Gallifrey 2015 Fully Booked

Every year I read about the San Diego Comic-Con selling out its passes as fast as people can get online – as it did again last week but with fewer complaints thanks to a new system capable of accommodating the vast demand.

However, I was surprised to discover Gallifrey One, the annual Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles, performed the same feat on Friday, selling all its memberships in 75 minutes.

While Gallifrey One reportedly has an attendance limit of 3,700 and Comic-Con hosts over 130,000 – I was impressed just the same.

People who can’t get in are asking if the committee plans to move to a bigger facility. The answer is

No.  Gallifrey One is a fan convention. Let’s explain how fan conventions work. Every human being involved in this convention is a volunteer – we do this on our spare time.  We are not paid employees.  We are fans just like you, with one minor difference… we got off our butts and put on a show 25 years ago, and never stopped. Doing this sort of thing takes personal money; tons of meetings; hours behind our computers on evenings & weekends; valuable vacation time away from work; making promises to dozens of guests in writing that require large sums of money (and losing sleep over it in the process; ask our program director who literally doesn’t sleep for six weeks prior to the convention each year!); and so forth. We do this not for money (we certainly don’t make any; we are a registered California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) but for the love of the show only. We do not and cannot serve the entire Doctor Who fan community. Our convention is, simply put, at the maximum size it can be that allows our all-volunteer staff to run it every February without it adversely impacting our jobs, our lives, our families (at least, any more than it already does)… and we have ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST in growing the convention beyond its current size.

Kickstarter Funds Comic-Con Book

Alan Moore and Jack Kirby in 1985.

Alan Moore and Jack Kirby in 1985.

Jackie Estrada needed $18,000 of pledges to publish Comic Book People, a hardcover photo tribute to 40 years of Comic-Con. Her Kickstarter appeal was a complete success – by yesterday she’d received $28,360 in pledges from 438 backers.

Estrada has been taking photos at comic book conventions for decades. Comic Book People will publish 600 shots of comic creators and other notables from the 1970s and 1980s. Most will be in black-and-white, but there will be a 16 page color section.

Here are just a few of the people she plans to include:

Golden and Silver Age greats like Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, Carl Barks, Bob Kane, Harvey Kurtzman, C. C. Beck, Murphy Anderson, Jules Feiffer, Gardner Fox, L. B. Cole, Alex Schomburg, Mike Sekowsky, Curt Swan, Jack Katz, Joe Kubert, John Romita, Alex Toth, Al Williamson, Bill Woggon, [and] Wally Wood…

SF & fantasy authors, such as the great Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Harlan Ellison, Leigh Brackett, George R. R. Martin, Theodore Sturgeon, Clive Barker, Douglas Adams, Larry Niven, Walter Gibson, Jerry Pournelle, and many more…

Her goal is to have the 160-page book ready for Comic-Con this July.

Buy Comic-Con International Badges February 8

sd comic con logo CROPIf you watched Sheldon and the gang last week on Big Bang Theory desperately refreshing their computer screens as fast as they could attempting to access Comic-Con’s ticket sales webpage– well, that’s not how it’s going to look this year.

When the sale begins at 9 a.m. Pacific on February 8, here’s how the process will work according to the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog.

The sale will begin “shortly after 9:00 AM Pacific Time”, though as previously reported, you’ll be able to enter the EPIC Registration landing page starting at 7 AM. You’ll need your registration code, which will be e-mailed at least 24 hours prior to the sale — which in this case, means by Friday morning at the latest. If you don’t receive this code, you’ll still be able to access it from the Member ID page.

Shortly after that 9AM start time, you’ll be randomly sorted into a place in line. This means that unlike in earlier years, there is no advantage to being the first one into the waiting room — but there is still a disadvantage to arriving later than that 9AM start time, as you’ll then be placed in the back of the line.

The con’s own official badge preregistration info is here.

In 2012 and 2013 Comic-Con badges sold out in 90 minutes. And this year it’s not possible to buy 4-day memberships, only tickets for each day.

Fans confronting the new process have been so vocal about their anxiety that Comic-Con created this 6-minute video tutorial explaining it from start to finish.

Comic-Con Gets A Dear John Letter

Impenetrable crowds! Lines! Longer waits for ever-shorter panels! The expense! At Epic Geekdom RM Peavy gives 8 reasons for not going to the San Diego Comic-Con this year.

4.  Purchasing badges:  Every year, it feels like the Hunger Games and the odds never seem to be in my favor.  We have been together for at least ten years now, and every year it gets worse and worse.  There are virtual waiting rooms, crashing sites, lottery systems, a line to get in a line, and half of you was wasted so I could maybe get a ticket for the next year to see you.  No thank you.  You should be making it easier for me.  Have you ever thought about ME?  There is no more advance purchase for next year for those already attending.  I used to be able to walk up on Friday and purchase next year’s ticket, and now I don’t even know what building it is to register.  It’s like I don’t even know you.

