ConShark

CONcentrate: This Week in Convention News (Wednesday, January 14 – Tuesday, January 20)

Welcome to our new feature, CONcentrate, where we’ll boil down the week’s news from the convention circuit plus share our calendar of the weekend’s upcoming conventions.

Easily the top story this week: Emerald City Comicon has been acquired by ReedPOP.

For the uninitiated, ReedPOP is a for-profit company (an offshoot of the huge international corporation Reed Exhibitions) that operates some of the biggest pop culture shows in the country – New York Comic Con and its spinoff Special Edition, C2E2, PAX (Prime, East, Dev, and South), Star Wars Celebration – and foreign shows including Oz Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration Europe, Singapore Toy Game & Comic Convention, Paris Comic Con, PAX Australia, and another “partnership” with Comic Con India.

NYCC Overview

The crowd at another ReedPOP show, New York Comic Con.

ComicsAlliance has the exclusive interview with ECCC director Jim Demonakos and ReedPOP vp Lance Fensterman, which mostly discusses their plans to merge the two teams: ECCC will continue to be run by the same staff, with ReedPOP coming on board slowly. Similarly, ECCC staff will begin to have a hand in the other ReedPOP shows. According to local Seattle paper The Stranger, ECCC and ReedPOP have been in talks for the better part of a year. Demonakos describes ReedPOP “‘taking ECCC and actually adding value, making it even more awesome, while also having the team behind ECCC work on the ReedPOP shows, and bringing some of what makes ECCC special to their other events.'”

ECCC and ReedPOP are describing the deal as a “partnership,” but Demonakos is officially on board at ReedPOP as Director, Comic Talent and will now handle art commissions & merchandising for shows, guest talent, and “fine-tuning the customer experience” at other ReedPOP conventions.

Fensterman & Demonakos note that it’s really too late in the game for both ECCC 2015 and C2E2 2015 for the new teams to have much influence, but they’ll contribute where they can. ReedPOP will most notably begin with logistical assistance, including taking over the advance mailing of badges for ECCC’s upcoming March convention. And another important benefit to ECCC is ReedPOP’s negotiating power with the venue, the Washington State Convention Center – the same place ReedPOP hosts PAX Prime.

The Emerald City acquisition also means that Portland’s Rose City Comic Con is now on its own again. The young but popular show previously had a formal partnership with ECCC, arranged mostly to defend against Wizard World encroaching on their dates and locations.

Fan reaction has been understandably mixed, with some lamenting the loss of an independent powerhouse in the convention scene and others excited at the prospect of bigger things for Seattle’s con community.

In other news:

  • The trademark lawsuit between San Diego Comic-Con and Salt Lake Comic Con continues, with one party settling last week. Newspaper Agency Corp. settled, with their terms stating they “cannot produce anything for a comic convention that looks ‘confusingly similar’ to San Diego’s trademark, if San Diego wins its federal lawsuit against Salt Lake.” This case is particularly interesting to watch considering the possible implications for huge shows like Wizard World’s slate of “Comic Con” events and ReedPOP’s New York Comic Con. Though failing to protect and enforce your trademark can be seen as abandonment of a mark, San Diego Comic-Con organizers have only sued Salt Lake. For their part, SLCC have argued (very publicly) that “comic con” is too generic now to be trademarked. Salt Lake originally received a cease-and-desist in late July, in response to Salt Lake’s promotion during San Diego’s event which saw an SLCC-wrapped car cruising the streets outside the San Diego Convention Center. The next hearing is scheduled for February 5.
  • Cinedigm & Wizard World previously announced a partnership on CONtv, an over-the-top channel that’s set to launch in February. Programming will include cartoons (He-Man and Sonic the Hedgehog), sci-fi (Being Human and Farscape), anime (Yu-Gi-Oh and Ghost in the Shell), and a smattering of horror & martial arts films, plus two originals: Fight of the Living Dead and now Last Fan Standing, hosted by Bruce Campbell (whom Wizard World has a long relationship with, hosting his branded “Horror Fest” event in Chicago) and filmed at Wizard World conventions. Also announced this week, CONtv will have the continuation of Jason David Frank’s web series My Morphin’ Life. (Frank is also a longtime presence on the Wizard World circuit of shows.) Subscriptions will start at $6.99 a month, which is less than Netflix or Hulu but more than much of their bargain-bin content is worth a la carte.
  • Gallifrey One announced John Barrowman as their final headliner, joining Alex Kingston at next month’s Whovian extravaganza. Photo op presales are expected to go on sale this week (to be announced), as are tickets to the evening receptions (Friday, January 16 at 10AM PST). We’ll have more details when our Gallifrey One Guide is updated later this week.
  • Proof that your con coordinators are just as fanatic as you: last weekend’s Albuquerque Comic Con hosted William Shatner as a guest, and con organizer Jim Burelson claims he sold his house to finance Shatner’s booking – though he adds that by the time the story was made public he had already made his money back in ticket sales.
  • Heidi MacDonald at The Beat has a great look on cancelled conventions, asking if the comic con bubble is finally ready to burst – or if it’s just gotten so big that it’s now ripe for scammers.
  • With two more of Creation’s Supernatural conventions coming up in the next two weeks (San Francisco and Houston), one of the writers of the show has taken to Twitter to explain why he and the other writers don’t make appearances at the conventions.

 

  • Anime Los Angeles wrapped up their 2015 convention last weekend, which means tickets for 2016 are now on sale. The con will be moving from their longtime home at the LAX Marriott to the Ontario Convention Center (which is, dear nitpickers, technically not in Los Angeles). The relocation allows the convention to lift the attendance cap, as organizers say their new venue has five times as much space. Also new for 2016, the convention will move back a few weekends to January 29-31. The $30 price tag is an early bird deal in place until May 15, 2015.
  • It’s not really a convention, but this weekend is the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland Resort. The 5K race will be Friday with the 10K following on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. All races begin at 5:30AM. Local fans might be interested in stopping by the race expo, which will have exclusive Star Wars merchandise for sale (open 10AM – 8PM Thursday, 9AM – 8PM Friday, and 9AM – 4PM Saturday at the Disneyland Hotel). And if November’s Avengers Half Marathon Weekend was any indication, the races are great opportunities for a little cosplay watching. Good luck, runners!

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What’s Happening This Week (Wednesday, January 14 – Tuesday, January 20)

Organizers: hosting a con soon? Fans: want to help get the word out about your favorite event? Contact us to have it added to the calendar.