For 12 years, Rick Fortenberry and Dave Hinson (of Dave’s Comics in Fort Mill, SC) have been delighting Charlotte area comic book collectors with their Charlotte Comicon. The show is held three times a year–in April, August and December–and never fails to entertain. I suppose this would be a good time to mention that I have been involved with this show in both a volunteer and working capacity for a couple of years now. But, I promise not to let personal feelings get in the way of an honest convention report.
The Charlotte Comicon averages between 1,100-2,000 visitors per show, with ages ranging from toddler to senior citizen. Most of them are die hard comic collectors, as this show is predominantly a ‘trade show’. With 35 vendors and 24 special guests (artists, authors, and so forth) at their April 13, 2014 show, there were plenty of treasures to be found. I have seen this show grow exponentially in recent years, even causing them to change venues to their current home at the Crown Plaza Executive Park Hotel.
One aspect of the show that has continued to expand is the Cosplay participation. Years ago, the number of attendees in costume was less than 100. Now, hundreds show up at Charlotte Comicon dressed not only as their favorite comic book characters, but recognizable characters from movies, television, novels, anime, manga, and more. This year’s spring show had 164 contestants just for their costume contest! I do not envy the job of the judges, whatsoever. There were multiple age divisions for competition and Honorable Mention awards given out as well. Winners from each division were given cash prizes that they could spend in the dealer room. The costume contest is one of the bigger draws for the younger crowd that attends each show.
Seeking to connect with their cosplay fan base, Fortenberry and Hinson arranged for a special Secrets of Cosplay panel. The hour-long panel featured professional cosplayers DJ Spider, Amberle Linnea, Todd Lacey, Eve Madison and ‘The Clown Prince of Charlotte’ Victor Goldberg. Each panelist addressed specific topics such as the politics of cosplay, construction tips, and staying in character. It was standing room only in the ballroom that housed the panel, as the audience hung on their every word. Some went so far as to take notes during the panel and many hands went up when it was time for the Q & A segment. I know a lot of the familiar faces who attend the Charlotte Comicon regularly came away from that session eager to put their knowledge to use. The level of costumes at the summer show should be extraordinary.
Another new addition to the spring show was the Tribute to Charlton Comics panel, featuring Michael Eury (Editor-in-Chief Back Issue Magazine), Dan Johnson (Comics Historian) and Fester Faceplant (Artist, Writer). This hour-long panel with Q & A gave a unique history of Charlton Comics, 1946-1985, and the original characters that ended up being acquired and re-imagined by the likes of DC Comics. I admit, I knew nothing going into this panel, but by the end was fascinated with the industry and the backstory of the likes of The Watchmen. The Charlton Arrow #1 was being sold in limited quantities after the panel. Charlton Arrow is a limited edition collection of stories by Charlton veterans as well as contributors from DC Comics, Marvel and Archie. This historical look at the world of comics was enough to make me hungry for more. I hope that Charlotte Comicon will continue to include such panels.
All in all, Charlotte Comicon is exactly what they claim to be: a family-friendly show. For six hours and $5.00 (free if you are in costume or under the age of 12) you can enjoy a day meeting authors, watching artists paint and draw bringing characters to life before your eyes, and take in one of the wackiest costume parades I have ever seen. Here’s where my honesty kicks in…if you have trouble with tight spaces, you might want to consider that when attending one of their shows. They get more and more crowded each time and maneuverability in the dealer room can be daunting at times, especially if you are wearing a costume. Beyond the tight quarters, I have never had a bad experience at a Charlotte Comicon.
There was a big announcement made at the spring show, however, that should alleviate some of the traffic. Fortenberry and Hinson will be adding a third ballroom for the remainder of the 2014 shows. This additional room will house a Toy Show, with vendors and collectibles as far as the eye can see. With comics in one room, toys and collectibles in another, and cosplay/panels in yet another room, even if their attendance doubles as a result, it shouldn’t feel crowded and will remain a fun and affordable outing for families. I’m looking forward to watching this little show grow and grow. Who knows? Perhaps in the near future it could end up being a full weekend? Until then, I don’t think Charlotte Comicon or its fans have anything to worry about.
The next show will be held from 10am to 4pm on August 3, 2014. Information can be found at charlottecomicon.com
Animator Bryan Konietzko, co-creator of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, appears for a signing at Montserrat College of Art’s Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery on Saturday May 17th from 11:00 – 12:30 pm! The exhibition will be on view and open to the public from April 29 – May 17, 2014.
Montserrat College of Art announces internationally known Animator Bryan Konietzko as the 2014 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient. Mr. Konietzko will address the Montserrat community on May 16, 2014 at 10 am at the Dane Street Church, 10 Dane Street, Beverly.
Konietzko is a Peabody Award winning and Emmy nominated animation director, best known as the co-creator and executive producer of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. He has also worked as a character designer at Film Roman for Family Guy and as Assistant Director for Mission Hill and King of the Hill. He was a Storyboard Artist and Art Director for the Nickelodeon animated series Invader Zim. Konietzko earned a BFA degree in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998.
