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Aug 152013
 

by staff writer Michael Brown

Marvel Comics legend230px-John_Romita_Jr,_2006 and penciler/co-creator of the popular Image comic Kick-Ass has left the Bullpen to work for DC Comics and will work on Superman. The rumor first surfaced at San Diego Comic-Con that Romita Jr. was dissatisfied with contractual arrangements with Marvel, was considering not renewing his contract and taking DC Comics’ offer of Superman. During a panel at SDCC, Romita Jr. hinted that a source of displeasure with Marvel was with not getting to choose his own projects and largely going where editorial wanted him to go. He had mentioned wanting to work on a monthly Doctor Strange book and Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonzo, who slathered him with praise for his work on Amazing Spider-Man when he first came to Marvel decades ago, seemed more than enthusiastic about it.

In an interview with ComicBook.com, Romita Jr. was asked if he would be seen outside Marvel. “Yeah, there’s a good chance I’ll do some work for DC. There’s a better-than-good chance now. It really just came up because we couldn’t agree on a contract with Marvel. And there wasn’t any kind of nastiness or anything like that, just a disagreement here or there. DC is anxious to do something and I actually had a story idea they really liked that applies to Superman.  There’s interest from DC that I have to consider and there’s interest from other people as well–from Image and Kirkman–and I’ve got to look at them all. There’s a possibility of just going freelance and playing around.”

Although he is quick to admit that Marvel wouldn’t be happy to have him freelancing for Marvel and DC. “Marvel would not be thrilled if I went freelance and worked for both companies. I don’t think that would be kosher with Marvel–I mean, not even DC but I know Marvel would be against that.”

Romita Jr. also said he had several projects he’d be working on with some major stars in the industry, including Neil Gaiman, Mark Waid, and Mark Millar, and his “pet project” with Jonathan Ross. “Jonathan Ross is also going to work on me. I can’t forget him because the two projects that I’ve got going with Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Ross are my two pet projects that I’ve had going for a while in addition to Smuggy and Bimbo. I came up with them on their own, I did the notes on plane rides and scribbled on the backs of napkins and typed them up.”

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Jul 242013
 
by Movie Moxie's Alicia Glass

Comic-Con International is one of those insane events that happens once a year, that everyone and their family looks forward to. Swag is given out in spades, autographs are hoarded, lines are formed for miles, and cosplay is proudly displayed, often by folk who are considered completely “normal” otherwise. CCI is like it’s own world, with it’s own rules, and it helps to know them if you’ve never been to Comic-Con before. For example:

The FREE STUFF

Literally right across the street from the convention center, past the trolley tracks and the hordes of fan-atics trying to cross the street, is always set up as the ads and the FREE STUFF. Often new or returning TV shows are advertised with exhibit walkthroughs and at the end, you get a FREE something with the shows logo stamped on it. Clever geegaws, FREE photos with sets as backdrops, games and trivia and hotties giving out t-shirts, oh my! Someone this year was a genius, and for the Dracula walkthrough, the FREE thing given at the end was a chair. Now I grant you, it’s just a folding piece of cardboard with ads printed on it; the thing still supported my weight during those interminable lines for more FREE STUFF, so that’s awesome. All day Thursday, all I did was wander around the across-the-street area, didn’t even go in to the convention center itself, and yet I came home with a bulging bag of FREE STUFF. There was even a place giving out free half-pints of ice cream, advertising Elder Scrolls. I do not kid.

Trivia Prizes

Sometimes, not always, you can be in the right place at just the right time. I was in line for the Falling Skies trailer exhibit across the trolley tracks, when a Volunteer came out with t-shirts over one arm and announced to the line he was doing FS trivia, and asked who on the line was a fan?! …*crickets* Really? Well, I’m a fan! After gleefully giving some trivia about the latest show, I was handed the last in a lot of only 200 made, the Volunteer said, of an official Falling Skies hoodie, with a patch and a logo and thumbholes in the sleeves. This happens to me, as a rabid fan, often, and who knows, it may happen to you too!

SDCC Bag Loadout

Several years back, someone else was a genius and started giving out these high-end bags to hold shwag as part of the Comic-Con package when you pick up your badge. Everyone gets one, they usually have some sort of theme, and this year is no exception. This years SDCC bag featured Warner Bros. (of course) and CCI (Comic-Con International) on one side, the other side reserved for ads for shows like Arrow, Retro Batman, The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory, and many others, also featuring double arm straps so the bag could be a backpack, thank heavens. But that wasn’t the highlight of this years bag, oh no. Along with the SDCC bag and its helpful lugging-stuff goodness, each bag came complete with a detachable ad cape. I grant you, it’s this cheapo piece of fabric with a logo screened on it and neckties, but come on. Now everyone can Cosplay at Comic-Con!

