OH – An Evening with Neil Gaiman

Author Neil Gaiman appears at the KeyBank State Theatre on Friday, March 9, 2018 at 8:00 PM! Tickets available at the link…

“I make things up and write them down” is the way Neil Gaiman describes his varied art. Today, as one of the most celebrated, bestselling writers of our time, his popular and critically acclaimed works bend genres while reaching audiences of all ages. In his live event, “An Evening with Neil Gaiman” he will tell stories and read stories, answer questions, and in his own words “amaze, befuddle and generally delight. It will be fun and odd and not like any other evening with Neil Gaiman.”

Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books. Gaiman’s best-selling contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods, took the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, and Locus awards-as did his bestselling young adult story, Coraline. Another children’s novel, The Graveyard Book, is the only work to win both the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) Medals – awarded by librarians for the most prestigious contribution to children’s literature. Gaiman’s groundbreaking Sandman comics, which has garnered a large number of accolades including nine Eisner Awards, was described by Stephen King as having turned graphic novels into “art.” Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as the greatest epic in the history of the form, an issue of Sandman was the first comic book to receive literary recognition, the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story.

KeyBank State Theatre at Playhouse Square
1519 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
Performance Art Theatre
(216) 241-6000

CalusaCon (March 2018)

CALUSACON

Convention Name
CalusaCon – Comic & Pop Culture Event
Convention Website Address
http://www.calusacon.com
This convention will take place:
  • for one day only.
Date (Format mm/dd/yyyy)
03/24/2018
About This Convention
The CalusaCon is a NEW Comic & Pop Culture event located at the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium in the beautiful City of Fort Myers, Florida. CalusaCon strives to be Florida’s best and truest comic con featuring fandoms of multiple genres. As long-time fans of comic books, toys, pop-culture, cosplay, animation, scifi and fantasy, the promoter wanted to bring that style event to South West Florida.

The show has over 100 exhibitors that cater to a wide-spectrum of interests including comic books, magazines, toys, games, movies, television, anime, manga, cosplay, artwork, sketches and apparel plus much more. In addition, a roster of comic industry professionals and fandom-related atrractions are in attendance for attendees to meet and greet. This will be one show not to miss!

Venue Name and Address
Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium
3450 Ortiz Avenue
Fort Myers, Florida 33905
United States
Map It
Number of Dealer/Exhibitor Tables
120
Projected Attendance
5,000
Please select the Category that best describes the convention
Comic Books
Additional Categories
  • Anime
  • Book Festival
  • Gaming
  • Horror
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Collectibles

Albany Comic and Toy Show (March 2018)

Albany Comic and Toy Show

Convention Name
Albany Comic and Toy Show
Convention Website Address
http://www.albanycomicandtoyshow.com
This convention will take place:
  • for one day only.
Date (Format mm/dd/yyyy)
03/18/2018
About This Convention
The Albany Comics and Toy Show is a twice a year event in the Capital District of Albany in Upstate New York. Now in it’s 7th year. The show features new and vintage Toys, Comic Books and Collectibles of every kind including: Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers, Mego, Horror, Movie memorabilia, Wrestling, Non Sports Cards, Barbie’s, Statues, Model Kits, Original art and much, much more.

Along with a great line up of vendors, the show hosts professiona guests that create comic books, comic book art, gaming card art, statues and action figures

This show is for anyone, of any age, that loves or collects comics, toys or memorabilia.