“We are extremely honored to have an artist of Mr. Konietzko’s caliber speaking to our graduates,” said Stephen D. Immerman, president of the college. “His successful career both in the US and abroad will be inspirational to our community. We are excited to welcome him to the campus and to the North Shore.”
Immediately following commencement, students and guests are invited to the Beverly Common, next to the Hardie Building, for an outdoor reception hosted by the Montserrat community. The Montserrat Gallery will be open for viewing of the 2014 All Senior Show at the college’s main campus building at 23 Essex Street.
Please note: a Silent Auction corresponds with the exhibition and all works are for sale! All proceeds will be donated to The One Fund.
Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery
23 Essex Street Beverly, MA 01915
Becky Cloonan returns to Challengers on Friday, May 16th for a ONE-NIGHT ART SHOW, celebrating the release of True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys in a new collected book and her mini-comics collection By Chance Or Providence! Art show and signing run 6pm to 10pm! New Print! Bookplate! All sorts of Becky goodness! Be here!
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Illustrator Drew Struzan appears on Saturday, May 10th from 1:00-5:00pm at the Forest Lawn Museum to screen the documentary Drew: The Man Behind The Poster. Refreshments and a book signing session to follow. Screening starts promptly at 1:00. Free parking and admission. Struzan’s art will be on display till May 26th as part of the Drew & Bob – The Masters of Movie Art exhibition.
Please RSVP for this event as seating is limited. RSVP via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 323-340-4792
Forest Lawn Museum
1712 S Glendale Ave Glendale, CA 91205
NBM Announces MoCCA Arts Festival Debuts and Signing Schedule
This weekend, April 6th & 7th, NBM Publishing once again heads to the MoCCA Arts Festival and we are happy to have attending both Jesse Lonergan, who will be appearing to promote the debut of his new book, the coming of age story All Star, and Ted Rall who will be signing copies of the new edition of his book, SILK ROAD TO RUIN: Why Central Asia Is The Next Middle East.
About All Star
Set at the end of the school year in 1998 when Mark McGwire is racing Sammy Sosa to break the home run record, Bill Clinton is being questioned about a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, and Semisonic’s ‘Closing Time’ is on top of the charts, Carl Carter is leading the Elizabeth Monarchs of rural Vermont to the state championship in his senior year.
A full scholarship to the University of Maine is waiting for him, and everyone says he has a shot at the pros.
He’s so good he can do whatever he wants.
Until he makes one very arrogant mistake.
About SILK ROAD TO RUIN: Why Central Asia Is The Next Middle East – 2nd Ed.
Part graphic novel travelog, part tongue-in-cheek travel guide, here are the adventures of caustic cartoonist Rall in the wild and wooly central Asian countries, a powder keg sitting on tomorrow’s oil . . .
Combining articles with comic chapters relating his experiences retracing the old legendary Silk Road starting with the sublime history of China and ending in the absurdity of the petty dictatorships of the Stans where Rall had the temerity–or was it the blustery stupidity?–to go back, including once with a group of listeners to his radio show, on a dare. It’s exotic adventure, satire and a fun way to find out more about a part of the world that looms in importance with its immense reserves of oil . . .
Both Jesse and Ted will be appearing at the NBM Booth throughout the weekend.
Saturday, April 6th:
- Jesse Lonergan 11:30-1:00
- Ted Rall 1:00-3:00
- Jesse Lonergan 3:00-5:00
Sunday, April 7th:
- Ted Rall 1:00-3:00
- Jesse Lonergan 3:00-5:00
Be sure to follow @nbmpub on Twitter. So come on by, meet some cool folks and celebrate comics!
The Cartoon Art Museum concludes the public programming for its historic exhibition Grains of Sand: 25 Years of the Sandman with critically acclaimed artist Barron Storey on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 7:00 till 9:00 pm. An illustrator, graphic novelist, and noted educator, Storey has created award-winning artworks for the covers and pages of Time, National Geographic, and Saturday Review, among others. The artist’s paintings are held in the collections of the National Air and Space Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the National Portrait Gallery. Storey’s published journals include Life After Black and The Marat/Sade Journals.
Storey will discuss his legendary artistic career, including his uniquely ongoing relationship with Despair that spun from his collaboration with Neil Gaiman on the award-winning graphic novel Sandman: Endless Nights, featuring Storey’s stunning “Fifteen Portraits of Despair.” Attendees will get an insider’s look at Storey’s Despair Journals on April 12.
Advance tickets can be purchased here: Admission is $10 for the general public, and free for Cartoon Art Museum members plus one guest.
Cartoon Art Museum
655 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Gallery Nucleus hosts an art show on Saturday April 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm!
Wrought from the depths of our creativity, imaginary friends have been steadfast companions through amazing journeys and have helped to overcome unbelievable hardships. Despite being figments of our imaginations, these fantastical comrades cultivate immense growth and represent very real bonds.
