The Valiant 25th Anniversary Convention Tour Adds New Dates for Summer and Beyond – Beginning at StocktonCon 2015!
After smash-hit appearances at more than a dozen conventions across North America, Valiant’s silver anniversary celebration is about to get even bigger with an all-new wave of dates coming soon to a city near you!
Valiant is proud to announce an all-new series of dates for the Valiant 25th Anniversary Convention Tour – extending Valiant’s year-long celebration of 25 years of the largest independent universe in comics with new appearances in cities across the country! Kicking off at StocktonCon 2015 in Stockton, CA on August 8th, the next leg of Valiant’s comic book roadshow will be coming soon to fans at Alamo City Comic Con 2015 in San Antonio, TX, Rose City Comic Con 2015 in Portland,OR, Baltimore Comic Con 2015 in Baltimore, MD, and New York Comic Con 2015 in New York,NY…with many more major appearances anywhere and everywhere in between!
With exclusive convention-only swag and giveaways, creator signings, panels and programming, and more, get the inside track on what’s next for Valiant’s award-winning superhero universe at a convention near you! From DIVINITY to BOOK OF DEATH and BLOODSHOT REBORN to WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR, Valiant is bringing its biggest, best and brightest to fans across the country, beginning this August:
Saturday, August 8th – Sunday, August 9th:
Friday, September 11th – Sunday, September 13th:
Alamo City Comic Con
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
San Antonio, TX
Saturday, September 19th – Sunday, September 20th:
Rose City Comic Con
Oregon Convention Center
Friday, September 25th – Sunday, September 27th:
Baltimore Convention Center
Saturday, October 3rd – Sunday, October 4th:
Alternative Press Expo
San Jose Convention Center
San Jose, CA
Thursday, October 8th – Sunday, October 11th:
New York Comic Con
Javits Convention Center
New York, NY
Saturday, October 17th – Sunday, October 18th:
The Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
Saturday, October 24th
Pittsburgh Comic & Collectibles Show
New Dimension Comics
Friday, November 13th – Sunday, November 15th:
Durham Convention Center
Saturday, November 21st – Sunday, November 22nd:
New Jersey Comic Expo
New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center
New Jersey, NJ
The second leg of the Valiant 25th Anniversary Convention Tour officially kicks off next week at StocktonCon 2015 in Stockton, CA – and we’re bringing a boatload of giveaways and merchandise to kick things off! From Saturday, August 8th through Sunday, August 9th, join Valiant at Booth #45/46 inside the Stockton Arena and find out why Valiant is the best reviewed publisher in comics today with a complete collection of volume one trade paperbacks – each intro-priced at just $9.99!
Check out Valiant’s acclaimed ongoing and limited series with trade paperback collections from the most nominated publisher of the 2015 Harvey Awards with nominated titles including THE VALIANTand THE DEATH-DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE. Plus, jump on board Valiant’s latest sold-out series with BOOK OF DEATH, DIVINITY, BLOODSHOT REBORN, and more – available at the Valiant booth all weekend long.
The Valiant 25th Anniversary Convention Tour rides again this August at StocktonCon 2015! Visit ValiantUniverse.com for more details and dates as Valiant’s silver anniversary celebration continues!
For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com.
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|Artist list includes Stacey Fleming,Brian Monroe and dozens more of artist that will be attending. Come by and check out their work.You can get your very own sketch from any of these guys!
We will have the 501 Star Wars Brigade, Star Trek Independent 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 to top 8 players. $10 entry for tournament.
Costume Contest !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kids and Adults!!!!
Admission to the show is $5.00 entry for adults and $2.00 for children 13 and under at the door. 3 and under are free.a fun filled day for all. Hope to see you there.
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|1960 13th Avenue Dr SE,
Hickory, NC 28602
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Monica Gallagher, the creator of Part-Time Princesses, appears at Chapel Hill Comics for a signing on Monday, June 22nd from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.
Chapel Hill Comics
316 W Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Deadpool Writer, Actor and Comedian Brian Posehn appears at Chapel Hill Comics for a signing on Saturday, June 13th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.
