Ryan Kopf Helping Run Anime Kaiju, Taiga Con under “Black Materia Inc.” brand

Update: It appears the list of Black Materia, Inc cons also includes Star City Anime in Roanoke, VA

Update #2: We now know a lot more about Black Materia Inc, and how some of Ryan Kopf’s business practices might be illegal.

Ryan Kopf isn’t a stranger to controversy. Even the tamest news about his events tends to be negative… and well… then there’s this. Needless to say, a google search for his name doesn’t bring up the most positive of results.

With such massive PR issues, you can understand why Ryan (and his company Chrono, LC) might want to be careful when entering new markets. That is likely the reason then that as he’s starting two new events, Anime Kaiju (Nashville, TN) and Taiga Con (Atlanta, GA), Kopf has decided to not operate under his better known AnimeCon.org name and instead a new brand: Black Materia, Inc.

You actually wouldn’t know by looking at the Black Materia, Inc website that Ryan Kopf has anything to do with the events. In fact, his name appears nowhere on the sites for the two conventions nor on the Black Materia, Inc website as far as I can tell. Where it does appear though is on the Whois record for the BlackMateria.org domain name:

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 9.21.28 AM

This brings up the question: Why the name “Black Materia, Inc?”

While it’s not a terrible name, the inclusion of “Inc” in the name Chrono, LC is doing business as seems deceptive (or at the very least confusing). “Inc” (short for incorporated) is usually part of a company’s legal name. For example, “IJustMadeThisUpCon” might be operated by the corporation “IJustMadeThisUp, Inc.”

When creating a brand the corporation operates under though, usually you wouldn’t bother using that (like the name Chrono, LC name they normally operate as “AnimeCon.org”). It’s entirely plausible that Black Materia, Inc is registered as a separate corporation, but it at the very least is not registered in the State of Iowa where Chrono, LC is registered (and Kopf resides). In any case, as Chrono, LC and Kopf are listed as the current owners of BlackMateria.org, Chrono, LC is in possession of Black Materia, Inc assets.

So… yeah. It’s a bit odd.

To return to the original subject, am I surprised that Ryan Kopf has obscured his name as much as possible? Honestly, not really. He’s become an infamous figure in the Midwestern convention scene, and it makes sense that he’d want to abandon the baggage his name and company generate when moving into a new region.

That said, convention attendees should be aware of the history of any company whose event they attend – and if you choose to attend these events, it’s important to understand the history of the man and organization backing them. As attendees it is our responsibility to make sure we know exactly who we choose to give our money to.

Caveat Emptor.

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also wrote and drew the now completed webcomic UnCONventional, and produces the podcasts BS-Free Witchcraft, On This Day With Trae, Stormwood & Associates, and The Nerd & Tie Podcast. This leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”

25 thoughts on “Ryan Kopf Helping Run Anime Kaiju, Taiga Con under “Black Materia Inc.” brand

  • August 13, 2014 at 11:37 am
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    I wonder if you get banned from these new cons, would it extend to Chrono’s cons too.

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    • August 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm
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      Technically they’re all Chrono, LC Cons… so I guess the question is more does getting banned from his AnimeCon.org brand mean you get banned from Black Materia cons? My money is on “yes,” but it depends on whether or not he’s pretending to have a wall of separation between the two.

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    • November 24, 2014 at 12:09 am
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      Why were you banned? What happened?

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      • November 24, 2014 at 12:12 am
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        Never said i was. Just a comment based on a LOT of interesting posts around these events.

        Why ask about a comment I made 3 months ago? PR digging?

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        • November 24, 2014 at 12:16 am
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          I really believe that the Black Materia people are being falsely judged. I have talked to them personally at AWA and they were very nice spiritual people. It’s just a family trying to start some new anime conventions for there kids .

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          • November 24, 2014 at 12:20 am
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            Actually, there is a ton of history on one Ryan Kopf.

            I also find it very interesting that this was repeated in your first blog post on your account (color me skeptical) Still, there is a ton of research into this as good God fearing families should know what they take their kids to and whom they are around.

            And to you i say good day.

          • November 24, 2014 at 12:41 am
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            I’m not speaking about this Kopf person….. I’m speaking about black Materia I truly believe that they are a totally separate group From what I ve seen there seems to be a lot of speculation If you truly want to know I would ask them. Because with all of the speculation and personal judgements being stated…… If the statements are wrong …… That would mean the ones making them were not being God fearing Christian people either. Remember ” judge not lest ye be judged”.
            I will email black Materia myself and ask them about these allegations I wouldn’t want to say something that could be considered slanderous myself. So I will contact them and ask…..
            I will let you guys know what I find out. In my profession details, facts and truth are everything

          • November 24, 2014 at 1:35 am
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            The allegations are that Ryan Kopf is involved with the running of these cons, which he kind of clearly is. I don’t understand where the confusion is.

          • November 25, 2014 at 3:50 pm
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            Did you get banned?

          • December 6, 2014 at 1:00 am
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            I’ve never been banned that I’m aware of. I’ve actually never attended a Kopf run event and am actively boycotting his cons in fact.

            I’ve met the man once, at a small con several years ago, and on one occasion found myself on a mailing list for one of his cons that I never signed up for (well, that and the one letter he had sent to me) — but unless he’s posted online under other names, that’s the limit to my direct interactions with him.

          • December 13, 2014 at 12:51 am
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            So what did this Kopf do to you to set you on a witch hunt against him. And unfairly against anyone associated with him? I’m sure you have associates that others don’t like but they don’t judge you by them. You should get to know someone before trying to be judge and jury against them.

