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  • Wizard World Comic Con Raleigh 2015 Report! (Including an Interview with Kevin Sorbo)

    Back in the fall of 2014, when I saw that Wizard World, that latter-day arbiter of pop culture sensibilities, was having its first-ever convention in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 13-15, I thought, Cool. I had been to the Minneapolis and Chicago shows, traveling hundreds of miles to write about each (see here and here, respectively). Raleigh is only 45 minutes from my house.

    When I later saw that William Shatner would be at Raleigh Wizard World, I thought, Sweet. Who better than the Captain to explore this strange, new world? I watched as more excellent guests were announced—Sean Astin, John Schneider, Kevin Sorbo. And when I saw Rob Liefeld, the creator of Deadpool, added to the list, I thought, Awesome! Liefeld is one of the hottest comic artists of the last twenty years. I need some more stuff signed by him.

    And when I received an email on February 24 from Wizard World’s PR person telling me that Doctor Who’s David Tennant would be in Raleigh, I thought, Oh. My. God.

    David Tennant! No offense to other guests, but this was huge. Poll after poll shows him as the most popular Doctor among Whovians (see here, here, and here). Tennant’s Doctor is charming, funny, and passionate. Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor, did the hard work of rebooting the twenty-year-dead series in 2005; Tennant presided over its expansion both in the UK and across the pond. Plus he is a rarity on the convention circuit. Raleigh would be, in fact, his Wizard World debut (his second appearance will be in Philadelphia this May).

    I am a middling Doctor Who fan. My wife and daughter? Rabid. And their favorite, of course, is David Tennant. My wife makes and sells fandom-related jewelry, and she had another convention that weekend in Winston-Salem, about two hours away. Urban Dictionary defines fandom as “a cult that will destroy your life”; I prefer to think of it as the impetus for restructuring your life on the fly. Thus, after much wrangling and a pair of David Tennant VIP tickets ($399 each!), we settled on the following schedule:

    Friday: My wife and me at Wizard World, our daughter at the Winston-Salem convention

    Saturday: All of us at the Winston convention

    Sunday: My wife and my daughter at Wizard World to see David Tennant, me at the Winston convention

    Actually, my weekend started on Thursday, at the Wizard World launch party. It was held at the Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh.

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    Advertisements for the party indicated that celebrities (plural) would be in attendance, though the only one I saw was Kevin Sorbo, star of the 90s hit series Hercules. Still, we had a nice chat:

    Me: You have been in several faith-based movies [What If . . . and God’s Not Dead]. What is it about these movies that speaks to people?

    Kevin: There are a lot of people who have faith. All the polls show like 80% of people believe in God. We tend to skim over that, and Hollywood doesn’t put out movies that deal with that. And when they do, they sort of bastardize it. Look what they did with Exodus. Look what they did with Noah, for crying out loud. Why would you hire atheist directors to do something out of the Old Testament? It’s weird to me.

    Me: The emphasis there seems to be more on special effects.

    Kevin: Yeah. We went to a private screening of Noah, and my wife said, “This is like Transformers meets Water World.” Visually, it’s beautiful, but you’re like, does the Bible talk about Noah being schizophrenic, alcoholic, and hell-bent on killing his own family at the end?

    Me: You’ve had a varied career, but of course you’re most known for Hercules . . .

    Kevin: Yeah, that and Andromeda.

    Me: Right. How did your role in Hercules come about?

    Kevin: It was a typical audition through Hollywood. My agent called me up and said, “They’re casting five Hercules movies, and they want to see you.” I said, “I’m a big guy, but don’t they want some steroid dude with no neck or some bodybuilder who weighs 280 pounds?” He said, “No, they’re looking for an athletic-looking, sort-of decathlon, Joe Namath-type quarterback.” So I went and read. They called me back and called me back. Seven times they called me back. I was up in Vancouver, Canada filming an episode of The Commish, and they called me and said, “You’re Hercules.” I thought it was going to be five two-hour movies. Then, boom! It became a series, and it passed Baywatch to become the most-watched show in the world.

    Me: Before filming, how did you get into the role? How did you prepare yourself to play a mythical hero?

    Kevin: It was all in the writing. They made the character very 90s. It was a very Malibu sort of Hercules. He was very hip and accessible and approachable, very self-effacing. There was a lot of humor. The fight scenes were never very violent. Our spin-off show, Xena, was a much more violent show, killing guys. We never killed a guy.

    Me: Speaking of writing, you did a book a couple of years ago. What was that like?

