Actors Patrick Stewart, Val Kilmer and TV’s original Dynamic Duo – Adam West and Burt Ward – join a long list of comic artists and media guests for the largest Dallas Comic Con yet on May 19 and 20. Presented by legendary comic book writer Stan Lee, the show will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the 300,000-square-foot Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas. “This is definitely our biggest show thus far,” said producer Ben Stevens. “Not only do we have a huge line-up of artists, actors and other guests, but we’re using every square foot of the facility so we can bring in some new and exciting surprises for our fans. There will be more things for them to do and see at this show.” Mr. Lee, a guest at last year’s Dallas Comic Con, signed up for this year’s show immediately afterward. In addition to being the former president of Marvel Comics, he’s well known in the industry as a writer, editor, actor, producer and publisher. Comic artists appearing at the show include Neal Adams, co-founder of Continuity Comics and legendary artist of Batman, Conan the Barbarian, Green Arrow, Superman and X-Men; Superman artist George Perez, also known for Wonder Woman; Len Wein, co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing; and Marvel artist Arthur Suydam, award-winning creator of the smash hit Marvel Zombies series. Mr. Lee charges a fee for autographs, and many of the artists draw small sketches for a fee. However, most artists will sign autographs at no charge Actor Kevin Conroy, the voice of “Batman/Bruce Wayne” in both animated film and video games, also will be signing at no charge throughout the weekend. Patrick Stewart and Val Kilmer top the media guest list that will appeal to fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Batman and even the recent hit movie, The Hunger Games. Mr. Stewart is best known to sci-fi fans as Star Trek’s “Capt. Jean-Luc Picard” and “Professor Charles Xavier” in the X-Men movies and video games. Mr. Kilmer took on the iconic lead role in 1995’s Batman Forever, played “Doc Holliday” in Tombstone, and nailed the role of “Jim Morrison” in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. Other media guests include actors Adam West and Burt Ward, aka “Batman” and “Robin” in the 1960s Batman TV series; actress Kristanna Loken from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; John de Lancie, who starred in both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stargate SG-1; and Dallas native Tim Taylor, who plays “The Gamekeeper” in the recent smash hit The Hunger Games. Star Wars fans will welcome back perennial favorites Dave Prowse, who played the villainous “Darth Vader” in the original trilogy; Jeremy Bulloch, portrayer of favorite bounty hunter “Boba Fett;” and Englishman-turned-Texan Peter Mayhew, best known as the gruff but lovable sidekick “Chewbacca.” During the two-day event, the actors will be available to sign autographs, talk with fans and answer questions during special panel discussions, which are free to attend as space allows. Guests charge a fee for autographs. In addition to meeting the actors and artists, fans may peruse more than 200 exhibitor booths featuring comic books, movie memorabilia, old and new toys, clothing and other merchandise. For an additional fee, fans also may have their photo taken with select actors by a professional photographer. Admission to Dallas Comic Con is $20 Saturday and $15 Sunday when pre-purchased online, and an additional $5 if purchased at the box office. Online sales end April 20. VIP and Priority passes for this show are sold out. Show hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 20. The Irving Convention Center, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd., is at the intersection of SH114 and Northwest Highway in Irving, Texas. For more information or to pre-purchase tickets, please visit the website at http://dallascomiccon.com.
Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) announced at his panel at WonderCon that they have begun the process of planning to start distributing creator owned comics through Epitaph Records, an indie label owned by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz. Niles said in a recent interview with Comic Book Resources, “We’re talking about a company that sells records, magazines, books, toys — anything related to pop culture and music. This is where Bad Religion and Rancid [came from]. They do all ends of the punk rock spectrum. Really, if you think about the crowd that we’re trying to hit with comics — when the DC 52 was saying, “We’re trying to get those kids” and they got a bunch of 35 year old males.” Ok, so this is a huge deal if you are in the comic book community. The reason I say this is, right now, Diamond is the only company distributing, and lately it has gotten harder for comic book indie creators to get their books distributed to them. Niles hits the nail on the head when he says if Diamond goes under, the industry dies. Comic books will never go away. The printed word will never die, but it will be harder to get them. People are very surprised when they see indie books that aren’t the typical superhero future blockbuster movie. They are shocked when they read something interesting and different like “I Kill Giants” or “Chew”. There are thousands of great ideas floating in the world being made into books every year. Some we will never get to see. That’s why we like events like Staple! every year, since it showcases lots of creators who can’t find the money to make huge runs or publishing companies to pick up the book, so they do it themselves. The industry has to change. Marvel and DC are the Budweiser and Miller of the comic book world. They won’t let the writers go too far with their icons and when they do they get damned for it, so it is better to let the indie guys come up with their own ideas that are hundreds of times better than a 40 year old superhero that we cannot change. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Avengers, my first comic was an Avengers book, it doesn’t change the fact that over the years, readers have gotten smarter, more savvy and love better story telling, complex plots and don’t mind paying for it. Niles is right. You want new readers? You want to save a dying art? Better change the game.
