Category Archives: Conventions

Info on comics conventions and events.

UDON at San Diego Comic Con

As mentioned, I’m booth-managing Toronto’s own UDON Entertainment, Booth #5037, at Comic-Con 2011 this year (in addition to a half-dozen other things). It’s gonna be a fun time, and I really dig a lot of their books. I’m particularly chuffed to see them launching their first creator-owned, original IP, original graphic novel this year. I totes want that to be a success, because encouraging a Toronto pub with international distribution to do original work? Well that’s right up on the top of my to do list. Anyway, here’s a PR I wrote about what they’ve got going on at SDCC. Lemmie know whatcha think!

All images link to hi-res versions suitable for use online. For interior art or previews, or to follow-up on any of the listed debut books, please contact us at mattmoylan@udonentertainment.com

2011 marks the beginning of Publisher and Creative Studio UDON Entertainment‘s second decade of operations, and one of its biggest San Diego Comic-Con outtings ever! With three new books debuting at Comic-Con International and more than 16 creators in attendance signing and sketching for fans across all five days of the show, no comics, video game, or art fan is going to want to miss out on all the great stuff going down at UDON, booth #5037!

Art Books and Graphic Novels Debuting at Comic-Con:

MEGA MAN TRIBUTE HC

Celebrating over 20 years of the ‘blue bomber!’

Hundreds of artists from around the world join forces to pay homage to one of the most iconic figures in gaming with Mega Man Tribute! This 300+ page, full-colour art book is the ultimate celebration of the blue bomber, featuring the characters of Mega Man classic, Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX, and Mega Man Legends in every style you can imagine! Includes original pieces by comics superstars Hitoshi Ariga (Mega Man: Megamix), Sean “Cheeks” Galloway (Teen Titans: GO!), Sanford Greene (Dark Horse Presents), and many more!

Premiering at Comic-Con, this limited edition hardcover version features exclusive cover art by Mega Man manga artist Hitoshi Ariga (Megamix, Gigamix), and is only available direct from UDON! Limited to 500 copies. SRP $80.

COMIC-CON EXCLUSIVE: Meet the artists featured in Mega Man Tribute at the UDON Booth #5037 every day from 1:30-3pm for a special signing! Participating artists are scheduled to include Joe Bluhm, Andrew Dickman, Sean “Cheeks” Galloway, Sanford Greene, Edwin Huang, Ryan Odagawa, editor Matt Moylan, and UDON members Jeffrey Cruz, Omar Dogan, Joe Ng, Eric Vedder, Long Vo, and Jim Zub.

RANDOMVEUS VOL.1 HC

By Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz! UDON’s first original graphic novel!

All-out action meets off-the-wall wackiness in RandomVeus Volume 1, an original graphic novel from the mind of artist Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz! Join bouffant-sporting hero Raimundo and the team of One-Dimensional Couriers as they deliver mysterious packages to every corner of the wild world known as the RandomVeus! Octopus ninjas, jazz playing demons, robot gorillas, samurai mushrooms, and giant furry squid monsters are all on tap in this zaniest of zany adventures!

RandomVeus Volume 1 is UDON’s first-ever original graphic novel, featuring an entirely original story and characters in a beautiful and unique artistic style! The hardcover graphic novel will debut at Comic-Con with an SRP of $29.99.

COMIC-CON EXCLUSIVE: RandomVeus creator Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz will be signing at the UDON booth #5037 every day of Comic-Con! Come meet the artist, and get your copy of RandomVeus Volume 1 signed and sketched-in by the author!

STREET FIGHTER LEGENDS: THE ULTIMATE EDITION HC

By Omar Dogan, Ken Siu-Chong, Jim Zub, and more!

It’s the entire Street Fighter Legends series in a gorgeous, oversized format to catch every detail! Collecting the complete Sakura, Chun-li, and Ibuki comic series, this ultimate collection shows why the lovely ladies of Street Fighter deserve to be called Legends! Plus appearances from Ryu, Sagat, Dan, M.Bison, Karin, Makoto, Elena, and more of your favorites!

This is a beautiful companion to UDON’s smash-hit Street Fighter Ultimate Edition v1 and v2, featuring 350+ pages of comics! Entirely drawn by UDON artist Omar Dogan, and written by Ken Siu-Chong (Street Fighter) and Jim Zub (Skullkickers), this limited edition hardcover version features exclusive cover art by Omar Dogan. Limited to 200 copies! Debuting at Comic-Con with an SRP of $80.

COMIC-CON EXCLUSIVE: Street Fighter Legends creators Omar Dogan and Jim Zub will be signing at the UDON booth every day of Comic-Con! In addition, Street Fighter Legends variant and pin-up artists including Adam Warren, Alvin Lee, and Jo Chen will also be doing select signings at the UDON Booth!

