value of hearing from the main actors on the series, the panel also revealed a lot about the research behind the series and the development of characterization for the central roles. Hoogstra mentioned the “struggle” the show faced in casting the key role of Ragnar until they met Fimmel, who “clicked” for them immediately, the difficulty of developing a “believable” mother/warrior role for “shield maiden” Lagertha, and constructing the character of Athelstan as a “go between” for the two worlds of pagan and Christian Europe.

IMG 4831 300x225 On The Scene: WonderCon 2013, THE VIKINGS Invade!When asked why they agreed to play their respective roles, the actors replied with personal anecdotes. Travis said, “I’m a bit of a kid at heart. You get to run around with an axe. Who wouldn’t want to be married to this lady?”. Travis was particularly animated and had the audience amused with his commentary, seeming to slip in an out of character. Winnick, a martial arts expert, said she was drawn to the strong writing, historical characters, and a fascination with Viking culture and mythology.

Some highlights from the panel discussion included Fimmel’s narration of working on replica Viking boats, one on the open water and one on a sound stage being battled by simulated storms, and Blagden’s very personal story of visiting the ruins of Lindisfarne, the monastery sacked by the Vikings during the show, and home to Athelstan, for character research. The actors displayed an impressive degree of enthusiasm and knowledge of the show’s subject matter, and spent plenty of time joking amongst each other about how their characters interact on screen, especially about sexual tensions.

IMG 4837 300x225 On The Scene: WonderCon 2013, THE VIKINGS Invade!The audience, particularly, wanted to know if the show would be renewed for future seasons, and Hoogstra said that he wasn’t able to comment on that yet, but that so far THE VIKINGS is a big success. Though the audience was sad to see the panel end, a preview of a tense, upcoming episode displaying some spectacular escapes by the diehard Ragnar consoled them. The rampant fandom displayed for THE VIKINGS at WonderCon was one of the most surprising panels of the show for sheer media wow factor.

IMG 4843 300x225 On The Scene: WonderCon 2013, THE VIKINGS Invade!

Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.

 

 

 

1 Comments on On The Scene: WonderCon 2013, THE VIKINGS Invade!, last added: 3/31/2013
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23. Fully Dressed Redesigns of Superheroines

A project by Michael Lee Lunsford – of Supernnormal Step webcomic fame – that sees some of our favourite women superheroes dressed in non-revealing costumes has been causing a splash on the internet today.

Supergirl Fully Dressed Redesigns of SuperheroinesAll illustrations from Michael Lee Lunsford’s tumblr here. 

Point of this: An exercise in character design, attempting to clothe the heroines nearly all the way and not making them painted-on, while still keeping the look of their original costumes in some way. Hopefully keeping them looking as iconic as the originally were. Just showing what can be done with a costume breaking outside the barrier of the norm.

NOT the point of this: some moral code I’m trying to push on you.

Zatanna 194x300 Fully Dressed Redesigns of SuperheroinesJudging by the reaction on my own Twitter and Facebook, the overall response is incredibly positive and the negative responses somewhat revealing in themselves. There’s criticism that all the women are wearing trousers for example, or look frumpy, with fellow Beat writer Steve Morris noting that he was somewhat initially taken back by the fact that these women are drawn with realistic body shapes – not something superhero comic readers are perhaps used to.

Other negative comments followed the predictable paths of, “but superhero men are half naked too!”, “they look like men in drag!”, “prudes!”, and the ever popular, “TWILIGHT!!”. Criticising superhero outfits is, of course, a favourite past time of all superhero comics fans, but when it comes to the women characters such criticism can skate worryingly close to the sexist edge (if not outright flying right over it).

elekra 194x300 Fully Dressed Redesigns of SuperheroinesSo it’s easy to see why Lunsford is keen to point out that he is not pushing a moral code here. Let’s remember too, that women who like these outfits are not out on a crusade to ban all bare legs and boobs from superhero comics (Vampirella’s famous costume for example was designed by the wonderful and feminist Trina Robbins). But it is nice to see that these characters remain as iconic and powerful without all having to bare skin. Just as all superhero men should not have to sport the Namor speedo look. (Although actually, another illustrator has done almost exactly that to further illustrate this very point!)