One commenter even argued he has a higher-quality experience watching the con on video:

I can see the panels on YouTube. Oh, you waited eight hours but you were there when Loki did his little speech? When Nathan Fillion took a call from Joss Whedon? I saw it on YouTube from the comfort of my own home. Thanks to G4, I caught interviews the SDCC people didn’t.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the link.]

2013 Will Eisner Award Winners

Eisner Awards 25th AnniversaryThe winners of the 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced at Comic-Con on July 19.

Best Short Story: “Moon 1969: The True Story of the 1969 Moon Launch,” by Michael Kupperman, in Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8 (Fantagraphics)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot): The Mire, by Becky Cloonan (self-published)

Best Continuing Series: Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)

Best New Series: Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7): Babymouse for President, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8–12): Adventure Time, by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb (kaboom!)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13–17): A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson (FSG)

Best Humor Publication: Darth Vader and Son, by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle)

Best Digital Comic: Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain)

Best Anthology: Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)

Best Reality-Based Work (tie): Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, by Joseph Lambert (Center for Cartoon Studies/Disney Hyperion); The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, by Frank M. Young and David Lasky (Abrams ComicArts)

Best Graphic Album—New: Building Stories, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint: King City, by Brandon Graham (TokyoPop/Image)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips: Pogo, vol. 2: Bona Fide Balderdash, by Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly and Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books: David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material: Blacksad: Silent Hell, by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia: Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)

Best Writer: Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image)

Best Writer/Artist: Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)

Best Penciler/Inker (tie): David Aja, Hawkeye (Marvel), Chris Samnee, Daredevil (Marvel); Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom (IDW)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art): Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad (Dark Horse)

Best Cover Artist: David Aja, Hawkeye (Marvel)

Best Coloring: Dave Stewart, Batwoman (DC); Fatale (Image); BPRD, Conan the Barbarian, Hellboy in Hell, Lobster Johnson, The Massive (Dark Horse)

Best Lettering: Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: The Comics Reporter, edited by Tom Spurgeon, www.comicsreporter.com

Best Comics-Related Book: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, by Sean Howe (HarperCollins)

Best Educational/Academic Work: Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass, by Susan E. Kirtley (University Press of Mississippi)

Best Publication Design: Building Stories, designed by Chris Ware (Pantheon)

Hall of Fame: Lee Falk, Al Jaffee, Mort Meskin, Trina Robbins, Spain Rodriguez, Joe Sinnott

Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Russel Roehling

Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award: Chris Sparks and Team Cul deSac

Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Book Writing Award: Steve Gerber, Don Rosa

Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award: Challengers Comics + Conversation, Chicago, IL

Ender’s Game at Comic-Con

So what went down in Hall H at Comic-Con on Thursday when the makers of Ender’s Game faced the fans?

Wired.com sets the scene:

Right after the requisite exclusive clip and banter with moderator Chris Hardwick the first fan to ask a question, who butted in line to ask it, got right to the point. “There’s actually been a lot of controversy about the author of the book,” the young woman said. “How involved was he in making the film?” The response, from the film’s producer Roberto Orci, was direct.

Variety has Orci’s complete quote:

When brought up during a Q&A session during Summit’s Comic-Con presentation for the film, Orci said, “The truth is you never want to court controversy, but we decided to use the attention on us to support Lionsgate’s statement of support of LGBT rights. So rather than shy away, we are happy to embrace it and use the spotlight to say we support LGBT rights.”

Harrison Ford was questioned by reporters at a news conference just before his Hall H appearance –

Ford told reporters that while he fundamentally disagrees with the author’s stance, the film stands separate from the issue.

“I think none of Mr. Card’s concerns regarding the issues of gay marriage are part of the thematics of this film,” Ford said. “He has written something that I think is of value to us all concerning moral responsibility. I think his views outside of those that we deal with in this film are not an issue for me to deal with and something I have really no opinion on.

“I am aware of his statements admitting that the question of gay marriage is a battle that he lost and he admits that he lost it. I think we all know that we’ve all won. That humanity has won. And I think that’s the end of the story.”

Cool Jerk at Comic-Con

armpitpuppy91Paul Horn in his 9-page comic “The tale of a local cartoonist trying to make it big at Comic-con” says something you’ll never hear any other convention huckster say – that it’s okay he doesn’t make a lot of money at the con.

He’s really there to grow the audience for his comic Cool Jerk.