More great creator signings!

Here’s the complete list of creators who will be signing at UDON Entertainment, booth #5037:

Joe Bluhm (Mega Man Tribute), Jo Chen (Street Fighter Legends, Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz (RandomVeus), Andrew Dickman (Mega Man Tribute), Omar Dogan (Street Fighter Legends), Sean “Cheeks” Galloway (Mega Man Tribute), Sanford Greene (Mega Man Tribute), Alvin Lee (Street Fighter Legends, Hatsune Miku), Matt Moylan (Mega Man Tribute), Joe Ng (Street Fighter), Ryan Odagawa (Mega Man Tribute), Arnold Tsang (Street Fighter), Eric Vedder (Darkstalkers), Long Vo (Street Fighter, Inception), Adam Warren (Street Fighter Legends, Empowered), Jim Zub (Mega Man Tribute). Plus one very special guest that will be announced closer to Comic-Con!

Please see the UDON Website or the UDON booth #5037 on-site at Comic Con for complete schedule and signing times.

Come to the UDON Entertainment Panel!

UDON will be taking you behind the scenes on some of their best and most high-profile video game, comics, and art book projects. In addition, several MAJOR announcements about forthcoming projects will be made at this panel! Don’t miss it!

UDON and the Art of Comic & Game Design.

Friday, July 22

Room: 4, 7:00-8:00 PM

UDON create great comics, translate your favourite Japanese art books, and design some amazing video games! Join them as they share their trade secrets, learned from working with a host of different comics and game companies over the past 10 years! Take a tour of winning design elements through UDON’s vast portfolio of works, and get ready for special announcements of which comics, manga, artbooks, and video game properties they’ll be working on next! Featuring Jim Zub (Skullkickers), Jeffrey Cruz (RandomVeus), Long Vo (Inception), Matt Moylan (Mega Man Tribute), and more!

PRESS

If you have any inquiries or questions about UDON Entertainment or to arrange follow-up interviews, please contact UDON Managing Editor Matt Moylan at mattmoylan@udonentertainment.com.

ABOUT UDON ENTERTAINMENT

UDON Entertainment is a Canada-based publisher of original comic books, graphic novels, and art books. UDON’s best-known projects are those based on popular video game franchises such as Street Fighter®, Darkstalkers®, Okami®, Resident Evil® and Mega Man®. The publisher’s ever-growing library also includes English editions of several Japanese manga titles, the anthology art book series APPLE, and the Manga for Kids line for children ages 7-12.

Two Things I Said

“Well maybe this is telling, but I’ve always put my enjoyment of the festival second — or maybe third — to doing the work and promoting a bunch of great comics creators, giving them a place to make a few bucks and expand their audiences. Aspects of TCAF are certainly enjoyable, but the real value to me is more that it’s rewarding. That sounds a little martyr-y, I’m sorry, it’s not intentional.”

http://www.openbooktoronto.com/magazine/summer_2011/smart_producers

“I just did a quick count and Marvel have about 100 ongoing series and mini-series set in the main Marvel U coming in August, give or take. Looking at the DC list, it seems the vast majority of books getting issue #1s are, in fact, being rebooted rather than exploring entirely new concepts or characters, which means that as retailers we have hard sales data on those books. We know what Action Comics #900 sold, and we know what Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman #1 sold, and we know what really big event books with real-world press coverage tend to do to sales, so we’ve got a usable metric to figure out orders on Morrison and Morales’ Action Comics #1. Again, I think we know the general ballpark of where to place our orders on almost all of these titles, and that they’re #1 issues will largely mean more copies are sold than the previous issue, not less. Compared to Marvel’s 100-title continuity, 52 books in the DCU seems almost quaint, and certainly easier to deal from an ordering perspective.”

http://www.comicbookdaily.com/wp/championing_comics/retailer-q/retailer-q-1-dc-reboot/

Just in case you missed me writing about the comical books on this here blog, you can go check out what I’m thinking about these days over on those other sites.

– Chris

San Diego Comic Con – BEST AND WORST MANGA OF 2011

As a reprise to our totes-fun-times from last years, Deb Aoki, David Brothers, Patachu, Eva Volin, and myself will preside over a panel charmingly entitled:

THE BEST AND WORST MANGA OF 2011

at the San Diego Comic Con (or, more properly, Comic-Con International: San Diego). I will be catching right-the-hell-up on all of my manga reading in order to be as informed as possible, but will clearly be schooled by my fellow panelists. It should be fun! And it would be delightful to see you there. Here are the deets:

Best and Worst of Manga 2011
Friday, July 22nd
Room: 26AB
6:30p.m. – 7:30p.m.

– Christopher

ARTISTS HELP JAPAN: TORONTO FUNDRAISER APRIL 17

Hey everyone, this is an event I’m helping to organize here in Toronto on April 17th. I would love it if you could attend, and help us spread the word!