For more information check out: www.albanycomicandtoyshow.com

Venue Name and Address
Radisson Hotel
205 Wolf Rd
Albany, New York 12205
United States
Map It
Number of Dealer/Exhibitor Tables
75
Projected Attendance
1,000
Please select the Category that best describes the convention
Comic Books
Additional Categories
  • Anime
  • Gaming
  • Horror
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Collectibles
Guests
Ron Marz, Rick Leonardi, Steve Orlando, Matthew Dow Smith, Fred Hembeck, Paul Harding and more

Albany Toy-Show-Mar-2018-1-12-18

VA Comicon (March 2018)

VA Comicon Logo

Convention Name
VA Comicon
Convention Website Address
http://www.vacomicon.com
This convention will take place:
  • over multiple days.
Start Date (Format mm/dd/yyyy)
03/03/2018
End Date (Format mm/dd/yyyy)
03/04/2018
About This Convention
Now in it’s 32nd year, the VA Comicon features over 100 booths of Comic books, Artwork, Toys, Anime, Video Games and MORE!
Venue Name and Address
Richmond Raceway Complex
600 E Laburnum Ave.
Richmond, Virginia 23230
United States
Map It
Number of Dealer/Exhibitor Tables
100
Please select the Category that best describes the convention
Comic Books
Additional Categories
  • Anime
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Collectibles

DragonCon 2017 Report (Including Interview with Jai Nitz)!

Before I saw Suicide Squad, I knew nothing about Chato Santana, who is the alter ego of El Diablo, the pyrokinetic gangbanger from East LA. After seeing the movie, he quickly became my favorite comic book character and one of my all time favorite characters in any medium. The reason I personally enjoy him is because he’s relatable. Everyone has their own regrets and every person wishes they could redeem themselves for something they’ve done in their past. Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Harley Quinn all seem to revel in their villainy, while Chato seems reluctant to even talk about it. He thinks of himself as a monster and attempts to control himself which is a direct contrast to, say, Harley’s defense of stealing from a department store: “We’re bad guys, it’s what we do.”

So, I was stoked when I realized that Jai Nitz, the creator of my anti-hero, would be at the very convention I was reporting on. This was my second year at DragonCon, and any of my loyal readers (thanks mom and dad!) would remember that last year I accidentally interviewed Nolan North, the voice of Deadpool and Desmond Miles from Assassin’s Creed. This year, however, I got an agreed interview that wasn’t illegal! Jai Nitz is what anyone would imagine the creator of a Latino Robin Hood would be… badass, intelligent, willing to sell all his stuff for $100. (These are all jokes, please don’t sue me). Reader beware, spoilers and ruined headcanons await!

How did you come up with the idea of Chato?

Chato is not a real name, it actually means butch, thick, beefy. The idea is that he would have had a real name at some point, it would have been Jaime or Guadalupe or something. He was always a big guy, so everyone would call him Chato. That was after my dad. They called my dad butch because there were seven kids in his grade with the same name as him. Everyone was called a nickname instead of just “Jerry.” That was kind of a nod to my dad, and the idea of who Chato was came from my cousin, Jaime. He’s my age, growing up close to the border in a culture that is 95% Hispanic. Drugs and human trafficking are not a thing on the news, they are a way of life. There are people who are dealing drugs and moving humans. They are not villains, they are Robin Hoods. They are sticking it to the man, instead of doing this nefarious, horrible crime to be on television, that’s not who they are. Not that my cousin is doing that, but I saw him in a situation where he was dealing with a lot of different stuff than I did. What would I have been if I had been in the same situation? In East Los Angeles where Chato was from, it is very much the same thing. There are neighborhoods that are closed off to the police because in 1992 only 10% of the Los Angeles police force was Latino. Today it’s 60%. Then, no one spoke Spanish. No one knew what to do if you got stuck in a Spanish speaking neighborhood. David Ayer, the director of Suicide Squad, his movie, End of Watch, is about a lot of that. It’s a lot about dealing with a culture that is alien to your own, and in the original El Diablo series, he was a gang lord. He was the Robin Hood of his neighborhood. He was the guy you would go to if you had a local problem that the police wouldn’t help you with. It was trying to show that just because you commit crimes doesn’t make you a bad guy, and just because you do bad stuff doesn’t make you a villain, and just because you save people doesn’t make you a hero. It was very much blurring the lines and I don’t think anybody was ready for that when I wrote it.

