Tagged: New York Comic Con

Marc Alan Fishman: When Unshaven Comics Took On Marvel…

…and won? Well, we won’t know that until October 13th when all our data is tabulated. But the old adage applies: it’s not so much about the destination as it is the journey that matters. In this case, the journey is that of the punk rock garage band attempting to overcome the man. But first, a little history.

Unshaven Comics partnered with ComicMix in 2013 to exhibit at the New York Comic Con. Over the course of four days, sales records were decimated. Beards were bristled with pride. New York’s con felt like a wave pool, where every few minutes, a shallow tsunami rolled past our booth, and thanks in part to a helpfully pitiful sign (“Can I tell you about my comic book?”), customer after customer soon parted ways with our book(s) in hands. Here we are a year later, and ready to return with the loftiest goal we’ve ever uttered. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At this year’s NYCC, Unshaven Comics is untethering ourselves from ComicMix (but we know they won’t be too far away… like the paternal nudgeniks we know them to be) and shacking up with Jim McClain of the Solution Squad to staff a small press booth across from the biggest and best publisher working today. You may have heard of them. No, not First Comics (Boom, roasted.). Marvel Comics. And with but a swatch of carpet between their monstrous exhibit and our little meager table? Well, it’s either going to rock like an Eddie Van Halen solo over a Flea bassline with a little drum fill from Neil Peart… Or it will suck like Courtney Love.

I’m all about transparency kiddos. Last year, Unshaven Comics sold 524 books over a four-day period. Our business plan is built around setting a goal to see 10% growth in book sales every time we return to a convention. That would mean we need to see roughly 53 more books sold. Given how sales looked at our most recent conventions, we’re very confident we can see that happen. I am a “pie-in-the-sky” kinda guy, so I’m personally looking to leave the Javits Center 800 books lighter. And because I’m not one to hedge bets, we’re packing 1,000 of them. This isn’t hubris, kiddos. This is positive thinking.

As it stands, Marvel Comics is crushing it with their movies and TV shows. DC isn’t far behind with decent love for Arrow, excitement for the Flash, and “it doesn’t suck that much” feelings over Gotham (and truth be told, I’m liking it so far). But let’s not beat around the Groot here. Marvel is in charge right now, as they should be. And to be sitting across the aisle from them at the second largest convention in the country is an opportunity me and my chiseled-chinned cohorts will face in a few days. The run-off from a “destination” booth such as theirs alone will rival the total traffic we saw on the outskirts of the far wall, back a year ago. And knowing that our Samurnauts pitch is only 30 seconds long (see Gene Ha’s video here), it shouldn’t take long for us to pitch, wow, sell, shake hands, pass over to Jim… and move to the next awesome fan.

It will also help that above our table will sit a pair of posters to catch a wandering eye. We’ve decided it’s always a good idea to make a bad impression, so we’ve made “The Hipster League” as well as the “Brovengers.” They are both worth a chuckle, and will do what we need them to do: Disrupt someone who is wandering (with or without purpose) and get them to stop and listen to what we have to say. As more and more conventioneers question how to make a show more profitable, Unshaven always takes the simple solution. In this case, make em’ laugh, make em’ laugh, make em’ laugh. After the guffaws comes sincerity and the promise that our books were made with our tongues no where near our cheeks. Much like a little company I know that promised a picky movie-going audience they’d root for a talking raccoon with a gun. Natch.

And if Marvel should be leading a rousing crowd in a fury of ear-peeling cheers for their wares, well then, we’ll hold our signs higher, and be just that much more desperate for attention. Trust me, it works.

The key to it all – as is the key to whatever success we’ve enjoyed thus far – is really in catching someone’s eye, and then being passionate about our product. Backing that up with a unique concept, and a quality product priced appropriately certainly helps too. It also never hurts to use what little attention we can garner prior to the event to help amplify our plea. So, to all my east coasters making travel plans to New York in the coming week, I have but one simple question to ask:

Can I tell you about my comic book?

Unshaven Comics and the Solution Squad will be at the New York Comic Con in Booth 1361 across from… well… I am Groot.

