(1) WHAT’S A FEW MILLION BETWEEN GEEKS? Wizard World will be scaling back conventions after posting a $4.25M loss in 2015.
The comic convention franchise Wizard World is scaling back the number of conventions after filing a $4.25 million loss in 2015, according to ICv2. The company, which takes its name from the defunct magazine Wizard, held 25 events in 2015 for a combined revenue of $22.9m, which was less than 2014’s convention revenue of $23.1m despite only hosting 17 shows that year. Looking closer, Wizard World’s 2015 conventions earned on average $916,000 per show, as opposed to $1.36m in the year prior.
Additionally, Wizard World has sold all but 10% ownership of the fledging ConTV to Cinedigm. That venture was a $1.3m loss for WizardWorld in 2015.
WizardWorld has 19 conventions planned in 2016, with one being the new ‘con cruise’ venture.
(2) WISTFUL WATNEY. From The Martian Extended Edition, now on Digital HD, DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD.
Mark Watney marvels at Earth and contemplates on the reasons for his rescue from Hermes.
(3) LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER. Mark Gunnells wrote “A Love Letter to Joe R. Lansdale”.
Some of you may be saying, Who’s that? And if you are, that makes me sad. The man’s talents are so immense that he really should be a household name in my opinion. His books never fail to impress and thrill me, and I’ll give a few reasons why I am such a fan.
One, simplicity. The man’s language can be so lean and yet convey so much. He doesn’t have to do a lot of literary acrobatics to get his point across, but can say so much with such economy of words. It is something I aspire to.
Two, dialogue. I’m a sticker for good dialogue, and Lansdale knows how to do it. His characters talk in a way that is witty and fun but also believable and authentic.
Three, darkness of character. But not just of the villains. He isn’t afraid to infuse his protagonists with darkness too. They aren’t all saintly and virtuous, but a mixture of good and bad, just like real people.
Four, diversity. The man does westerns, mystery, horror, and a great deal of fiction that defies category. I think that hurts him in some ways, since the industry (and many readers) like writers who are predictable, where they know what they’re getting going in. That isn’t Lansdale, and I love him for it. He is also equally adept at short stories, as well as novels and novellas.
(4) ROAD WARRIOR. “Letter From Terry Brooks: The Importance of Touring” at Suvudu.
…Chained to my computer and locked away for 8 to 10 months while writing, you tend to forget what it is you are writing for. You tend to forget how wonderful it feels to hear that your books mean so much to the readers. You forget that it gives you energy and inspiration for your work. But the book events remind you of all this, and they give you an unmistakable desire to go back and do more and to never, ever disappoint your readers by doing something that is less than your best work.
Love the families that come out. Sometimes four or five, all reading the books at once. Love the stories of how people came to read the books in the first place – frequently through another member of the family recommending them. Love the way the stories and characters have impacted people at times in their lives when things seemed a bit bleak. I am reminded of how we all escape into books to flee our own lives now and then, and when we do we inevitably return better able to get on with things. Love all the strange, wild tales of where people were and what they were doing when they read a particular book…..
(5) TWEETAGE OF THE LAMBS. Here’s a little-known fact about Amazon rankings.
This is exactly how it works. Says so right there in the manual. Of course, when you drop below me I eat your liver. https://t.co/MrCzFwrkot
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) June 9, 2016
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY
- June 9, 2006 — The animated feature film Cars, produced by Pixar Animation Studios, roars into theaters across the United States.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY DUCK
- Born June 9, 1934 — Donald Duck made his first screen appearance in “The Wise Little Hen.”
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS AND GIRLS
A time traveler, a pirate and a princess…
- Born June 9, 1961 — Michael J. Fox
- Born June 9, 1963 — Johnny Depp
- Born June 9, 1981 — Natalie Portman
(9) WHITE HOUSE LOOT CRATE IN HEADLINES. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports “Obama gave Trudeau a signed copy of Star Wars script”.
According to ethics disclosures, Justin Trudeau was given a copy of “The Force Awakens” script – the seventh Star Wars movie, released last year – signed by writer/director J.J. Abrams. U.S. President Barack Obama gave Mr. Trudeau (a big fan of the sci-fi franchise) the gift, along with a sculpture, a photograph and toys for the children, during the state visit to Washington in March.