I think I fell in love with him when I first saw him.

If you meet Jay [Hernandez, actor for Chato in Suicide Squad] in real life, you will fall in love again because he is stupid good-looking.

How did you get your start in comics?

I got my start by self-publishing right out of college. As a new writer, the best way to make it in comics was to make your own comics. So I wrote my own comics and I found artists to work with. That was on the creative side, then you had to put on your business hat and you had to learn to make the files available to a printer, how to send them to be scanned by a scanning place because you didn’t have a scanner big enough, how to get those books printed and distributed, how to take them to conventions and sell them. Then that was my business card. I handed that out and said “please hire me.” It’s much easier for an editor to read a comic book than it is to read an idea on a piece of paper. Then once they trust you, they will read your ideas, but not until they believe in you as a writer. The best way to make them believe in you as a writer is to show something that you’ve written. If you want to write a comic book then write a comic book to hand out. So that’s what I did and I did it every couple of years until I finally started getting regular work. After about eleven years of trying, self-publishing, doing independant stuff, I got enough work at big publishers to go full-time freelance.

Did El Diablo actually die at the end of the movie?

He can’t die. HE CAN’T DIE! His powers dictate that the devil that possesses him. This is explained in the first series, and in the new series it is explained that, every time he dies, the devil just brings him back and takes more of his soul, so he gets more evil each time he dies. I was explaining this to David Ayer at the premiere of the movie. We were walking out of the movie, and he said, “How do we bring him back?” and I said, “You don’t have to. He can’t die. Every time he dies, the devil takes more of his soul and brings him back, so he comes back more evil, so if people like him in this movie, the next time he comes back, he’ll be worse, and the next time he comes back, he’ll be even worse. In your movie continuity, he says, ‘I was born with the devil’s gift,’ and the idea is that he was stillborn and the devil took him then, and every time he has died since then, the devil has taken more of his soul as he has brought him back every time.’”

If he drinks alcohol, will he just explode?

Not at all. His powers are magical in nature, which is the other reason you can just bring him back, because there is no science in how he throws fire, just as there is no science in how [Captain Boomerang] throws a boomerang, there is no science in how [Slipknot] uses ropes to climb stuff, there is no science in how [Deadshot] is the best shot in the world. He is made of demonic magical fire.

The reason I ask is because there is a deleted scene in the bar where Harley asks everyone what they want, he says, “Water,” and she says, “That’s a good idea, honey.”

That was definitely a great character moment. That was that character recognizing, “Me losing control is not good for anybody.” Because he knows what’s inside him, even though no one else does. The other thing is, it’s not really in the movie universe, but it would be the kind of thing I would explore. Nobody really believes him. Nobody really believes that there is a devil inside him. There are people who can fly, there are people who dress up like bats, there are people with magic power rings, but nobody believes he is possessed, and then you see it, and it’s a different animal.

I like how, in the movie, the other characters are afraid of him.

There’s a lot of really good subtle storytelling in the film that gets lost. They had re-shoots, and they had to change this, and they had to move scenes around, and stuff like that, to where there is some stuff that makes no sense. I’ve seen the movie so many times it isn’t funny. But then there is some stuff that is subtle like that, where even Deadshot realizes, this guy could kill us aaaaaaall. And nobody pays attention until it comes to that.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a book called Suicide Squad Black that has El Diablo as the leader of a Suicide Squad team. It was supposed to come out last month, but it’s been delayed, so hopefully it will come out in 2018.

 

Going into this interview, I was expecting just to talk about comics, not to get a lecture on race relations and the social economics of East Los Angeles. But I’m glad Jai discussed those topics. I admire how he puts his background in his work. It helps him maintain his passion, which was evident when I talked to him.

And I’m definitely buying Suicide Squad Black when it comes out. Who’s with me?