          • December 13, 2014 at 7:23 am
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            You’re under the weird impression that this is personal, and that his events are the only ones we report on.

          • December 6, 2014 at 12:25 am
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            You are wrong! I asked for myself. Which maybe you should have. You are wrongly accusing Black Materia. I met the owners They are very nice people. When I asked about Mr Kopf owning their websites they explained that they pay him to do their websites as he is a web designer. I also asked about the things you said about Mr Bear being on the upcoming site and it was explained as well. He is a writer, travels to a lot of conventions with his kids, so he writes to help cover his expenses . As for the comment you made about the diner review he has a family member that runs it so he does eat there a lot and he likes the food . He rents office space there.
            It seems to me that you make sone wild speculations that verge on being slanderous toward these nice people that own Black Materia. I feel that you owe them an apology. If these people were to come to me and ask , in my professional opinion I would recommend them to go after you legally . But, they were nice and never mentioned it. I showed them your story/ comments here. All they said was that they would pray for you because it seemed that you were being vindictive towards Mr Kopf and it seemed to them you were witch hunting. When asked about Mr Kopf they said that he was a very nice guy and good webdesigner and that any time that they had convention questions he was more than glad to help by giving insight and information. As a parting thought they said they would pray for you and that they felt pity for you as you must have something dark on your soul.

          • December 6, 2014 at 12:54 am
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            All you seem to he saying is that Kopf is only involved to a limited extent — which is more than enough for those people who don’t want to support him.

            So it really doesn’t dilute the central point of the article.

            Nerd & Tie has both a contact form and email address — if they want to refute anything, they are free to contact me themselves. I don’t know you from adam, so your word means very little.

          • December 8, 2014 at 5:59 pm
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            All I am saying is that Mr Bear’s family owns Black Materia . Not Mr Kopf and the Bear’s are super sweet people. Paying mr kopf’s company to build and maintain websites does not make him the owner of Black Materia, just a paid resourse.

        • November 24, 2014 at 12:25 am
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          No I was just researching , doing my due diligence as a parent and saw these posts. I have also talked with the Anime Blast people and several others.

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  • August 14, 2014 at 1:37 am
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    Shared to educate and inform.

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  • August 14, 2014 at 11:57 pm
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    I am a senior-level convention staffer at multiple shows/cons. I was approached by Black Materia Inc. to ‘cross promote’ but was given little to no information, and the account contacting me (appeared to be a fake Facebook account) refused to give me any real names insisting that they prefer ‘to stay silent’.
    Did not take many questions to find out it was a Ryan K. group. I did not know a ton about him prior to these interactions….but overall experience so far hasn’t been great nor professional. We chose not to affiliate with or promote with Black Materia Inc.

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    • November 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm
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      I do not understand these bashing campaigns. I came into the anime world for the love of anime. I ve read all of these articles….. It seems to me like someone just has a grudge against this Ryan guy. My kids and I go to a lot of anime conventions because we love the anime shows. I met these people from Black Materia at several events in the last few months. They are very nice people. It’s just a guy, his wife, and daughter. I don’t know where all of the negativity is coming from. They are very nice , polite spiritual people. I talked to them quite extensively at AWA. There main reason for hosting anime conventions is to give people a quality, entertaining , safe event to attend.
      You shouldn’t judge someone lest ye be judged. These are very nice people!
      I hope this comment helps about your query into them. I usually don’t say anything, I just don’t think you are right after meeting and talking to these people

      Reply
      • November 20, 2014 at 2:52 pm
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        The convention community is based on trust in many ways, and who is behind running an event can be very important to some people.

        Ryan Kopf has lost a lot of that trust, and his involvement in a convention (or series of conventions) is important information — as is knowing who is willing to work with him.

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      • December 1, 2014 at 8:55 pm
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        Hey Ann,
        I have worked on the industry side of anime and conventions for several years now. I am completely confident in my knowledge of who I can trust and who in our network is transparent about their business practice.
        You have ‘followed’ me because I’m assuming you are trying to find out what shows I work for and have links to Black Materia websites in your profile. One would assume you’re just one of them trying to do damage control, in my honest opinion.

        The conventions that network together as part of Project Anime and We-Run-Anime-Cons (WRAC) pride ourselves on transparency. If that was something BM Inc had participated in from the get-go, it wouldn’t be an issue. No one here is trying to slander them. We’ve just made it clear that affiliations with their organization and people are not needed nor wanted.

        My opinion of them stands, especially after our interactions with them at AWA and their directives towards our other sister and affiliated conventions.
        Spirituality also isn’t really a requirement for being an industry professional related to this business, so I’m not really sure where that comes in.
        Thanks for commenting.

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        • December 14, 2014 at 1:34 am
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          They probably didn’t know about your club .Maybe no one befriended them and invited them to your wrac. If you just get to know them they are open books they are new to the anime seen .
          What happened at AWA? That’s were I met them at ? We talked for a long time.

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          • December 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm
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            I wouldn’t call WRAC or Project Anime ‘clubs’ – respected, long-standing organizations, rather, that one must diligently earn invitation to.

            It’s really not any of your business to get involved or ask ‘what happened’ as you aren’t a member, nor actually involved with the industry in any way. I’m not sure why you’re taking this so personally. This is strictly business.

            Have a lovely holiday.

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  • December 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm
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    Something to consider; in the state of Illinois, For Profit events are required by Illinois State Labor Law to pay their staff for work (providing food, hotel rooms, and badges don’t count), just ask C2E2 / ReedPop if you don’t believe that law exists. Ryan does not pay his staff.

    Reply

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