IL – Something New Signing

Cartoonist Lucy Knisley (Relish, French Milk) appears at Challengers Comics on Thursday, May 5, 2016 from 5:00 till 7:00 PM to celebrate the release of SOMETHING NEW!

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Challengers Comics
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 278-0155

MS – FCBD: Sabertooth Swordsman Signing

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Aaron M. Conley and Alexis Ziritt appear at Bombshell Comics & Stuff on Saturday, May 7, 2016 to celebrate Free Comic Book Day!

Alexis Ziritt is a prolific artist with credits across a broad spectrum of pop culture from Dark Horse publishing to Entertainment Weekly covers! He’ll be slinging ink and doing signings and commissions all day Saturday!

Aaron Conley received the 2014 Russ Manning: Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition award at the Eisners, the Oscars of the comic book world, for his work on Sabertooth Swordsman from Dark Horse Comics. He has contributed to Dark Horse Presents and Secret Wars Battleworld as well as upcoming work in Rocket Raccoon and Groot!

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Bombshell Comics & Stuff
2103 Hardy St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401
(601) 543-0807

IL – Mae #1 Signing

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Writer/artist Gene Ha (Top Ten, JLA, Forty-Niners) appears at Graham Crackers Comics on Thursday, May 19, 2016 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM to sign the first issue of his new Dark Horse series MAE!

About MAE:
Once upon a time in Indiana… a 13 year-old girl named Abbie Fortell disappeared. Her younger sister, Mae was left behind to finish school, take care of her ailing father, and build a life without her sister. Eight years later Abbie has returned, claiming she’s found a doorway to a world of adventure and monsters. These tales are hard to believe — at least until the monsters show up too…

Graham Crackers Comics – CHICAGO LOOP
77 E. Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60602
312-629-1810

NM – The Fireman Signing

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Author Joe Hill appears at the Cocteau Cinema on Monday, May 23rd at 7:00 PM to celebrate the release of his latest book, The Fireman, and participate in an interview/Q&A facilitated by George R.R. Martin. There will also be a meet-and-greet contest for you out-of-towners! Simply enter your email here: bit.ly/1Rlhi58

ABOUT JOE HILL:
Joe Hill is the author of three novels, Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, and NOS4A2, as well as a prize-winning collection of stories, 20th Century Ghosts. He also wrote a pair of comics: Locke & Key and Wraith (which ties into the world of NOS4A2). Some nice people gave him an Eisner Award for his work in funny books, which is a great honor, even if “funny”probably doesn’t do a good job of describing the kinds of things that happen in the comics. Come to think of it, his comics aren’t very comic either.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman. The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

Tickets available at the link…

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Jean Cocteau Cinema
418 Montezuma Ave Santa Fe NM 87501
(505) 992-8783

FL – Free Comic Book Day 2016

Yancy Street Comics's photo.

 

Yancy Street Comics celebrates Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 7, 2016 with guest including Angel Medina, Austin Janowsky, Chuck Dixon, Dave Myers, Daniel Govar, Eigh Jay Mauro, Fierce Comics, Graham Nolan, Greg Andrews, Greg Mattson, James Bukauskas, Josh Dykstra, Kate Carleton, Mark McKenna, Sergio Cariello, She-Wolf Media, Tom Nguyen, and Tom Raney.

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Yancy Street Comics
9409 US 19 (inside Gulfview Square Mall), Port Richey, FL 34668
727-817-0888

IL – Brobots Release Party

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Artist and co-creator SEAN DOVE appears at Challengers Comics on Friday, May 27, 2016 from 6:00 till 9:00 PM to celebrate the release of BROBOTS!

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Challengers Comics
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 278-0155

NYC – Identity Crisis Panel

wordPress Release:

Writers Elyssa East, Erica Wright, and Alex Segura discuss the rewards and challenges of writing in multiple genres at Word Bookstore on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 7:00 PM. Moderated by Ricardo Maldonado. Sponsored by Guernica Magazine.