    Kevin: It’s been great because of the number of speaking appearances I get. I did a dozen last year, and I’ve already got about eleven more lined up this year. It’s been amazing to get out there and do all the talking I’ve been doing about the book, which is about a health scare I suffered. I was the healthiest-looking guy in the world in the 90s, and I had three strokes and almost died. It took me out of the show [Hercules] for four months. We had to re-write everything.

    Me: Which is harder, writing or acting?

    Kevin [laughs]: I think writing is much harder. Writers take much of the blame for everything in Hollywood, so God bless them. It’s the toughest job around.

    Me: How did you get started doing conventions?

    Kevin: You know, conventions really didn’t kick off until about fifteen years ago. The growth has been astronomical. In the 90s, comic cons weren’t that big. They were around, but there wasn’t the publicity and the push and the hype. I got invited during the 90s, but I could do only one or two a year because I was in New Zealand ten months out of the year [filming Hercules]. Now, I go to a lot around the world. I’m doing two in April in Australia. I have one coming up in Belgium. I get invited to about five a month, and I go to six or seven a year.

    Me: Are there things you won’t do for fans? Are there lines fans try to get you to cross that you push back against?

    Kevin: Not really. Women have not exposed their breasts to me, but they have wanted me to sign the top of their chests. Some people get very nervous because they know you from TV, and now they’re seeing you in the flesh. It’s a surreal moment for them, and I get that because when I first moved to L.A., I started meeting some of the celebrities I used to watch on TV, and I was like, “Wow. That’s really him standing there.” For me, it was Anthony Quinn [who played Zeus in Hercules]. Meeting him blew me away.

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    The next night, Friday, was my night at Wizard World. It is often said that Wizard World, with its deep pockets and runaway costs, delights in squeezing out local conventions. See, for example, this article decrying “William Shatner at $199 an autograph,” which is ludicrously inflated. Shatner charges less than half that amount, and he has charged it for years.

    What has changed, and not for the better, is the number of comic book artists who now charge for an autograph. Michael Golden charged $10. Dean Haspiel (who?) charged $10. Tom DeFalco gave one or two free signatures, but he charged after that due to, as the sign on his table exhorted, the miserable capitalists who sell his stuff on eBay.

    And Rob Liefeld. When I saw him in 2012, he charged $20 to sign copies of New Mutants #87 (first appearance of Cable) or #98 (first appearance of Deadpool). Everything else was free. Now he charges $30 for any Deadpool item, $20 for any New Mutants or X-Force issue, and $20 for any book being witnessed by CGC. He’s still a cool guy, though, and he did not charge me for this picture.

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    I get that writers and artists are trying to make a living. A market exists for their autographs that they did not create and are merely tapping into. But their judgment—or is jealousy?—of collectors feels wrong-headed. eBay does not lower payments to creators (a buyer’s market does that) nor deprive them of ownership of their work (publishers retain this). Besides, CGC’s fees are rich enough. To pay an extra $20 for the signature hurts.

    Perhaps it was this increase in signing fees that was responsible for the small crowd.

    2015-03-13_18-03-31_197

    Or the fact that few celebrities showed up for opening night (aside from Tony Stark).

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    The dealer’s room was livelier, but what struck me most there was the dearth of comic book dealers. I counted two. The rest had toys, decals, T-shirts, etc. Curiously, there were also the Lasik Vision Institute and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, giving the dealer’s room a festival-in-the-park feel. I left without buying anything (or scheduling eye surgery).

    I tried to buy a third David Tennant autograph ticket for Sunday, the day my wife and daughter would be there, for my daughter’s friend. But they were not selling any more tickets until Sunday morning—possibly (as it turned out, they didn’t have more then, either). “It’s the first time we’ve worked with him,” said the apologetic young woman, “and we’re not sure what to expect.” Translation: they had under-prepared. Wizard World has remedied this (sort of) for Philadelphia, making David Tennant photos and autographs available only to VIP ticket buyers. It’s an imperfect solution: a limited quantity of tickets at a cost that prices a lot of people out of contention. But at least they won’t run out by the first day of the con.

    So my daughter’s friend lost out. My wife and daughter, however, racked up, each of them receiving (1) any item autographed, (2) a professional photo-op, (3) a David Tennant collector’s card, (4) other Doctor Who stuff, and (5) a limited edition Walking Dead comic book with a black-and-white sketch cover by Dean Haspiel (so that’s who he is!). And they got into the Tennant Q&A, which, we found out, was open only to VIPs because the room was so small. (My question: why didn’t they rearrange the rooms? It’s David Tennant. You can bump the Harry Potter fan fiction panel to a snack bar table.)