Chapel Hill Comics
316 W Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Artist Matthew Roberts appears at Acme Comics on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at noon to sign MANIFEST DESTINY!
2150 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408
Stan Lee is returning to HeroesCon! He’s coming to sign autographs and take photos with fans on Saturday, June 20th. For the serious Stan ‘The Man” Fan you can join Stan Lee and a very limited number of other TRUE BELIEVERS for a meet and greet on Friday evening. Check the HeroesCon ticket page to find the package that is right for you!
HeroesCon 2015 takes place June 19-21, 2015!
HEROES CONVENTION was founded in 1982 by Shelton Drum, owner of Charlotte’s Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find comics shop. Since then the convention has become famous for its comics-first and family-friendly atmosphere, where fans can mingle directly with professionals and exhibitors. Boasting an incredible guest list built mainly on reputation and goodwill, HeroesCon is known nationwide as a “must” on the summer schedule, drawing fans, exhibitors, and creators from all over the world to the Charlotte Convention Center.
2015 Guests include:
STAN “THE MAN” LEE! | Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, X-Men
JASON AARON | Star Wars, Southern Bastards, Scalped, Wolverine & the X-Men, Thor
ARTHUR ADAMS | Longshot, X-Men, Monkeyman & O’Brien
MATTHEW ALLISON | Cankor
KRIS ANKA | X-Men, X-Force, Wolverine
JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER | Empty Zone, Abe Sapien, Batman: Arkham City
FRANK BARBIERE | Five Ghosts, Solar: Man of the Atom, The White Suits
JEREMY BASTIAN | Cursed Pirate Girl, The Guild: Tink, Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard
JOHN BEATTY | Secret Wars, Punisher, Batman, Thanos Quest
ANDY BELANGER | Southern Cross, Black Church
IVAN BRANDON | Drifter, Wolverine, Viking, NYC Mech, Offset Comics
JUNE BRIGMAN | Power Pack, Supergirl, Star Wars, Brenda Starr
PAT BRODERICK | Green Lantern, Micronauts, Nibiru and the Legend of the Anunnaki
MARK BROOKS | Star Wars, X-Men Legacy, Deadpool
DAVE BULLOCK | Director of Justice League:The New Frontier, Batman,Wednesday Comics
CULLEN BUNN | The Sixth Gun, Moon Knight, Hellbreak
REILLY BROWN | Lobo, Deadpool: Dracula’s Gauntlet, Incredible Hercules
RYAN BROWNE | God Hates Astronauts, Manhattan Projects, Bedlam
CHRIS BRUNNER | Loose Ends, Sundowners, Batman: LOTDK
ERIK BURNHAM | New Warriors, TMNT/Ghostbusters, Galaxy Quest
BEN CALDWELL | Prez, Wonder Woman, Dare Detectives
TALENT CALDWELL | Superman, Fathom, Wildcats
ERIC CANETE | RUNLOVEKILL, TRON: Uprising, Beware The Batman
RICHARD CASE | Spider-Man, Doom Patrol, Hunter: The Age of Magic, Annie Ammo
MATT CHAPMAN | Homestar Runner, Gravity Falls, The AquaBats! Super Show!
AMY CHU | Wonder Woman, Vertigo Quarterly, Girls Night Out
MATTHEW CLARK | Legend of the Dark Knight, Ghost Rider, Wonder Woman
BRIAN CLEVINGER | Atomic Robo, 8-Bit Theater
AARON CONLEY | Sabertooth Swordsman
JASON COPLAND | Pop, Daredevil, Kill All Monsters
CREATUREBOX | Ratchet & Clank, 9 lives (Spider Kitty), The MONSTER VOLUME
C MARTIN CROKER | Space Ghost, Scooby Doo, Aqua Teen Hunger Force
TYLER CROOK | Harrow County, B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth, Petrograd
SHAWN CRYSTAL | Arkham Manor
TOBY CYPRESS | Punkrock*Jazz, The White Suits, Rodd Racer
GEOF DARROW | The Shaolin Cowboy, Hard Boiled, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot
KELLY SUE DECONNICK | Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet
JEFF DEKAL | Journey Into Mystery, Avengers World, Shadowman
JOHN DELL | Harley VS Captain Carrot, Spider-Man, Guardians of The Galaxy
VANESA DEL REY | Hit 1955/1957, Zero, Once Upon a Time: Out of the Past
TODD DEZAGO | Tellos, Perhapanauts, Spider-Man
EVAN DORKIN | Beasts of Burden, Milk & Cheese, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book, Dork!