Vampirella 194x300 Fully Dressed Redesigns of SuperheroinesI really love these, and it’s heartening to see the positive reactions. In my own world, superheroes would have more than one outfit because while some days we all feel like sex kittens, other days we just want to wear our pyjamas and veg out while reluctantly saving the world. And who wants to wear the same thing every day? Stick to a colour scheme to be recognisable, but work that capsule wardrobe folk. Lunsford is now working on a series called Super-Casuals, starting with Spider-Man.

Some of these characters of course have had (or currently have) equally non-revealing outfits. I think what sets these illustrations apart though is that realism in body shapes that Stephen spotted, and the fact that these also look like everyday wear for everyday women. I would totally wear that Supergirl outfit (minus the cape!).

(And wouldn’t these be great for real all-ages comics that aren’t just for kids but are suitable for them too?!)

Wonder 150x150 Fully Dressed Redesigns of Superheroines Psylocke 150x150 Fully Dressed Redesigns of Superheroines
Peej 150x150 Fully Dressed Redesigns of Superheroines Canary 150x150 Fully Dressed Redesigns of Superheroines

Source: Tumblr via Geek Native

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24. On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan Empowerment

While the Nerdist Industries’ arena event at WonderCon this year was ostensibly about the future of the Youtube based pop culture conglomerate, and, indeed, plenty was said about upcoming projects, the question and answer period really expanded into a call to arms for fans to help directly determine the future of pop culture.

mbrittany hardwick panel 1 300x146 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdists Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan EmpowermentNerdist founder Chris Hardwick took the stage, joined by panellists Paul Provenza, Troy Conrad, and Matt Bennett, on March 31st, in the lead up to the season finale of The Walking Dead. Hardwick’s job as host of Talking Dead meant there was plenty of frisson in the audience about the upcoming show, and Hardwick teased, but didn’t deliver, spoilers on the show’s finale several times. In fact, he informed the audience that he was about to “get into a car to film Talking Dead” following his WonderCon appearance. Envy at his early viewing of the finale was palpable.

mbrittany chris hardwick 1 300x298 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdists Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan EmpowermentWhile Hardwick has a cult following as host of Talking Dead, and also from plenty of Nerdist projects, his presence live is even more dynamic, bringing with it plenty of his stand up comedy background. Since it was also Easter Sunday, Hardwick opened with a relevant quip: “That’s one person who came back from the dead and didn’t do it to rip someone’s heart out. Just put the love in it”. About a thousand attendees found this hilarious. Hardwick showed a promo video preview of upcoming Nerdist projects, often punctuated by applause and cheers from the audience when they recognized an anticipated segment or a celebrity guest coming up on a project, and followed by discussing several of the projects in a little more detail with his panellists.

mbrittany chris hardwick 3 248x300 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdists Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan EmpowermentBennet’s new series, currently being filmed, entitled Nerdy Jobs, a play on Dirty Jobs, got particular attention. The series will involve him visiting nerdy “cool” companies like tech industries and comic book shops to give an insider’s view of working there. Hardwick pondered what Bennett would find to say if he visited NASA for the show: “Uh, sorry about your funding?”. Another big push for Nerdist is the launch of a comedy combination of stand up and improv based on the British series concept Setlist, a competition that will tour around the world. As a veteran of stand up, Hardwick was particularly enthused, commenting that forcing stand up comedians into an improv situation is like “looking for the God particle of comedy”. His request to the audience about the upcoming new shows: “Please don’t feel compelled to say horrible things IN ALL CAPS in comment threads”.