Erica Wright’s latest crime novel is The Granite Moth (Pegasus Books). Her debut, The Red Chameleon (Pegasus Books), was one of O, The Oprah Magazine’s Best Books of Summer 2014. She is also the author of the poetry collection Instructions for Killing the Jackal (Black Lawrence Press) and the chapbook Silt (Dancing Girl Press). She is the poetry editor and a senior editor at Guernica Magazine as well as an editorial board member for Alice James Books.

Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Miami crime novel Silent City, the first in a series featuring Pete Fernandez. Silent City and its sequel, Down the Darkest Street, are out this year via Polis Books. He has also written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed Archie Meets Kiss storyline, the “Occupy Riverdale” story and the upcoming Archie Meets Ramones. He lives in New York with his wife. He is a Miami native.

Elyssa East received her B.A. in art history from Reed College and her M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She has received awards and fellowships from The Corporation of Yaddo; the Ragdale, Jerome, and Ludwig Vogelstein Foundations; Columbia University; the University of Connecticut; and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum. Elyssa’s book, Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town, interlaces murder, legend, and history in a Massachusetts ghost town. It was recently awarded the 2010 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award for the best work of non-fiction about New England. Dogtown was also named a “Must-Read Book” by the Massachusetts Book Awards and an Editors’ Choice selection from the New York Times Book Review.

Ricardo Alberto Maldonado was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He is the translator of Dinapiera Di Donato’s Collateral (Akashic Books/National Poetry Series) and the recipient of fellowships in poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Queer Arts Mentorship. He is managing director at the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center.

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Word Bookstore
126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222-2002
(718) 383-0096

NJ – Ashes Signing

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Writer Mario Candelaria and artist Karl Slominski appear at East Side Mags for a signing of ASHES on Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 1:00 till 5:00 PM!

About Ashes:
Matt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were more like family, and being a firefighter came naturally. Then the accident happened. Now, after the loss of his leg, Matt struggles to cope with his new handicap as he attempts to rebuild his shattered family and once budding career.

Mario Candelaria (Unlawful Good, Epilogue) is a writer and stand-up comedian who is constantly on the lookout for new and imaginative ways to bring an authentic perspective into his work. Originally hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Mario currently resides in suburban Philadelphia where he spends his days honing his craft and trying to figure out what exactly a “Wawa” is.

Karl Slominski (Golgotha, Run Like Hell) is a fringe comics creator whose work has illuminated everything from the depths of underground illustration to the technicolor sidewalks of your favorite neighborhoods. His relentless punk work ethic & ink-slinging have left experts stunned and theorize that he’s not of this earth. He currently resides in Upstate New York where he continues to lose sleep to his lifelong endeavor of forwarding the medium of comics.

Karl will be sketching for free but if you want to go “all in” for an AMAZING full watercolor commission ON THE SPOT, you’re looking at a bargain of $40!

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East Side Mags
7 S Fullerton Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042
(862) 333-4961

DC Universe Stars at Boston Comic Con 2016

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Press Release:

Boston Comic Con is thrilled to announce the appearance of stars from each of the CW’s highly successful DC Universe television shows. These additions expand our already stellar Celebrity Guest line-up.

Caity Lotz is an American actress, dancer, martial artist, singer, and model. She is known for her roles in AMC’s Mad Men and as Officer Kirsten Landry in MTV’s mockumentary series Death Valley, as well as roles in movies including The Pact, The Machine, Battle of the Year, and the sci-fi thriller 400 Days. Caity currently stars as Sara Lance (a.k.a. The White Canary) in CW’s hot new TV show, Legends of Tomorrow, a character she began playing as a recurring role on Arrow.

Robbie Amell is a Canadian actor and model best known to fans for his recurring role as Ronnie Raymond (a.k.a. Firestorm) on CW’s The Flash. His previous TV appearance include The X-Files, True Jackson VP, 1600 Penn, Revenge, and the lead role on The Tomorrow People. His film roles include Left for Dead, Max, The Duff, and Freddie in Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.

