Cinderella, Wonder Woman, and an assassin walked into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. Actually, it was the first day of DragonCon 2016.
DragonCon is one of the largest conventions in the Southeast. This was my third year, but my first as a journalist. Even as a veteran convention goer, you really never know what to expect, especially for a place such as this. With over 75,000 attendees, it’s hard to find the same cosplayer twice, and it’s easy to lose your companions, like the Doctor loses Rose in every episode.
This is especially true of the Saturday morning parade. Several streets in downtown Atlanta are blocked off, and the sidewalks are covered in Disney Princesses, Deadpools, and Batmans (Batmen?) all converging together. It’s one of the few places you can see the Punisher pull Bullseye out of the street to prevent him from being run over by Doc Brown’s DeLorean. Until recently, people could register to be in the parade up until the day before. It has grown so popular, however, that last year registration for the 3,200 slots closed in August. This year, registration closed on March 1st. Also, for the first time, the parade was broadcasted on the CW Network. One of the best things about this parade is the fact that they have a specific place for just the Deadpools to roam, and it’s certainly one of the most popular cosplays done in any convention I have been to.
And then of course, due to the new movie that came out recently, Suicide Squad, my colleague, Anthony Aycock, and I were curious to see just how many Harley Quinns and Jokers there were, but only from that movie. We counted a total of ninety-one Margot Robbie Harley Quinns and nineteen Jared Leto Jokers. Most of the Harleys were in her usual outfit, complete with the shirt that says “Daddy’s Lil’ Monster,” but we noticed some variations. One Harley was wearing the prison uniform from the beginning of the movie, a few were wearing the “stripper” Harley outfit, and then there were a couple that had dressed as Harleen Quinzel, the pre-Harley Quinn – long white lab coat, no nonsense blond bun, and leading a prisoner Joker with a makeshift leash. I also saw one Charlie Quinn, a male Harley with “Mommy’s Lil’ Monster” scrawled on his pecs. I suppose one reason that there were more Harleys than Jokers is because most people seemed to have had a distaste for Leto’s portrayal of him. It might be because I was a fan of 30 Seconds to Mars far before the movie was even thought of, but I actually quite enjoyed it. One criticism I have though is that we didn’t see much into the abusive relationship, and now most couples who are unfamiliar with the characters are thinking “OMG hashtag relationship goals!”
One of the most popular areas of DragonCon is the Walk of Fame, which is overflowing with beloved actors of the traditional and voice kind. A few of my favorites were Carlos Valdes (Cisco from the CW TV show The Flash), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy, Commander Zhao, and Captain Hook), Nolan North (voice of Deadpool in the Deadpool video game, Nathan Drake from Uncharted, and Desmond Miles from the Assassin’s Creed series), and of course William Shatner (you already know who this is).
We stood in line for Nolan North (who was tardy to the party), and ended up talking to his agent for a while. She told us that voice actors usually make around $900 per four hours of work plus residuals (i.e., they get paid each time the episode they were in is broadcast). Anime voice actors make a lot less, roughly $65 per hour. Most conventions guarantee their celebrities a certain amount of money. For example Lana Parrilla of Once Upon a Time gets $10,000 per convention. If her autograph sales fall short of that, the convention makes up the difference. DragonCon, however, does not make guarantees like that. Not even for ol’ Bill Shatner. I found this fascinating, especially how undervalued anime voice actors are. I expect that to change, however, as anime becomes more mainstream.
Finally, Nolan arrived, and I managed to speak to him as he was signing a Deadpool Pop figure for me (I am not a nerd, I swear). Interviews are not allowed in the Walk of Fame, but I wanted to ask him a couple of questions out of my own curiosity. He was so friendly and engaging that it might as well have been an interview.