 

Marc Alan Fishman Celebrates the Wee Con

Kokomo-ConAs I fully decompressed from Wizard World Chicago, I looked towards the end of the Unshaven event calendar. On it: the Cincinnati Comic Expo – competing against the Cincy Comic Con, Cincinnati Comic Con, and the Cin City Comic Massacre (I think two out of three of those are real). Then, onto the mammoth New York Comic Con, which will boast near San Diego level of attendance. And, finally, gracefully, completing at the Kokomo Comic Con, in Kokomo, Indiana. You’ll get there fast, but take it slow. Sorry, it had to be said. And with it being said, I’m elated that once again, Unshaven will return.

The show itself feels like the comic cons I only heard about from old timers (like everyone on this site minus the Tweeks, Emily, and myself, heh heh heh). It’s pop-culture D-lister, and flashy/trashy exhibitor free. In their place, small publishers (ahem), independent freelance artists and writers, comic book and toy dealers, and a great handful of truly unique artisans – like the educational toy makers Cogbots, and the Highwind Steamworks, steampunk jewelers extraordinaire. The best part? The guest of honor, one Denny O’Neil.

Perhaps I’m a bit jaded in my love for the show. I was a crucial stepping stone in introducing Mr. O’Neil (who I’ll be uncomfortable calling anything but, until perhaps we shake hands in person) to the show-runners. As Unshaven had previously been attendees at the show for four years running, we had become more than a table-fee to Shawn Hilton and his crew. I dare say we became friends. Sure, his store is always ready to stock our books. And sure, I may have ensured we got prime floor real estate for making introductions for way-more-well-known-legends, but at the core of it all, the Kokomo Comic Con and its purveyors are fans first. I respect that. Hell, I live that.

All buzz marketing aside, Kokomo Con represents something I am coming to cherish more and more: a convention that can be enjoyed in a single day; where comics and community trump blatant commercialism. Before I get too deep into that sentiment, let me make something clear: I’m not saying Wizard or Reed or the San Diego Comic Con (or whatever gigantic conglomerates exist in the comic book convention circuit) are bad for building their Frankenshows.

As a strict capitalist, Unshaven Comics couldn’t exist without them. But with this past Wizard show, there’s certainly an energy drain when you sit behind the same table for four days straight, and see an unending queue of potential customers. And those customers are always quick to denote that they “just got there”, and are “checking everything out.” Every sale is a war with their desire not to miss some unlit corner of the show before potentially returning for a purchase. But I digress.

The single-day community convention is devoid of such pretense. It exists to excite for one day, and one day alone (duh). Because of that, the attendees tend to enjoy all of the convention. There’s no need to arrive hours early for the potential of snagging that autograph by the third extra in that show you watched back in the eighties.

Even if the entirety of the Kokomo Conference and Event Center is packed to the nines with booths, a show-goer will be able to peruse everything with time to confer with every artist and dealer. The air of the show itself is that which I revert to when I think of comics and my ill-gotten youth: it’s all about discovery, discussion, and debate. Find me a swatch of NYCC floor space where someone is truly digging through a long-box for that Suicide Squad #18, and I’ll eat my beard. At the smaller shows, the fans that arrive at the door are there first and foremost for guys like me (and way more for guys like Mr. O’Neil). And while we’ll never sell as many books in a given day there versus a NecroNomiCon… the sales we do make tend to make us life-long fans in lieu of passersby giving us a pity purchase.

At the end of day, there’s room of course for both kinds of cons (and to be fair, I think the Cincinnati Comic Expo will reside somewhere between the two). But phaser to my forehead? Color me simply. The shock and awe of the major shows has worn me thin, and in their wake, I yearn for intimacy. A show where one need not shout to hold a conversation. A show where you’re invited to learn, to discuss, to debate, and to celebrate specificity. A show where you can get that cherished issue of Green Lantern / Green Arrow signed, and not have a security guard breathing down your neck to move it along. A show where a truer comic book fan may truly be themselves… all without having to drop significant coin on that selfie with the best friend of The Great American Hero.

And that, my friends, is a convention worth looking forward to.

 

Martha Thomases: That San Diego Con

San Diego CosplayIt’s that time of year again. All the cool kids are getting ready to go to the San Diego Comic-Con. And by “cool kids,” I mean people who are younger, stronger and more patient than me.