MING DOYLE | The Kitchen, Constantine, Dark Universe
NICK DRAGOTTA | East of West, Howtoons
TOMMY LEE EDWARDS | Turf, Brandon Generator, Vandroid, The Question
JOE EISMA | Morning Glories, Notorious, Existence 3.0
JOEY ELLIS | Leaky Timbers
MATT FEAZELL | The Amazing Cynicalman, ZOT!, Disney Adventures Magazine
MICHEL FIFFE | Copra, Zegas, Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies
IAN FLYNN | Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man, New Crusaders
CHARLES FORSMAN | TEOTFW, Celebrated Summer, Revenger
NATHAN FOX | Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers, FBP, SFX Anthology
MATT FRACTION | ODY-C, Sex Criminals, Casanova, Hawkguy
FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA | Afterlife with Archie, The Black Beetle, Detective Comics
JUAN GEDEON | Ghost Racers
MITCH GERADS | The Punisher, The ACTIVITY, Doctor WHO, Planet of the Apes
MICHAEL GOLDEN | The Nam, Micronoauts, Dr. Strange, She-Hulk, Howard the Duck
SANFORD GREENE | Runaways, Rotten Apple, Deadpool, Methodman GN
JUANJO GUARNIDO | Blacksad, Sorcelleries
DUSTIN HARBIN | BEHOLD! The Dinosaurs, DIARY COMICS, Nutted!, DHARBIN!
JAMES HARREN | Rumble, BPRD, Abe Sapien
TONY HARRIS | Ex Machina, Starman, War Heroes, Spider-Man, Batman
JEREMY HAUN | Batwoman, Bad Karma, The Darkness
ERICA HENDERSON | Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Subatomic Party Girls
JONATHAN HICKMAN | East of West, The Manhattan Projects, Avengers
JAMAL IGLE | Molly Danger, Terminator, G.I.Joe
KATHRYN IMMONEN | Operation S.I.N., RUSSIAN OLIVE TO RED KING, Moving Pictures
STUART IMMONEN | RUSSIAN OLIVE TO RED KING, Captain America, X-Men
KLAUS JANSON | Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, Spider-Man
SANDY JARRELL | Batman ’66, Meteor Men, Unfair
GEORGES JEANTY | Serenity, Buffy, Green Lantern, Superboy
DAVE JOHNSON | Superman: Red Son, Silk, Batman
JUSTIN JORDAN | Luther Strode, Spread, Dead Body Road
KEENAN MARSHALL KELLER | The Humans, Galactic Breakdown, Force Majeure
RYAN KELLY | The New York Four, Star Wars, Funrama, Local, Saucer Country
MATT KINDT | Mind MGMT, Star Wars, RAI
TOM KING | Grayson, Omega Men, Teen Titans
BARRY KITSON | Empire: Uprising, Spider-Man, Legion of Super Heroes
SCOTT KOLINS | Flash, Avengers, Justice League, Spider-man, Larfleeze
JASON LATOUR | Southern Bastards, Spider-Gwen, Loose Ends, Winter Soldier
ROYDEN LEPP | RUST
TULA LOTAY | SAT-SUN ONLY Supreme: Blue Rose, Bodies
ANDREW MACLEAN | Apocalyptigirl, Head Lopper, Colonial Souls
MIKE MAIHACK | Cleopatra in Space
FRANCIS MANAPUL | Detective Comics, The Flash, Adventure Comics, Superman Batman
STEVE MANNION | Fearless Dawn, The Bomb
BENJAMIN MARRA | Night Business, OMWOT, Captain Victory
LAURA MARTIN | Avengers, Wolverine and the X-Men
