Category: Conventions

Comic-Con International Announces 2020 Eisner Awards Nominations

Comic-Con International Announces 2020 Eisner Awards Nominations

The nominees for the prestigious Eisner Awards were announced today. It is a various cross-section of talent, highlighting some excellent storytelling and production. Publications and professionals are eligible based on work distributed between January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

The nominees on the list below can be voted on by industry professionals until June 19th. The ballot can be found here.

The award ceremony is typically held at San Diego Comic-Con each year, but with SDCC cancelled this year, it will be different.


Best Short Story

Best Single Issue/One-Shot
  • Coin-Op No. 8: Infatuation, by Peter and Maria Hoey (Coin-Op Books)
  • The Freak, by Matt Lesniewski (AdHouse)
  • Minotäar, by Lissa Treiman (Shortbox)
  • Our Favorite Thing Is My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • Sobek, by James Stokoe (Shortbox)

Continue reading “Comic-Con International Announces 2020 Eisner Awards Nominations”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #065: Grinding My Gears

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #065: Grinding My Gears

I recognize that having column inches such as I do grants me a public space to air my grievances. A place, in plain sight, to shoot straight and vent with hope in finding sympathetic ears. Such as it were, we all have these spaces — take the social media platform of choice, and let loose. But here, on Pop Culture Squad, I’m given a bit more leeway to stretch a would-be status message and let it get some height. Normally I’d save my ire for something specifically in the pop culture space (#relevancy), but, here I am stuck in quarantine — a nebulous vacuum of pop culture at present. So, I’m detailing several things in my life that are at very least pop culture adjacent that have been grinding my gears. Hopefully with a little venting, this tightening in my chest might relieve itself a bit. On with the ranting!

1. Virtual Events

With remote learning, and businesses needing to flock to tele-meeting spaces like Zoom, Facebook rooms, Skype, and the like… the population is tired of virtual fraternization. Save perhaps the concerts being put on by various musical artists who all happen to have sophisticated recording equipment in their homes… Zoom and the like are fast becoming tiresome. Yes, we all get it. You throw on a normal shirt, and keep the pajamas on under the gaze of your web cam. Ha ha. Woo. But every virtual event remains the same. We speak over one another, or have dueling monologues. Our kids crash in, and suddenly we’re juggling staying engaged, and remembering we’d literally like to be anywhere else. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #065: Grinding My Gears”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #063: Indie Comics in Quarantine

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #063: Indie Comics in Quarantine

In the long-long ago, my lil’ independent studio sold its wares (original comic books, graphic novels, original art, and nifty posters/postcards) predominantly at comic conventions. These comic-cons as they once were called, assembled hundreds of thousands of like-minded nerds, geeks, dweebs, dorks, and outsiders. These fine folks would shamble about the grandiose exhibit hall, cash-in-hand, learning all about series like The Samurnauts and … lesser comics. They were truly the best of times.

But now, we are of the age of Corona. Conventions, exhibitions, fairs, assemblages, meetings, seminars, and bazaars have been forced to become online husks of their former selves. The last 8 weeks have felt both like an eternity, and gone in a blink of an eye. More to the point? The world now will not be the same world again. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #063: Indie Comics in Quarantine”

Comic Con International 2020 Cancelled in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

Comic Con International 2020 Cancelled in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

For the first time in its 50-year history San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), the organizers behind the annual pop culture celebration, announced today with deep regret that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020. The event will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021.

Source: Comic-Con International: San Diego Comic Con 2020 Cancelled

With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con

With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con

Sunday’s New York Times had one of those stunning stories that “everyone” already knew about. The print version headline screamed “Despite Timely Alerts, Trump Was Slow to Act” across five columns. (Headlines that stretch over all six columns are deemed the most important news stories).  This article, written by Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman and other reporters, details how many top officials tried – for two months – to warn the president of the coming pandemic and were, tragically, ignored or told to “stop panicking”.

As usual, Geek Culture was way ahead of the curve.

At last July’s San Diego Comic-Con (officially called Comic-Con International), there was a panel called Art of Infection: Fictional Diseases, Real Life. The intent of this panel was to focus on depictions of infectious diseases in literature, and how the real world would react to such events.