My first question was what he thought of Ryan Reynolds stealing the spotlight for Deadpool. He said, “There is no spotlight. Ryan does a terrific job, but I do have an idea for a cameo for the next movie. Deadpool is chasing someone, fires a gun, blows a hole in the wall, and behind the wall, I’m standing there wearing headphones, recording Deadpool’s voice for a video game. And Ryan looks at me and says, ‘You sound nothing like me’ and shoots me.” Nolan went on to say how funny Ryan is on Twitter, and I second that since I stalk him too.
My second question was how Nolan felt about the Assassin’s Creed movie coming out in December. He replied, “I’m a big fan of Michael Fassbender [co-producer and star of the movie]. What I like about it is that it will be an original take on the story. It won’t just be the game translated into the movie. The game is the inspiration for a unique movie.”
I stood there with Nolan so long that his agent started clearing her throat—thank goodness I didn’t have a third question—but it was interesting getting his perspective. As a fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, I was a bit tentative to see the movie, but after hearing Mister Desmond Miles himself praise it, I have a bit more hope for how it will turn out. Oh, and when I got his autograph on Friday, it was only $20, but two days later, he was charging $40. Way to up your game, North.
Are you thinking about going to DragonCon? Here are five morsels of advice:
- Bring all the money you have plus what you can bum from your parents and what you can earn by selling a kidney. I’m not saying stuff is overpriced; you’ll just want to buy it all.
- Prepare to stand in line for an hour and a half, feet tired, arms dragging the floor, just to be told to come back later after the actor’s friggin’ panel (I’m looking at you, Carlos Valdes).
- The hotels in downtown Atlanta fill up fast, but don’t worry: you can stay outside the city and just take the MARTA in. It’s quick and cheap. But don’t let the homeless guys take your money—you need it for the autographs and the plushies and the posters and . . . you get the idea.
- Prepare to walk. I know a lot of you like to wear heels everywhere. Don’t. You will not be able to feel anything beyond the blisters that will begin to appear after just the first day.
- Have fun, but not so much it’ll land you in Erewhon.
Now have a look at these pix from DragonCon 2016 . . .
New York Comic Con (NYCC) is always one of the best ways for fans to meet the talented list of writers and artists behind DC and Vertigo’s most popular stories for meet-and-greets and signings.
This year’s booth (South Concourse, Booth #4002) will feature some of the fans’ favorite REBIRTH talent including Tom King and David Finch (BATMAN), Steve Orlando (SUPERGIRL), Christopher Priest (DEATHSTROKE) and DC Publisher Jim Lee (SUICIDE SQUAD), among many, many others. Already a smash hit with comic book die-hards and novices alike, the curator of DC’s Young Animal imprint, Gerard Way, will be signing copies of DOOM PATROL with artist Nick Derington.
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Amazon Princess just a few weeks after NYCC on Oct. 21, a number of past and present Wonder Woman talent will be on-hand for signings including, WONDER WOMAN Writer Greg Rucka, WONDER WOMAN: THE TRUE AMAZON Writer and Artist Jill Thompson, as well as legendary Wonder Woman Artist José Luis García-López.
