Harley Quinn Co-Writers Announced as Guests for Planet Comicon 2017

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Harley Quinn co-writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (who is also the cover artist) are the first guests announced for Planet Comicon on April 28-30, 2017! Tickets are available for sale now at the link…

JIMMY PALMIOTTI:

Jimmy Palmiotti has a wide range of experience and background in advertising, production, editorial, film writing and production, media presentation and video game development. His clients include Nike, Disney, Warner Brothers, Lionsgate, Fox, and New Line, 2KGames and THQ games.

000_jimmy_palmiotti_planet-comiconJimmy Palmiotti is co-founder of such companies as Event Comics, Black Bull Media, Marvel Knights and the current Paperfilms, where he is partners with Amanda Conner, Justin Gray, Frank Tieri and Paul Mounts.

Has created and co-created numerous series and characters including: The New West, The Monolith, 21 Down, The Resistance, The Pro, Gatecrasher, Beautiful Killer, Ash, Cloudburst, Trigger Girl 6, Thrill Seeker, Queen Crab, Weapon of God, Sex and Violence, Denver, Creator Owned Heroes and Painkiller Jane, which was turned into a SyFy original TV series starring Kristanna Loken and recently optioned for the movie screen.

With PaperFilms co-founder Amanda Conner, they are currently working on the highly received Harley Quinn and Starfire series for DC Comics. Garnering national attention and sales results, the team continues to receive accolades for their work on these titles.

He has co-written, with Justin Gray, the DC comic book series Jonah Hex, All-Star Western, GI Combat, Star Spangled War Stories, Power Girl and the digital release Ame-Comi Girls, available digitally at Comixology.com. The pair have worked on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us for NeatherRealm Studios and DCU vs. Mortal Kombat. At Marvel, Jimmy teamed with Joe Quesada to create the Marvel Knights imprint and usher in a radical change at Marvel Comics still felt to this day. He and Justin Gray were tapped to adapt the award winning novel Wool for an Amazon exclusive digital graphic novel series.

Currently in film development are a number of projects created by Jimmy, which include Just A Pilgrim, The New West, Random Acts of Violence, Monolith and Tempest; as well as well as Painkiller Jane being adapted for film.

AMANDA CONNER:

000_amanda_conner_planet-comiconAmanda Conner started out in comics working on small projects for Marvel and Archie. She had been working as an illustrator for New York ad agencies Kornhauser and Calene and Kidvertisers. She worked on a number of launches and campaigns such as Arm & Hammer, PlaySchool and Nickelodeon, to name a few.

However, loving comic books and cartooning the most, Amanda found herself working for Marvel on their Barbie line (many of Amanda’s covers were made into designs for the line of Barbie toys), Disney line which included the Gargoyles books. At the same time she was illustrating Soul Searchers & Co. for Claypool Comics and worked on other Marvel projects, such as Excalibur for the X-Men line and Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils.

During an assignment for Crusade (Tomoe) she and Jimmy Palmiotti became a real team as penciller/inker.

Amanda then moved on to do what is probably one of her best known works. She did several years as penciller on the hit series Vampirella for Harris Comics drafting 24 issues. While illustrating Vampirella, Amanda worked with the top writers in the field including Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and Warren Ellis.

Continuing to expand her horizons, Amanda illustrated the best-selling crossover Painkiller Jane vs. the Darkness, and went on to work on Painkiller Jane #0 (the origin book). She also wrote and illustrated a story for Kid Death and Fluffy.

Since then, Amanda has moved on and has worked on many of the top titles in comics such as Lois Lane, Codename: Knockout, and Birds of Prey for D.C. Comics Vertigo line, X-Men Unlimited for Marvel, co-created Gatecrasher for Blackbull Comics, and The Pro, an Eisner nominated creator owned book for Image Comics with Jimmy Palmiotti and Garth Ennis.

