Long Beach Comic Expo Reveals Kids Programming Slate for 2016

LBCE logo wide

The Long Beach Comic Expo has shared with us their kids programming slate for their upcoming convention. The full programming announcement is expected later today.

LBCE Kids DeadpoolBeth Sotelo’s GRUMP
Who is that weird kid lurking out the window of his dilapidated house? It’s Grump! Join Beth Sotelo as she talks about the inspiration behind her wonderful creation, and shows you step by step how to draw Grump as well as other figures from your imagination!

Creating Your Own Super-Hero
Have you always wanted to create your own Super-Hero, but didn’t know how? Now you can learn! In this interactive session for kids, Ray-Anthony Height teaches how to create the Hero of your dreams.

Draw Off with Trav & Friends
Come join Travis Hanson, Eisner nominated fantasy illustrator, in an epic draw off for the ages! Test your imagination and artistic skills with special surprise guests Stephan Franck (iron giant, smurfs, silver), Ray a.height (midnight tiger), Ben Risbeck (fantasy and game illustrator), Joel Gomez (Wildstorm, gears of war) and more!

How to Draw Comics For Kids
Create your own comic book page with Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon, two professional comic artists who will teach you the basics of how to draw and actual comic book page. See how the Pro’s do it, and then do it yourself!

How Your Kids Can Enjoy Cosplaying
Panelists: Minibobafett, Chihiro & Cheiko, ESJ Cosplay, Ainsley Parks
Educating on how to have the best experience with your kids in cosplay. Helpful hints and tips with some do’s, dont’s and bewares.

Kids Create Characters
Kids of all ages, come to this fun and informative session with artist and instructor Patrick Scullin. Learn how to draw and create your own characters and tell stories with pictures. Patrick is the creator of Super Siblings, the all ages comic series and Pandamonium, the Pirate Panda Adventure book.

My Little Pony
Join My Little Pony writer Christina Rice and My Little Pony artist Tony Fleecs as they guide you through their fun world and teach you how to create your own My Little Pony comic book story!

Sparking Creativity with The Art of the Squiggle
Join Mike Kunkel as he teaches kids how to spark their creativity by starting out with a simple squiggle. Adults might find this technique super helpful as well!

Spooky Empire RETRO hits in April

spooky_retro_2016

Spooky Empire Retro returns to old haunting grounds.

Spooky Empire Retro is back at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando, FL for our spring convention, April 1-3, 2016 ! Get your tickets and VIP packages now before they’re sold out! Room reservations still open, but book now before it’s too late! This will be one monster-ous event you don’t want to miss!

For more information visit www.spookyempire.com

Rhode Island Comic-Con 2015 Report (with an interview with Chris Claremont)!

logo

I went to Rhode Island to see John and Chris. John is my best friend of 25 years. We have been through it all: four divorces (two each), five marriages (he can make it six), new careers, new houses, and the almost-death of his first son, Jonathan, back in 2000. John and I have been to a number of conventions together (see here, for example), and it was time to add the Rhode Island Comic-Con to our roll.

Chris is Chris Claremont. I love John like a brother, but let’s be clear: Chris is what drew me, a lifelong Southerner, to New England on the cusp of winter (November 5-8). I have been a fan of Chris since high school, when my friend Margot introduced me to a pretty cool comic called The Uncanny X-Men. The first issue I bought was #216. I read it, was hooked, and started buying it each month. My father noticed my zeal, and realizing he could teach investment skills while doing something fun with his soon-to-be-too-old-for-him son, he started advancing me allowances to buy back issues. I learned to grade comics and spot value, and within a year, I owned issues as far back as #12, the first appearance of Juggernaut.

I just realized: that was when Stan Lee was still writing the series.

Eventually, I let my collection stagnate, and then I sold it in 1999 for a couple thousand bucks so I could marry wife #2. (Now I don’t have her or the comics, and guess which I miss more?) But I never forgot my adoration of Chris Claremont. Then I saw he would be in Rhode Island, and I called John, with whom I hadn’t planned a trip all year. John said, “I’m in,” and I thought, You better be.