Artists Help Japan: Toronto
Toronto’s Illustration Community Fundraiser for Quake and Tsunami Relief
At REVIVAL, 783 College Street, Toronto
…Sunday April 17th, 12 Noon to 12 Midnight
Free To Attend – All Ages

http://artistshelpjapan.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=208247572520178

FEATURING LIVE ART BY:
Kei Acedera [Alice In Wonderland]  –  Kalman Andrasofszky [X-23]  –  Jason Bradshaw [Boredom Pays]  –  Bobby Chiu [Alice In Wonderland]  –  Svetlana Chmakova [Nightschool, Dramacon]  –  Julie Faulkner [Promises Press]  –  Ray Fawkes [Possessions]  –  Agnes Garbowska [Girl Comics, Marvel Comics]  –  Scott Hepburn [Star Wars]  –  Stuart Immonen [Fear Itself]  –  Dale Keown [Pitt]  –  Eric Kim [Oni Press]  –  Ken Lashley [Black Panther]  –  Alvin Lee [Street Fighter, Marvel Vs. Capcom]  –  Jeff Lemire [Sweet Tooth]  –  Francis Manapul [The Flash]  –  Kagan Mcleod [Infinite Kung-Fu]  –  Alex Milne [Transformers]  –  Joe Ng [Street Fighter]  –  Ramon Perez [Captain America]  –  Marcio Takara [The Incredibles]  –  Marcus To [Red Robin]  –  Eric Vedder [Darkstalkers]  –  Chip Zdarsky [Prison Funnies] – Jim Zub [Skullkickers]  +  More To Be Announced!DJ SETS + MUSIC PROVIDED BY:
RIVIERA [PERFECTO,MYTH, KINETIKA NYC], LAZY RAY [NIGHTTRACKIN’], GERRENCE [NIGHTTRAKKIN’], ALVARO G [KINGS OF LATE NIGHT], ROLAND GONZALES [STUDIO+], CARLOVEGA [STUDIO+], JASON ULRICH [LAB.OUR UNION],SHINGO [HOT SAUCE], UNCLE MATTY & DUTTY MAUS [THE BEACS]

TORONTO—Toronto’s Illustration and Artistic Community comes together on April 17th in a 12 hour art-event at Revival. The unique event will raise money to aid relief efforts in Japan following the devastating recent earthquake and tsunami there. Spearheaded by a consortium of Toronto illustration studios, the Artists Help Japan: Toronto event is the local iteration of a charity movement begun by Pixar Art Director Dice Tsutsumi. The Toronto edition will feature live art shows, a silent auction, and dozens of artists and illustrators selling commissioned drawings, with all proceeds benefiting the Canadian Red Cross.

“As artists we are tremendously inspired by Japan and Japanese culture,” says Bobby Chiu, the illustrator, teacher and founder of Toronto’s Imaginism studios behind the Artists Help Japan: Toronto event. “We were all personally affected by the quake, tsunami, and resulting damage. It is important to give back for all that Japan has given us, and we can think of no better way to do so than with our art.”

Artists Help Japan: Toronto will feature more than 24 artists and illustrators from the Greater Toronto Area creating original drawings for 12 hours! This is an unprecedented opportunity for the general public to commission an original drawing from a professional artist and watch its creation in process; the artist’s fee will be donated entirely to the Canadian Red Cross.

In addition:
– Dozens more cartoonists will donate original art, books, and other rare items to be featured in a silent-auction on-site at Revival Bar.
– Live art demonstrations from Toronto Illustrators on stage, with the final pieces to be auctioned off live at the event
– $1 from the sale of every drink at Revival Bar will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross.

Admission to the ARTISTS HELP JAPAN: TORONTO event is free, and all ages are welcome. The event will run from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight.

ABOUT:

Artists Help Japan is a charity movement initiated by Dice Tsutsumi, an art director at Pixar Animation Studios, who was also behind 2008 Totoro Forest Project to help preserve Sayama Forest in Japan and Sketchtravel Project, to gather the force of communities of artists and creative minds around the world. We believe artists have special roles to contribute to the society. http://artistshelpjapan.blogspot.com/

Artists Help Japan: Toronto is spearheaded by Imaginism Studios President and illustrator Bobby Chiu, who was contacted by Dice Tsutsumi to run the Toronto event. Working with Illustrator Alvin Lee, Udon Entertainment CEO Erik Ko, writer/artist Jim Zubkavich, and Christopher Butcher of Toronto comic book store The Beguiling and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, the team hopes to bring together Toronto’s diverse and exciting artistic community to engage the public in an unprecedented fundraising endeavour.