Amanda, together with artist/inker/writer Jimmy Palmiotti and writer Justin Gray work together via Paperfilms; a multimedia entertainment studio, engaged in screenwriting, art production and multimedia development.

She continuously produces cover work for Marvel Comics, DC Comics and an assortment of independent titles.

Amanda’s work can also be seen outside the comic book community in such places as ABC’S Nightline, the New York Times, Mad Magazine, the syfy series Stan Lee’s So You Want to be a Superhero. For the upcoming Disney Underdog movie doing character designs for film and television. Amanda did character designs for the Los Angeles Avengers stadium football team and is featured in a Biography magazine commercial on A&E. Amanda does spot illustrations in Revolver magazine each month and has had a huge success with the JSA Power Girl miniseries in previous years. Each issue went into 3rd printings.

For more information about the 2017 show, event photos, interviews and more, “Like” Planet Comicon on Facebook and follow @PlanetComicon on Twitter. Planet Comicon Kansas City is always available online at www.planetcomicon.com.

Ground Zero Animation Expo: Feb. 18-19th

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Ground Zero Animation Expo returns for two full days on February 18th & 19th in Anaheim, CA.  Tickets available at the link…

RSVP on Facebook!

Press Release:

Attend this one of a kind animation event. We have professionals to share tips & tricks on breaking into the industry, notes on portfolio composition, 2D animation discussions, and more! Our panelists range from artists in major studios, freelance, stop motion, gaming studios and more.

Looking to get your foot in the door, make your own animation, freelance with character design, dive into storyboarding, layout, production, etc? Interested in meeting professionals to ask your questions and purchase amazing art from them? Then this is the event for you!

The Animation Alley room will be filled with the panelists selling their own work, sharing about future projects and meeting with you one on one. Outdoors you will find the Up & Coming Animation Alley area to see new talent & those about to be discovered!

Panels are exclusive to those who purchase the specialty tickets. Limited space for panels, so make sure you get your tickets and in line for each panel early. Make sure you keep an eye on our website to get updates and find out what panels/workshops you want to attend.

Since we have extended our event to two days, we will be offering a few workshops as well. These tickets will go on sale a bit later in this year and will be an additional ticket you must purchase. We will be posting updates once we know our workshops. You can find updates on our social media and website: @fanalley on Instagram and Facebook.

Select the ticket to have your portfolio reviewed. Only 10 portfolio reviews on each day. Meet 1 on 1 with a professional who will look through your work to give you advice and answer questions you may have.

This event caters to ages 16 and up, but is open to all ages.

INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS & PANELISTS

STEPHEN SILVER
I was born in London, England on August 30, 1972. Aspiring to be a professional artist my whole life and knowing drawing would be my vocation, I got my professional start in 1992 drawing caricatures at SeaWorld in San Diego.

I have designed characters for Disney Television Animation, Sony Feature Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, designing the style of the shows such as “Kim Possible”, “Danny Phantom” Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” the animated series, and many more.

I am the author and artist of 7 self-published books on the art of sketching, character design, caricature and life drawing. In addition to working freelance, and doing lectures, I am the owner of Silver Drawing Academy, an art school, located in Los Angeles, CA. I also teach two character design courses online @ schoolism.com.

CHRIS AYERS
Chris Ayers has been working in the entertainment field as a character designer and concept artist for the past sixteen years. In addition to his freelance work, he is also the author and illustrator of The Daily Zoo, a series of books containing his animal-of-the-day sketches that were done in response to his battle with cancer.

MIKE KUNKEL
Since he was a kid, Mike Kunkel dreamed of being a cartoonist. And he’s followed that dream for nearly 25 years as a Director, Story Artist, Character Designer, Animator, Writer and Illustrator for such studios as Warner Bros, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Sony Entertainment, Universal Pictures, DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Walt Disney Studios.

Mike’s published work has been nominated three times for the prestigious Eisner Awards and four Ignatz awards, and he is the creator of the two-time Eisner Award-winning comic book series “Herobear and the Kid.” His designs in television have also won the Annie Award for Best Character Design in an Animated Television Production.