Next week, we will begin our in depth coverage for the VICTORIA TX INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL. This is an important step for Victoria, because it is it’s first year in existence, and has already taken a life of it’s own. It has gotten such a response, it has been expanded a day and had more films, events, locations, and of course… free movies to check out in addition to it’s already awesome lineup of interesting movies. The festival is designed to inspire and showcase independent film makers. We LOVE anything that inspires art. Here, you won’t find the movies I complain about, the ones where movie houses and business will bend to the will of others, but artists who have been inspired to share their art. Movies make us laugh, they make us cry, think, celebrate, and well… they do a lot. They are postcards from a director’s vision of reality to you. Plus… you can’t say this place doesn’t need a shot of culture. We are proud to be contributing to this event, I’m actually really hoping I get to catch most of these, and am looking forward to interviewing and talking with the creators (It’s kind of what we do) So look out for that this next coming week and remember it will be starting THURSDAY NIGHT. You can check out their website for info, free events, and tickets here… VICTORIA TX INDEPENDENT FILM FEST WEBSITE
Last week the Brea, Mdawg, and I headed to Staple! in Austin. It’s the ultimate comic book experience for people like us, because it is totally Creator friendly, and is a great way to meet people who are super passionate about their own projects, and in general just to get inspired by everything going on, being involved in the DIY lifestyle, this was totally up our alley. We had our own table, and with the help of one of our past featured artists, Scott Free (Apples For Eyes), we spent a great weekend talking about our own project with show goers and artists, as well as getting to know others who are into what we are. We did a lot of different things last weekend, which are slowly coming to fruition this week on the site, but the latest one I wanted to share was this video I made with a point and shoot video camera. I sort of wanted to catch what Staple! might be like for a show goer as they drift from table to table hearing and seeing different projects. If you like the stuff you see, please check out these artists and their projects at the links specified! The New Movement www.tnmcomedy.com Literati Press www.literatipressok.com Cody Schibi www.codyschibi.com Fabian Rangel Jr fabianrangeljr.tumblr.com Eek! Creations www.eekcreations.com
When I was a kid, my dad bought my brother and I our first comic books. From what I remember, I think he thought late night TV was too racy or deviant for a couple of elementary school kids or something like that… I think that if he knew the monsters he was creating at the time, he would have probably just been better off letting our brains rot with mindless TV. The days, months, and years went on, my brother and I (already in love with Star Wars as was any birthright to children born in that time period) continued to be fascinated with comic books. The stories of heroes and villains, costumes, escapes, hot space chicks and other things that didn’t involve long division or lunchroom politics was a world to live and escape in. My dad continued to buy us books until he saw the problem, by then it was too late, we were hoarding our own money and going to the used book store next door to the local junior high school on Wednesdays and walking away with that weeks new selection or cheap back issues. Even one book was important. I couldn’t get enough of them. I needed more, and I couldn’t wait until I had a job of my own and could buy as many as I wanted with my own money… Flash forward to the present. While my other friends have moved on with their lives, I in my eternal Peter Pan complex, have never changed. If anything, my love for comics and all things Science Fiction has only intensified. So when Wizard World decides to bring it’s comic book themed, memorabilia/ celebrity/ artist/packed nerd heaven tour to Texas, it’s only a natural guess I should attend. I have missed Wizard World’s last few shows in Texas (they used to be in Dallas before they hit Austin) due to the band being on the road a lot, but I knew that Austin was going to be a hit. The thing about Comic Cons is that there is just so much to DO. I mean if you like comics… great they have tons of dealers to check out, including many that are desperately trying to sell back issues for pennies. Like toys, collectables, or even weird nerd wear? They got you covered. Maybe you think to yourself… “Yknow… one day I’d like to meet that hot chick from ‘Heroes’ or maybe I’d like to hear what Little Anakin thinks about his role in Star Wars” Well they had you covered there too, as a wide variety of celebs and sci fi staples hung out in their booths greeting fans, snapping pictures with fans. Or maybe you want to grab a print from your favorite comic artist, or talk with an indie artist about his/her new project… got that too. So that’s what we did. We walked the floors, gawked at celebs, talked with our favorite artists (interviewed them too) and yes… we shopped a little bit too. That’s when it hits. These are our kind of people. And we don’t just mean people who listen to good music or podcasts. The whole place is packed with people who get it. Those that love the genre, celebrate and revel in it. The ones that are looking for that next piece of cool art on their wall or the ones who squee with joy when they find old ROM comics. In that moment, I am transformed back to that kid who got his first books from his dad, it pleases me to no end to find those old issues in the cheap bin.