PAUL MAYBURY | Valhalla Mad, Dogs of Mars, Aqua Leung
DAVE MCCAIG | American Vampire, Arkham Knight: Genesis, Dark Universe
MIKE MCKONE | Justice League United, Avengers: Endless Wartime
BOB MCLEOD | New Mutants, Spider-Man, Kraven’s Last Hunt
KAGAN MCLEOD | Kaptara, Infinite Kung Fu
KEVIN MELLON | Archer, Suicide Sisters, Heart, Lovestruck
CHRISTOPHER MITTEN | Umbral, Wasteland, 30 Days of Night
TRADD MOORE | Luther Strode, Ghost Rider
TOM NEELY | The Humans, Henry & Glenn Forever, The Blot
MIKE NORTON | Battle Pug, Revival
PHIL NOTO | Black Widow, Ghost, X-Force, Birds of Prey
JAMES O’BARR | The Crow
RYAN OTTLEY | Invincible, Haunt
DAN PANOSIAN | John Tiffany, Batwing, All Star Western
RAMÓN PÉREZ | Hawkeye, Tale of Sand, Spider-Man
DAVID PETERSEN | Mouse Guard, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
ED PISKOR | Hip Hop Family Tree, Wizzywig, American Splendor: Our Movie Year
NICK PITARRA | The Manhattan Projects, The Red Wing
JUSTIN PONSOR | Death of Wolverine, Spider-Verse, Ultimate Spider-Man
JOE PRUETT | CCO/Publisher of AfterShock Comics, X-Men, Cable
PAT QUINN | The Phantom, GI Joe: Declassified, Necrotic
JOE QUINONES | Howard The Duck, Wednesday Comics, Amazing Spider-Man
KHARY RANDOLPH | Techjacket, Deadpool, Justice League Beyond
ANDREW ROBINSON | The Fifth Beatle, Dusty Star, Batman, Winter Soldier
ROBBI RODRIGUEZ | Spider-Gwen, Frankie Get Your Gun, FBP, Uncanny X-Force
CRAIG ROUSSEAU | Avengers, Perhapanauts, Batman Beyond, Impulse
STEPHANE ROUX | Harley Quinn, Star Wars, Zatanna, Birds of Prey, Action Comics, Batman
JIM RUGG | Street Angel, Supermag, Afrodisiac
ANDY RUNTON | Owly
TIM SALE | Captain America White, Batman, Spider-Man, Catwoman
STUART SAYGER | Machete, Bram Stokers Death Ship, Bionicle
MATTEO SCALERA | Black Science, Dead Body Road, Indestructible Hulk, Secret Avengers
BOB SCHRECK | EIC Legendary Comics
TOM SCIOLI | Transformers vs. G.I.Joe, Godland, American Barbarian
BEN SEARS | Double+, Pressure/Sensitivity, As You Were
CHRISTOPHER SEBELA | High Crimes, Ghost, Dead Letters, Alien Vs. Predator
EVAN SHANER | Shazam, Flash Gordon, Adventures of Superman
TONY SHASTEEN | Star Trek, Vampire Diaries, Batman: Arkham Unhinged
BILL SIENKIEWICZ | Elektra: Assassin, Stary Toasters, New Mutants
HOYT SILVA | Operation: Nemesis, Quatermain: Ghosts of the Nzadi
NATE SIMPSON | Nonplayer
ANDY SMITH | Thanos, X-Men, Stormwatch, Wolverine, Superman, Batman
MATTHEW SOUTHWORTH | Stumptown, Spider-Man, Punisher
CAT STAGGS | Orphan Black, Smallville, Vampire Diaries, Star Trek, Star Wars
JOE STATON | Green Lantern, E-Man, Dick Tracy, Scooby Doo
RYAN STEGMAN | Inhuman, Wolverine, Superior Spider-Man, Fantastic Four
BRIAN STELFREEZE | Day Men, Wednesday Comics, The Ride, Gun Candy
ANDY SURIANO | Samurai Jack, Cosmic Scoundrels, Doc Bizzare M.D.