PETER PAUL
I’ve worked primarily in animation for 20 years at Walt Disney, DreamWorks, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. I’ve worked in many feature films and television series. I am also teaching Storyboarding at the Society of Illustrators L.A.

KRIS WIMBERLY
Industry professional, Kris Wimberly, reaches out to his animation network to discuss the ins and outs, tips and tricks, broad strokes and nuances of network (TV) animation. For anyone feeling there is a missing ingredient to their art education, The Animation Network is where they come to find it. By obtaining real-world, industry experience, subscribers to The Animation Network get a sense of working knowledge of a multitude of careers in animation simply by listening to the free podcast and signing up for the free newsletter.

SEAN GANTKA
Sean Gantka has worked at Nickelodeon for the past 7 years. He began as an intern in Development and has since worked on “The Legend of Korra” as a Production Assistant, Production Coordinator, Script Coordinator, and finally as the Production Manager. Sean currently works as the Production Manager on “The Loud House.”

He’s also passionate about creating and having co-created a series with Kris Wimberly that they are currently developing at Nickelodeon. Sean is a nerd for medieval literature and all things King Arthur.

LAUREN PATTERSON
Lauren Patterson is currently a background painter at Nickelodeon Animation Studio on the show “The Loud House.” She also freelances as an illustrator for children’s books, and likes tabling at various animation and comic conventions with merchandise she designs such as pins, stickers, and cards. In her free time she likes to scroll through cute dog accounts on instagram for hours on end.

JORDAN KOCH
Jordan Koch is a storyboard artist on “The Loud House” at Nickelodeon Animation Studios. He has also worked extensively as a freelance artist for clients in and around the Los Angeles area, including Animation Magazine.

MORGHAN GILL
Character designer working in the Animation and video game industry.

CHELSEA KENNA
Chelsea Kenna graduated from Laguna College of Art and Design in 2008 with a BFA in Illustration. She spent several years working in social and mobile gaming as a Lead Artist and concept artist, and currently works as a freelance illustrator doing illustration for picture books, greeting cards, apparel, comics, and a variety of other projects. Clients and licensed properties include Disney, Tiltworks, Topps, The Hamilton Collection, Precious Moments, and Stan Lee’s Kids Universe.

STEPH LABERIS
Though my background is in illustration and games, I have been doing character design for TV and feature animation over the course of the last 10 years. I have worked on Word Girl, Paw Patrol, Puppy Dog Tails, several TV pilots and the feature film Blazing Samurai. Currently I split my time between animation development and children’s book illustration; there is a surprising amount of overlap between the two! I have illustrated five Little Golden Books in the last year, (three of which are in the Grumpy Cat series) and am illustrating eight additional picture books over the course of the next year.

MEGAN PHONESAVANH
Megan Phonesavanh is a Character Designer at OddBot Inc. where she’s worked on a wide range of projects, including Disney’s Star Darlings and upcoming content for Disney Jr and Nick Jr. In addition to characters, she has designed props and fx, color scripted, and developed an animated series pitch. Prior to working at OddBot, Megan worked in mobile gaming, and got her first break in animation drawing bizarre special poses for FoxADHD shows Stone Quakers and Lucas Bros. Moving Co.
In her own time, Megan loves nothing more than to sketch and paint, take classes to improve her work, and dedicate time to crafting personal projects. She is developing an adventure webcomic called Isara, and advocates for more female voices in the animation industry.