Every year, I kvetch about Comic-Con. And every year, I kind of want to go. I mean, not go to the Comic-Con that will actually take place. I want to go to the Comic-Con of 1993, when I was an important part of a major publishing company and everyone kissed my ass and I could get a table at the restaurant of my choice at the time of my choosing.

I would also like a unicorn, but that’s another column.

Anyway, this year, what I mostly regret is the opportunity to meet my future husband, Chris Hardwick, who is podcasting his program from San Diego all week. Not only would I enjoy meeting him, but I’d like to see the look on his face when he realizes we are fated to be. Either delight or horror, it would still be a treat.

Which, in a roundabout way, brings us back to a subject that has concerned this column all year: The changes women make to pop culture, and the way pop culture is adapting to women.

You may recall my previous columns on the subject (here, for example), that women at comic conventions have a problem with sexual harassment. By which I mean, men and boys harassing them. It’s a big enough story that even non-comics news sites cover it.

Many people want SDCC to prominently post its policy on sexual harassment on signage around the convention, so that offenders cannot claim they didn’t know they were doing something wrong. Others would like to make the policy more specific. Here’s what it currently says, according to the website:

“Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and badge of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security, or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner.“

For more about the various arguments, here, in a nutshell is the debate.

Now, I love David Glanzer with all my heart and soul, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is completely devoted to making Comic-Con a fun and educational event for all who attend. I understand that he wants to make everyone who comes to the show comfortable, and this includes families with young children, who might be spooked if they see signs warning about sexual harassment. He might also think it puts ideas in the heads of kids who want to show how great they are at this rebel stuff.

Still, I respectfully disagree. I think it’s entirely appropriate to say that, because of incidents at other shows, SDCC wants to assure everyone that they are committed to a safe and friendly show. And I’d make a big deal about meeting with law enforcement before the show starts, so that if crimes are committed on-site, there is a system in place to get rid of the criminals who assault women and others. For all I know, they do this already. Still, I’d make sure everybody knew.

And, as I’ve said before, I’d have more women as special guests and expert panelists. It’s not easy to stop people in comics from seeing women (real and fictional) as simply sex objects. One step to fix that would be to feature them as talented professionals.

Which brings me to the next huge show on the horizon, New York Comic-Con. It’s still a long way off in convention time, but they’ve started to announce guests, which gives us a hint as to what the programming will be. So far, they have announced a dozen guests in the comics category, and two of them are women. That’s better than last year, when only ten percent of the guests were women, but not by much. I should note that there is also one literary guest announced, and that is Kim Harrison, who is female.

Not enough, but a step in the right direction.

So, if you’re going to San Diego, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. Wait, wrong city. Be sure to have a great time. Bring me back stories.

And points.

 

Marc Alan Fishman Becomes a Viking!

SpringConBy the time these words hit you, I’ll have trekked across the barren wasteland known as Wisconsin (sorry, Cheeseheads!) to arrive at the Midwest Comic Book Association’s Spring Con, held annually in Minneapolis. Since Unshaven Comics started seeking conventions outside the Chicagoland area, Spring Con has long been a desired destination. Our compatriots sang nothing but praises for the show each year without fail. And with careful planning, we’re elated to schlep our way west (for once) in order to hawk our wares to the unsuspecting Vikings fans.

I always look forward to a new convention. Unshaven Comics has built a reputation on the cold sale. Why? Because we embrace the fact that no one knows us from Adam. Or the Atom. Or Adam Strange. Or Dr. Strange. I could go on. The simple truth is our Artist Alley table represents a pop-up artist’s commune. But a Domo Trading Card or hand-made commission by Matt is only an expression of our physical talents. The sale of a Samurnauts book is a representation of two very important things: it’s validation of our ability to create a fulfilling piece of fiction, and it’s assurance that we are able to tap into the market and minds of like-minded fans. It’s cliché, but it’s true; there is no greater satisfaction professionally.

Even better, Spring Con is very much a dying breed, one we hope to continue to pump life into. As a convention that isn’t owned by some large conglomerate seeking to grow its mound of gold atop the mountain… it’s one of those “wacky” shows that seemingly is founded first and foremost on the celebration of the culture. Not ‘pop’ culture – tacky, silly, D-List, exploitative wastes of time – comic culture.