The Lines

In Comic-Con, there are lines literally everywhere. For the panels, for the Halls, down in the shopping mall, and don’t forget the fulfillment room. (We’ll get to that.) The lines in the Exhibit Hall, where we do all the shopping and yes get more free stuff, are often girded by Con security and hapless Volunteers with signs that don’t really work. Usually after Friday, the lines for the really swell free stuff become impossible unless you attended such-and-such panel beforehand and received the postcard that entitled you for a free t-shirt advertising their movie. The Exhibit Hall frankly, has needed for years traffic signals and cattle prods, and not necessarily in that order. You were warned.

The Main Hall Lines

The lines for Hall H and Ballroom 20 need to be addressed as well. It’s been years since I’ve bothered at all trying to get into either one of these rooms, and with good reason. Hall H and Ballroom 20 are the largest venues at Comic-Con and therefore have the coolest panels shown there. Hall H in particular gets insane, due to the fact that the overflow line is outside (someone finally put up tents a few years ago to shield the line from the sun, hooray) and these days people will often camp out overnight to ensure getting in to Hall H the next day. I’ve heard stories of die-hard fans camping out there three days before the Con was to open, just to see their favorite star in real life. And I think that’s why these lines are so insane: most of these people get to see a real-life celebrity once in their miserable lives, here at Comic-Con. Even the lines for the smaller roomed panels are getting interesting, so never mind what the website says. If you want to see a panel, any panel at all, come early for the line.

The Fullfillment Room

SDCC some years back instituted this sort of reward program that gives away yet more free stuff advertising various programs shown at Con. At a lot of the panels, while you’re sitting there listening to Noah Wyle crack wise about Falling Skies or whatever, Con Volunteers will pass out along the lines of Con-goers these little faire-type tickets. What not everyone knows is to keep these tickets, they’re not for a raffle you’ll never win or anything, it’s for the Fullfillment Room.

Next door to the convention center is the Marriot Hotel, and here is where the Fullfillment Room is set up. What they don’t tell you, is that the Room is set up in the very back end of the Hotel, and the place usually only has Volunteers with signs for the Room about halfway through the Hotel, if at all. Also, inevitably, there are lines of eager Con-goers already in the know about the Room. However, if you’ve kept your non-raffle tickets (I store mine in the back of my Con badge, that always works) and walked huffing and puffing all the way to the Room, stood in the interminable lines and tried to be nice to the harried Con volunteers, you can get yet more FREE STUFF. Bags from everywhere under the moon, posters and comics and booklets oh my, in previous years I got full-on video games with unlockable content, bracelets and pins and don’t forget the t-shirts, all with the logo of your favorite movie or show!

The COSPLAY

A lot of people go absolutely apeshit insane trying to do Cosplay for Comic-Con. I tried it once or twice a few years ago, and truly, it does not mesh with wandering the exhibit hall with a bag stuffed full of free shwag. But there are a couple of things I’ve learned about the Cosplayers and their ways. One, they always prefer to be asked before you start blinding them with a camera flash and effectively block their way to wherever they’re going by mobbing them with picture-taking. Two, very few of them actually mind if you come right out and ask where their costume is from, if you don’t know. A lot of those Anime Cosplayers can get downright obscure, and they know it, so if you don’t know, ask already. Three, after you take their picture and thank them for it, say something nice about their costume already. It costs you nothing to say, “Love the shoes” or “You look just like the Khaleesi”, even if you don’t mean it. And who knows what it cost the Cosplayer to make that costume; show some appreciation for their fan-aticism and love, if nothing else.

Final Thoughts

Comic-Con International is an event like no other in the whole world. Every year people from all over the planet come here to San Diego in massive hordes for this four-day insanity extravaganza. Yes, the lines are terrible, the crowds are massive, and the heat is stifling. Yes, there are always disappointments: I didn’t get in to the Doctor Who panel, I didn’t get that geegaw from thus-and-such retailer I really wanted cuz’ they sold out on Thursday, I missed the pirate ship walkthrough because they closed it a day early, et cetera. But what you do get in exchange for all the headaches is an experience like no other. I saw Travis Fimmel from Vikings live and in person, I came home with four free bags of shwag, I spent all the money I studiously saved just for this event in the exhibit hall on fan things, and overall I had a blast. Comic-Con brings together people from all over, who all have one thing in common: I’m a fan. In a lot of cases, we’re all insane fan-atics, and Comic-Con connects us all for those four glorious days of squees, cheers, and die-hard unabashed and unapologetic geekdom!

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Photographs by Alicia Glass

 

Apr 152012
 
ComicCon Logo

Nominees Announced for 2012 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards
Selections Reflect Wide Diversity in Industry

ComicCon Logo

ComicCon Logo

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the comic book industry. They are handed out each year in a gala ceremony at Comic-Con International: San Diego, the largest and oldest comics convention in the United States.