All proceeds from Artists Help Japan: Toronto will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross, specifically earmarked to aid in Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief.http://www.redcross.ca/

SPONSORS:

Revival Bar has been entertaining guests, visitors and fans as a premium event space since 2002. Revival has generously donated the use of their main space for the Artists Help Japan: Toronto event, and will be donating $1 from the cost of every drink to the fundraising efforts.http://www.revivalbar.com/


NYCC 2010

I came across Spurge’s thoughts on NYCC last night, and the thing that stuck out at me was that he thought despite giving out 2900 press passes, the show did not get 2900 press passes worth of coverage. Now, while I might suggest that NYCC organizers Reed being able to sell access to 2900 members of the press is worth it’s weight in gold (let alone free admissions to the Comic Con), I will admit that my own coverage was somewhat anemic and so I thought I’d follow-up with my thoughts on the show.

I will also intersperse those thoughts with photographs so you don’t get bored.

My first thought on NYCC, and this is brutally unfair I know, is that Reed has utterly and completely blown it with this show. What I mean by that is that they had a chance, a real chance, at doing a book- and comic-oriented event, that engaged people with the work. There’s a lot of room within that description to have famous people and spectacle, but the promise of NYCC–to me–was that this could be a book show, a comics show, a successful event that could be the antithesis of San Diego Comic Con’s Freak Parade.

Make no mistake, New York Comic Con is a Freak Parade.

And that is exactly what the organizers were hoping for.

Like I said, this is a profoundly unfair thought… It’s not kosher to judge the relative success or failure of an event based on what you hoped it might be. Sure, that first year was more modest, with (to my recollection) less of a focus on stardom and more of a focus on creators/authors/artists. Modest, publisher-oriented booths, programming that centered equally on the business-side and fandom-side of things. Maybe it was the then-presence of a reasonably vital Wizardworld: Chicago to take some of the burden off of NYCC needing to be the North-East version of SDCC, but that first year, it looked like NYCC could turn into anything.

And anything is what it seems to have turned into.

Walking in the main exhibition entrance, one was greeted by a giant booth which blared Michael Jackson songs all weekend. There was a stage with dancers–you could even get up and dance with them–trying their best to capture and replicate the late pop-singer’s moves as directed by a videogame (out this Christmas!). It’s hard not to smile when you come across a giant stage with a Michael Jackson impersonator and backup dancers aggressively “Beat-It”-ing; it was a genuinely fun moment.

It just also happened to be the death-knell for NYCC as a comics/book event.

Massive video-game booths taking up huge swaths of the floor, give-away masks/hats/swag bags, all that was missing was a giant golden throne. Maybe they needed it on set.

So yeah, NYCC has become SDCC-East, which is personally disappointing (because I already _go_ to SDCC), but I think we’ve covered that. How did it succeed as SDCC-East? Well, the part of me that wants to be invited next year is inclined to be more charitable than I otherwise might, so let me say first and foremost that a the show was  intensely marketed, and people showed up, and they had a good time. Those are, to my mind, the three most positive things I can say about the show.

Personally, I’d take issue with the way it was marketed, the number of people that showed up, and why people had a good time, but that’s because I’m kind of curmudgeonly.

Last one first: I had a great time in New York last weekend. Seriously, it was great, and the con was a good part of that, and I’m grateful for that experience. I met a lot of wonderful people and met people in person for the first time, it was valuable personally and professionally. That couldn’t have happened without NYCC being a big-enough draw to get all those folks, myself included, out to New York in the first place.

But has been pointed out online already, how much of an excuse does anyone really need to go to New York City in the first place? It’s AMAZING, I ? NY a great deal and would go every weekend, if I could afford it.

Not to discount NYCC’s good fortune at taking place in NYC , but I feel like that’s the starting point, the plateau: “Hey, this is New York City. People are gonna wanna come.” There are more people in NYC than in all of Canada; you’ve got a massive built-in audience, a massive talent-pool, it’s easy to get to, plenty of hotels, and an international tourist destination. Unless you don’t want people showing up to your event, it’s easy to get people to come to your event… or at least a hell of a lot easier than San Diego. Or Toronto for that matter. It’s easy to have a good time in New York, and hella-easy for nerds to have a good time if you throw a bunch of them in a big room together. That isn’t the best indicator of success, it might not even be a particularly good one.

Which brings us to the crowds: Thank Christ No One Died. I don’t say that lightly, I really don’t. The show was a zoo, particularly Saturday 12-4, wall-to-wall people. San Diego at its absolute worst. The aisles were too narrow in the main hall by at least 2 feet, and they were far narrower in the Small Press Pavilion on the south side of the convention centre. Worse still, the Small Press Pavilion was adjacent to artist alley, and the aisles didn’t match up creating HUGE human-traffic jams in the aisle that connected them.

Overstuffed.