BABS TARR | Batgirl, Bosozoku Sailor Scouts, Lady Knights//Women Warriors
BEN TEMPLESMITH |The Squidder, Choker, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse
ROY THOMAS | SATURDAY ONLY
Conan the Barbarian, The Mighty Thor, Uncanny X-Men
FRANK TIERI | Marvel Vs Capcom 3, Wolverine, Iron man, Space: Punisher
RICH TOMMASO | The Horror Of Collier County, 8 1/2 Ghosts, The Cavalier Mr. Thompson
WILFREDO TORRES | Jupiter’s Circle, The Shadow: Year One, Lobster Johnson, Aliens
TIM TOWNSEND | Wolverine and the X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man, New Avengers
CHRIS VISIONS | Dead Letters, Devils on the Levee
WADE VON GRAWBADGER | Star Wars, All- New Captain America, All-New X-Men
KEVIN WADA | She Hulk, X-Men, Adventure Time
CHRISTIAN WARD | ODY-C, New Avengers, Infinite Vacation
DAVID ANTOINE WILLIAMS | X-Men: First Class, GI Joe, Incredible Hercules, Hulk & Power Pack
BILL WILLINGHAM | Fables, Fairest, Ironwood
MATT WILSON | The Wicked + The Divine, Daredevil, Wonder Woman, Young Avengers
ROBERT WILSON IV | Bitch Planet, Laser Joan, Knuckleheads
BERNIE WRIGHTSON | SAT-SUN ONLY
Swamp Thing, Frankenstein, Batman: The Cult
JAKE WYATT | Necropolis, Hulk, Regular Show
CRAIG YOE | Yoe! Books
SKOTTIE YOUNG | Rocket Racoon, Fortunately the Milk, Oz
CHIP ZDARSKY | Sex Criminals, Prison Funnies, Monster Cops
MIKE ZECK | Secret Wars, Captain America, Punisher, Batman, G.I. Joe
CHRISSIE ZULLO |Fables, Cinderella, Archie& MANY MORE!
BUYING AN ADVANCE PASS MEANS YOU’LL GET ANY ADVANCE INCENTIVES WE OFFER, FREE!
ENTRY WILL BE $20: FRI / $20: SAT / $15: SUN AT THE SHOW ITSELF, SO YOU SAVE AS MUCH AS $15 BY PURCHASING ADVANCE PASSES TODAY! TICKETS ARE NOT REFUNDABLE, UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES WE MAY CREDIT AN UNUSABLE TICKET TOWARD FUTURE TICKET PURCHASES.
Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, and John Beatty reunite for the first time in nearly 30 years to make a limited number of convention appearances together, as they celebrate the anniversary of the legendary Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars maxi-series. This will be a rare opportunity to meet, greet and get autographs from all three of the original creators of one of the most important publishing events in comic book history.
Prior to the official launch of the tour, artists Mike Zeck and John Beatty will make a stop together for a special pre-tour celebration at HEROESCON: June 19-21, 2015 at the Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, North Carolina. Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find and HeroesCon owner Shelton Drum said “When I heard there was going to be a new Secret Wars series, I just knew I had to get Mike Zeck and John Beatty to do a variant cover for my show (pictured at right). Secret Wars #8 has always been one of my favorites, and I am in love with their new interpretation. Having them at HeroesCon is just icing on the cake“. Don’t miss the opportunity to get your copy of the 2015 SECRET WARS ISSUE #1 HEROESCON VARIANT, featuring penciller Mike Zeck, and inker John Beatty, who reunited to recreate their classic Secret Wars Issue #8 cover, replacing the original characters with their contemporary counterparts.
The formal tour begins when writer Jim Shooter, penciller Mike Zeck, and inker John Beatty reunite at FLORIDA SUPERCON: June 25-28, 2015 at The Miami Beach Convention Center, in Miami, Florida. Florida Supercon owner Mike Broder said “I’m thrilled to have Florida Supercon as the formal launch point for this reunion tour! Secret Wars was such a groundbreaking concept thirty years ago, and helped fundamentally change how comic books approach big events, marketing, licensing, etc.. Plus, it couldn’t be more relevant than today, just as the new Secret Wars series from Marvel Comics hits the shelves. It really is an honor and privilege to play host to these three legendary creators.”