CHUCK GRIEB
Chuck Grieb is a highly experienced, award winning animation artist and filmmaker having worked for Disney TV Animation, Nickelodeon, and various others and drawn noted characters such as Disney’s Genie, Timon and Pumbaa, Buzz Lightyear, Hercules, Winnie the Pooh, Stitch, Big Idea’s LarryBoy, Nickelodeon’s XJ9, and many more. Chuck has worked professionally as a storyboard artist and animator and is experienced working with traditional media, 2D Digital media, and 3D Digital media; he has also worked as a development artist, director, character designer, and has partnered in running a small studio. Chuck’s animated short films have screened in over 90 film festivals all around the world, including the Columbus Intern. Film + Video Festival, The Newport Intern. Film Festival, The San Diego Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival, The Filmstock Intern. Film Festival, Temecula Valley Intern. Film Festival, Chicago Intern. Children’s Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Rhode Island Intern. Film Festival, and many others. Illustrations Chuck created have been featured in international publications such as, Spectrum, Infected by Art, Exposé and The Painter Book. Chuck’s ongoing projects continue his exploration of various digital and traditional toolsets in the creation of animated and illustrated art. Chuck is currently the Coordinator of the Animation Concentration and professor of Entertainment Art/Animation at Cal State Fullerton.

Puffy AmiYumi to Perform at Anime Boston 2017

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Anime Boston, the largest anime convention in New England, announced its first guest of honor today. J-pop/rock duo Puffy AmiYumi will be performing at Anime Boston at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA, on March 31 through April 2, 2017.

Puffy AmiYumi are one of the most famous music icons in Japan, where they are a household name synonymous with all things pop and fun. Featuring dual vocalists Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura, the group has reached enormous success with their pop/rock songs, but are also loved for their effortlessly cool and nonchalant fashion styles. Debuted in 1996, the duo are still in high demand after 20 colorful years, glittered with dozens of commercial endorsements, sold-out tours, and a total of 20 million CDs sold to date.

“We are incredibly proud to able to host musical superstars, Puffy AmiYumi. For many of us, Puffy AmiYumi was our introduction to Japanese rock music through their appearances on American television. Now, Anime Boston can show them how much they mean to us!” said Victor Lee, Convention Chairman.

Over the course of their 20-year career, Puffy AmiYumi have released 11 full-length albums, 37 singles, 3 greatest hits albums, 5 special project albums, and 5 North American albums. Puffy AmiYumi have won numerous prestigious awards in Japan including: “Best Newcomer” at the Japan Record Awards (equivalent of the Grammys) and “Pop Album of the Year” at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. Most recently, Puffy AmiYumi have been scheduled to participate in the 67th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen taking place on New Year’s Eve 2016.

Their fame also extends to the US, where they are well known for performing the theme song to “Teen Titans” and also launching their namesake series, “Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi” in 2004 on Cartoon Network, which aired in over 110 countries worldwide.

Still at the forefront of pop culture in Japan, Puffy AmiYumi are now celebrating their 20th anniversary with more surprises up their fashionable sleeves.

For more information about Puffy AmiYumi, visit puffy.jp (Japanese) and puffyamiyumi.com (English)

About Anime Boston: With nearly 27,000 attendees in 2016, Anime Boston is an annual three-day Japanese animation convention held in Boston, Mass. Anime Boston 2017 is scheduled for Friday, March 31 through Sunday, April 2 at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel. More information about Anime Boston can be found at www.animeboston.com.

About New England Anime Society, Inc.: The New England Anime Society was founded in 2001. Based in Massachusetts, The New England Anime Society, Inc. is parent organization of Anime Boston and is dedicated to furthering public education and understanding of the Japanese language and culture through visual and written media. More information about The New England Anime Society is available at www.neanime.org.

MA – Deck the Halls III Signing

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Artist Craig Rousseau (The Perhapanauts, Kyrra: Alien Jungle Girl, Batman Beyond) appears at The Hall of Comics on Saturday December 17, 2016 Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 11:00 AM till 3:00 PM!

Craig will generously be doing sketches on request in exchange for $25 worth of new, unopened domestic items that will benefit Pathways Family Shelter. Suggested items are diapers, pots & pans, non-perishable foods, personal hygiene products, gift certificates to grocery stores, department stores and gas stations. (Sketches are on a first-come, first-served basis. One character per sketch, one sketch per household. We don’t want Craig’s hand to fall off). The shop will also offer an original, limited edition STAR WARS themed holiday print by Craig – available that day only!