This isn’t just bitching. I mean, it’s bitching, I’m not backing away from the tone of this as unnecessarily cranky, but Saturday at the show felt legitimately unsafe at points. I really felt like very little thought had gone into the layout of the hall from a safety/traffic point of view. Whether they had a layout that needed to be entirely trashed because of the construction or whether they came up with a bad design, the layout needs to be severely changed for 2011. Wide main aisles/throughfares to move people quickly from one end of the show to the other, fewer exhibitors crammed near essential services like escalators and washrooms(!), and what the hell was with the massive, empty space at the entrance to the south hall? Maybe we could’ve spaced out some of the Small Press booths into that space?

I will say that from an exhibitor POV, it was nice that the majority of medium-to-large publishers were clustered together making it easier to browse the stuff I was most-interested in. But honestly, it’s been like that since year one, and I feel like that’s more of a hold-over from previous shows than a conscious decision for 2010.

Which brings us to the marketing: Wow. Listed as Press for the event, I was put on the list fairly early and received at least one update a week from NYCC itself, and a hundred+ PR emails, almost exclusively from film and video game producers. I don’t know if the comics pubs just didn’t want to pony-up the dough to buy access to the press list, but the majority of comics promotion happened in the body of the NYCC emails, and again, felt paid-for or part of an in-kind promotion… and even then, they were exceptionally rare. No, both inwardly to subscribers and outwardly to the public, this was marketed as a POP CULTURE event, a freak parade by and for media-friendly Geeks, and a place to come and get your geek on. Come meet Stan Lee! Come see a J-Pop Band! Video Games! B-Movie Actors Film Guests! (There was comics content in almost all of the official NYCC emails I received, but it was always after other info, and other media.)

The marketing for the show, hell the whole website if you look at it, has a Carnival Barker vibe that’s… well, it’s successful as fuck. Seriously, it’s fucking amazing how many people showed up, talked about the show before it happened. It was happening. But this is starting to get into broken-record territory here–Reed STILL isn’t good at running consumer shows.

(Kind of telling that it took 20 paragraphs to get to the thesis…)

So Reed Exhibitions have integrated themselves with PAX, the Penny Arcade Expo, a video-game show that started as a grassroots effort that topped like 70k attendees this year. They’re wholesale-running PAX East, in Boston, in early 2011. PAX has always been a well-run show, nearly seamless and exceptionally enjoyable as an exhibtor, and as an attendee.

Reed has done everything in their power to figure out why PAX runs so well, and attempted to duplicate it to the best of their ability. For example, at PAX, the volunteers are called “Enforcers” and they will bend-over-backwards to help you. This year (and I believe this is the first year), NYCC branded all of their volunteers as “Heroes” and their yellow volunteer shirts had “Hero!” on the back. The staff shirts were red… and I don’t think they had anything on them.

The problem was, every volunteer I encountered was unempowered. They had the barest of instruction, and didn’t even feel confident in that.  There weren’t enough maps, and no one from one section knew anything about any other section, so no one could answer where anything was that wasn’t right in front of them. Any harder question was met with “ask my supervisor.” These weren’t random volunteers I asked either, these were people at the check-in desk. And this wasn’t just the first day, it was all weekend.

You can call your volunteer a ‘hero’ to thank them for helping out; I think that’s swell. But if you don’t give them any information, if you don’t empower them to basic questions, if you don’t even give them basic orientation, then you’ve done a poor job.

Which leaves you to rely on the convention centre security. I’ll say one thing about the Javitz Centre Security: They don’t give a FUCK. This was the antithesis of San Diego Comic Con in at least one way: there was almost no security, doing almost nothing, and by Sunday they’d given up entirely… which when you’ve got an overstuffed convention centre full of folks who’ve been invited in to stare at/be the freak show, creates more of those overcrowding problems I was talking about. A security “guard” at the south hall entrance couldn’t be bothered to tell people not to stop directly in the center of the narrow entrance way to talk. Literally looked over at them blocking the way, then looked away. I don’t like being the guy who shouts at comic book conventions, but “THERE ARE BETTER PLACES TO STAND” may have been uttered at one point. Loudly.

If one is going to be undiscerning about who one invites into their home, then it behooves one to make sure that one is prepared for what follows. I’d submit that NYCC was not, from a staff, volunteer, or security POV.

In Closing: I really felt like the show had a slapdash feel to it. Because Reed moved NYCC from February to October, they had more than 20 months between 2009 and 2010 to prepare the show, nearly two full years, and it felt considerably more poorly-organized than the 2009 show. I’m aware that as an event organizer (though on nowhere near this scale) I’m way more sensitive to organizational problems than the general public, and as such I try hard to pull back a little on criticism… and I did, honestly… (The programming, the integration of New York Anime Festival, the last-minuteness of their info going public). It’s tough because NYCC isn’t the show I’d run, but I can get over that to judge it in the context of the shows it’s decided it wants to be: SDCC and PAX. And honestly? It comes up short. Or at least this year it did.