    If the crowd was meager on Friday, it had Hulked up by Sunday. There were 500 VIP ticket holders that day (600 on Saturday), plus who knows how many who managed to get a one-day autograph or photo ticket before they were sold out. My wife took over 100 pictures during the Q&A, enough to allow us to play a game called The Many Faces of David Tennant.

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    David ponders why the TARDIS isn’t cleaner on the inside.

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    David does his Gilbert Gottfried impression.

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    David whistles “Dixie,” because he’s in the South.

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    David tries to hypnotize the crowd but puts himself to sleep.

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    This is David Tennant, not David Bowie.

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    “Blimey, Rose! I told you to close the TARDIS door before take-off!”

    Tennant is surprised at how popular Doctor Who has become in the United States—surprised but pleased. Asked about his acting career, he said he likes the variety of roles (in his new drama, Broadchurch, he plays a character as far from the Doctor as you can imagine). Whom would he cosplay as at a convention? “Someone with a mask, so I could enjoy the convention.” One questioner recommended that he try the barbecue before leaving North Carolina. This apparently led to a discussion of food in which he dissed American bacon (too dry and crunchy).  Another asked him who he fanboys over. Answer: Marvel Comics, which he had recently toured.

    After the Q&A came photos, and about an hour after that, the signing line started. When my daughter reached the table, she asked Tennant if she could record him saying hello to her friend (the one who got gypped on the autograph). Most celebs won’t do this, but in the absence of an advertised prohibition, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Astonishingly, he agreed! Then a Wizard World staffer stepped in and put a stop to it. Normally, I would rail against this, but the staffer had a point. If Tennant did that for my daughter, he would have to do it for everyone, which would slow the line to a crawl. The lesson for convention goers is this: guests aren’t being rude or aloof when they refuse some of your requests. The refusal may simply be a matter of convention policy.

    So the inaugural Wizard World Raleigh was a success. Great city, great guests, friendly service—and the Doctor. One woman my wife talked to had driven eight hours from Alabama with her two kids to see him. On top of the arm-and-leg-ness of VIP tickets, this struck me as insanely devoted. “Would you do that?” I asked my wife on Monday as she stared out the kitchen window, a melancholy smile on her face. “Yes,” she said without hesitation. “Yes I would.”

    Well-played, Wizard World. Well-played.

     

    Comic Fest Coral Springs moves Date to May 9th!

    Comic Fest Coral Springs 2015Comic Fest Coral Springs moves Date to May 9th!

    Slight change for the first ever Comic Fest Coral Springs in Coral Springs, FL

    Guests include Charles Paul Wilson III

    Barbara Kesel

    Fernando Ruiz

    Derrick fish

    Jose Delbo

    Manny Cartoon

    Silvana

    501st Legion

    For more info check out the website!

    MegaCon joins with Fan Expo

    MegaConBanner2MegaCon gets sold to Canada’s Fan Expo, becomes MegaCon Orlando!

    Article Via the Orlando Business Journal

    Read it all HERE!

    CA – FCBD: Blastoff Comicsfest

    blastoff-fcbd

    Press Release:

    Celebrate Free Comic Book Day with music, food, beer and comic-book creators!

    FREE COMIC BOOK DAY will be bigger than ever this year in North Hollywood, when Blastoff Comics and Knitting Factory Entertainment team up to present the first-ever BLASTOFF COMICSFEST! Taking place on May 2, 2015, at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood from 10 am to 4 pm, BLASTOFF COMICSFEST will be the place to be in Los Angeles for Free Comic Book Day, with comics creators from Marvel, DC, IDW Publishing, Image, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse and more on hand to sign comics, provide free sketches and meet with comic-book fans young and old outdoors in the beautiful Southern California sun! With a beer garden, food stations, a live DJ, costumed hero photo ops, and of course, plenty of free comics! Plenty more details and announcements to come, so mark your calendars now!

    SPECIAL GUESTS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR:

    Joe Casey (MIAMI VICE: REMIX, SEX, THE BOUNCE)
    Frank Gibson (CAPTURE CREATURES, ADVENTURE TIME, BEE AND PUPPYCAT)
    Dana Gould (STAR TREK/PLANET OF THE APES, THE DANA GOULD HOUR)
    Jim Krueger (JUSTICE, THE HIGH COST OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER)
    Steve Niles (THE OCTOBER FACTION, MONSTER AND MADMAN, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT)
    Valerie Perez (THE NERDIST, THE ADVENTURES OF PAULA PERIL)
    Thomas Perkins (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES, BEN 10)
    Kit Quinn (SWEETHEARTS OF THE GALAXY)
    Mairghred Scott (TRANSFORMERS, WINDBLADE, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)
    Todd Stashwick (12 MONKEYS, THE ORIGINALS, GOTHAM)
    J.K. Woodward (CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER, STAR TREK/DOCTOR WHO)

    More guests to be announced in the days to come!