RSVP on Facebook!

The Hall of Comics
3 Turnpike Rd, Southborough, MA 01772
(508) 485-1300

Stan Lee & Joe Sinnott Receive Military Honors at RICC 2016

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Press Release:

United States Military Honors Comic Book Legends Stan Lee And Joe Sinnott At Rhode Island Comic Con

Providence, Rhode Island – On Veterans Day, representatives of the United States Army and Navy, along with chapters of the American Legion, the Marine Corps League, and Texas State Guard, surprised comic book icons Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott with military accolades.

Awards of appreciation and recognition were presented to Mr. Lee, 93, who served as a Sergeant in the US Army Signal Corps during World War II, at his VIP panel Friday night. Army Captain James R. Whitney, Navy Chief Petty Officer Kurt Anderson, their respective staffs and several former US Service members, imparted the honors.

Army Staff Sergeant Joshua Mitchell tendered an American flag to Mr. Lee at the request of Major General Anthony C. Funkhouser. The flag was flown in his honor on the occasion of Veterans Day “for his faithful service to our Nation as a United States Soldier during World War II.” MG Funkhouser is the Commanding General, Center for Initial Military Training, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, VA.

“Next to my marriage and the birth of my daughter. This is the most sensational moment in my life. I will never forget this…” Stated a very emotional Mr. Lee, “It is such an honor which I’m sure I don’t deserve.”

000_ricc-sinnott-tucciMr. Sinnott’s awards were handed out at a dinner attended by his family, friends and fans later on that evening. His flag was presented on behalf of MG Funkhouser who bestowed the title of “SEABEE For Life” to the sailor, 90.

After his older brother Sgt. Jack Sinnott, was tragically killed in action in France, Mr. Sinnott joined the US Navy Seabees shortly after his 18th birthday. He served in the bloody World War II Battle of Okinawa rising to the rank of Machinist Mate 3rd Class.

As restaurant patrons applauded with a standing ovation, the legendary artist who created thousands of comics for over sixty years, humbly confessed, “I’m speechless, I really am. This is just unbelievable. One of the greatest honors I’ve ever had. Thank You!”

In addition to the flags, certificates, challenge coins, plaques and “swagger sticks” of appreciation were also awarded to both veterans. “They got me mixed up with someone else” Mr. Lee said in disbelief. “But I can’t thank you enough and I will never forget this moment… We have the greatest military in the whole world.”

As uniformed service members past and present presented arms to a saluting Mr. Lee, he exclaimed to the teary-eyed audience, “If someone isn’t filming this, I’ll never talk to you again!”

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Steel City Con Provides a Major The Walking Dead Guest Update

Michael Cudlitz

MICHAEL CUDLITZ

JUST CONFIRMED:
MICHAEL WILL BE ATTENDING ALL 3 DAYS!

3 DAY PASSES SOLD-OUT!
SINGLE DAY DISCOUNT TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE!

The Steel City Comic Con is very pleased to announce that Michael Cudlitz will be attending the upcoming Steel City Comic Con. Michael is known for portraying John Cooper on the TNT drama series Southland, Sergeant Denver “Bull” Randleman on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, and Sergeant Abraham Ford on the AMC horror series The Walking Dead.

Ticket availability at www.steelcitycon.com

Michael Cudlitz will be available for signings and professional photo ops. Don’t miss this rare opportunity.

Hasbro Announces HasCon 2017

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Press Release:

HASBRO announced it is creating the first-ever HASCON fan and family convention in September 2017. The massive event, which will be held in Providence at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center from September 8-10, 2017, will treat attendees to three unforgettable days featuring a celebration of Hasbro’s powerful characters and stories, including live interactive experiences, exclusive products, talent appearances, panels and much more.