mbrittany hardwick panel 2 300x133 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdists Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan EmpowermentThis led Harwick to speak for a moment about Youtube as a venue for hosting programming. Though delivered in a comically serious tone, the message had some bite: “No longer do companies tell us what to watch”. It was the first of several comments that indicated that Hardwick still has a lot to say about the role of open access and its giant-killing capabilities in relation to big media. Nerdist Industries, he said, is going to be expanding, but not along the lines of some of their peers on Youtube, who branch out into “piles of channels”; instead, they are aiming for a “hyper-curated partnership” with 6-8 channels and plenty of intensive “cross promotion”. They are also considering a move, based on fan request, to try out video podcasts, though Hardwick is a little skeptical of why people would want to watch them. Demand has been high enough that he’s prepared to yield to the experiment. Upcoming guests for the video podcast will include Seth Rogan, Steve Young, Scott Adsit and “surprises” too. Nerdist will also, finally, launch a major app to link to its content and, even more surprisingly, will be venturing into filmmaking following their purchase by Legendary Entertainment. They hope to work as producers on smaller budget films in this new role.

mbrittany hardwick panel 3 300x131 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdists Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan EmpowermentWhile Hardwick was delivering his energetic spiel, Provenza interjected, “Do you ever sleep?”. It was true, Hardwick looked a little peaked. “I have a robot heart”, he intoned, and continued on to the question and answer period. Questions began with a repeat offender from SDCC who Hardwick had once hugged in the past for his super fandom regarding Superman. “Comic Con is about getting super freaked out about stuff you love”, Hardwick reminded the audience (and he would deliver another hug later to a girl dressed as Wario in sympathy with his own Mario Brothers t-shirt). Harwick was then asked what he would do if his girlfriend was found to be “patient zero” in a potential zombie apocalypse. “Oh, I’d shoot her in the fucking head. That’s what you do for your loved ones”, he said without hesitation, to much hilarity, and added that he hoped she’d do the same for him.

mbrittany chris and mario 300x233 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdists Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan EmpowermentHe seemed pretty serious about that topic, but not as serious as he became immediately after the question on the subject of open access production. “There is literally no excuse for you not to pursue things that you love now. You are living half a life if you do not pursue the things that you love”, he said, referring to the tools now available for fans and pop culture creators alike. When a middle school teacher asked him for ideas to keep her students interested in pop culture in their newly formed lunch club, he gave a very invested answer, repeating that the most important thing the teacher could do for them would be to get them to “make things”, whether videos, or other media. “Teach them to be creators vs. consumers”, he pleaded, to much approbation from the crowd.

mbrittany chris hardwick 2 278x300 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdists Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan EmpowermentOne of Hardwick’s winning qualities that keeps him from drifting too far from his fanbase  due to his ever increasing media success is his earnestness, often placing himself in the role of the fan once more. He described himself as a “lamprey” feeding off the “giant sperm whale” of pop culture products and feeling grateful, trying not to “impose” when working with actors from major shows. The Nerdist panel emphasized again that Hardwick still sees himself as an outsider in the mainstream, and an insider to “nerd” culture, no matter how many celebrity friends he accrues. That lends credence to his requests and his advice that fans continue to interact directly with the things they love through becoming “creators” too.

 

Photo Credits: All photos in this article were taken by semi-professional photographer and pop culture scholar Michele Brittany. She’s an avid photographer of pop culture events. You can learn more about her photography and pop culture scholarship here.

Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.

4 Comments on On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick Pushes Fan Empowerment, last added: 4/2/2013
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25. On the Scene: WonderCon 2013 Recap and Photo Gallery

As I suggested in my early con impressions, WonderCon had a reasonable amount of space and handled the numbers of attendees pretty well. It was no surprise that Saturday brought bigger numbers than Friday, and the crowding was more obvious, but still never reached that feeling of pushing and shoving that can easily erupt at crowded cons. The floor occasionally got backed up, particularly around the constantly slammed DC Comics booth, where big names like Scott Snyder appeared frequently for signings and the DC booth’s location, at the very front of the con entrance, contributed to some difficulty getting onto the floor. I noticed that the retail side of things was fairly busy, too, with some crowding and difficulty navigating, suggesting that plenty of fans were there to buy back issues and memorabilia, as well. The artists alley at WonderCon was a little on the scanty side in terms of size and numbers of tables, but those artists who were present were very engaging and passionate about their work. They seemed to have regular followers who were coming in to buy their artwork and there was a strong representation of the fine art side of fantasy prints and original work, as well as handmade arts and crafts.