Highlights from this year’s signing schedule include:
Thursday, October 6th
11am-12:00pm: Brenden Fletcher
11:30am-12:30pm: Amy Chu, Clay Mann
12:30-1:30pm: Marc Andreyko, Cat Staggs
1:30-2:30pm: Jill Thompson
3:00-4:00pm: Peter Tomasi, Doug Mahnke
3:30-4:30pm: Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo
4-5:00pm: Joshua Williamson, Ed Benes
4:30-5:30pm: Scott Snyder*, Rafael Albuquerque*
5 -6pm: Shea Fontana
5:30-6:30pm: Jim Lee*, Alex Sinclair
6-7:00pm: Steve Orlando, Phil Jimenez
Friday, October 7th
10:30-11am: José Luis García-López, Paul Levitz
11:am-12pm: Brian Azzarello, Klaus Janson
11:30am-12:30pm: Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, Yanick Paquette
2-3pm: Tom King*, David Finch*
3-4pm: Christopher Priest, Paolo Pantalena
4-5pm: Greg Rucka
4:30-5:30pm: Jim Lee*, Alex Sinclair
5:30-6:30pm: Scott Snyder*, John Romita, Jr.*
Saturday, October 8th
11am-12pm: Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, Yanick Paquette
12:30-1:30pm: Steve Orlando, Clay Mann
12pm: Christopher Priest, Paolo Pantalena
3-4pm: Gerard Way*, Nick Derington, Marley Zarcone
3:30-4:30pm: Shea Fontana
4:30-5:30pm: Brian Azzarello, Klaus Janson
5:30-6:30pm: Scott Snyder*, Greg Capullo*
Sunday, October 9th
10:30-11:30am: Brenden Fletcher, Lee Weeks
11-12:00pm: Shea Fontana
1-2pm: Tom King*, David Finch*
2-3pm: Greg Rucka
3:30-4:30pm: José Luis García-López
4-5pm: Jill Thompson
Download the new DC All Access mobile app for a complete list of panels and talent signings, behind-the-scenes coverage and in-depth interviews directly from DC’s web series, “DC All Access.” The app is available for free at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Writer Peter Milligan will be signing his new graphic novel, The Discipline, at our London Megastore at 6:00pm on Wednesday 5th October.
The Discipline is a controversial story of sex and metamorphosis.
When frustrated Manhattan wife Melissa Peake allows herself to be seduced by a mysterious stranger, she is drawn into an ancient war between The Discipline and the creatures known as The Stalkers and must discover hitherto unimagined potential within herself to survive. But at what cost?
Peter Milligan is an award-winning London-based writer of comic books and graphic novels, published in many languages throughout the world. His work includes groundbreaking titles such as the psychedelic Shade The Changing Man and SKIN, about a skinhead suffering from the effects of Thalidomide, up to Greek Street, an homage to Greek myth seen through the prism of violent modern-day London. His work also includes the more mainstream, from Batman to the successful and critically acclaimed re-imagining of the X-Men myth: X-STATIX, described by Kevin Smith as “the most well-observed scholarly analysis of media-manipulation filtered through a pop-culture lens ever committed to the page.” He has also had two films produced: Pilgrim starring Ray Liotta and An Angel For May, starring Tom Wilkinson.
Forbidden Planet London Megastore
179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR
0207 420 3666
New York Public Library in partnership with First Second and New York Comic Con (NYCC) present:
Adult Comics Panel Friday October 7th from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at the Jefferson Market Library.
FREE ticketed event – please register HERE
Author Panel from 7:00 – 8:00 PM; signing to follow.
Box Brown (Andre the Giant, Tetris)
Greg Rucka (Wonder Woman, Star Wars, Batman)
Marjorie Liu (Montress, Avengers: Confidential, Astonishing X-Men)
Ryan North (Adventure Time, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl)
Moderator: Joshua Rivera, NY Magazine
Jefferson Market Library
425 Ave of the Americas (at 10th Street), New York, New York 10011
Artist Andy Smith appears at Borderlands Comics on Saturday October 1st from noon till 5:00 PM! Andy’s art can be seen on X-O Manowar, Batman, Earth-2, Justice League, Red Sonja, Claw, Deadpool, Thanos, Thanos/Hulk, Blade, and Crossgen just to name a few.
He also has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and co-host of The Not So Better Half Show on the radio in Charlotte.
Andy will be signing copies of his Borderlands Exclusive cover to X-O Manowar 50. He also will have prints and art for sale.
Borderlands Comics & Games
1434 Laurens Road, Greenville, SC 29607
Comics superstar JIM LEE signs at Vroman’s Bookstore on Saturday September 17, 2016 at 5:00 PM to celebrate BATMAN DAY!
Fans MUST purchase a copy of either Batman: Europa OR Harley Quinn’s Greatest Hits from Vroman’s Bookstore in order to receive a signing line ticket.With purchase of Batman: Europa OR Harley Quinn’s Greatest Hits fans may get a maximum of 2 other items signed.