Panels at Spring Con? Adam Hughes being interviewed by Bill Willingham. Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber discussing their process. And rather than purposefully gouge show-goers with inflated concessions and needless gifts? How about free autographs, free picnic areas, and free parking. And the coup-de-grace? Over 250 comic creators on hand, ready and waiting to interact with fans. While Reed and Wizard may boast similar numbers… they aren’t the type to offer a free dinner for their artists. Spring Con does. Sensing a theme?

Don’t get me wrong. Unshaven Comics would not be in business (such as it is) without Reed and Wizard. C2E2, Chicago Comic Con, and New York Comic Con combined for over a thousand book sales last year. In all honesty, if we top a buck fifty by the end of Sunday night, it’ll be a banner convention for we beardly boasters.

Spring Con – which is nearly all volunteer run – exists first and foremost to bring people together. For over 26 years now, it’s been a staple of the great lakes (one would assume). Reed, Wizard, and the like also desire to bring people together… but their purpose is profit, and no one questions it in the least. The fact that they continue to pick on the local conventions like MCBA, and try to push them out of town only endears them harder with the community of creators. Of course we all also attend those for-profit shows too; we need to eat at some point.

This brings up my last li’l point. You see, many people (OK, like three or four) have asked us how we’ve attained the successes we’ve enjoyed to this point – specifically regarding our track record at making all attended conventions lucrative.

Well, I could (and will eventually) spill those beans at a later date. For now though, how about one juicy secret. We count everything. We count books in, books out, dollars in, dollars out, number of pitches, number of unique customers, number of up-sells, yadda yadda. And when we do a new show, we bring our data with us to try to figure out what sort of business we should expect. And when we leave the show, we debrief on the car trip home. Spring Con brings with it the most important thing Unshaven covets… numbers. But I digress.

Should you find yourself in or around the Minneapolis / St. Paul area today or tomorrow? Make your way out to the state fairgrounds, and find your way to our table. We’ll pitch, you buy. Sounds like a plan! There’s nothing more invigorating than a new set of fans to be made. I’ve built a semi-career around it. So, for the time being, I’m happy to declare it:

Go Vikings.

 

Martha Thomases: Female Pros and Cons, Part 3

If you’ve been following my columns this month here and here, you know I’m on a tirade.  I don’t like it that women are still considered an afterthought in the comics industry, especially as our industry is represented at comics and pop culture conventions.

And so, I want to shine a spotlight on various shows, and discuss what they’re doing wrong, and what they’re doing right.

In my last column here, I wrote a lot about ReedPop, the folks who put on big shows in New York and Chicago, among other things.  They only had women creators as about ten percent of their featured comics guests.  Since then, several people have alerted me to the fact that C2E2 is highlighting their female guests in their advertising.  This is a great thing.  I commend them for it.

However ….

(more…)

Martha Thomases: Send In The Crowds

Thomases Art 131018I’m not a Communist. I’m not a Marxist, unless you count Groucho. And I’m certainly not a Maoist. However, I’ve always enjoyed quoting this passage from Mao’s Little Red Book: “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend.”

I’ve always heard that as a call for diversity, not only of opinion but of style, of subject matter, of voice and rhythm and flavor. It’s what I want not only in the market of public opinion, but even more in my popular culture.

Especially in comics.

For many years American comics came in only a few flavors. You had your superhero comics, and your underground comics. If you wanted something that wasn’t “Biff, Bam, Pow” or political satire, you had to look to Europe or Japan, and hope one of your friends could translate for you.

Luckily, that hasn’t been true for years. Yes, Marvel and DC continue to dominate the direct market, but there are many more outlets that sell graphic novels, including bookstores and the Internet. More publishers putting out more kinds of books meant there were more potential readers. The marketplace grew, and, as a result, not only are there massive, crowded events like last weekend’s New York Comic-Con, but best seller lists of graphic novels in the newspaper of record.

In the past couple of years, the market has opened even wider because of crowd-funding. People who are passionate about an idea for a book can raise the money themselves to put it together, and then either try to find a publisher or do it themselves. It’s the same spirit, but light years advanced technologically, from the zines I loved searching for in the 1970s and 1980s.