Rhode Island Comic-Con isn’t as large as San Diego or C2E2, and it isn’t as venerable as, say, DragonCon. But it is on the rise. I had this brought home to me when I talked to Susan Soares, the director of media. She told me she was expecting 60,000 attendees. In 2012, there were 16,000. This is an increase of 275%—in only three years! It is the “largest and most income-generating event in the state,” according to Susan, who expects the convention to keep growing because (1) Rhode Island is not a saturated market, (2) the staff is professional and easy-going, and (3) they advertise the heck out of it.

The growth hasn’t been easy to manage, however. In 2014, the convention made headlines for the wrong reasons, overselling and getting shut down for half a day by the Providence fire marshal (see this link for the full story). I asked Susan how that contretemps would be avoided this year, and she outlined a three-part strategy:

Expansion. Last year’s event was confined to the convention center in downtown Providence. This year, they planned to situate some elements (like the dealer room) in the adjacent Dunkin Donuts Center.

Day 3. Instead of being Saturday and Sunday only, this year’s convention would start on Friday.

Scanned badges. Using the New York Comic-Con model, convention employees would scan badges as people enter and exit. This would allow them to track how many people are in the convention center at any time, thereby not exceeding capacity and getting shut down.

Overall, the strategy was a success. They had sold out of Saturday one-day tickets by 11:00am on Saturday, but I heard no other accounts of people being turned away. There were, however, navigation problems. In a convention spread across two buildings, I was surprised by the dearth of directional signs. Plus there were no printed maps—the only map was on the mobile app—so all weekend, I heard people murmuring “Where is the dealer room?” or “I can’t find Vic Mignogna’s table!”

After two circumnavigations of artist alley, I found Chris Claremont, who had been gracious enough to agree to an interview.

Me: Chris, I want you to know: you are the reason I am at this convention. I wanted to see you. Princess Leia? Pssssh. Besides, she cancelled.

Chris: Oh, really? She cancelled?

Me: Yeah. [And she wasn’t the only one. Nearly a dozen celebrities were quietly flensed from the web site as of Friday morning. I’m used to one or two no-shows, but double digits?]

Chris: The funniest thing I’ve heard is the projected opening weekend gross for that film global is one billion. I saw the very first show of Star Wars at the Astor Plaza in New York, and it was empty. It gradually filled up, but there were empty seats, and we figured, nice movie when it started, but when it finished, it was like, holy shit. We walked out the door, and the line was four-deep around the block, and it didn’t go away for about three months.

Me: Speaking of movies, what do you think about Marvel’s movies, especially X-Men?

Chris: So far, Marvel has done very, very well. Kevin Feige is a brilliant film exec. Lauren Shuler-Donner is a brilliant film exec. Between the two of them, they have nailed the Marvel pantheon. The X-Men movies maybe aren’t as financially lucrative as The Avengers. On the other hand, the casting of them is breathtaking, from the first X-Men to Days of Future Past—and, from all accounts, Apocalypse. Kevin, by the same token, starting with Iron Man, it’s been an incredible ride. I mean, Ant-Man? Who would have thought Ant-Man?

Me: Ant-Man was good.

Chris: That’s the point. It was good. And, more importantly, the actors playing the roles seem to enjoy the experience. They want to come back for more.

Me: Did you have any involvement in the X-Men movies?

Chris: Well, I helped crystallize the deal that got it all started back in the beginning, when I was briefly an executive at Marvel. I provided north of 80 percent of the source material for the characters. I mean, they’re all my guys and gals. And two-thirds of them are pretty much straight adaptations of my work. I suppose you could honestly say it was all my fault.

Me: And we’re very grateful.

