The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a bumpy year for the comics industry.
Today we kick off a series that looks back at the biggest news trends of 2020, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacted the world of comics. Watch for more posts all this week.
COVID-19 was already on the radar when I attended C2E2 on the last weekend of February 2020, but it was still just a vague shadow in the distance. There were only a handful of cases in the U.S., but we knew more were coming. Some folks Tweeted that they wouldn’t be hugging or even shaking hands, but most people went ahead anyway, happy to see old friends after a long winter apart. The folks at McCormick Place put in extra hand sanitizer stations. And since China was already coming out the other side of their epidemic, I spoke to a couple of publishers about how the brief shutdown over there had affected their schedules. Like many of the 95,000 attendees, I roomed with friends I hadn’t seen in months, had lunch and dinner with more friends, attended panels in rooms that held 200 or more, and walked around the crowded convention floor.
Continue reading “Looking Back | COVID and Comics”
As you probably expected, ReedPop has announced that they are canceling the in-person New York Comic Con and will hold a virtual event instead.
“We are thoroughly disappointed that we can’t gather together, in-person for the New York Comic Con we love to build and our fans love to revel in. We look forward to this weekend all year long, just like you, and with this being our 15th edition, we were particularly excited. I will miss walking up and down artist alley and seeing friends that I’ve made since we were in the basement at the Javits Center,” said Lance Fensterman, President of ReedPop, in a press release. “While this year will definitely be a different experience, we are going to look to bring the best and most engaging event to our fans, exhibitors and studios through our partnership with YouTube.”
Continue reading “New York Comic Con goes virtual for 2020”
A live convention, which was postponed to August, is now off the books for this year due to COVID-19.
It seems like such a different time now — compared to all way back in March, when Emerald City Comic Con had to decide whether to move forward with their annual convention or postpone to a later date. They opted to postpone, looking toward the end of August as their new dates, and became the first major comic book convention to be affected by COVID-19.
Three months later, everything else has been canceled, too, to the point that the surprise is gone when you hear about another event that won’t move forward. But ECCC has officially announced that the convention won’t go on as planned in August. Instead, they’re planning to hold a digital event, with the hopes that a live convention can occur next March.
Continue reading “Emerald City Comic Con canceled for 2020”
Convention, originally set for April 10-12, will be ‘postponed until a later date.’
Comic-Con International has announced they are postponing this year’s WonderCon, their annual spring convention in Anaheim, California. This year’s convention was scheduled for April 10-12.
“To protect public health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health announced a recommendation that gatherings and events of more than 250 people should either be postponed or cancelled. Comic-Con (organizer of WonderCon) will abide by this recommendation,” the organization said on their website. “Therefore WonderCon Anaheim, scheduled for April 10-12, 2020 in Anaheim, California, will be postponed until a later date. We will begin processing refunds in the coming days.”
Continue reading “CCI postpones WonderCon”
Plus: News about WonderCon, Jim Lee, Webtoon, Dark Horse and more!
Events: New York’s MoCCA Arts Festival, originally scheduled for April 4-5, is the latest event to be postponed due to the novel coronavirus, which has now been declared a pandemic.
“While New York is not officially calling for events of large gatherings to be canceled, many have been and we do not know what the next few weeks will entail. We recognize the amount of work and finances our exhibitors put into their tables and are trying to minimize the burden on them,” The Society of Illustrators, who puts on MoCCA every year, said in a statement.
They added, “In the meantime, we have made the decision to move forward and continue to judge the Awards of Excellence. In addition to the cash prize and Wacom tablets for Gold and Silver medalists, the Society will feature the award winners in an exhibition at the onsite Gallery we build at MoCCA Fest.”
A new date for the two-day festival has not been announced. It joins the Emerald City Comic Con, South by Southwest, E3, the London Book Fair and countless other events that have been impacted by COVID-19.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: MoCCA postponed due to coronavirus”
In the brand-new ‘Alley Cats’ feature, Suzette Chan spotlights webcomics artist Husein.
Welcome to Alley Cats, a new feature by Suzette Chan that focuses on one of our favorite parts of any convention — Artists Alley. Chan spoke to some of the many talented craftspeople and artists at the the 2019 Calgary Expo in late April. This is one in a series of six.
Husein has been drawing a comic per week for the last five years, and has been doing comic conventions for almost as long. This year, he added a new element to his booth: the craft of drawing people as pop culture icons–badly!
Continue reading “‘High Comedic Value’: A bit of truth in every drawing”
Plus: “Olivia Jaimes” speaks, Bill Maher doubles down on his comic book comments, a comic convention apologizes for giving ‘Saga’ to kids, and much more!
Abrams has abandoned plans to publish A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library by Jack Gantos and Dave McKean following online criticism and controversy. The book is about a young boy who plans to blow up a library, but he changes his mind when he sees how captivated the people inside are with their reading.
An open letter to Abrams from the Asian Author Alliance, signed by more than 1,000 writers, teachers and readers, reads: “The simple fact is that today, the biggest terrorist threat in the United States is white supremacy. In publishing A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library, Abrams is willfully fear-mongering and spreading harmful stereotypes in a failed attempt to show the power of story.”
McKean responded to some of the controversy on Twitter: “The premise of the book is that a boy uses his mind and faith to decide for himself that violence is not the right course or action.” The book was due to be published next May.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Abrams pulls ‘A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library’ from its schedule”
‘Comic con’ belongs to Comic-Con! Dr. Seuss Enterprises v. ComicMix! Plus Connor Willumson, behind the scenes on comiXology’s Guided View, recent personnel changes and more!
Legal: Comic-Con International won its trademark suit against Salt Lake Comic Con on Friday, when a jury determined that “comic con” is a trademark, and that Salt Lake Comic Con’s use of it was likely to confuse the public. However, the jury did not grant CCI the $12 million in damages that was requested in the lawsuit; stating they did not believe the infringement was intentional, they awarded CCI $20,000 for advertising to clear up any confusion.
Rob Salkowitz lays out the history of the case and the possible implications at Forbes, pointing out that some conventions already pay CCI a licensing fee for the use of the term. He also noted that the organizers of SLCC, Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, tried to paint themselves as the Davids to CCI’s Goliath and ran a crowdfunding campaign to pay for their legal fees—but they also gave themselves $225,000 in bonuses. At the trial, however, CCI produced a survey that showed more than 70 percent of respondents identified the term “comic con” with the San Diego event.
In a statement released later that day, CCI reiterated that the trademark was theirs and that they had worked for almost 50 years to build that brand. “From the beginning all that we asked of the defendants was to stop using our Comic-Con trademarks,” the statement said. “Today we obtained a verdict that will allow us to achieve this. For that we are grateful.”
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Comic-Con International wins trademark suit”
Cape Cod man says his dad invented Batman! Plus: Pepe the Frog, Frank Miller, another comic convention legal battle and more!
Batman Claim: Although his claims have been met with some skepticism, Frank Foster III is firmly convinced his father invented Batman. The Cape Cod octogenarian has a number of sketches by his father, Frank Foster II, which depict a superhero with many of the same characteristics as DC’s Batman; the sketches are dated 1932, and one of them has several possible names, with a checkmark next to “Batman.” Frank Foster II went to art school with Li’l Abner creator Al Capp and in the 1930s, when he was living in New York, showed his portfolio to several comics publishers; the younger Foster believes someone may have seen the sketches and stolen the idea. He tried to interest several auction houses in the drawings, but none would take them, so he will be selling them on eBay. Foster elaborates further on his claims at his website.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Who created Batman?”