From bringing the first action figure to life with G.I. JOE, to creating a world where robots are truly ‘more than meets the eye’ with TRANSFORMERS, Hasbro’s brands have always overflowed with rich stories and dynamic, multi-faceted characters, providing an incredible platform to capture the imaginations of fans of all ages. The premiere HASCON event will bring the magic of decades of storytelling under one roof for the ultimate, immersive Hasbro fan and family experience. Hasbro’s top properties, including TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, NERF, MAGIC THE GATHERING, PLAY-DOH, MONOPOLY, G.I. JOE and many others will be reimagined through dynamic stage performances and unique opportunities for fans to engage with their favorite characters. In addition to interactive experiences designed to offer attendees a glimpse into Hasbro’s imaginative storytelling in action, visitors will have the chance to see first-look previews of Hasbro’s biggest television and movie series, attend panels and meet-and-greets with celebrities and creative talent associated with Hasbro brands, take part in Hasbro Gaming competitions and purchase special limited-edition Hasbro products.

“Hasbro is home to many of the world’s most recognizable brands, each of them with their own group of passionate and engaged fans,” said John Frascotti, President of Hasbro Brands. “HASCON will deliver an extraordinary peek behind the curtain of our brands, storytelling, and iconic characters while giving us the opportunity to invite fans and families to our hometown for the most memorable, unified Hasbro experience ever.”

For all of the latest information on HASCON 2017, please visit hascon.hasbro.com

ToyConNJ 6 Takes Place This November 2016

Press Release:

ToyConNJ

 

 

Steel City Con Adds Dana DeLorenzo and Jill Marie Jones from Ash Vs Evil Dead

Via Steel City Con:

Dana

DANA DeLORENZO – JUST ANNOUNCED!

The Steel City Comic Con is very pleased to announce that actress and former radio personality and producer, Dana DeLorenzo will be attending the upcoming show! She currently stars as Kelly Maxwell in Ash vs Evil Dead. Dana will be joining Ray Santiago and Jill Marie Jones for an amazing reunion of 3 main cast members of Ash vs, Evil Dead TV series!

ticket availability at www.steelcitycon.com

Dana DeLorenzo will be available for signings and professional photo ops. Don’t miss this rare opportunity.

Jill

JILL MARIE JONES – JUST ANNOUNCED!

The Steel City Comic Con is pleased to announce that Jill Marie Jones will be attending the upcoming Steel City Comic Con!
Jones is best known for her role as Antoinette “Toni” Childs-Garrett on the UPN comedy series, Girlfriends (2000-2006). Jones later has appeared in a number of films, and had the recurring role as Cynthia Irving on the Fox supernatural series, Sleepy Hollow. From 2015 to 2016, she starred as Amanda Fisher in the Starz horror-comedy series, Ash vs Evil Dead.

ticket availability at www.steelcitycon.com

Jill Marie Jones will be available for signings and professional photo ops. Don’t miss this rare opportunity.

 

DragonCon 2016 Con Report!

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Overheard on an Atlanta street corner:

 

“Look at that person with blue hair.”

“Over there?”

“No, over there.”

“Oh, I see.”

“Cool, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. What other place can you say, ‘No, the other person with blue hair.”

The “place,” of course, was DragonCon. September 2-5. I have been for the last six years, but this year was special: the 30th anniversary. It started in two downtown hotels, Hyatt and Marriott. The Hilton was added later, then the Sheraton and Westin. When five hotels were not enough space, the vendors were moved into the AmericasMart, a four-building, seven-million-square-foot trade show monolith. This year, AmericasMart became the new home of two other DragonCon mainstays, tabletop gaming (formerly in the Hilton) and Comic and Pop Artist Alley (neé the Hyatt)—evidence that DragonCon, despite its venerability, is still figuring things out. Perhaps that is how it became venerable: refusing to be complacent.