    RSVP on Facebook!

    The Federal Bar
    5303 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
    (818) 980-2555

    Hulk Hogan: Uncut at MegaCon 2015

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    MegaCon is pleased to announce that professional wrestling icon Hulk Hogan will be taking part in a special event, Hulk Hogan: Uncut, moderated by the “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart. Get to hear behind the scenes stories from Hulk Hogan’s career and life on the road, with a special fan Q&A with Hulk Hogan.

    This special 90 minute event, will take place on Saturday, April 11th in the Valencia Ballroom A-C from 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM. This is a Special Event, and requires a separate admission ticket to attend. MegaCon wristband required. No autographs will be given out at this event.

    Don’t wait, tickets are limited and are on sale now. Visit MegaCon’s website to purchase.

    Hulkamaniacs Package: LIMITED
    Cost: $150.00
    Includes: (1) VIP Hulk Hogan Badge, Personal Meet and Greet with Hulk Hogan after the main event (Room Location TBD), (1) Personal Photo Op with Hulk Hogan with your own camera and VIP seating in the first (3) rows.

    Champions Seating: Reserved Seating in Rows 4-6
    Cost: $60.00

    General Admission:
    Cost: $40.00

    Family Four-Pack: General Admission Seating
    Cost: $125.00

    CA – Death of Deadpool Signing

    RL-deadpool

    Rob Liefeld, Deadpool creator and Image Comics co-founder, appears at Phat Collectibles on Saturday, April 11th at 2:00 PM to send off the Merc with a Mouth in style! Co-hosted by Agents of Cosplay.

    RSVP on Facebook!

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

    Hickory Con (May 2015)

    Hickory Con

    Convention Name
    Hickory Con
    Convention Website Address
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hickory-comic-con/766161760075940
    This convention will take place:
    • for one day only.
    Date (Format mm/dd/yyyy)
    05/30/2015
    About This Convention
    Artist list includes Andy Smith, Budd Root, Stacey Fleming, and Brian Monroe are just a few of the artist that will be attending.You can get you own sketch from any of these guys!
    We will have the 501 Star Wars Brigade, Star Trek Fleet and the Klingon Assault Group as well. Bring your camera!
    We will have Tons of comics, toys, and lots of other collectibles to choose from. we will also have a yugioh card tournament and 3 booster boxes will be given away in prizes $10 entry for tournament.
    Costume Contest !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Admission to the show is $4.00 entry for adults and $2.00 for children 13 and under at the door. a fun filled day for all. Hope to see you there.
    Venue Name and Address
    1960 13th Avenue Drive SE
    Hickory, NC 28602
    United States
    Map It
    Number of Dealer/Exhibitor Tables
    65
    Projected Attendance
    800
    Please select the Category that best describes the convention
    Comic Books
    Additional Categories
    • Anime
    • Gaming
    • Science Fiction and Fantasy
    • Collectibles
    Guests
    Andy Smith, Budd Root

    Guess who’s coming to MegaCon Brother?!?

    Hulk Hogan

    Professional wrestling icon and WWE Hall of Famer, Hulk Hogan has been added to the media guest lineup for MegaCon 2015.

    Hulk Hogan will be appearing on Saturday, with a limited appearance on Sunday (detailed schedule to follow) for MegaCon 2015.

    for more information on MegaCon visit their website.

    Ivy Doomkitty Appears at Boston Comic Con 2015

    bcc15_doomkitty

    Press Release:

    Boston Comic Con welcomes back cosplayer Ivy Doomkitty to host the 2015 Costume Contest! Additionally Ivy will appear on the 2nd Annual Boston Comic Con Cosplay Harbor Dinner Cruise! She will also have a table on the convention floor to meet fans and sign autographs plus lead panels on cosplaying.

    Ivy Doomkitty is an international costumer and cosplayer, host, artist, gamer, and figure model for comic book artist/writer Frank Cho, based in Los Angeles. Ivy has been attending conventions for many years, before deciding to take the plunge by showing her fandom through cosplay. Ivy was recently featured as a guest judge on several episodes of the Syfy original series Heroes of Cosplay.

    She now uses this newfound passion to create her own costumes, and use them to bring to life her favorite characters from gaming and comics as well as creating a positive impact in the cosplay community. She strives to show others in the community that you can do something you love, regardless of gender, skin color, sexual orientation, body shape and size, via her panel on that very subject,”So They Say You Shouldn’t Cosplay.”