So there are my thoughts on NYCC 2010. I had an amazing time, I got a bunch work done, and met some great people, but in the end I don’t think that’s going to be enough for me, for next year.

– Christopher
I’ll caption some of the photos later if I have time.

NYCC Day 0 – Time For A Nap

(The following was written on the plane on the way to New York City. By the time you read this I’ll be napping. – Chris)

It’s been 20 long, long months since I last hopped on a plane to head out to the New York Comic Con. This weekend’s show marks the first since NYCC up and moved their show from their initial late-winter/early-spring time period to the (theoretically) more-stable Beginning Of October time period. The show is, to my mind, the hallmark for the explosive boom in the popularity of comic cons over the last 4-5 years, with NYCC considerably over capacity in its very first year. It’s not hard to glance at the con schedule and see stories of shows reaching or past capacity, sometimes dangerously so. I think the mainstreaming of nerd culture is at the heart of it, the idea of shows like this as a gateway into not just the comics and graphic novels that inspire Hollywood, but direct access to Hollywood itself. Before 5 years ago it was basically impossible to meet an A-list Hollywood Celebrity—now they advertise their public appearances and your chance to meet them 3-6 months in advance, and all you have to do is be determined.

But that first NYCC was, I think, a tipping-point. Showrunners Reed had never run a consumer show before, only fairly sedate—though expansive—trade shows with the occasional consumer element. Their advertising wasn’t a patch on what it is today, and yet still in that first year the folks who showed up to the con nearly doubled the capacity for the allotted space. Their entire set-up was both ineffectual and inadequate, and the stressfulness of the situation was at a fever pitch for most of Friday and Saturday. It couldn’t be much fun for the folks trying to run the event, but as an observer? The cacophony was glorious… and what a story!

Since then I’ve seen the show grow and change considerably—I’ve made it a point to attend every NYCC so far after that fireworks first-year. I’ve seen the staff fight tooth and nail to increase the size of the show and their space within the Javitz Centre, with 2009 really feeling like the first year that the show had come into its own. I’ve seen Reed expand further into the consumer-show business, most-notably their partnership with Penny Arcade on the PAX shows in Seattle and Boston. I’ve seen them become incredibly media savvy, leveraging their number-two-within-the-industry position to attract an almost unheard-of selection of A-list guests to the big event. I’ve seen their preparation for the 2010 NYCC which, I have to say, has felt more than a little slap-dash considering the 18 month lead time they had to prepare. Now it’s time to see what 2010 has to offer.

Today I’ll be attending the ICv2 Conference focusing on Digital comics, and I’ll try to update with my thoughts throughout the event. Tomorrow, I’ll be attending Diamond’s retailer breakfast to see what my number 1 supplier has to say about the industry in 2010, and then following that up with some fun professional programming and apparently 2-3 video game demos. Saturday I’m on a panel and giving a lecture, and then Sunday I’m just going to get lost in the crowds.

Feel free to say hi if you see me around!

– Christopher

Where’s Chris? New York – Tokyo – Toronto

One of the things I wanted to do this year was bring all of the disparate events and speaking enagements and travels that I participate in together, into some sort of meaningful whole. It’s all an extension of what I’ve always done at the blog–mostly try to convince people that my ideas were best–and I’ve been doing a lot of work putting those ideas into action and preaching to new crowds. It’s hugely fun and rewarding, and hopefully I get to keep doing it for a long while.

To that end, I’ve been very fortunate to be asked to speak in a number of venues over the coming months, and so I put together a little “Where’s Chris?” box on the right there, which lists all of the panels, seminars, and presentations I’ll be participating in in the coming months. Also if I’m going out of town for more than a few days I’ll try to list that cool, in case anyone wants to meet up while I’m travelling. Feel free to contact me and say hello, I’m generally very amenable to being bought a drink 🙂 Here’s a quick outline of those upcoming engagements:

Oct 7-11 New York
Oct 7: ICv2 Digital Comics Conference (Press) – I’ll be covering ICv2’s Digital Comics Conference as ‘press’, which should be pretty interesting.
Oct 8-10: New York Comic-Con (Press) – Likewise, I’ll also be covering the whole New York Comic-Con as a member of the fourth estate, and I’m hoping to do some real blogging and coverage this year akin to some of my better coverage from years past.

I’ll also be participating in a panel discussion and giving a lecture at the show.