And more growth is on the way. Some programming was held on Thursday this year, and according to media director Dan Carroll, we will see Thursday “full-time real soon.” My colleague Michaela McPherson has written about shifts in the Saturday morning parade. This was the inaugural year for the Dragon Awards, a fan-driven awards program to “recognize the creators of science fiction and fantasy in books, comic books, games and filmed entertainment,” according to a press release. (Awards results are located here.) Attendance grew this year as it does every year, with over 77,000 showing up–and, in some cases, suiting up–for the weekend. These attendees walked (Walk to End Lupus Now), gave blood (about 6,000 units), raised money ($98,000 for the Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency through auctions, karaoke, a lip-synch battle, and other events), and enjoyed the 400+ actors, artists, writers, and other guests who formed the convention’s foundation.

I was excited about one guest I had never seen at DragonCon, or any convention: Christopher Paolini, author of the four-volume Inheritance Cycle. Paolini wrote the first volume, Eragon, the story of a farm boy who protects a dragon egg from an evil king, when he was a teenager. His parents self-published the book, and for a year, Paolini promoted it himself at libraries, book shows, and other events. In 2002, the book came to the attention of the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, which re-released the book a year later. This led to three other books, the last one appearing in 2011.

On Friday night, Paolini was one of several panelists for a discussion of self-publishing. The other panelists were freelance writer/editor Jaym Gates, editor Dayna Linton, Baen Books publisher Toni Weisskopf, writer Chris Kennedy, and Todd McCaffrey, son of Anne McCaffrey and custodian of her Pern universe, to which he has contributed several volumes. Some highlights from the panel:

  • McCaffrey: The biggest mistake in self-publishing is to “think you can do everything yourself.”
  • Eragon was a family project. Paolini’s father, who had press experience, designed the book. Paolini drew the cover and the maps. They borrowed money to finance the printing (the first 50 copies were cut wrong). He dressed in medieval costume and made presentations to schools, libraries, and bookstores. Sold maybe 15 books at a time. Two chain bookstores rejected him, saying the novel was “not commercially viable.”
  • Gates: “Readers and writers have different ideas of what works.” This led to a vigorous discussion of the value of editing. It’s the biggest difference between professional publishing and self-publishing (a view echoed by this Slate article). Writers know their own story, but editors are storehouses of stories. They understand the market, and what will appeal to readers. Thus, they can guide the author, helping to bring out his/her voice. As Gates said, “it is the editor’s job to help the writer say what he/she wants to say in the best way.”
  • Paolini was skeptical of the wisdom of a beginning writer paying for editorial services, but the other panelists–I won’t say they shouted him down, but they were unified in saying that it would be money well spent. Paolini did agree on the worth of an editor, saying an editor “can fix bad writing. They can’t fix a bad story.” Bottom line: the author has a job, and the editor has a job. Good books result when each person does their job.
  • McCaffrey talked about “hybrid authors”–authors who write for traditional publishers and do some self-publishing. Here is a good discussion of this type of writer. The panel agreed that the hybrid approach is the best, blending the advantages of self-publishing (speed; flexibility; more profit per sale) with the comfort of traditional publishing (editorial, design, and marketing services; bulk sales; multi-book deals; advances against royalties). More authors are taking this approach, which is new in the history of publishing. According to Weisskopf, the “received wisdom” used to be that, if you self-publish, you’ve “tainted the waters and will never get a traditional contract.” The panel agreed that this is no longer the case.
  • On traditional contracts: beware the predators. Gates brought up two blog posts by John Scalzi (here and here), who has always been an advocate of authorial self-interest, about Hydra, an imprint of Random House with shockingly bad contract terms. The panel’s message: don’t be so desperate to publish that you’ll sign anything.

All the growth in DragonCon has brought some irritation. At 2:30 on Friday afternoon, the vendor room in the AmericasMart reached capacity and was shut down. I have never experienced that at a convention (I read about it happening a couple of years ago at the Rhode Island Comic-Con). The room was open an hour or so later, I think–I didn’t wait around to find out–so it wasn’t a disastrous inconvenience. But I did find myself wondering, is there no building in Atlanta large enough to handle DragonCon?