The Eisner Awards are named for renowned cartoonist Will Eisner (creator of “The Spirit” and several award-winning graphic novels), who, until his death in 2005, always attended the ceremony to personally congratulate the winners. The Awards are given out in more than two dozen categories covering the best publications and creators of the previous year (such as Best Short Story, Best Graphic Album, Best Writer, and so on). The finalists on the ballot are selected by a blue-ribbon committee that considers thousands of entries submitted by publishers and creators. The nominees are then voted on by all parts of the comic book industry: writers, artists, and other creators; publishers; editors; and retailers and distributors.

Comic-Con International (Comic-Con) is proud to announce the nominations for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards 2012. The nominees, chosen by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, reflect the wide range of material being published in comics and graphic novel form today, from nursery rhymes and World War II battles to high school angst and pulp fiction.

Topping the 2012 list with 6 nominations is Marvel’s Daredevil, with nods for Best Continuing Series, Best Single Issue, Best Writer (Mark Waid), Best Cover Artist (Marcos Martin), and Best Penciller/Inker Team (two nominations: Marcos Martin, and Paolo Rivera/Joe Rivera). Close behind with 5 nominations is Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, an original graphic novel of an unproduced, feature-length screenplay written by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl, adapted by artist Ramón K. Pérez, published by Archaia. The book is up for Best Graphic Album-New, Best Penciller/Inker, Best Coloring, Best Lettering, and Best Publication Design.

Three titles have 3 nominations: Vertigo/DC’s iZombie (Best Penciller/Inker and Best Cover Artist for Michael Allred, Best Coloring for Laura Allred) and The Unwritten (Best Single Issue, Best Writer for Mike Carey, Best Cover Artist for Yuko Shimizu), and IDW’s Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, by Darwyn Cooke (Best Short Story, Best Graphic Album-Reprint, Best Publication Design). Sixteen titles had 2 nominations, and the remaining nominations were spread among nearly 100 books and comics in 27 categories.

Joining Tale of Sand in the Graphic Album-New category are Bubbles & Gondola by French cartoonist Renaud Dillies (NBM), the animation-industry-based Freeway by Mark Kalesniko (Fantagraphics), the critically acclaimed Habibi by Craig Thompson (Pantheon), Ivy by newcomer Sarah Oleksyk (Oni), and the experimental One Soul by Ray Fawkes (Oni).

DC and Marvel tied for the most nominations for a publisher, each having 11 nominations plus 2 shared. For DC, Vertigo had the lion’s share of nominations, led by iZombie and The Unwritten. In addition to the Daredevil nods, Marvel had 2 nominations for Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal: The Last of the Innocents under the Icon imprint. IDW also had 11 nominations, dominating the Best Archival Collection, Comics-Related Book, and Publication Design categories. Close behind with 10 nominations (plus 1 shared) is Dark Horse, including 2 each for Dark Horse Presents, Jeff Jensen’s Green River Killer, and Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo. Next, with 9 (plus 1 shared) is Fantagraphics, including 3 nominations each in the Archival and International categories.

Other publishers with multiple nominations include First Second and NBM (6); Abrams ComicArts, Archaia, Drawn & Quarterly, and Oni (5); Image (4 plus 2 shared); Candlewick (4); and Pantheon (3). Eleven publishers had 2 nominations: Abstract Studio, Action Lab, Archie, Atheneum, Bongo, BOOM!, Chronicle, Top Shelf, the University of Mississippi Press, VIZ Media, and Yen Press. Another 15 publishers have 1 nomination each.

 

For more detailed information, see the San Diego Comic-Con Eisner Awards information web page.

List of nominees after the break.

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Mar 262012
 
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope

Have you ever imagined a place where Vulcans and vampires get along? Where wizards and wookies can be themselves? Welcome to Comic-Con San Diego. What started as a fringe comic book convention for 500 fans has grown into the pop culture event of the year that influences every form of entertainment, now attended every year by over 140,000 people.  Artists, creators, fans and more all come together to celebrate the bright flame of popular culture.  Hopes and dreams collide with opportunity – and occasionally disappointment – at the world’s largest and most important gathering of geekdom in the entire world.

COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FANS HOPE – a film by Morgan Spurlock explores this amazing cultural phenomenon by following the lives of five attendees as the descend upon theultimate geek mecca at San Diego Comic-Con 2010:

  • Eric, an aspiring illustrator, is hoping to impress publishers and land a job;
  • Holly, a costume and creature designer, hopes her creations will win the big prize;
  • Chuck, a long-time comic book dealer, is looking for a big sale to pay off his debts;
  • Skip, longtime amateur illustrator wants to be discovered at this year’s event;
  • James, a young fan, hopes his girlfriend will accept a dramatic proposal.

One on one interviews with Comic-Con Veterans who have turned their passions into professions include Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Matt Groening, Seth Rogen, Eli Roth and others are shared throughout the film along with up close and up front coverage of all the panels, parades, photos, costumes, crowds and camaraderie that make up one of the largest fan gatherings in the U.S.

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