Saturday Oct 9:  Comic Events that Really Work Panel, 5pm-6pm, Room 1A17 (Speaker) – I’m going to be giving a lecture on how and why to run comics-related events, from micro to macro, book signings to Scott Pilgrim Parties to The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and everything in between. I’m tailoring it to booksellers

Saturday Oct 9: Gay for You? Yaoi and Yuri Manga and GLBTQ Readers Panel, 7:30pm-8:30pm, Panel Room 2 (1E12) (Panelist) – A panel that will be not-at-all controversial! I’ll be joining a range of very cool ladies and gents from all aspects of the comics industry to talk about how yaoi and yuri intersect with actual Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans/Queer concerns.

Oct 25-Nov 8: Tokyo
I’m heading back to Tokyo for a buying trip for The Beguiling and, fingers crossed, for a touch of TCAF-related business. If you’re in the area and want to go for a drink, drop me a line.

Nov 14: Toronto: Gamercamp
I’ve been invited to lead a discussion on narrative and the intersection between comics and video games. Details tba, but will be announced soonish at http://www.gamercamp.ca/.

2011
Feb 23: Toronto: Freedom To Read Week
I’ll be a guest speaker for Toronto Public Library’s Freedom To Read Week. My Speech will be entitled “Censoring Manga For Fun And Profit”.

May 7-8: Toronto Comic Arts Festival (Festival Director)
Oh My God you guys. http://torontocomics.com/

– Christopher

Toronto This Week: Skullkickers, Bill Everett: Fire & Water, and LEWIS TRONDHEIM!

I feel sliiiiightly guilty that I can only seem to find time to post here when it’s something events/work-related, but that passes fairly quickly when I see how awesome the many (many) events we’re doing actually are.  I have big plans (big plans) about getting back on the blogging horse, but they’re going to have to wait until I’m not doing 2 comics events a week. Or in this case, three. 🙂

Anyway, if you’re out in Toronto this week come check all this out, it’s gonna be awesome!

Wednesday September 22nd: Skullkickers #1 Launch Party w/ Jim Zubkavich
Saturday September 25th: Bill Everett: Fire and Water Book Launch w/ author Blake Bell and daughter Wendy Everett
Saturday September 25th: Lewis Trondheim!!!

SKULLKICKERS #1 Book Launch!
With author Jim Zubkavich
Wednesday, September 22nd, 7pm-9pm
@ The Central, 601 Markham Street (right next to The Beguiling)
FREE

Jim Zubkavich is the Torontonian author of MAKESHIFT MIRACLE, a fun little graphic novel that we held a launch party for a few years back. Most recently, Jim came in and did an in-store signing for STREET FIGHTER LEGENDS: IBUKI #1 as he also wrote that one. Well Jim’s got his first all-new series in a few years, and it looks great! It’s called SKULLKICKERS, and the first issue is due out September 22nd from Image Comics.

Come join us at The Central on the release day, September 22nd from 7pm-9pm. Jim will be giving a short presentation, signing copies, chatting with folks, and we’ll probably even make him draw for you too! 🙂

FIRE AND WATER: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner & the Birth of Marvel Comics
Book Launch and Discussion with Author Blake Bell, and speech by Bill Everett’s daughter Wendy Everett
Saturday, September 25th, 4:30pm-6pm
Innis College Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue (St. George south of Bloor)
FREE
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=150867711602264

For a Preview of this book, click this link: http://beguiling.com/firewater-8p-pre.pdf

UPDATE: We’re pleased to announce that Wendy Everett, the daughter of Bill Everett, will now be attending this book launch and discussion, and will be participating in the discussion of her father’s work. We couldn’t be more excited, and we’d like to thank Ms. Everett for participating!

In 1939, decades before it would become the powerhouse behind such famous super-heroes as Spider-Man, The X-Men, and Iron Man, Marvel Comics launched its comics line with a four-color magazine starring a daring new antihero: The Sub-Mariner, created by the great Bill Everett.

The Sub-Mariner alone, and his status as the original Marvel (anti-)hero, would have insured any cartoonist’s place in comics history. But Everett was a master of many kinds of comics: romance, crime, humor, and the often brutal horror comics genre (before it was defanged by the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s), for which he produced work of such stylish and horrific beauty that he ranks with the artists who kept the legendary EC comics line awash in blood and guts.

Written by Blake Bell (the author of the best-selling critical biography of Steve Ditko, Strange and Stranger) and compiled with the aid and assistance of Everett’s family, friends, and cartoonist peers, Fire and Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner & the Birth of Marvel Comics is an intimate biography of a troubled man; an eye-popping collection of Everett’s comics, sketchbook drawings, and illustration art (including spectacular samples from his greatest published work as well as never-before-seen private drawings); and an in-depth look at his involvement in the birth of the company that would revolutionize pop culture forever: Marvel Comics!

In celebration of this book, The Beguiling will be welcoming author Blake Bell to Toronto to discuss this new book, and the life and career of Bill Everett. Special guests may also be on hand to help us celebrate this release, keep watching this space for details…!