Ciara Renée is an American actress, singer and musician. With Broadway roles as The Witch in Big Fish and the Leading Player in Pippin to her credit, as well as her portrayal of Esmeralda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ciara is best known to comic book fans for her role as Kendra Saunders – aka Hawkgirl in CW’s show Legends of Tomorrow. She has played Hawkgirl in three different series – appearing in both Arrow and The Flash before starring in Legends of Tomorrow.

All three will appear on Saturday August 13th and Sunday August 14th to meet fans, sign autographs, and pose for photos. Prices and schedules will be announced closer to the convention. Full media guest list at the link…

Boston Comic Con 2016 tickets are on-sale now at the link!

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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 August 12th, Saturday August 13th, and Sunday August 14th 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!

Ichibancon 2016 Convention Report (With Vic Mignogna Interview!)

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A few years ago, when I was still in high school, a person who liked anime was made fun of for it. My school had a manga/book club, and the entire group was often ridiculed by jocks who wouldn’t know good writing if it were mixed in their protein shakes. Despite this, I grew to love the art form, and when I learned that there were whole conventions devoted to it, I begged my dad to take me to one. Surprisingly, he agreed.

Anime conventions were smaller then, including my first, Ichibancon 2012, which was held at a tiny hotel in Charlotte, NC. I originally went with two friends to meet none other than Vic Mignogna, who was–and remains to this day–my favorite voice actor. We stood in his autograph line for about 30 minutes, and when I finally got to his table, I said “Hi” in a talking-to-your-crush-for-the-first-time voice.

Now, five years later, I’m still going to that same convention. It was held this year over New Year’s Day weekend at Embassy Suites Hotel in Concord. Comparing this year’s Ichibancon to the one in 2012 is like comparing the inside of the TARDIS to the inside of my closet. Over 5,000 attendees pre-registered this year, which doesn’t include those who bought a badge on-site. I don’t think 5,000 people even knew about it in in 2012. The cosplayers were awesome. I saw anime, Marvel, and DC characters, plus assorted Pokemon and pop culture figures (the guy dressed as John Cena was meme-tastic). One group of cosplayers was from Undertale, a video game that just came out, which was impressive in its immediacy and quality. Dozens of panels were scheduled on just about any nerdy topic you could imagine, even for Homestuck, the webcomic created in 2009 by Andrew Hussie. The gamers had their own room: dozens of PlayStations and Nintendos (and I don’t mean Nintendogs) projected onto the walls. There was even a TARDIS bouncy house for all the children. I didn’t see the cosplay contest, but I’m sure it was fabulous, especially since, for the first year, a $500 prize was available for first place (this would probably cover the cost of half an automail leg).

Speaking of automail, I got a chance to talk to my five-years-ago idol, Vic Mignogna. Vic is the Johnny Depp of anime. Other voice actors were there, including several members of the cast of Durarara!! (Saki Mikajima, Kasuka Heiwajima, Seiji Yagiri, and Saburo Togusa), whom you don’t see often. But Vic was clearly the biggest draw: one girl came all the way from New Jersey to meet him.

After seeing him a dozen or more times over the years, I felt more relaxed than that initial time. Here is what we discussed.

Me: As Edward Elric, you’re very emotional and over the top. Then you recently switched to playing Kasuka on Durarara!! who is emotionless with a very emotional brother. What was that like?

Vic: You know, I have to tell you, I’m kind of naturally emotional and expressive with my voice. Then, when I was doing Durarara!!, started, and they asked me, can you take the emotion out of it? Can you make it flatter? I’m thinking, it’s pretty flat already. So, yeah, that was a big change.

Me: How long have you been doing conventions?

Vic: Wow. Honestly, maybe a total of thirteen years.

Me: How did you get started?

