Rebekah Isaacs, Khary Randolph, Jamal Igle, and Reilly Brown appear at Royal Collectibles on Saturday May 2nd for Free Comic Book Day!
96-01 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375
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.
Writer Gail Simone and artist Pete Woods sign at I Like Comics on Saturday, May 9th from noon till 3:00 pm for to celebrate the launch of Swords of Sorrow from Dynamite. Pete has created an exclusive cover that will be available ONLY through I Like Comics! The cover will be limited to only 500 copies at $5 a copy. Considering we now have over 700 box customers, you might want to reserve yours now. A CBCS Comics authorized rep will be on hand to witness for Signature Series grading.
I Like Comics
1715 Broadway Street, Vancouver, Washington 98663
Celebrate Free Comic Book Day with music, food, beer and comic-book creators!
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY will be bigger than ever this year in North Hollywood, when Blastoff Comics and Knitting Factory Entertainment team up to present the first-ever BLASTOFF COMICSFEST! Taking place on May 2, 2015, at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood from 10 am to 4 pm, BLASTOFF COMICSFEST will be the place to be in Los Angeles for Free Comic Book Day, with comics creators from Marvel, DC, IDW Publishing, Image, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse and more on hand to sign comics, provide free sketches and meet with comic-book fans young and old outdoors in the beautiful Southern California sun! With a beer garden, food stations, a live DJ, costumed hero photo ops, and of course, plenty of free comics! Plenty more details and announcements to come, so mark your calendars now!
SPECIAL GUESTS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR:
Joe Casey (MIAMI VICE: REMIX, SEX, THE BOUNCE)
Frank Gibson (CAPTURE CREATURES, ADVENTURE TIME, BEE AND PUPPYCAT)
Dana Gould (STAR TREK/PLANET OF THE APES, THE DANA GOULD HOUR)
Jim Krueger (JUSTICE, THE HIGH COST OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER)
Steve Niles (THE OCTOBER FACTION, MONSTER AND MADMAN, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT)
Valerie Perez (THE NERDIST, THE ADVENTURES OF PAULA PERIL)
Thomas Perkins (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES, BEN 10)
Kit Quinn (SWEETHEARTS OF THE GALAXY)
Mairghred Scott (TRANSFORMERS, WINDBLADE, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)
Todd Stashwick (12 MONKEYS, THE ORIGINALS, GOTHAM)
J.K. Woodward (CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER, STAR TREK/DOCTOR WHO)
More guests to be announced in the days to come!
The Federal Bar
5303 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
Collectors Corner celebrates Free Comic Book Day on Saturday May 2nd from 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM!
First 50 People in line will get a FREE Movie Pass to see AVENGERS 2 Age Of Ultron in theaters Saturday evening!
In Addition the First 50 People in Line will get a Free Collectors Corner re-usable Bag with CC Logo filled with merchandise with a retail value of over $25.00 including Trade Paperbacks, Comics & more!
Additionally the First 100 Persons in line will have a 1 in 100 chance to WIN a $150 Shopping Spree, Details Below –
SHOPPING SPREE : WIN a $150 Shopping Spree – Randomly inserted onto one of the CC re-useable BAGS will be a $150 CC Gift Card, like a GOLDEN TICKET!
#’s 51-100 In Line will also Get a Free Collectors Corner re-usable Bag with CC Logo filled with merchandise with a retail value of over $20.00 including Trade Paperbacks, Comics & more!
+ The First 100 Persons In Line will Receive a $20 CC FCBD Gift Certificate Good as $20 Cash towards any Purchase of $100 or more on Free Comic Book Day with Discounts Applied!
25 FREE COMICS for Each and Every Customer Attending the Event – Choose 5 from every FCBD Title offered from every publisher while supplies last in front of the store along with Some Titles creators are producing exclusively for CC + BONUS 20 FREE BACK ISSUE COMICS per person from Back Issue BOXES Behind the Store, offered to everyone in addition to this years full lineup FCBD COMICS!
FREE PIZZA for everyone – (12:00 NOON til 3:00 PM)
Scheduled Creator Appearances :
(ALL Creators appear 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Unless noted otherwise)
Creators will be Signing & Sketching Free!
(Complete List will be updated as we add creators up through April 2015, some will not be announced until closer to the Event)
CONFIRMED – To Be Announced
CONFIRMED CREATORS – Many More To Be Announced!
Tyler Jenkins – Artist : Peter Panzerfaust, Rat Queens
Rachel Deering – Writer/Letterer : In The Dark
Justin Jordan – Writer : Luther Strode, Deep State, Spread.
Sara Richard – Jem and the Holograms, My Little Pony, Deadpool
Michael S. Bracco (Birth & Novo)
Nathan Getz (No One)
Tony Calandra (No One)
PLB Studios (MD Eastern Shore Based Comic Publisher)
Kata Kane (Altar Girl)
Monica G. (Glitter Kiss)
& many, many more!