 

Jai with a really cool El Diablo cosplayer

 

Cover of El Diablo #1 (2008)

DragonCon 2017 Report!

Each year, I start checking the guest list on the DragonCon web site in December. Call it my Christmas tradition. I check it once a month until, say, May, then once a week until summer’s midpoint. After that, I’m checking it pretty much daily until that pre-Labor Day Thursday, when the convention opens.

The web site has a full guest list and a featured list. The featured list is where the major authors  and actors appear. It is the only list I check because, unless you are self-published or have ten or fewer Twitter followers, that is the list you are usually on.

Except this year. This year, Wallace Shawn was too obscure to make the featured list, which is . . . wait for it . . . inconceivable. And Jerry Pournelle. Jerry wrote or edited 43 books. He won the Heinlein Society Award, the Prometheus Award, and the John W. Campbell Award. He was the president of SWFA and one of sci-fi’s leading lights. How was Jerry effing Pournelle left off the featured list?

(Don’t tell me they were added too late to make both lists. Arthur Darvill was on both despite being added the day before the con opened).

I had never met Jerry Pournelle at any convention, despite being a bibliophile and science fiction fan. Thus, there was a hole in my collection where his autograph belonged. Fortunately, I saw him on the web site before leaving home, so I grabbed my first edition of New Voices in Science Fiction: Stories by Campbell Award Nominees (1977). The book contains Jerry’s story “Silent Leges,” a masterpiece of military sci-fi. My copy was signed by George R.R. Martin. I wanted Jerry to sign it, too.

He was scheduled to be on a panel Friday afternoon. I got there early. Snagged a front row seat. The other panelists were milling, talking to fans, signing a book here or there. Then I heard someone say, “There’s Jerry.” Turning around, I expected to see the tuxedoed impresario on his Wikipedia page. Shuffling toward me instead was a gaunt man of many years being helped toward the stage. He used a walker. Settling into his chair, he sighed, the weight of a world (not this one, surely; one of his creation) on his shoulders.

I hate being the first to ask for an autograph, and as the panel was starting in ten minutes, I needed someone else to step up. And someone did. I was at the table next, passing Jerry my book and asking if I could have “a quick signature.” He turned the book in his hands like a rare gem.

“Am I in this?” he asked weakly.

“Yes sir,” I said, opening to the title page and handing him my pen.

“Am I a co-editor of this?” I was about to demur, but he answered himself: “No, that was George.” The pen I had given him was a felt tip Expresso, the only pen I can use without smearing the ink. He tried to sign his looping J and poked a hole in the page. I winced. He got it right the second time, though the signature was eroded-looking, like Sumerian clay tablets.

There. Target acquired. I needed to get my book back lest it suffer more damage, like a cracked spine. (Burt Ward did this at DragonCon 2012, opening my book so wide I heard the binding let go like a gunshot.) Inexplicably, I turned to the table of contents. “See? There’s your story,” I said. He smiled. “Oh yes,” he said. “That story.” Then he signed again, forgetting, I suppose, that he had already obliged me.

I don’t mean to ridicule. In fact, I admire Jerry for coming out to DragonCon. He was clearly unwell. Things got worse the following week, and he passed away on September 8. According to the New York Times, he “contracted a cold and flu on the trip.” I was getting over some sickness the day I met him. Did he contract my cold? Did I kill Jerry Pournelle?

I hope not. The memory of a once-vibrant writer hobbling down an aisle is haunting enough. It is hard seeing your heroes reduced by time. When I saw Adam West in 2013, he walked with a cane. William Shatner has put on a few cheb’a’. For some people, going to conventions is like going to a class reunion: they want to see who is still a geek or jock, who succeeded and who flopped, and who got old. I go to pay my respects. Knowing I was among the last people to see Jerry Pournelle alive is a sobering thought, one that has made me realize my responsibility as a fan: to treat celebrities with dignity. They show up for our entertainment; we show up for their actualization. Puts things in perspective, don’t you think?