Mr. Trudeau and his family gave the Obamas a sculpture and indigenous clothing.
The personal touch of this particular gift is no doubt a sign of how close the two world leaders are. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Obama will see each other again at the end of the month, when the President comes to town for the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa on June 29. Mr. Obama is expected to address parliamentarians while he’s in town.
(10) BROOKS FANZINES. The University of Georgia (as reported last month) is displaying Ned Brooks’ fanzines in the Rotunda of the Russell Special Collections Libraries through July. Now there is also a companion online exhibit anchored by George Beahm’s tribute, “To Infinity and Beyond! The Fanzine Collection of Ned Brooks”.
(11) WILLIAMS SCORES AFI AWARD. Tonight John Williams picks up the 44th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award. The ceremony will air on TNT on June 15.
John Williams’ storied career as the composer behind many of the greatest American films and television series of all time boasts over 150 credits across seven decades. Perhaps best known for his enduring collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, his scores are among the most iconic and recognizable in film history, from the edge-of-your-seat JAWS (1975) motif to the emotional swell of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) and the haunting elegies of SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993). Always epic in scale, his music has helped define over half a century of the motion picture medium. Three of Williams’ scores landed on AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores — a list of the 25 greatest American film scores of all time — including the unforgettable STAR WARS (1977) soundtrack, at number one. With five Academy Award® wins and 49 nominations in total, Williams holds the record for the most Oscar® nominations of any living person.
(12) VAPORTECTURE. “Is a Comic-Con museum headed to Balboa Park?” asks the San Diego Union-Tribune. The answer is: not necessarily.
So far it’s undecided whether such an attraction would simply share space with the Hall of Champions or occupy nearly all of the 68,000-square-foot, memorabilia-filled venue next to the Starlight Bowl.
“I heard they might be interested in doing something, so I made contact and began a conversation, and it’s been going on for awhile,” said Hall of Champions board member Dan Shea. “We have a space that could be considered under-utilized for what we have. Comic-Con is an iconic community group, and we would love to see them stay here, so we thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a museum for them in our hometown. And that’s what we talk about when we get together now and then.”
But no deal has been reached, and it could be some time before a museum even materializes, Shea acknowledged.
“There’s no hurry to move it along,” he said.
Comic-Con International spokesman David Glanzer was equally vague about the prospects for a Balboa Park museum devoted to the popular arts icon, a San Diego presence since 1970. The four-day convention, which now draws more than 130,000 attendees, is contracted to stay in San Diego through 2018.
Asked about what the museum might showcase and how much space it might occupy, Glanzer responded, “We’re still in discussions. I’m sorry but we haven’t gotten that far yet.”
Shea said an announcement about the possibility of a museum was made, in part, to put to rest “silly things we were hearing about what people thought they knew about this.”
(13) SEVENEVES MOVIE MAYBE. “Skydance Reunites ‘Apollo 13’ Team For Neal Stephenson Sci-Fi Novel ‘Seveneves’” – Deadline has the story.
EXCLUSIVE: Skydance has set the Apollo 13 team of writer Bill Broyles, director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer for an adaptation of bestselling author Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Seveneves. Grazer and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment is producing the ambitious adaptation.
(14) KRAKEN, NOT STIRRED. Nerdist “Meet the GAME OF THRONES Brittle Star: Ophiohamus Georgemartini”.
The trend of naming new species after pop culture icons is on the rise, and we’re giving the latest addition to the list of nerdy namesakes our stamp of approval. A brittle star, found deep in the South Pacific, has been officially dubbed Ophiohamus georgemartini because of its likeness to the thorny crown found on the cover of book two in the Game of Thrones series, A Clash of Kings….
The George R.R. Martin-friendly specimen was found off the coast of New Caledonia, at a depth of 275 meters (902 ft), but you can find brittle stars in shallow waters as well, and even in rocky tide pools. “Brittle stars live everywhere,” explains the Echinoblog’s Dr. Christopher Mah. “Under rocks, in the mud, on corals, under corals … even on jellyfish. Many of them are tiny, tiny little critters that fit easily into cracks, crevices and nooks in rocks.”
[Thanks to Stephen Burridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bruce Baugh.]