The signing line will be limited to 150 fans ONLY due to Jim Lee’s busy schedule. Our Will Call department will be handling all purchases of Batman: Europa OR Harley Quinn’s Greatest Hits for the signing. NO PRE-ORDERS OR ONLINE ORDERS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR THIS EVENT. Customers must make your purchase at our Will Call window or over the phone to receive a ticket to be in the signing line on September 17. Books and tickets will be available starting on Wednesday, September 7. * The signing will begin promptly at 5pm and end at 6:30pm.
Jim Lee, a world-renowned comic book artist, writer, editor and publisher, is now currently the Co-Publisher of DC Entertainment (DCE) alongside Dan DiDio.
Known for his incredibly detailed and dynamic artistic style, Lee is one of the most revered and respected artists in American comics. A veritable legend in the industry, he has received numerous accolades and recognition for his work, including the Harvey Special Award for New Talent in 1990, the Inkpot Award in 1992, and the Wizard Fan Award in 1996, 2002 and 2003. Prior to his current post at DCE, Lee served as Editorial Director, where he oversaw WildStorm Studios and was also the artist for many of DC Comics’ bestselling comic books and graphic novels, including ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER, BATMAN: HUSH, and SUPERMAN: FOR TOMORROW. He also serves as the Executive Creative Director for the DC Universe Online (DCUO) massively multiplayer action game from Sony Online Entertainment (SOE).
In 1992, he started his own production company, WildStorm Productions, and co-founded Image Comics, an independent comics company that quickly grew to become the third largest North American publisher. (DC Comics)
695 E. Colorado Blvd Pasadena, CA 91101
Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, appears at Tr!ckster on Saturday, October 8, 2016 from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM to celebrate their fourth anniversary!
2631 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705
Legendary Silver Age comic book artist Joe Giella appears at Best Comics in New Hyde Park on Saturday September 24th from 11AM – 4PM. Joe will be meeting fans and signing books as well as selling prints and original art.
Joe Giella began his career in comics during the Golden Age but he is best known for his inking work during the Silver Age of comics. During the Silver Age he worked on stories featuring Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, The Atom and Adam Strange. Joe worked with other giants in the comic field at this time including Carmine Infantino and Gil Kane! He made contributions to legendary issues such as Flash #123 (“The Flash of Two Worlds”) and Brave and the Bold #28 (the first appearance of the Justice League)! Joe also worked on key issues that introduced some of comics’ greatest characters including Batman #181, the first appearance of Poison Ivy and Flash issues #112 and # 117 the first appearances of Elongated Man and Captain Boomerang! Joe would go on to be the artist on the Mary Worth comic strip, which he worked on until 2016.
1300 Jericho Tpke, New Hyde Park, NY 11040
Artist Klaus Janson (Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil) signs at JHU Comic Books on Saturday September 17, 2016 from 2:00 till 4:00 PM!
With some Batman freebies to get, a 25% off of all Batman items sale and Klaus signing, this will be the best Batman Day, ever!
With an amazing body of work, Kalus Janson is one of the most revered and beloved Batman artists around! Having worked on such great and classic books like, The Dark Knight Returns, Detective Comics, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Daredevil and so many more fantastic books, we are delighted and honor to have him sign with us to celebrate Batman Day!
*Purchase of a Batman item required to participate in signing event. Up to 5 items to be signed by Klaus at a time, per person.
**Must be a member of the free JHU Comic Books membership program to participate in sale. Valid on in stock items only. Discount can not be applied to consignment items. Some restrictions may apply.
JHU Comic Books MANHATTAN
32 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016
Artist Andy Kubert (Dark Knight III) signs at Zapp Comics on Saturday September 17th from 3:00 – 4:00 PM for their Batman Day 2016 celebration!
574 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ 07470