Attendance at this year’s DragonCon was a record-setting 80,000-plus, which most people attributed to two factors: (1) Stan Lee, who had not been to DragonCon since 2012; and (2) a Doctor Who contingent of Billie Piper, Karen Gillan (who cancelled last year), Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston–and Matt Smith. I heard that Matt was the first post-2005 Doctor to attend DragonCon, and he was terrific, humble and funny, though he wouldn’t shake my hand, offering the fist bump instead. Karen limited herself to the fist bump too. Alex and Billie shook hands and hugged people. Different strokes, I guess.

All the Brits were in one room, sitting at a row of tables. It would have made sense to have a single line, and if you had autograph tickets for, say, only two of the five, you would simply skip the ones you didn’t have tickets for. Instead, once you got, say, Matt’s autograph, you were directed into a separate line for someone else, and if you wanted a third autograph, you had to trudge to a third line, and so on. Bit of a nutter way to do things, if you ask me. Also daft was the fact that Billie Piper was there only one day, but when I bought autograph tickets on Friday, I was told she was there all weekend. I didn’t learn she was Sunday only until I showed up on Saturday. DragonCon is staffed by volunteers, and it is bedlam from start to finish, but I don’t think I’m out of bounds to ask the autograph ticket sellers to know when the autographers will be available.

Lines are a fact of convention life, and with more attendees than all but four NFL stadiums hold, I expected some lines to be interminable. What I didn’t expect, though maybe I should have, was a line to get into a building. Vendors and artists occupy three floors of Americas Mart 2, and last year, the fire marshall shut down the building one day because it was at capacity. To prevent that this year, DragonCon staffers were funneling people into a line outside, letting them in a few at a time. It was a workable but maddening solution. One vendor told me that, next year, the artists will be moved to the fourth floor of Americas Mart, which is an excellent idea. Spreading out attendees over more of the building should curb the overcrowding problem.

After being unable to interview guests last year, I was scheduled for two this year: Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes. Remembering that only one of my two interviews in 2015 took place, I was cautiously optimistic. Turns out the caution was warranted, as was naked fury, because both Marina and Jonathan cancelled. Another reporter told me she had an interview with Gates McFadden, who simply didn’t show up.

To all DragonCon celebs: I know conventions aren’t your vacations. You are working while you’re there. I am working too, and I can’t do my work if you blow off a media session. Remember when you were young actors, struggling to make your way? People helped you, right? So pay that forward–help us. We’re not Nightline anchors. We need the exposure your interviews give us. I can’t speak for all reporters, but I make my interviews short and anodyne, possibly enjoyable. So if you agree to an interview, please keep it. That’s all we–I–ask.

This year was my seventh DragonCon, and despite my cavils, I love it. The show gets better every year. If you have the chance to attend, do it. Don’t say you’ll think about it. Don’t say you want to read more of my reviews first. Just go. But keep reading my reviews. And take a look at the pictures below. Talk to you soon.

Me with my colleague, Michaela McPherson. Check out her interview with Jai Nitz, creator of Suicide Squad’s El Diablo, on Convention Scene.

 

Cool board, bro.

 

Where’s Harley Quinn when you need her?

 

Never seen Marry Poppins and Bert cosplayers before. Excellent!

 

Excuse me, sir. Why is your suitcase wiggling?

 

Believe it or not, this is the first year I’ve seen a dragon at DragonCon.

 

When Michaela wanted to enter the armory, I told her she was axing for trouble.

 

When the rum is gone, you can buy more in the hotel bars . . . or from this guy.

 

Me Grimlock say, “Rawr.”

 

This guy is most definitely not a member of Hair Club for Men.

 

Before and after

 

DragonCon hoststhe Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive, which reached a milestone this year: 25,000 donors since 2002.