Vic: Well, I got started in voice acting sixteen or seventeen years ago, and I didn’t know anything about conventions. In fact, there weren’t any at the time. Then, a few years into my career, I saw Monica Rial, and she said to me, “Hey, do you want to go to an anime convention?” I was like, “A what? They have conventions?” I went to Star Trek conventions when I was a little boy, but I had never been to an anime convention. So I went as a guest to one in Ohio, in Columbus, and I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe that there were these wall scrolls with my characters on it and pencil boards and plushies. I had no idea this stuff existed. That was the first one I went to, and of course it ramped up since then.

Me: I’ve also seen you at conventions like DragonCon that are not strictly anime conventions. Talk about the difference between those.

Vic: Anime conventions are very special in and of themselves. There is a real strong sense of community because everybody is there because they love this one specific genre of entertainment. Multicultural, pop culture conventions are more of something for everyone. It’s nice to have an anime presence there, but they don’t typically have the same feeling, a sense of family that you get at an anime convention. I suppose it would probably be the same for any convention that pertains to one thing. If you went to a Supernatural convention, it’s a little more focused. But I enjoy pop culture conventions, mostly because I’m a big sci-fi fan myself, so it’s a real pleasure to get to meet other sci-fi actors that I’m a fan of.

Me: Who is your favorite celebrity you’ve ever met?

Vic: Oh, Bill Shatner, of course. I’ve loved Captain Kirk since I was a little boy. [Want to see Vic as a little boy? Click here.] And you know, when I was young, I used to go to Star Trek conventions, and he is the only one of the original cast I never got to meet. Now, to literally be represented by the same manager who represents Bill, we get booked into conventions together, and we’ve gotten to have dinner together and travel a little bit and hang out, so it’s a real privilege.

Me: Have you had to suppress the urge to squeal like a fangirl?

Vic: All the time. All the time. [Laughs.] I want to respect him and not turn into one of those fanboys he’s dealt with for forty years.

Me: I read on your Wikipedia page that you were once a law enforcement officer.

Vic: I was. Right after college, my mom, who lives on the eastern shore of Maryland, was very good friends with the chief of police in the city where she lived. She always used to brag to him about her son who was a moral, ethical, upstanding member of the community. And so he said, well, I’d like to have someone like that on the police force. I didn’t have any plans right after college, so I went back there and went through the police training and became a cop for two years. It was never a career move. I enjoyed it a lot, but it isn’t something I want to do forever.

Me: It takes a special person to do that job.

Vic: It does. And to deal with the darker side of humanity so much of your life, always having to enforce the laws and deal with people breaking the rules can make a person very cynical and depressed.

Me: I have a copy of your Gospel of John CD. What was the genesis [see what I did there?] of that project?

Vic: Actually, it’s kind of interesting. I was at a convention, and a mother came up to me and said, “My daughter loves your work. She could sit and listen to you for hours. She loves your voice. You could read the phone book and she would listen to it.” I thought, what a nice thing to say. Then I thought, maybe not the phone book, but what if I were to record something of more importance and give it away. So I went home and recorded the Gospel of John and used a contemporary translation and played the piano underneath it to make it easy to listen to. I put a lot of money into it myself to get all the discs pressed, and now I give it away at conventions because what better thing to give to fans of my work than something that is very precious to me?

Me: Do you have plans to do more books?

Vic: I would love to, but it takes a lot of time, and to be honest, I don’t know what book I would do. There aren’t a lot of books of the Bible that stand by themselves, that tell the whole story. If you’re gonna get one chance to tell someone the story of Jesus, why he came, what he did, his ministry, his rising again, all of that, it’s all pretty self-contained in the Gospel of John. So I don’t know what book I would do, and it’s very time-consuming. I don’t have a lot of time, especially now with the Star Trek series I’m doing.

Me: So the Star Trek series is still going well?

Vic: Oh yeah. Bigger than ever. We just finished shooting episode six. Popularity is growing, and viewership is growing. At the risk of sounding partial, it’s fantastic. It looks and feels and sounds exactly like the original series. We have managed to continue the original series in every way, so you feel like you’re watching episodes that were never broadcast.