Chris: Actually, the funny part is, every so often I sneak into the Marvel movies. Scarlett Johannson’s secret identity in Iron Man 2, when she walks into Tony’s house and is introduced as Natalie Rushman . . . well, Natalie Rushman is a secret identity that I invented for the Black Widow when she did a four-part team-up where she had lost her memory as the Black Widow and thought she was a schoolteacher from Boston named Natalie Rushman [this takes place in Marvel Team-Up #82-85, and the alias is actually Nancy Rushman].

Me: Cool. Switching gears a little, you’ve written comic books, and you’ve written prose novels. What’s the difference in writing the two?

Chris: When you’re writing comics, the writer’s job is to tell the story to the visual artist. All the work that goes into writing a novel goes into describing the scene. [He opens a copy of Marada the She-Wolf. A Red Sonja-like character, Marada was created by Chris and the English artist John Bolton.] So it’s describing this scene so that John Bolton could bring it to life brilliantly. Which he does. It’s giving him the sequence of events and allowing him to do what he does best, which is draw a picture that makes you go, wow! When I first drafted this scene, there was going to be lots of dialogue about how she lost her father, lost her mother, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah. But when I got to the scene, when you see the images, when you get to this image, you don’t need any words. I mean, if you can’t figure out what’s going on, if you can’t figure out the emotional relationships just from looking at it, then neither of us is doing our job. John did his job brilliantly, unlike me talking now. The key to being a writer in comics is to know when to shut the hell up and let the artist do the work.

Me: So would your instructions for that panel be “Have someone lying on the bed,” or would you describe exactly how it should look?

Chris: Well, depends on the scene. Marvel did a 9/11 remembrance book [Heroes, released December 2001] where a writer and an artist would team up to do a poster commemorating what happened and how they felt about it, and when my page came around, I spent about 2,000 words describing the scene, and Salvador [Larocca] just drew this brilliant, brilliant picture, and as far as I was concerned, it didn’t need anything more from me. I had done my work, he had done his work, and the end result was brilliant.

Me: Very good. So you were inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame earlier this year. What was that like?

Chris: A lot of fun. One of the more unexpected things in my life. It’s way too cool for the likes of me.

Me: It doesn’t surprise me at all.

Chris: Well, you can think that. I’m not supposed to because I’m supposed to be shy and modest. But it’s way cool.

Me: When did you start doing conventions?

Chris: When they started asking me. How else can you meet the fans? In the old days, it was more fun because people would write letters, and the nice thing about them is it tells you what they were thinking of and how they were reacting to specific issues. Now it’s all posted online, and you seriously have to go looking for it. There aren’t that many hours in a day. But conventions are a really nice way of putting a face on the readership.

Me: What are a couple of your more memorable convention experiences?

Chris: Just meeting people. It’s a weird sensation when you run into creators, actors, people you’ve respected, and they tell you how cool you are, and you go, “No no no, that’s my line.”

Me: Do fans ever just go to pieces meeting you? Do they cry? Hyperventilate?

Chris: Oh yeah. But the cool thing is that now I’m starting to see a lot more young kids coming, which leads one to believe there’s hope.

Me: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Chris: Get a day job [laughs]. Being a writer is like being an artist: if you’ve got the bug, you do it. You don’t argue. You can’t argue. Then it’s just a matter of kicking at the wall until something sells. And then, once you make the first sell, you go for the second, then the third, then the fourth, and so on. There’s no real secret to being a writer. There’s just having an idea and then having the madcap determination to see it through to fruition.

You might assume this is an excerpt from the interview. It is not. This short conversation lasted over 20 minutes because we were sitting at Chris’s table in artist alley, and he was signing books all the while. My recording of the interview is peppered with crowd noise, his sidebars with other fans, and announcements blasted over the PA system. Chris had trouble getting into the convention—apparently, his vendor badge could not be located—and the interview started late, when he already had more people waiting for him than a Soviet bread line. Yet it was one of my best interviews ever. Chris is articulate and witty, and he cares a lot for his fans. Though I didn’t hyperventilate, meeting Chris Claremont is one of the highlights of my life. And it happened at Rhode Island Comic-Con.