My pal, Bo Hampton, one of the finest artists working in comics, has a western super-natural horror story up on Kickstarter. It looks amazing, and it’s exactly the kind of book that neither DC nor Marvel would publish today. And even with so many mainstream publishers in the graphic novel business, there aren’t a lot of places that will do 80 pages of full color.

Sometimes, crowd funding demonstrates the pent up demand by the audience. That was the case with the Veronica Mars movie on Kickstarter, and it also seems to be the case with ComicMix Pro Services’ first campaign.

Dwayne McDuffie once said that the Internet is like a junior high school cafeteria but on a global scale. Even though there are billions of us here, we still find our own little cliques and nerd groupings.

And garden plots, where we plant a million flowers.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Gold: Tales To Diminish

Gold Art 131016I’ve been going to big-time national comic book conventions for 45 years. This amazes me because I can’t imagine doing anything for 45 years. I’ve got a very short attention span.

The first major shows were run here in New York by Phil Seuling, and they were wonderful. Just about everybody in the industry was there, surrounded by more fans than anybody thought existed. In 1968, attendance was around 300 people – 300 fanboys, virtually all fan boys, virtually all asking themselves the same question: “You mean, there are 299 others who are just like me?”

The following year, Seuling’s comic con grew to over a thousand, and many think twice that. Attendance continued to grow like Hank Pym on crack. Conventions proliferated to the point where, perhaps a decade ago, they started attracting extremely serious “support” from the sundry media industries and running a comic con became big-time business.

So this past weekend, 45 years and three months after Phil’s first, we had the New York Comic Con. Numbers are all over the place, but the show sold out some time ago. Evidently, some 135,000 people showed up – if true (and we’re not counting guests, pros, speakers, and press), then the New York Comic Con attracted a larger audience than the San Diego Comic Con, but, to be fair, both are severely limited by a lack of floor space and a lack of navigable aisles.

That’s not all NYCC has in common with SDCC. If you want to buy a Chevy, you could do it on the convention floor. If you want to insure your new car with Geico, you could do that as well. If you want to find out if you’ll get a parking space anywhere near the convention center the next day, there was a psychic there who might advise you accordingly.

Whereas NYCC had an enormous amount of media attractions and booths and panels, SDCC still has more because, essentially, Hollywood moves down to the border during Con week. Nonetheless, it is clear that NYCC shares at least two things with SDCC.

The first is that the aisles are clogged worse than Chris Christie’s arteries. If you’re trying to go from aisle 100 – where the ComicMix booth lived – to Artist’s Alley, it was a 20-minute walk, with the wind. If the Javits had decent taxi service, I would have considered using it. 135,000 people in the building built to comfortably house half that many at best means “you can’t get there from here.” There are lots of friends I wanted to see but couldn’t get to without borrowing vines from Tarzan.

The second is that neither show has all that much to do with comic books. NYCC still beats SDCC on that front, but only by a very narrow margin. It’s an autograph show, it’s a media frenzy, it’s a celebrity clusterfuck.

I believe I went to six major shows this year. Of those, I personally enjoyed only three, and those are the three I always enjoy. The MoCCA small-press show in Manhattan is always inspiring – it’s a two-day affair full of youth, creativity and energy, and it only requires one day of my life. The Heroes Con show in Charlotte North Carolina is truly about comic books. It’s large but it’s very well managed, and Reed Pop!, the people who put on both the NYCC and Chicago’s C2E2 (and who seem to know very little about comics and clearly care even less) should go out there and take notes.

My favorite show remains the September Baltimore Comic Con. It’s been growing steadily and attracting enough pros and decision-makers to sink the Titanic. It’s all about comics – strictly comics, to repeat myself for the sake of emphasis. The Harvey Awards dinner always is one of the highlights of my year, and it would be even if they didn’t hand out the best swag-bag that one can barely lift, let alone carry.

This year the Reed folks added something to their NYCC. They had chips on all the badges. You had to stand in line until a staffer scanned your badge with an iPad in order to verify your legitimacy. That’s annoying, but it’s even more annoying to leave the place. You had to stand in line for another chip scan in order to get out of the building. If you left at the end of the show day, it could take you a half hour to get from your last roosting place on the floor to the scanning line and then to the door.

