Heroic Coverage of Comic-Con

For the Los Angeles Times’ pop culture blog Hero Complex the opening of the San Diego Comic-Con is the pinnacle of the geek social season. Here is a sampling of its extensive coverage.

There’s a roundup of celebrity appearances and odd entertainments in Cumberbatch, Radcliffe sightings and more in San Diego:

Daniel Radcliffe is coming to Hall H: But not to discuss his most famous role as the Boy Who Lived. Rather, the “Harry Potter” star will be on hand to talk up a decidedly different turn in the horror movie “Horns,” which premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival. Based on the Joe Hill novel, “Horns” tracks Radcliffe’s Ig, who gains unusual powers after he is accused of murdering his girlfriend and wakes up looking much like the monster he’s suspected of being.

The work of IDW special projects editor is celebrated in IDW’s Scott Dunbier champions comics artistry with heroic precision, producing hardcover art books using scanned-in original artwork.

Artwork used for Artist’s Editions is scanned and reproduced in full color so that readers can see the non-photo-blue pencil lines artists use to lay out a page before doing detailed art — lines that disappear in other means of copying.

“You get more of a sense of what was done, what the artist was thinking, what changes he made, what corrections he did, what corrections he didn’t do — there’s a lot to be studied,” said “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola, who collaborated with Dunbier on a newly released Artist’s Edition collection of his own work.

Using full-color reproduction on black-and-white pages was a lesson Dunbier learned in the 1990s while trying to photocopy Neal Adams pages he had for 60 or so fellow comic book art enthusiasts in an amateur press association.

Two Comic-Con exhibits by a famed film director are described in Guillermo del Toro takes fans into ‘Crimson Peak,’ ‘Pacific Rim’:

The director helped create two immersive worlds for the Legendary booth at the convention, a virtual reality encounter where fans can train to pilot a Jaeger–the giant, neurally linked robots from his 2013 science-fiction epic “Pacific Rim”– and a Gothic gallery they can stroll through to enter the world of his next project, the 2015 haunted house film “Crimson Peak.”

To enter the “Crimson Peak” portion of the booth, which Del Toro gave press a tour of Wednesday night, fans walk through snow-covered gates into a space that includes evocative props and costumes from the film. Set in a deteriorating mansion in 19th century northern England, “Crimson Peak” stars Mia Wasikowska as a young author who discovers her charming husband (Tom Hiddleston) isn’t who he seems to be. The objects in the gallery spell out clues from the film — there’s a book on the history of insects, a bloody knife, a portrait of an intimidating matriarch. A moth print in the wallpaper spells out the word fear.

Somewhat disappointing is Hero Complex blogger Rebecca Keegan’s article “Outcry, action against harassment grows”, a lengthy but superficial account that repeatedly fails to probe the claims of people on both sides of these important questions.

Geeks for CONsent’s petition is taken at face value, despite gaining a trivial number of signatures compared another social justice effort, last year’s petition against the movie made from Orson Scott Card’s novel.

On the other hand, Comic-Con’s David Glanzer is allowed to avoid accountability for refusing to upgrade SDCC’s anti-harassment policy, while boasting about the event’s security and city-mandated emergency services — as if the only misbehavior worthy of concern is something that would require intervention by the police.

“Anyone being made to feel uncomfortable at our show is obviously a concern for us,” Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said in an email. “The safety of our attendees is a primary concern of ours. For this reason we have more staff and security than other events of our type. In addition we also have a command post in the lobby of our event that is staffed with members of the San Diego Police Department, fire and other emergency services.”

Then, despite her awareness of John Scalzi’s personal policy towards cons which lack anti-harassment policies (“Last summer, Scalzi wrote a blog post titled “My New Convention Harassment Policy,” saying he would only be a panelist or guest of honor at a convention that has a clear, visible and enforced harassment policy. More than 1,100 people, including several other authors, co-signed his post.”), she gives him a complete pass –

Though Scalzi’s publisher, Tor Books, had already booked him to attend Comic-Con this year, he decided to hold his event, a reading and signing, at a location outside the convention center.

– by failing to ask how this appearance within the orbit of Comic-Con reconciles with his policy.


2014 Worldcon Schedule Goes Live

Loncon 3’s full program is now available online and can be accessed through an interactive programme guide at http://guide.loncon3.org/ (using the mobile-friendly Konopas web application), and the native mobile Grenadine Event Guide app, available for free from the Android and Apple app stores. The identifier to download the schedule in the phone apps is LONCON. (The Apple version is supported only by iOS 7.1 and later.)

With these guides, attendees can create their own schedules, receive up-to-date information about the programme and notifications of changes, view maps of the convention facilities, and access pages of other useful information about the convention. The guides are linked to Loncon 3′s programme database and will be updated automatically to reflect programme changes.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Detcon1 Masquerade Results

Provided by John Hertz:

Masquerade Results
Detcon, the 11th NASFiC
Renaissance Center Marriott Hotel, Detroit, Michigan
July 19, 2014

Masquerade Director: Sandy Manning
Master of Ceremonies: Tom Smith

Judges: Lisa Deutsch Harrigan, John Hertz, Chris O’Halloran
Workmanship Judge: Cathryn Schaff-Stump

Best in Show
also a Workmanship Award
“A Glamorous Evening of Galactic Domination” (Original, Novice)
Jennifer Skwarski