The rest of the convention was as you might expect. Dunkin Donuts Center is a basketball arena, which makes it an odd venue for a convention. The dealer room was on the court, which was roomy, but some of the celebrities were tucked away in what looked like janitor closets. Know who had the longest signing lines that I saw? Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke—you know, SpongeBob and Patrick, which confirms my theory that the next growth market for collectors is 1990s memorabilia.

There were few fan-led panels, which disappointed John. Such panels were the seed of conventions back in the 1970s, but they are in danger of disappearing in this bigger-is-better era. John likes the panels. He considers himself a fan but not a super-fan. The super-fan award goes to the girl I saw at Jim Beaver’s table. Tears streaked her teenaged face, and after she and her mother walked away, they stopped and hugged as though a dog had died.

Friends, that is fandom. That is love. Wil Wheaton says that the defining characteristic of being a nerd is that “we love things. Some of us love Firefly and some of us love Game of Thrones, or Star Trek, or Star Wars, or anime, or games, or fantasy, or science fiction. Some of us love completely different things. But we all love those things SO much that we travel for thousands of miles … we come from all over the world, so that we can be around people who love the things the way that we love them.”

Rhode Island was a great place to go for love. The convention is young, so I have no doubt they will work out the problems of limited space and no maps and unreliable celebs. Every staff member I saw, every volunteer I talked to, was a delight, which confirms what Susan Soares told me in the beginning.

So if you have the chance, go to Rhode Island Comic-Con next November. Buy your badge early. Study the schedule. Stay hydrated. It will be one of your best shows all year.

_______________________

karen line

John and I weren’t the only attendees.

deadpool

This guy was also there. Wait, he’s at every convention!

knight

Due to the no-weapons policy, this guy wasn’t allowed to be armed.

chris

Chris Claremont signs my comic.

fonz

The Fonz tells me to leave the convention.

lost

Whoops! This isn’t the way to the men’s room.

metatron

An angel just below my shoulder.

contest

Various winners from Saturday night’s costume contest, which had 70-80 total entries.

catwoman

“You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

Bobby

Jim Beaver asked me where I am from. “North Carolina,” I said. He nodded and said, “That explains it.” I wanted to say, “Right. Like Bobby Singer doesn’t have a rural accent!”

groot

John and Groot, not seeing eye-to-eye.

tardis

“Uh, Doctor? I think you regenerated a little too far back.”

lois

This gal is a great little Kidder.

cosplay repair

Not something you see at most conventions, but a good idea.

doctor

This guy also shows up at every convention. It’s like he has a time machine or something.

MN – Ghostbusters International #1 Signing

0000000-HCC16

Writer Erik Burnham and artist Brent Schoonover sign at Hot Comics & Collectibles on Wednesday January 27, 2016 from 3:00 till 8:00 PM for the launch of Ghostbusters International and the release of Howling Commandos of SHIELD #4!

Hot Comics & Collectibles
3532 Winnetka Ave, New Hope, MN 55427
763-593-1223

1st Annual Acme Comic-Con focuses on Indy Creators

acmeIt’s time to celebrate comic creators and we’re hosting the first annual Acme Comic-Con to show our love and apprecaition for the comic community. This is a FREE event open to all!

We’re honered to have artist Alex Saviuk as our featured guest. Alex has an impressive line of work and has been working in comics since 1977. His work includes Amazing Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, Action Comics, Green Lantern, House of Mystery and Detective Comics to name a few.

Our special guests include:
– Aaron Conley (Artist to Sabertooth Swordsman, Dark Horse Presents, Secret Wars: Battleworld, Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, Howard the Human)
– Fabian Rangel Jr. (Writer of Space Riders, Doc Unkonwn, Dark Horse Presents, Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Amazing Adventures).
– Mike Spicer (Colorist on Mythic, Black Science, Head Lopper, Mad Max: Fury Road, Dead Drop, Sons of Anarchy, Charmed)
– Christen Slade (Creator of Korgi)

Check out our current list of creators to be present at the con-

– Joel Carrol
– Richard Rivera
– Dwayne Biddix
– Enzo Garza
– Walter Ostlie

More to be added soon!