The lines in the hotels were certainly longer than ever. I waited nearly two hours to buy Saturday-only badges for members of my party. (It is useless to buy these in advance because DragonCon mails you a card that you have to redeem on-site for a badge.) There may be no space to do this, but I would love to see registration expanded. Or split into two buildings. Why do one-day badges have to be claimed on site? Why can’t they be mailed? One thing is for sure: a single ballroom in the basement of the Sheraton is inadequate for the thousands upon thousands of people who opt for one-day badges.

DragonCon is a study in lines. Walking around the sidewalks, you’ll often see a line with no discernible beginning snaking into an unmarked side door. It’s like a speakeasy line. If you ask someone what they’re waiting for, they respond without confusion, but what if they’re wrong? What if the real purpose of the queue has been miscommunicated all the way down, so that someone who thinks they’re waiting for William Shatner’s photo op is actually in line for the blood bank?

It isn’t that hard to form a line, after all. My wife and I did it for Chris Paolini’s Sunday autograph session, which was scheduled for 2:30. Jim Butcher had started signing in the same room at 1:00. His line was capped at 1:30, and we knew that people looking for Paolini would start showing up soon. So we stood a few feet behind the last person for Jim Butcher and declared it the Start of the Line. Within minutes, a hundred people were standing behind us, and when a DragonCon staffer came along and legitimized us, I felt like Saul Alinsky.

If you have never been to DragonCon, you need to go. It is not the largest convention in the U.S., but it is unique, being spread across five Atlanta hotels. I have often wondered why it doesn’t move to the Georgia International Convention Center or the Georgia World Congress Center. It may need to, especially when attendance reaches 100,000, as I believe it will. But I hope DragonCon doesn’t move. I love the atmosphere of hotel-based conventions. There are other hotels in downtown Atlanta, and maybe DragonCon will incorporate those. Whatever happens, I look forward to many more years of attending this convention, which was my first and will always be one of the best.

 

So THIS is the horse of a different color I've heard tell of.

So THIS is the horse of a different color I’ve heard tell of.

The official store is the place to get your swag on.

The official store is the place to get your swag on.

No, Storm Shadow isn't wearing a hat. Some pirate photo bombed us.

No, Storm Shadow isn’t wearing a hat. Some pirate photo bombed us.

Pikachu takes some pictures with fans.

Pikachu takes some pictures with fans.

Recognize the guy in the middle? Here's a hint: it rhymes with Bash Jordan.

Recognize the guy in the middle? Here’s a hint: it rhymes with Bash Jordan.

Christopher Paolini pauses for a pic during his (only!) book signing of the weekend.

Christopher Paolini pauses for a pic during his (only!) book signing of the weekend.

I want a suit like that, but my wife probably wouldn't let me wear it.

I want a suit like that, but my wife probably wouldn’t let me wear it.

The dealer room was closed on Friday afternoon due to overcrowding. I can't imagine why.

The dealer room was closed on Friday afternoon due to overcrowding. I can’t imagine why.

Peter, meet Victor. Victor, Peter.

Peter, meet Victor. Victor, Peter.

This guy had been to 44 Weird Al concerts in 2016, with plans to attend several more. Check him out on Facebook at Mandatory Fun Al.

This guy had been to 44 Weird Al concerts in 2016, with plans to attend several more. Check him out on Facebook at Mandatory Fun Al.

Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia . . . or a George R.R. Martin autograph, whichever.

Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia . . . or a George R.R. Martin autograph, whichever.

This cosplay (yes, a person is inside) was made using 318 ballons!

This cosplay (yes, a person is inside) was made using 318 ballons!

Ran into this couple at the convention. They're crazy for each other.

Ran into this couple at the convention. They’re crazy for each other.

DragonCon is a place to spare no expense.

DragonCon is a place to spare no expense.

Mr. Roper doesn't know how good he has it.

Mr. Roper doesn’t know how good he has it.

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