Panelists included Kelley Boston, an epidemiology and infection prevention expert who works for Infection Prevention & Management Associates of Houston, Bobbiejean Garcia, an epidemiologist at Texas State Department of State Health Services, Debesh Das, an infection prevention specialist in the California healthcare system and Tyler Houston, representing arts and culture. Continue reading “With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con”

Weird Scenes #081: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…

Weird Scenes #081: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…

Instant Karma’s gonna get you / Gonna knock you right on the head / You better get yourself together / Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead…

Welcome to our first edition of Weird Scenes Inside The Covid Mind…

Yin: According to published reports, crime is down about five percent; of course, your results might vary.

Yang: On the other hand, domestic violence is up 10%. Add that to the ridiculous increase of gun sales – what, you’re gonna shoot Covid-19? – and we might have a whole ‘nother problem real soon.

Wha?: The term “coronababies” is a thing. If you think diapers are hard to get right now, just wait until November.

Hmm: If we make it through this relatively intact, and keep a pleasant thought, we will have the internet to thank. It doesn’t prevent the stir-crazy, but it does mitigate it.

Feh: Bailout for Boeing? Well, I try to be loyal to my landsman companies, but these profit-over-lives money worshippers deserve to go blooie – even if they swear on a pile of Boeing 737 Max 8 parts that they won’t spend a penny of it on stock buybacks. I should point out that when the government bailout terms were near completion two days ago, Boeing’s stock skyrocketed. 33 billion dollars to the greatest gathering of corporate assholes in America – the airline industry – while the Blue states are given Green Stamps. And when it comes to buybacks… Continue reading “Weird Scenes #081: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…”

The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive

The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive

The world is changing rapidly due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Almost daily, we are receiving new news that changes the status quo.  Schools are closed across the country. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and many more are under stay-home orders. Non-Essential business are shuttered in many states. That includes comic shops.

Today, Governor Larry Hogan issued the order for non-essential businesses to close in Maryland, the home of Diamond Comic Distributors. How does that order affect the already severely wounded comic industry? We will find out.

Comic Publishers React

We have seen public statements from several comic book publishers over the past few days reacting to the anticipated drop in orders and revenue due to the fact that most of the country is following the #StayHome orders for the immediate future. They have implemented programs to make more comics returnable, and reduced the or postponed shipments of books that have been anticipated. Below is a list of what we know at this point. Continue reading “The Comic Industry Adapts to Coronavirus Reality to Survive”

Weird Scenes #080: Visions, Softly Creeping

Weird Scenes #080: Visions, Softly Creeping

DEAD COLLECTOR (Eric Idle): Bring out your dead! / CUSTOMER (John Cleese): Here’s one. / DEAD COLLECTOR: Nine pence. / DEAD PERSON (John Young): I’m not dead! DEAD COLLECTOR: What? / CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here’s your nine pence. / DEAD PERSON: I’m not dead! / DEAD COLLECTOR: ‘Ere. He says he’s not dead! / CUSTOMER: Yes, he is. / DEAD PERSON: I’m not! / DEAD COLLECTOR: He isn’t? / CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. He’s very ill. / DEAD PERSON: I’m getting better! / CUSTOMER: No, you’re not. You’ll be stone dead in a moment. • Monty Python and The Holy Grail, 1975, written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Sir Thomas Malory

What… too soon?

I really did not want to write about The Plague. Or Donald Trump, a.k.a. The Other Plague. I wrestled with this while reading texts from my younger friends about waiting outside of Costco for 45 minutes only to be stuck in a 60-minute check-out line behind a plethora of people buying their daily limit of rolled corpses of dead trees. Yeah, no disease spread there, right?

There’s little we can do about stopping The Plague itself, and there’s nothing we can do about The Other Plague until November… assuming The Other Plague grows balls big enough to try to call off the election. My latter comment does not fit the textbook definition of paranoia.

There are other things going on. For example, Tulsi Gabbard just quit the Democratic Party presidential race. I’ll pause while you go Wiki her. Ah, Tulsi, we hardly knew ye. Then again, given her exceptional loathing of the LGBTQ community, we hardly want to. She tossed her massive support – she won two delegates in American Samoa – to Joe Biden, who responded: “Thank you. And you are…?” Continue reading “Weird Scenes #080: Visions, Softly Creeping”

How The Comic Community Is Coping with Mass Event Cancellations

A national disaster has been declared due to the global pandemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are being told to employ social distancing and further the work of the isolationist tendencies that our nerd culture has employed for decades.

The reality is that there is a very serious illness that is spreading through humanity and it is fatally dangerous to a large segment of our community. Unfortunately, the solution that have been implemented includes the cancelling of numerous chances for our normally isolationist community to get together.