We’re also giving away special incentives to the first 20 people in line. More details to follow soon. As well, raffles will be going on throughout the comic-con with original art, comics and collectibles to be won. We’ll also have exclusives sales running that day on comics!

The annoucements and special incentives are just beggining, be sure to watch this space as we announce more guests, creators and giveaways!

for more info on Acme Superstore check out their website!

WI – Walking Dead Co-Creator Signing

00000-wi-tmoor

Tony Moore, co-creator and original artist of THE WALKING DEAD and artist of DEADPOOL, VENOM, FEAR AGENT, GHOST RIDER, PUNISHER, and so many more, appears at House of Heroes Comics on Monday, February 8, 2016 from 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM.

Bring your own books, buy some at House of Heroes, and/or pick up some rad merch and art prints from the wide variety he’ll have available – including a signed and numbered limited edition screen-printed tour poster (only 10 available per shop!) Walking Dead #150 cover prints, and a chance to win a super-rare painted Sketch Variant Walking Dead #1 Artist Proof Edition (only 1 per shop!).

There will also be hosting a Walking Deadpool costume contest with Tony Moore being the judge! Interpret “Walking Deadpool” anyway you want to and come in for your chance to win super cool prizes!

RSVP on Facebook!

House of Heroes Comics + Games
407 N Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54901
(920) 231-5500

MD – A-Force Launch Party

0000-3ec-aforce

Cosplayer Jay Justice, cover model for the A-FORCE #1 cosplay variant, appears at Third Eye Comics on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 from 6:00 PM till 8:00 PM to celebrate the launch of A-FORCE!

RSVP on Facebook!

Third Eye Comics
2027-A West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 897-0322

CA – The Force Awakens Party

000-phat-swtfa

Cartoonist Tom Hodges appears at Phat Collectibles on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 5:00 PM to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will have an exclusive limited edition print! There will also be a costume contest, raffles, gaming tournaments and more!

RSVP on Facebook!

Phat Collectibles
1201 S. Euclid Street, Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 808-9355

UK – Scorch! Comics Grand Opening

0000-uk-scorch-comics

Press Release:

Scorch! Comics, your new local comic shop is finally opening on December 12th, and what better way to celebrate than with a HUGE grand opening!

To show everyone how excited we are to bring our collection of comics to the public, we thought we’d bring along some friends and make it a day to remember!

We’ve got live music, performed by DREAM THEMES – Everyone’s Favourite TV Theme Covers Band!

We’ve also got four fantastic ARTISTS drawing SKETCHES & SIGNING ARTWORK:
CHRIS WESTON (Judge Dredd, Swamp Thing)
BOO COOK (Elephantmen, Doctor Who)
BOB MOLESWORTH (Star Wars: Rebels, Ninja Turtles)
TOM EGLINGTON (The Stolen City, 2000AD writer)

For all you cosplayers out there we’re doing a COSPLAY COMPETITION, with fantastic PRIZES to be won!

If that wasn’t enough we’ve also got a TARDIS and a DALEK! AND you’ll be able to get your PHOTO TAKEN with them for free!

On top of all this, the Enterprise Centre is also having a WINTER WONDERLAND, with an old-timey fun fair, toffee apples, cotton candy & roasted chestnuts.

So come on down to our GRAND OPENING, it’s free and it’ll be a laugh!

RSVP on Facebook!

Scorch! Comics – Enterprise Shopping Centre
Station Parade, BN21 1BD Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK
+44 1323 639504

Scoop Article on the Daytona Beach Comic Con

daytona_125Read all about the Daytona Beach Comic Con from the Scoop Fan Advisory Network!

Scoop reports on the upcoming Daytona Comic Con this Sunday December 6th!

Here is the link to the article.

For more info on the Daytona Beach Comic Con check out their website.

Next Page »