mbrittany plaza 200x300 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013 Recap and Photo GalleryOpen areas like the food court and outside atrium were a welcome oasis, but it also continued to be easy to exit the con into the outdoor plaza areas for a rest and there was no difficulty with re-entry. Though the floor only allowed a couple of doors for access, the many exterior doors were open for comings and goings, with several food trucks outside, far enough from the entrance not to cause back ups. One other surprise was that Sunday seemed just as busy as Saturday, as I heard retailers commenting. They were turning over sales at just as high a rate that day. This feeling may be due to the fact that there were slightly fewer panels on Sunday, making the floor more of a feature, or simply that people waited to do their shopping on the floor on Sunday. When I stumbled into the Arena, a venue I hadn’t seen before, I was impressed with the numbers it could hold, and also that it was completely full for a Joss Whedon Shakespeare film adaptation event. This suggested to me that the con was handling numbers well, since I generally had no idea that so many people were even at the con on top of the numbers moving in the open spaces of the con. It was Easter Sunday the last day of the con, and it closed a little early, at 5PM, perhaps for this reason, but fans still had a sense that they would have been happy for the con to go on a little longer, a good sign regarding WonderCon’s appeal.

One final follow up: I suggested initially in my coverage that people might find WonderCon in Anaheim appealing due to Disneyland access, and that this would appeal to people will kids particularly. Though this turned out to be true, I also underestimated the appeal of Disneyland to singles and younger congoers. I went to Disneyland the following Monday and found that quite a number of WonderCon attendees were there too, from a younger demographic than I expected. You could tell from their conversations and generally less pastel clothing what guests were in town for the con, and I’d say about 1 in 10 were from the con in the massive crowds Disney drew on that post-Easter day.

mbrittany dark horse 200x300 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013 Recap and Photo GalleryFinal thoughts: it was a well run and appealing con, offering plenty of choice in terms of panels, keeping up with what’s going on in comics and pop culture right now. Marvel were a little under represented, though Dan Slott was participating in panels, and several pros who were there for DC panels were formal Marvel people. Marvel didn’t have a booth on the floor, driving up the demand for DC variants and signings, which they happily accommodated. I was also impressed by the energetic presence of the mid-sized presses like Dark Horse, Archaia, Image, IDW, and ComiXology, for taking the opportunity to flourish and interact with fans when given a little more space to do so. The mid-sized presses really shone in their engagement with fans on the floor, their foresight in bringing new and upcoming books to purchase and get a sneak-peak at, and also through their involvement on panels. This gave the general impression that mid-sized presses are on the rise and taking on the role, collectively, as contenders for the Big Two. Good for them!

Whether WonderCon is in Anaheim again or back in San Francisco in the future, the planning and structure of the con should continue to hold up to make it a comfortable as well as enjoyable, exciting event for fans. This won’t be one of the cons where you have to sacrifice personal amenities just to see your favorite artists speak or get the variant your collection is calling for. They have a sense of putting the customer first at WonderCon and let’s hope that continues; it sets a good model for the growing con industry, and there are some bigger cons who could learn a thing or two from this.

Without further ado, some highlights of the con in photos from my trusty partner in crime Michele Brittany who proved her moxie as a pop culture photographer at WonderCon 2013 in spades. Thanks Michele!

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Photo Credits: All photos in this article were taken by semi-professional photographer and pop culture scholar Michele Brittany. She’s an avid photographer of pop culture events. You can learn more about her photography and pop culture scholarship here.

Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.

5 Comments on On the Scene: WonderCon 2013 Recap and Photo Gallery, last added: 4/28/2013
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