Not that he isn’t happy to sell fans all the Cool Jerk merchandise they can carry –

T-shirts, trucker hats, air fresheners, coffee mugs, mousepads, Jones Soda and underwear. Yes, underwear.

Lots of inside stuff about what Comic-Con means to small press publishers.

Comic-Con is a job – one where you work for five days and have 51 weeks off inbetween.

Beside Comic Con

Over 130 offsite events happening during San Diego Comic Con are listed at the ConDor website. Here’s a sampling –

Multi-day events:

Wonder Women:  On Paper and Off (Jun 8 – Sep 1) – An exhibition exploring women’s roles in the comic industry. Women’s Museum of California, 2730 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 103, San Diego, CA 92106. Admission: $5

Approximately Infinite Universe (Jul 8 – Sep 1, 11 am – 5 pm daily. Closed Wednesday) – Art Exhibition. Work inspired by science fiction, the exploration of other worlds and the distinctions between human and alien. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla CA 92037. Admission: $10

Art Illustrated: Celebrating Comic Art, (Jun 20 – July 28; Thu-Sat: 10 am – 4 pm,  Sun 1 pm – 4 pm) – Art Exhibition. An exhibition featuring over 250 pieces of art from many of the most popular comic artists of the last 80 years. California Center for the Arts, 340 North Escondido Blvd. Escondido, CA 92025 Admission: $8

History’s “Vikings” Interactive Waterway (July 18 – 20, 11 am – 8 pm). Race miniature Viking ships on actual water.  Photo Op area. Parking Lot, 450 Second Ave, San Diego, CA, 92101. Free

Hats off to Dr. Suess (Jul 19 – Aug 4, Hours) – National Traveling Art Exhibition. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s second book, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Dr. Seuss’s never-before-seen hat collection and  Dr. Seuss’s little-known Secret Art Collection.  Legends Gallery of La Jolla, 1205 Prospect Street, STE B, La Jolla, CA 92037. Free

Single Day Events

Lindley Lecture on Law & Comics 2013 (July 16, 12:00 – 1:00 pm). Censorship: From 1950s Superheroes to Today’s Manga. Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. San Diego Law Library, 1105 Front St.,San Diego, CA 92101. Tickets: $10

Comic-Con Dive and Cleanup (July 18, 6:30 – 9:30 am) – SCUBA diving. With Roddenberry Dive Team, and aquarists and scientists from the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. La Jolla Shores. Free. but RSVP required

Birch Aquarium Comic-Con Kelp Dive and Show (July 18, 12:30 – 1 pm). Rod Roddenberry is special guest diver. Birch Aquarium, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla CA 92037. Free WITH AQUARIUM ADMISSION.  Space is limited.

W00tstock 5.0 (Jul 18, 7 pm) – Geek Vaudeville. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., San Diego CA. Tickets: $37.50. Guests:  Adam Savage, Will Wheaton, Paul and Storm.

Wonder Women: On and Off Paper – Panel Discussion  (Jul 18, 7:30 – 9:00 pm). Trina Robbins, Ramona Fradon, Mary Fleener and Carol Lay, pioneering women in their field, will share their experiences of working in the comic industry.  Learn about the obstacles these women faced in the comic world as well as the amazing art work they have brought to life. Trina will talk about her new book to be released in the fall. Women’s Museum of California, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd #104, San Diego, CA. 5. All Ages

Allison Lonsdale and Eben Brooks in Concert (Jul 20, 6 – 8 pm) – Music. Original songs about sex, science and God, full of metaphors from math, physics, biology, the supernatural, comic books, Tibetan Buddhism, and role-playing games. Lestat’s Coffee House, 3343 Adams Ave., San Diego CA. Free

[Via James Hay.]

2012 Comic-Con Masquerade

Jean Martin features the achievements of Bay Area costumers at the Comic-Con masquerade in her article for the Examiner. And there’s a great photo of Best in Show (and Lucasfilm prize) winner “Project Runway: All Star Wars,” in which all the usual characters’ costumes are rendered more fashionable. (“Use the glue gun, Luke!”) For example, Cordelia Willis in her C-3PO costume looks like she just stepped out of a Busby Berkeley musical.

Thriller Flash Mob at Comic-Con

A Thriller Flash Mob performance is slated for July 14 in San Diego’s Gas Lamp District. It starts at 6 p.m. on 5th Ave. (where the Gas Lamp District sign is.) The theme is “Hawaiian Zombies.”

Check the CStarProductionz site for more information. Here is a video of the group rehearsing before last year’s Thriller performance at the SD County Fair [YouTube].

Thriller flash mob at SD County Fair in 2011.