Master Class

Best in Class
also a Workmanship Award
“Conflict in the Court of Jewels” (Original)
Sally Fink, Pierre & Sandy Pettinger

An Officer and a Gentlewoman
“Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace” (Re-creation)
Suzette Marriott

Most Deceptively Charming
“Gaius Baltar”(Re-creation)
Suzette Marriott, Scott Thom

Journeyman Class

Best Motown Entry
“Angels Take Motown”(Re-creation)
Sharon & Hall Bass, Janine & John Wardale

Novice Class

Best in Class
“And All She Saw Was Snow”(Re-creation)
Liz Decolvenaere, Isaac Shaff

Most Stealthy
Llz Decolvenaere, Jen Greco

Young Fan Class

Best Re-Creation, Animé
“No Face”
Lisa & Alida Shears

Best Re-Creation, Film
“Russell and Mr.Frederickson on the Hunt”
Grant & Doug Johnson

Clarke Center Screens Gattaca 8/11

Gattaca-Poster COMPOn August 11 the “Sci Fi Flick Series” continues at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination with Gattaca (1997).

Starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law, the movie tells how a genetically inferior man assumes the identify of a superior one to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

Following the screening there will be a discussion between Larry Goldstein, Distinguished Professor of Cellular Molecular Medicine, UC San Diego, and Shanti Ganesh, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley.

Star Wars Rebels Trailer

Star Wars Rebels tracks an uprising against imperial tyranny and the Inquisitor tasked to hunt down the few remaining Jedi knights.

On the small planet of Lothal a big change is looming. A group of rebels meet a 14-year-old con artist named Ezra and soon it’s clear their destinies are linked. Aboard their ship, the Ghost, Ezra and the rebels embark on an adventure to ignite a rebellion and strike back against the Empire.

Here’s the latest extended trailer.

Aldrin Signs Tonight

Someday it may be easier to get an autograph from someone who’s been to the Moon but until then — here are two rare opportunities.

Buzz Aldrin is signing Mission To Mars at the Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica tonight at 7:00 p.m.

And on Monday, July 28 he’ll be in Glendale at the Americana Barnes & Noble at 7:00 p.m.

In between, you’ll find Aldrin at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Buzz Aldrin signing for fans young and old in London last March.

Buzz Aldrin signing for fans young and old in London last March.

2014 Endeavour Award Shortlist

The 2014 Endeavour Award nominees are:

  • King of Swords, by Dave Duncan
  • Meaning of Luff, by Matthew Hughes
  • Nexus, by Ramez Naam
  • Protector, by C.J. Cherryh
  • Requiem, by Ken Scholes

The Endeavour Award honors a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book (either a novel or a single-author collection) created by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest. The judges this year are Catherine Asaro, Scott Edelman, and Matthew Johnson. The winner will be announced at OryCon on November 7.

Never-Winner Land

Mark R. Kelly has added the first set of FAQs, tallies and pages of statistics to his superb Science Fiction Awards Database (which started life as the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards.)

SFADB now provides an overall tally of the top winners and nominees of “Major Career Awards” and “Major Awards” – the SF Hall of Fame, SFWA Grand Master, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Andre Norton, British Fantasy, British SF, Campbell Memorial, Chesley, Arthur C. Clarke, International Fantasy, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Bram Stoker, Theodore Sturgeon, and James Tiptree, Jr. awards.

Who is the biggest winner of all time by this yardstick? Dave Langford, with 33 major awards – 29 Hugos, 1 British Fantasy Award and 3 British Science Fiction Awards.

I haven’t won enough Hugos (interrupted by shouts of “Like hell!!”) – I mean, to get above the SFADB event horizon as a winner.

But you will find me under “Total Losses.” What makes it more bearable is that I’m on the same rung (tied for 11th place) with David G. Hartwell, Kim Stanley Robinson, George R.R. Martin and Gene Wolfe.

And an amazing number of my friends are ranked in the tenderly named “Never Winner” category — folks who have accumulated lots of nominations without ever taking home the hardware, though their work has been held in high esteem to have been recognized so often.

Tied for second are Michael A. Burstein and Steven H Silver and further down the list are Guy H. Lillian III, Steve Stiles, Arthur D. Hlavaty, Evelyn C. Leeper, Taral Wayne, Andrew Hooper, Jerry Pournelle, Harry O. Morris, Jr., Bob Devney, Mark Plummer, Timothy Lane and Grant Canfield.

There’s a separate breakout for All Awards and Polls. Robert Silverberg occupies the top of this pyramid with 262 nominations. Appropriately for an sf writer, that practically puts him in another universe. He has 64 more than that the next person on the list, Ursula K. Le Guin.

Kelly has also created pages for UK Awards, Canadian Awards  (Lloyd Penney shows up twice), and Australian Awards (where it is revealed that Bruce Gillespie is the Langford of the Antipodes.)

Do visit the SF Awards Database — it’s a labor of love and one of the genre’s most valuable research sites.

Thomas Berger (1924-2014)

Thomas Berger, best known for his mordant frontier novel Little Big Man, died July 13 at the age of 89.

Over the course of Berger’s career he wrote in many genres and formats including horror, Killing Time (1967); science fiction, Adventures of the Artificial Woman (2004); utopian fiction, Regiment of Women (1973); the Camelot myth, Arthur Rex: A Legendary Novel (1978); popular fantasy, Being Invisible (1987); and alternate history, Changing the Past (1989).

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]