I don’t know what would happen if your badge came up invalid when you were leaving. What would they do? Throw you out?

That would have been faster.

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The Tweeks!

 

Michael Davis: New York, New York. It’s a Hell Of A Con.

Davis Art 131015I had every intention of attending the New York Comic Con. My plans were made months ago. I was looking forward to seeing friends and family; I am a New Yorker after all.

I’ve avoided the New York con over the last few years for a number of reasons, chief among them is they seem to have forgotten all the help I gave them some years ago when they were not as big as they are now.

I hate that shit.

I hate when people want something from you they treat you a certain way but when they don’t (think) they need you any more they treat you like they don’t know you.

Another reason I have avoided the NYC Con is the Javits Center where the event is held. The Javits staff has no respect for comics, geeks or those they consider crazy ass people in costume.

The last time I was there a few years ago (admittedly this may have changed) if you left the convention center and wanted to return you had to go to the back of the line of people who had yet to get in.

So if you waited 45 minutes to get in you would have had to wait on the very same line as if you had not already gained admission, paid your money, got your pass and considered yourself safe from the New York City cold ass weather.

No, you geeky nerd, get to the back of the line. The fans are not the priority at the NYC Con-not by a long shot at least they were not the last time I was there.

Like I said, that may have all changed and if it did-I could give a shit.

If the people at the NYC Con think I give a fuck about representing them in the best light they have another thing coming. The moment someone from the con picks up the phone and apologizes for treating me like shit after I hooked them up then I will more than happy to consider what my loud ass voice says about them.

Anywho, like I was saying I had every intention of going to the NYC Con. In fact I was to be part of a big announcement there. That announcement and seeing my friends and family were more than enough reason for me to brave the Javits Center and if not to forgive at least forget (for the moment) how the NYC Con has treated me.

As luck would have it the announcement was postponed and because it was raining it started to pour and I had to deal with a family issue. So the agonizing decision was made to skip the NYC show.

That unbearable choice was made in about 30 seconds. OK, it was made in about one second, if you don’t count the 29 seconds it took me wipe the silly grin off my face.

Yes, truth be told I still could have made it on Saturday. But since the con is over on Sunday that would have been not a lot of time so what’s the point?

But…

If the same scenario but instead of the NYC Con the venue was Dragon Con or the San Diego Comic Con International (you know, the real Comic Con) I most likely would have been in Atlanta or San Diego on that Saturday in a heartbeat.

Or maybe not.

I’ll tell you this. It would really have bothered me not to make either of those conventions even if it was only for one day. That’s what the NYC Con has yet to learn. How to get people to want to go not because it’s a comic book convention but because it’s the NYC Comic Book Convention.

Once they learn that, I’m in. Hell, if someone I know can tell me they have learned that or that they are treating fans better I’m in. It’s all about respect and it seems like they don’t have any.

Soooo until then I’ll just keep pointing stuff out like how fans and professionals alike were pissed when they found out the NYC Con hijacked Twitter accounts to post excited tweets about the convention – it included links to its official Facebook page.

All done without anyone’s permission.

Like I said. It’s about respect.

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

 

Marvelman / Miracleman Scheduled; Hell Freezes Over?

After their first announcement at San Diego four years ago that they had obtained the rights, Marvel Comics announced last weekend at New York Comic Con that reprints of the original Alan Moore / Neil Gaiman Miracleman series would begin in January 2014.  Gaiman will then continue the story with issue 25, which he said was completed, but never released, back when Eclipse was publishing the series.

Joe Quesada made the announcement at his “Cup O’ Joe” panel at the convention, to an appropriately appreciative audience. Marvel will be reprinting the entire series, starting with its first issue as seen in the UK magazine Warrior, reprinted in Eclipse’s Miracleman #1.  The early issues were written by Alan Moore, but his name is not being used in any publicity for the series.

Originally named Marvelman, the character became “Miracleman” in America after Marvel Comics contacted its US publisher, Eclipse, and asked it be changed to avoid confusion in the marketplace.  Marvel, who has been referring to the character as “Marvelman” since their first announcement of the acquisition, has decided to reprint the series under the US title of Miracleman after all.  Tom Brevoort explains, “Gaiman and Buckingham worked on Miracleman, and that’s the name under which the series is best known in the States. So Miracleman it is.”