    Tickets are now available for purchase. Please note that this year tickets will be sold ONLINE ONLY, there will not be any on-site ticket sales.

    If you are coming in from out of town, the official Boston Comic Con hotel is the Seaport Hotel which is attached to the show venue (The Seaport World Trade Center). To book your hotel room, call the Seaport reservations desk at 617-385-5000 and ask for The Boston Comic Con attendee rate. Hotel rooms at the official Boston Comic Con hotel sell out quickly.

    About Boston Comic Con:
    The Boston Comic Con is a 100% independently run comic book show committed to bringing the biggest and best comic creators to New England. Run by fans for fans, Boston Comic Con is not affiliated with any other convention tour or corporate interests. Hosting over 120,000 square feet of vendors selling comic books, toys, posters, trading cards, and other pop culture memorabilia, this is a destination event for geeks of any stripe. This year’s convention will be held Friday July 31st, Saturday August 1st, and Sunday August 2nd at the Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA 02210. For more information please go to our website at www.bostoncomiccon.com and follow us on Twitter (@BostonComicCon) and Facebook!

     

    Image courtesy of Designs by Topher

    CA – Legend of Korra/Avatar: The Last Airbender Art Exhibit

    korra_avatar_webPress Release:

    Gallery Nucleus and Nickelodeon Studios are proud to present an official art exhibition paying tribute to The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

    On display will be behind-the-scenes production art and tribute art by select illustrators as well as artists from the TV show. We will also be accepting open submissions from the fans!

    Learn more about how to submit your artwork to this exhibition and the OPEN CALL for entries HERE (submission closed on FEB. 20)

    OPENING NIGHT
    Cosplay is highly encouraged! Open to the Public, All Ages Welcome, No RSVP needed.

    ADMISSION
    $5 or FREE when you come in costume

    OPENING RECEPTION HIGHLIGHTS
    Meet the creators of the TV show: Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino as well as other key creatives from the show on opening night on Saturday March 7, 2015 from 6:00 – 10:00 PM.

    First 40 people in the door will receive a FREE game download code postcard for the Legend of Korra game!

    First 100 people in line to purchase any new exclusive releases will receive a ticket to get their items signed by Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino (limit 1 item per person, wristbands will be given to the first 100 in line) No holding place in line for friends or family. Wristbands will be handed out at random times throughout the day as line forms.

    original_AangComplimentary refreshments available

    Hourly raffle giveaways at 8pm, 9pm, 10pm (Winners need not be present to win. Winning #s will also be announced on our Facebook and twitter)

    Original tribute artwork by artists from the TV show and comics will be on display and for sale

    The Art of The Legend of Korra book, Seasons 1, 2, and 3 as well as the comic books will be available in our shop. (See below for event exclusives)

    RECEPTION SCHEDULE / ARTISTS SIGNING
    (5:00 pm – 6:00 pm) press / vip hour
    (6:00 pm) doors open
    (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm) Signing for first 100 people w/ creators Bryan Konietzco and Michael DiMartino
    (8:00 pm) raffle prizes (you do not need to be present to win)
    (9:00 pm) raffle prizes (you do not need to be present to win)
    (10:00 pm) final raffle prizes / reception concludes (you do not need to be present to win)

    Other exhibiting and tv show artists will be present (look for people with name tags)

    EXHIBITING ARTISTS
    Alan Wan
    Angela Song Mueller
    Anthony Wu
    Artgerm
    original_NAGA_500Bobby Rubio
    Bryan Konietzko
    claire hummel
    Dan Matutina
    Dave Filoni
    David Au
    Dean Kelly
    Elsa Garagarza
    Emily Tetri
    Ethan Spaulding
    felt mistress
    Frederic Stewart
    helen chen
    Jed Henry
    Joaquim Dos Santos
    joey chou
    Johane Matte
    Justin Oaksford
    Justin Ridge
    Kenji Ono
    Lauren MacMullan
    Leonard Peng
    Mayumi Nose
    Melissa King
    Natasha Wicke
    Owen Sullivan
    perry maple dixon
    Ricardo Delgado
    original_Korra Art 3_500Sachin Teng
    Simona Candini
    Will Ruzicka
    William Nanqing Niu
    Young-Ki Yoon

    …more to be announced!

    EXCLUSIVE LIMITED EDITION RELEASES

    Aang Statue $149.95 limited edition of 750 (Released for the first time on opening night, if arrives as scheduled)

    Naga Plush $34.95 (Released for the first time on opening night)

    The Art of Legend of Korra Book 3 $39.95

    More to be announced…

    RSVP on Facebook!

    Gallery Nucleus
    210 East Main Street, Alhambra, CA 91801
    626.458.7477

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