FIRE & WATER: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner, and the Birth of Marvel Comics will be available for sale at this event, alongside other classic Marvel Comics collections and previous books by Blake Bell.

Lewis Trondheim, In Conversation et “Rencontre Desinée”
Saturday, September 25th, 7PM
@ Innis College Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue (St.George south of Bloor)
FREE
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=100335500031016

The Beguiling is proud to be partnering with The French Consulate in Toronto and The Alliance Francaise de Toronto to welcome the bestselling French cartoonist Lewis Trondheim to Toronto! Mr. Trondheim will be in the city for the last two weeks of September, and we are thrilled to have the chance to present this English-language engagement with him.

Trondheim is the creator or co-creator of such wonderful series as Dungeon, Little Nothings, Kaput and Zosky, ALIEEEN, Tiny Tyrant, Bourbon Island 1730, Mister O & Mister I, and more, and those are just the ones in English! He’s created dozens of albums in French as well, and is one of the most famous and respected cartoonists in the entire world—this is quite possibly a once in a lifetime event.

Mr. Trondheim will be giving a drawing presentation and will be interviewed in an event that will primarily take place in English, but will have some small French-language components that will also be translated.

Books are currently available for sale at The Beguiling and will be available for sale at the event.

– Christopher

Minneapolis & San Francisco: Check Our Your Indie Press

Hey readers in far away lands! There are two really cool looking events coming up in the next few weeks that, were I anywhere near them, I would totally go check them out. Since you’re reading this blog I figure you’re at least a little like me, so maybe you wanna check’em out too…?!

Minneapolis Indie Xpo
Saturday August 21st, 2010 (THIS WEEKEND)
@ The Soap Factory
518 Southeast 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55458
FREE TO ATTEND
http://mplsindiexpo.com/

“The Minneapolis Indie Xpo was founded in 2010 as a one-day show celebrating independent comics and Midwest cartoonists. It grew out of the local comics community’s desire to have its own venue for exhibition and was cobbled together by two veteran event coordinators who happen to be big comics fans.  You can call us “MIX” and, as the name implies, expect a bake sale at the show.”

Special guests include Chris (Dr. McNinja) Hastings, Zander and Kevin Cannon (Big Time Attic), John (King-Cat) Porcellino, Aaron (“Walker Bean”) Renier, and dozens more!

San Francisco Zine Fest
Saturday September 4 and Sunday September 5
@ The County Fair Bulding (formerly Hall of Flowers)
9th Ave. at Lincoln Way (in Golden Gate Park)
FREE TO ATTEND
http://www.sfzinefest.com/

“SF Zine Fest is a FREE annual two-day conference for independent and underground publishing. Exhibitors come from all over the West Coast, and while the focus is on zines, all walks of DIY life are represented — comics, arts and crafts, literary presses, and more. SF Zine Fest was founded in 2002 by Jenn of Starfiend Distro.”

Special guests include Artnoose (Ker-Bloom!), Jesse Reklaw (Slow Wave), and V. Vale (Search & Destroy).

Check out the website, make your plans!

– Christopher

Neat Stuff On The Internet

+ So my friend Corey Mintz, food writer for The Toronto Star, has shown his true nerd colours and slavishly devoted a surprising amount of time and effort into running a post compiling every panel with food and/or eating from the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series. It also includes a short interview with Mr. O’Malley about his seeming obsession with his characters pigging out. Neat post.

+ It didn’t get much attention at the time, but the giant Gundam that they built on Odaiba in Tokyo last year was part of a tree-planting initiative, somehow. I didn’t really get it myself. Well, while the Gundam may be gone (moved to Shizuoka), there is a new tree-planting initiative in roughly the same spot, and this time it’s an 8 metre high Hello Kitty… that shoots lasers. Check it out at Pink Tentacle.

+ One of the best announcements at the San Diego Comic Con was that of Shigeru Mizuki’s work finally being translated and released for an English audience, courtesy of the fine folks at Drawn & Quarterly. Mizuki is a huge creative force in Japan, and his creations are ubiquitous. For more on that, check out this recent posting from Japan Probe which takes you to “Kitaro Town”, Mizuki’s hometown which has been completely kitted-out with characters and illustrations from Mizuki’s work, most notably his famous “Gegege No Kitaro”.  Instantly going on my “to visit” list next time I make it to Japan…

+ Two fantastic cartoonists, Gabrielle Bell and Jillian Tamaki, are running recaps/reportage of their time at the San Diego Comic Con, in comics format! They’re fabulous, and I highly recommend checking them out.

Jillian Tamaki’s got a two-parter (part one, part two) and I make a cameo in part one… part two is more of an ‘epilogue’.

Gabrielle Bell’s updates are still ongoing, with three parts currently up at http://gabriellebell.com/.

– Christopher