MA – Tempests and Slaughter Signing

Author Tamora Pierce appears in conversation with A.C. Gaughen at the Coolidge Corner Theatre to present her new novel Tempests and Slaughter on Monday, February 19th at 6:00 PM. A signing will follow at Brookline BooksmithTickets available at the link…

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realizes that one day–soon–he will have to decide where his

Coolidge Corner Theatre
290 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 566-6660

Central Jersey Comic Book Show Bordentown (February 2018)

Convention Name
Central Jersey Comic book Show Bordentown
Convention Website Address
http://centraljerseycomicbookshows.com/index.html
This convention will take place:
  • for one day only.
Date (Format mm/dd/yyyy)
02/25/2018
About This Convention
Bordentown Comic Book Show

Comics from all eras Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze age up to Modern comics. You will find Pop figures and other neat collectibles.
Admission : $3.00, Children 12 and under are free.

First 100 people will receive a free comic book pack. There will also be chances to win door prizes at Noon and 3pm.

For more information, email comic-lair@comic-lair.com or call 609-695-8855
http://centraljerseycomicbookshows.com/
http://centraljerseycomicbookshows.com/bordentown.html

Venue Name and Address
Holiday Inn
195 Route 130
Bordentown, New Jersey 08505
United States
Map It
Number of Dealer/Exhibitor Tables
20
Please select the Category that best describes the convention
Comic Books
Additional Categories
  • Horror
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Collectibles
Guests
Philip McNulty, Matt Buttich, Wonkey Studios, Jimmy Sharkey and Joe DeStefano

Bordentown Comic Book Show

Gem City Comic Con Welcomes P. Craig Russell to Their 2018 Show

Gem City Comic Con is pleased to welcome P. Craig Russell to our 2018 show!

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a degree in painting, Russell has run the gamut in comics. After establishing a name for himself at Marvel on Killraven and DrStrange, he went on to become one of the pioneers who opened new vistas for this underestimated field with, among other works, adaptations of operas by Mozart (The Magic Flute), Strauss (Salome) and Wagner (The Ring of the Nibelung). Russell is also known for his Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde series as well as his graphic novel adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, Coraline, Murder Mysteries and American Gods.

For more info visit gemcitycomiccon.com

Ally Sheedy attends her first Con at Monster-Mania Con!

We are VERY excited to announce that ALLY SHEEDY will be joining us for her FIRST CON EVER appearance at MONSTER-MANIA CON 39 the weekend of MARCH 9-11th in Cherry Hill, NJ!

ALLY starred in films that defined a generation. ALLY is easily recognized for her role as ALLISON RENYOLDS in the 1985 JOHN HUGHES classic coming of age comedy-drama THE BREAKFAST CLUB. The stars of the film were dubbed “The Brat Pack” by the media. THE BREAKFAST CLUB is considered to be one of the very best high school films and was selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Film Registry.

Also in 1985 ALLY starred in Joel Schumacher’s ST. ELMO’S FIRE. ALLY played the role of LESLIE HUNTER in the film, making this the second popular film ALLY starred in within the same year. The next year ALLY played the lead role of STEPHANIE SPECK in director John Badham’s sci-fi comedy SHORT CIRCUIT. Previously ALLY had worked with John Badham’s popular cold war sci-fi film WARGAMES. In 1987 ALLY again had the lead role in a comedy, starring as the character JESSE MONTGOMERY in MAID TO ORDER.

ALLY has starred in many film and television projects including the television horror film THE HAUNTING OF SEACLIFF INN, BAD BOYS, ONLY THE LONELY, HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK, MACON COUNTY JAIL, PSYCH, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, LITTLE SISTER, RED SHOE DIARIES and many, many more!

Please join us in welcoming ALLY SHEEDY to her FIRST CON EVER appearance with us at MONSTER-MANIA CON 39 in Cherry Hill, NJ!
Please LIKE and SHARE this announcement. For tickets be sure to visit our website at www.monstermania.net

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