I was listening to a special video version of John Siuntres’s Word Balloon podcast with Ed Catto. They were lamenting the understandable cancellation of Ithacon45, and noted that “Con Season” is a great way to get together with friends and colleagues. This is absolutely true.

The economic cost of this coronavirus pandemic cancelling mass gatherings is felt throughout various industries including air travel, hospitality, food service, and more. An often ignored real cost for the cancellation or postponement of events like Emerald City Comic-Con, SXSW, Planet Comicon, Wonder Con, and others is the loss of revenue for artists and creators who depend on those shows for a significant portion of their income.

In the spirit of coming together in crisis, we would like to highlight both the effects of these cancellations and offer ways to help those who are affected. Continue reading “How The Comic Community Is Coping with Mass Event Cancellations”

Brainiac On Banjo #075: Nice Guys Finish

Brainiac On Banjo #075: Nice Guys Finish

If you’re a regular reader of this slice of pop culture pie, you might be surprised by today’s week-opener. Perhaps you should get comfortable, put down the vape pen and pull over to the shoulder. We’ll discuss your driving habits later.

I’m very disappointed Dan DiDio is no longer co-publisher at DC Comics… even though I still don’t understand how you can have “co-publishers.” But that is not something we’ll discuss later. It’s Publishing, and that’s the next town over from Chinatown.

On many occasions I have used this vessel of bubbling hot ether to criticize Dan and DC – and Marvel, for that matter – for being too quick on the reboot pedal. I won’t repeat myself at this time (except in my sleep) because you get it. You might not agree, which is fine, you might agree, which is fun, or you might be somewhere in between. No matter. I remain disappointed.

As I have only a limited ability to convincingly blow smoke up a great many asses simultaneously, I shall share my reasons. First, and most important, as publisher Dan was not afraid of trying out new things and new approaches. Because necessity is indeed the mother of invention, this is – to me – is the most important skill set a publisher can have… and Mark Waid, who has just taken a similar position at Humanoids, Inc. should consider this license.

Wednesday Comics, the most ambitious endeavor DC had undertaken this century, was created by Mark Chairello when Dan was DC’s executive editor; he green-lit it, which is part of the job. Mark said Dan (and then-publisher Paul Levitz; DC goes through more publishers than CatCo) were constantly after him to edit something. He sure did.

I could cite many more examples – his interest in many of DC’s lesser-known characters led to some wonderful character revivals. Every such example entails risk, and if too many of those risks do not pay off, one’s job can be handed over to somebody else. It also provides fodder for Brutus when corporate politics goes nuts. Of course, corporate politics is a self-replicating virus that it is nuts – and almost always is anti-creative. Publishing is a very risky business.

It’s also one that does not inure to the expansion of your database of friends. Not everybody is going to accept your weird ideas, particularly when someone thinks that their toes are being tread on. Imagine how Curt Swan might have felt when he was offed from Superman.

Fact is, Dan has quite a reputation as a nice guy. From his many associates and his great many convention appearances, it is clear he is the real thing… unless, perhaps, you feel it is your ox who is about to be gored. Sadly, that comes with the job.

My personal experiences with DiDio are limited. He was overwhelmingly kind to me at his Suicide Squad movie pre-party and at the world premiere; I hadn’t worked for DC for a while, and he was under no obligation to be so swell. Sometime later, I was at my old pal Jamie Graham’s booth – Graham Crackers, get it? – at some comic book convention (after over a half-century, they all run together), and Dan was there, diving through the long boxes trying to complete his collection of Marvel ComicsWhere Monsters Dwell – which, after all, was a reprint title. He looked up, very slightly embarrassed, and pointed out that he was, after all, a comics fan and collector.

Damn straight, pal! That should be in every comics publisher’s job description. Every single one. And here’s the best reason: whenever corporate brings in somebody from Earth-Prime who thinks publishing comic books is the same as publishing greeting cards or hawking toothpaste, they fail. Always. They also make asses of themselves.

The good publishers only make asses of themselves when it sells comic books. That’s called “priorities.”

Should Dan have been fired? I don’t know. There are plenty of rumors, but decades ago I learned such rumors are at best untrustworthy and, more likely, complete bullshit. I don’t know. You don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised if DiDio still doesn’t know the complete story. Did I mention corporate politics are so revulsive I wouldn’t be surprised if AT&T eventually hires Donald Trump for the gig?

I hope Dan remains in the comics racket. So many long boxes, so little time.