The series will be re-lettered and re-colored, but there no editing or alteration of the art is planned.  Some of the violence was quite intense in the original series, and issue nine featured very graphic depictions of childbirth, so the plan not to censor the art is good news indeed.

Marvelman was created by Mick Anglo when the British comics publisher who was reprinting the popular Fawcett Captain Marvel needed material when the various Captain Marvel titles ended, pursuant to a DC lawsuit.  Marvelman bore more than a slight thematic resemblance to Captain Marvel – young boys given a word of power to change into a powerful hero – a deliberate choice by the publisher.

Marvelman

Marvelman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the early eighties, Alan Moore wrote new adventures for the hero, the first of his “Everything you know is wrong” style of completely revamping a heroes origin while still paying respect and adherence to the stories that were told.  He would do this again with great success on Swamp Thing when he came to the US to work for DC.

The issue of ownership of the character has been a rats’ nest of red tape, even during the original run in Warrior.  To attempt to summarize the tale would not come close to getting across the complexity – The management suggests you seek out the exhaustive work of Irish comics journalist Pádraig Ó Méalóid, whose exhaustive history of the boondoggle puts all obsessive comics writers to shame.

Specific details of the schedule and format of the Miracleman reprints will arrive shortly with the January solicits.  If the book is published monthly, with the same page count of the Eclipse issues, it would Neil’s new material would not be seen for two years.  But considering the nigh-legendary status of the run, new readers will finally have a chance to read this seminal series, both in the careers of the creators involved and the exciting storytelling style.

Marc Alan Fishman: New York, New York

Fishman Art 131012After a quick li’l jaunt across the lovely Midwest, Unshaven Comics has arrived in fabulous New York City. Well, technically, we’re in New Jersey. Is it as fabulous? Time will tell. At very least, our swell hosts have shown us nothing but the finest hospitality. Is it New Jersey tradition to spit in your guests faces and declare “Welcome to Jersey, fuck face!”?

So why the long trip? Well, we’re about to embark on the second largest convention in North America. The New York Comic Con boasts an audience five times the size of the largest con we’ve attended to date. While we’ve been conning for over five years now, NYCC will perhaps show us what an audience of serious mass will look like. Our game plan isn’t any different; we stand, we pitch, we smile, we sell. And we’ll be doing it alongside our ComicMix cohorts. Suffice to say, we’re excited.

New York is not just a city. It’s the city. Marvel has built its entire comic continuity around the damned city. Except the West Coast Avengers, and well, who cares about them? They don’t even care about themselves. And why not?

What I saw on our trip, in-between bouts of getting lost on one of the 7,986 turnpikes in the area, is beautiful. The NYC skyline is a thing of beauty. It’s no Chicago mind you, but hey… this is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. So says Jay Z. Chicago only has R. Kelly and Kanye, and well, I’ll take Hova over them any day. But I digress. (note: I’m taking complete credit for ComicMixers coining this phrase. I stole it from my choir director in high school, and in turn they stole it from me. Nyah nyah boo boo.)

New York’s Comic Con is run by Reed, the same company who brought us (Unshaven that is) to C2E2. That convention, held in downtown Chicago, has been the toast of the town for three years running. While we’ve seen more production on our sales goals at Wizard World, to be frank, C2E2 gives us both decent sales and amazing exposure. Whilst here in the city that never sleeps (which makes sense, since the drivers are far more cranky than we friendly and amazing Chicagoans), we expect to see the best of both worlds. With expected attendance that dwarves R2D2, and a guest list that reads more like the old Wizard Top Ten lists of yesteryear, Unshaven Comics is getting access to the best fans we could ask for; people there to meet their favorite creators, with an open mind to find something new. Given that our east coast exposure has been limited to a pair of Baltimore Comic-Cons, we’re basically brand new to the biggest city in the world. And Unshaven Comics does well with being new.

By the time you read this, we’ll be in the thick of it. A four-day show is a major undertaking. We’ll be behind our table, hurling books left and right. If you’re still in the area, make sure you come out and say hello. Or you know… “Hello, fuck face!”

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell