Concentrate: This Week in Con News (March 26)

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

Cosplayers at Gen Con 2014. Photo by TheMOX on Flickr.

Cosplayers at Gen Con 2014. Photo by TheMOX on Flickr.

This week, the massive gaming convention Gen Con took a stand against a discriminatory bill that has been working its way through the Indiana state legislature. The bill, supposedly “religious freedom legislation,” would allow Indiana business owners the legal right to deny service to same-sex couples. (This follows last fall’s legalization of gay marriage in the state.)

After the bill cleared the state House this week, Gen Con issued an open letter asking Indiana governor Mike Pence to veto the bill. Gen Con owner & CEO Adrian Swartout wrote:

Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrouds. We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all… Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will… factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years.

Gen Con moved to Indianapolis in 2003; their contract with the Indianapolis Convention Center runs through 2020. Per the letter, the show hosted 56,000 attendees in 2014 and its estimated economic impact was over $50 million.

For his part, Pence had said previously in a statement:

The legislation, SB 101, is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact. I strongly support the legislation and applaud the members of the General Assembly for their work on this important issue. I look forward to signing the bill when it reaches my desk.

(If only we lived in a world where Leslie Knope actually did become governor of Indiana, this never would have happened.)

  • Rumor has it (or more specifically, Bleeding Cool is claiming) that Fan Expo is snatching up MegaCon, the upcoming Orlando show. This would indicate that Fan Expo, a Canadian company, is on something of an American spending spree – they just bought Dallas Comic Con last month.
  • It’s Emerald City Comicon weekend! 80,000 smiling, happy comics fans will soon be descending upon downtown Seattle! And the Department of Transportation has decided this is the perfect weekend to do major roadwork that a full closure of the westbound I-90 bridge. Traffic is one thing, but the WSDOT’s original statement said: “With no major events this weekend, it’s the perfect time to bundle up these needed roadway closures.” Ouch. Needless to say, fans are a little offended.
  • Speaking of Emerald City, comiXology will be hosting a free public party on Saturday night (with drinks and t-shirts!) that’s actually a networking event in disguise: they’re advertising their 30+ open positions, and company execs will be on hand as well.
  • Comedian Chris Gore was all set to host a comedic fan fic panel at WonderCon next weekend. But some attendees cried foul at the panel’s concept, which they deemed offensive – comedians and “TV personalities” reading the “weirdest and wildest fan fiction found on the internet.” Gore claims the panel is in good taste; the offended parties claim the comedy in question is at the expense of fan fic writers. Either way, WonderCon and Gore decided the best thing to do would be cancel the panel – although not without Gore writing a lengthy response to the whole situation.
  • Verne Troyer, best known for his role as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films, suffered a seizure at the Heart of Texas Comic Con on Saturday. Fortunately, he made a quick recovery – he was back at the show on Sunday.
  • Animation house Reel FX has started a virtual reality division, and they’ve promised “additional VR experiences that will debut this summer at Comic-Con.” They just demoed experiences based on Insurgent and The Book of Life at a virtual reality expo last weekend.
  • San Diego Comic-Con was named one of the 20 Best Culture Festivals in the United States by USA Today, because that’s a thing, apparently. Other fests on the list? The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the Kentucky Derby.

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What’s Happening This Week (Wednesday, March 25 – Tuesday, March 31)

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.

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