Inspired by these unreal friendships, award-winning children’s book illustrator Dan Santat‘s The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend weaves a tale about companionship, courage, and finding one’s place in the world. Beginning on an island far away where imaginary friends are born, one patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when Beekle is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match.
In conjunction with the release of Dan Santat’s book, Nucleus celebrates these not-so-real friendships with a roster of some of our favorite artists, including noteable children’s book illustrators, who would like to introduce all of us to their very own imaginary friends. Join us opening night as we pay tribute to friends both real and imagined.
Exhibiting Artists Include
Cuddly Rigor Mortis
210 East Main Street, Alhambra, CA 91801
Chris Appelhans appears at Gallery Nucleus on Saturday March 29, 2014 from 7:00PM till 10:00PM
Written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans, this is the first widely distributed children’s book that the artist has illustrated. The book stars a pet who has more to offer than meets the eye. When our narrator orders a sloth through the mail, the creature that arrives isn’t good at tricks or hide-and-seek…or much of anything. Still, there’s something about SPARKY! that is irresistible.
Original development paintings by Chris will be on display. Meet the artist opening night as he greets fans and signs copies of the new release.
WIN ORIGINAL ARTWORK! (shown below)
With each purchase of the new book, new print, or original Sparky! artwork, be entered to win this original Sparky! painting by Chris Appelhans. Winner will be announced on our Facebook on April 13, 2014.
210 East Main Street, Alhambra, CA 91801
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum unveiled a special new display of rare Superman artwork created by legendary comic book artist Al Plastino featuring President John F. Kennedy. The story, told in ten hand-drawn story boards, was written in collaboration with the Kennedy White House in an effort to promote the President’s initiative encouraging physical fitness. The never-before-displayed original artwork will be shown in the Library’s museum through June 2014 with potential to be extended.
In 1963, the Kennedy White House launched a highly innovative marketing effort in collaboration with DC Comics (then called National Periodical Publications), the publisher of Superman, to create a story that would promote the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. A hallmark of the Kennedy Administration, the Council established physical fitness curriculum for the country and initiated a national publicity campaign on the topic. In “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” JFK calls upon Superman to help inspire the nation to exercise, eat better, and get stronger.
“The alliance between the Kennedy White House and the Superman comic strip designed to promote President Kennedy’s physical fitness initiative demonstrates how innovative the administration was in communicating and advancing key initiatives,” said Tom Putnam, Director of the Presidential Library. “Thanks to the Superman artist, Al Plastino, and the generous donation of DC Comics, we are pleased that this artwork will be available for the public to view for the very first time.”
The Superman piece was in production when President Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, and the project was set aside. Eight months later, with the encouragement of President Lyndon Johnson, the story was published as a special tribute to President Kennedy. The final page of the published version states that the story’s original artwork would be donated to the Kennedy Library, which was then in the planning stages.
Al Plastino, who drew Superman for 20 years, took special pride in his drawings for this story. In late 2013, nearly a half a century later, when the artist learned that his original artwork was slated for auction, his family contacted the Kennedy Library to see if it had any record of the material ever being part of its holdings. A thorough search showed no evidence that the artwork had ever been offered to the Library or was ever a part of its collections.
In December 2013, just a month after Mr. Plastino passed away, DC Comics acquired the original drawings and offered them to the Kennedy Library, where they have become part of the permanent collection.
Upon securing the artwork, DC Comics issued a statement saying, “As a tribute to honor him and preserve his artistic legacy, DC Entertainment is pleased to confirm that we have acquired the art and will be donating it to the JFK Library, fulfilling Plastino’s longtime hope for the story, which he often pointed to as one of his most important artistic contributions.”
For more information, please contact the JFK Library at their website: www.jfklibrary.org
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
Toll free (866) JFK-1960
Pia Guerra, Dan Goldman, Jim Agpalza, Andreis Costa, and Matt Haley appear at Floating World Comics on Thursday April 3th from 6:00 – 10:00 pm!
Join us Thursday, April 3 for an evening of art, pie and the best damn coffee around! We’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the cult-classic TV series “Twin Peaks” with a group art show created and curated by ardent fans and professional illustrators!
“Twin Peaks” became one of the top-rated shows of 1990 and was a critical success both nationally and internationally. It captured a devoted cult fan base and became a part of popular culture that has been referenced in television shows, commercials, comic books, video games, films and song lyrics. Declining viewer ratings led to ABC’s insistence that the identity of Laura’s murderer be revealed midway through the second season. The series was followed by a 1992 feature film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, which serves as a prequel to the television series.
Artists featured in this show include “Y: The Last Man” artist Pia Guerra, noted collage artist Andreis Costa, “Red Light Properties” creator Dan Goldman, rock poster artist Justin Hampton, Eraserhead Press cover artist Jim Agpalza, DC Comics artist Matt Haley. Their original art will be for sale, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Pixie Project, a local non-profit animal adoption center and rescue.
Floating World Comics
400 NW Couch Street, Portland, OR 97209