The second stop will be KANSAS CITY COMIC CON: August 7-9, 2015 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Matt Driscoll, owner of the convention said of the tour “Secret Wars is a milestone that has influenced writers and artists ever since its publication in 1985. We are proud to have the creative team of Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, and John Beatty join us at Kansas City Comic Con to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the most iconic series in Marvel history”
The tour will then continue at the CONNECTICUT COMICONN: August 14-16, 2015 at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center, Uncasville, Connecticut. Connecticut ComiConn producer Mitchell Hallock stated “Having all three of the Secret Wars creators with us … Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck and John Beatty … together at the Mohegan Sun this August for the con is a dream come true. I’m sure fans will come from miles around to say hello, shake their hands, get an autograph or three and say “thank you for making one of the greatest comic book stories ever!”
There are at least three additional tour stops planned, which will be announced shortly. More events may be added down the line as well. Please visit the creators own websites www.mikezeck.com or www.johnbeattyart.com for additional shows at which they will appear.
Mike Zeck, legendary Bronze Age penciler and creator of Spider-Man’s black costume, said of the tour … “We’re putting the band back together!” Looking forward to this reunion with Jim Shooter and John Beatty to celebrate the original Secret Wars series and hail the arrival of the new Secret Wars. It’s been very gratifying to see our original series maintain its popularity and remain in print for the past 30 years. A rare success! Hope to see you at one of our dates”
John Beatty, inker extraordinaire, stated “The big picture of Secret Wars is the fans. Having fans tell me through the years over and over that this series either brought them back to reading comic books, or started them reading comic books. I never dreamed, or could have at the time, that Secret Wars with Mike Zeck and Jim Shooter would have kept its appeal for three decades. Being able to share in the history of this series with both Jim and Mike is a bit surrealistic in many ways. It’s a huge blessing that we are still able to get together 30 years later and show our appreciation for the fans who made the series the success it has been and hopefully will continue to be. Thank you all!”
Jim Shooter, legendary writer, artist, editor, and publisher said of the tour “Secret Wars turned out to be a watershed in the history of the medium. I’m glad I was part of it and I am very, very happy to get together again with brilliant artists Mike Zeck and John Beatty.”
Don’t miss this once in 30 years opportunity to get your comics signed by all of the creators who made it happen so many years ago … Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, and John Beatty.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Or the fact that few celebrities showed up for opening night (aside from Tony Stark).
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.
David ponders why the TARDIS isn’t cleaner on the inside.
David does his Gilbert Gottfried impression.
David whistles “Dixie,” because he’s in the South.
David tries to hypnotize the crowd but puts himself to sleep.
This is David Tennant, not David Bowie.
“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.
Jill Thompson, Jason Howard, and many more appear at Acme Comics on Saturday May 2nd for Free Comic Book Day!
This year’s festivities will include:
-Our first ever Free Comic Book Day exclusive variant for Marvel’s Secret Wars #0!
-Visiting artists in the Sketch Pavilion!
–Thomas Boatwright – Orc Girl, Cemetery Blues
–Ryan Browne – God Hates Astronauts
—Jacob Chabot – Mighty Skullboy Army, Voltron
—Dan dos Santos – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
–Chris Giarrusso – G-Man, Mini Marvels
–Stephen Green – Cafe Racer
–Jason Howard – Trees, Super Dinosaur
–Emi Lenox – Emitown, Plutona
–Gregg Schigiel – Pix: One Weirdest Weekend
–Brian Smith – Stuff of Legend, Voltron Force
—Jill Thompson – Beasts of Burden, Sandman
-Facepainting by Munchie & Me!
-T-shirts & limited edition prints from Death by Ink!
-Fan Film Festival at Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema!
-Pub-style trivia after-hours!
-Apparel sale at Acme Comics Presents!
2150 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408
Writer Jeff Parker (Agents of Atlas, Aquaman) and illustrator Evan Shaner (Flash Gordon, Buddy Cops) appear at Acme Comics on Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm!
2150 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408