Me: But they’re all original stories.

Vic: Oh yes. From the recreation of the sets to the lighting, costumes, make-up, story, music, editing, characters—everything. No amount of description can prepare you for the quality. And it’s free. Just go to startrekcontinues.com. The first episode is wonderful, and the second is better than the first, and the third is better than the second. They just get better and better

Me: Last question. What is it like dealing with all the fangirls who are much younger than you?

Vic: Well, it’s kind of funny because, if I were half my age, I would be flattered. But I really look at it more like a father looking at younger people and going, Man, if I can give some joy to this person, if I can make them feel special about themselves, because so many of these kids are struggling with who they are and their place in the world and their security and self-esteem. I feel as if I have been given an opportunity to be an encouragement, somebody that they look up to and notices them and compliments them and puts his arms around them and gives them a big hug and engages with them. I think that’s very important. I didn’t used to realize how important that is, and over the years, with all the emails and letters I’ve gotten and interactions I’ve had at conventions, I’ve come to realize that God has put me here for a very specific purpose, and that is to bring encouragement and love and kindness and support to a lot of people who are at a very sensitive crossroads in their lives.

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Of course, everyone has their criticisms no matter how much they enjoy something, and Ichibancon was not without flaws. For one thing, it needs a larger venue. There were lines to get into the dealer room and artist alley, and some of the panels were standing room only. Parking was ridiculous. I squeezed my car in next to a dumpster, and I saw people walking over from car dealerships and other hotels. According to one staff member, however, the only place large enough to expand to is the Charlotte Convention Center, whose surrounding hotels are much more expensive–$240 a night or more. Anime conventions are largely attended by teenagers, who don’t have much money (and spend what they do have on Call of Duty).

It was clear from artist alley and the dealer room that neither of them was “juried.” Some conventions judge vendors’ merchandise ahead of time and then make decisions on who gets a slot. This is done to make sure there is enough variety and quality in the room. Ichibancon, it seems, didn’t do this because there was a lot of repetition in both areas. Merchandise was mostly plushies, posters, and wall scrolls. There was no manga, and I saw only one dealer selling comic-related stuff (usually, there are more).

Even with all these negative things going on in the convention, that is no reason for the muggles to boycott this convention (I saw a picketer in the parking lot). In fact, I believe that this convention is the perfect one for any anime convention newbies.

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This was only part of the line to get into the dealer’s room.

I hope this doesn't mean what I think it means.

I hope this doesn’t mean what I think it means.

Even broken up bands come to conventions.

Even broken up bands come to conventions.

Don't be upsetti, have some spaghetti!

Don’t be upsetti, have some spaghetti!

My dad stole my brand new beanie.

My dad stole my brand new beanie.

Cosplaying is a lot of work!

Cosplaying is a lot of hard work!

A consequence of a growing convention is more rules.

A consequence of a growing convention is more rules.

Some cosplayers really know how to get a-head.

Some cosplayers really know how to get a-head.

Let me tell you about Homestuck.

Let me tell you about Homestuck.

Even wizards need to eat.

Even wizards need to eat.

I don't think these guys are cosplayers.

I don’t think these guys are cosplayers.

The gaming room is always packed.

The gaming room is always packed.

Wow! My TV isn't this big!

Wow! My TV isn’t this big!

Don't take "friendliness pellets" from strangers.

Don’t take “friendliness pellets” from strangers.

Every year, The Chalk Twins have something new for the silent auction.

Every year, The Chalk Twins have something new for the silent auction.

The sign said "pets are not allowed" but an exception was made for these two.

The sign said “pets are not allowed” but an exception was made for these two.

And this is why pets are not allowed.

And this is why pets are not allowed.

Who invited this guy?

Who invited this guy?

Memes. Memes everywhere.

Memes. Memes everywhere.

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