So much more To be Announced so Stay Tuned…
COSPLAYER Character Appearances : Deadpool, Psylocke, Supergirl, Storm, Batgirl, Black Cat, Magneto, Hawkeye, Spider-man & Wonder Woman.
SUPER ART FIGHT 1PM Behind the Store in the parking lot!
COMIC BOOK COSPLAY CONTEST : Starts at 3:00 PM Sign Up at the Counter.
Prizes (Best Overall) : 1st $75 CC Gift Card, 2nd $25 CC Gift Card, 3rd $25 CC Gift Card
Free Membership Drive with Incentives to Sign Up for Membership or a Subscription Box – All Day at the counter.
Outside Behind the Store – Activities TBA, Local Vendors TBA
Outside Behind the Store – CC SALE Tent, with Comics, Games, Graphic Novels & Toys ranging from $1 to $5, Crazy Prices & Amazing Deals.
+ STORE-WIDE SALE :
In the Store – ALL Trade Paperbacks & Graphic Novels 20% Off.
In the Store – ALL Back Issues in the Display Cases 50% Off.
In the Store – In the BACK ISSUES VAULT : ALL COMICS 50% Off.
In the Store – All Toys, Statues & Models 20% Off.
In the Store – All T-Shirts 2 for $35.
In the Store – All USED Softcover Trade Paperbacks $5 Each or 7 for $30.
In the Store – All Board Games & RPG Games & Accessories 20% Off.
In the Store All – $1 BACK ISSUES SALE with All Comics normally $1 Each will be JUST 50 Cents EACH 3 for $1 & MAKE A BOX for $60 or 2 BOXES for $100.
CC ARMY STORE TOUR – VISIT Both Stores, Bring your receipt from CC Baltimore to CC Bel Air or vice versa to receive an addition 5% off your total Purchase at either location!
All you need is your receipt from your purchase at either store, the stores are 25 Minutes apart so it’s east to do and worth the drive!
Join us for FCBD at Collectors Corner for the Largest and most Exciting FCBD Event in Maryland!
7911 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21234
Free Comic Book Day 2015 at Heroes is going to be our best yet! Come out on Saturday May 2nd to meet amazing comic artists, get free comics and have a great time with your pals at Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find! Check out our awesome guest list below and please save the date!
Creators will be signing from 1PM to 5PM (or longer at the creators’ discretion)
Guest list (so far):
BRIDGIT CONNELL – Brother Nash
JOEY ELLIS – Leaky Timbers
SANFORD GREENE – Artist: Rotten Apple, Runaways, Deadpool, Wonder Girl, Methodman GN
JOHN HAIRSTON JR – Painter
HOYT SILVA – Artist: Quatermain: Ghosts of the Nzadi
BRIAN STELFREEZE – Artist: Day Men, Domino, Matador, Batman: Shadow of the Bat
RIAN SYGH – Artist: Regular Show, Stolen Forest, Munchkin, Teen Dog
Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find
1957 E 7th Street, Charlotte, NC 28204
Writers Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan and artist Scott Koblish appear at Earth-2 Comics on Saturday April 18, 2015 to sign copies of DEADPOOL!
15017 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Rob Liefeld, Deadpool creator and Image Comics co-founder, appears at Phat Collectibles on Saturday, April 11th at 2:00 PM to send off the Merc with a Mouth in style! Co-hosted by Agents of Cosplay.
1201 S. Euclid Street, Anaheim, CA 92804
Jonathan Ross and Ian Churchill will be signing Revenge at our London Megastore on Wednesday 18th March, starting at 6:30 pm.
“If you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” – William Shakespeare
Griffin Franks was a joke in Hollywood. A washed up action-hero. Over the hill. Past it. A has-been. A barely-was. But now he IS The Revenger. He’s a star. His movie’s a hit. His newest wife is hot. He finally has everything he wants. The perfect time for someone to take it all away. Forever. Starting with his face.
Jonathan Ross is not only a national celebrity and TV presenter but a lifelong comics enthusiast – who is building a new following of comic fans with his critically acclaimed work on Turf and America’s Got Powers!
Ian Churchill has worked professionally in the comic book industry for 20 years. Debuting on Marvel’s X-Men titles, he went on to illustrate Cable, Deadpool, The Avengers, Superman, Supergirl, Teen Titans, Red Hulk, Richard Starkings’ Elephantmen and his own group of supernatural heroes The Coven. His creator-owned character Marineman, launched in 2010 and received an Eisner Award nomination for Best New Series 2010 and was shortlisted for the 2012 Stan Lee Excelsior Award.
Forbidden Planet London Megastore
179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR
Authors Duane Swierczynski, Dave White, Sarah Weinman, and Alan Finn sign at WORD Bookstore on Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 7:30 – 8:30 pm.
WORD Jersey City
123 Newark Ave, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302