Category Archives: Convention News

In depth reporting on issues and news within the North American Convention Scene.

Wizard World May Not Be Able to Continue After 2018 Without Major Changes

Convention chain Wizard World has had a rocky few years, and things certainly haven’t gotten better. The latest “bad news” comes in their 2017 third quarter report, where the company has warned that there is “substantial doubt” that they can continue with their current model after November of 2018.

As reported by Newsarama, Wizard World, Inc stated:

The Company had a loss from operations of $4,454,857 and $1,182,246 for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 and the year ended December 31, 2016, respectively. As of September 30, 2017, we had cash and working capital deficit (excluding the derivative liability) of $1,176,034 and $1,514,182, respectively. […] We have evaluated the significance of these conditions in relation to our ability to meet our obligations and have concluded that, due to these conditions, there is substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern through November 2018.

Over the last few years the company has seen some major losses, and the company has drastically shrunk the number of cons they run (from 25 in 2015 to a planned 17 in 2018). But that rapid expansion had a cost, over saturating the market. I mean, they almost ran a con on a boat at one point.

One of the only reasons the convention has survived this long is because Chairman Paul Kesller infused $2.475 million in a deal with his financial firm Bristol. The company says they may be looking for similar, external measures to keep going, but without some internal changes (to bring in more profit), it’s like bailing water without plugging the leak.

Via Newsarama

Game Designer C.A. Suleiman Banned From StokerCon Due to Sexual Harassment Allegations

C.A. Suleiman was one of many figures in the role playing game industry to have allegations of sexual harassment come to light in the last few weeks. Though not really a household name, Suleiman is a game designer who has done work multiple game settings, including White Wolf’s World of Darkness and Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons & Dragons.

Some of these sexual harassment incidents allegedly occurred while Suleiman was in attendance at StokerCon, In response, Lisa Morton, President of the Horror Writers Association (which runs the convention), has announced that Suleiman is banned from Stoker Con 2018 and any other future event they run:

HWA/StokerCon has recently been made aware of a number of incidents that occurred at our previous events involving C.A. Suleiman and female attendees. In accordance with its anti-harassment policy as stated here – http://stokercon2018.org/393-2/ – HWA’s Board of Trustees have permanently banned Mr. Suleiman from attending our future events. We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses harassment by any person at any of our events to contact us via the above-mentioned web page. We are dedicated to making our StokerCons and other HWA-sponsored events safe and comfortable events for all attendees.

This, of course, stands in stark contrast to another convention’s (poor) choices when confronted with a simliar situation. Frankly, it’s just nice to see a convention’s management doing the right thing, as shining a light on these situations is the only way to alleviate geek culture’s “missing stair” issue.

Via File 770

North Texas RPG Con and How Not to Respond to Sexual Harassment Concerns

Sexual harassment and assault have always been a problem in the convention community, but it’s only really had a light shown on it for the last couple of years. We’ve written about it before, but it never hurts to reiterate how important it is that conventions have written, accessible policies that address sexual harassment. We’ve also stressed the importance of proper follow-through of these policies.

I think that’s why it’s always a mild shock when we discover another con that doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. Not only that, but when those same cons, rather than look and see what’s working elsewhere, decide to just dig in their heels and bury their heads in the sand.

I’m losing myself in metaphors here – what I’m talking about is North Texas RPG Con. And as this story literally kept changing while I was writing it, you’re going to want to make sure you stay all the way to the end. Continue reading North Texas RPG Con and How Not to Respond to Sexual Harassment Concerns

Jean-Claude Van Damme and Jason David Frank Faced Off at La Mole Comic Con

In what can best be described as “a massive headache for a convention’s guest relations staff,” Jason David Frank and Jean-Claude Van Damme reportedly came to blows at La Mole Comic Con in Mexico this last weekend. According to The Blast, Frank was asked by Van Damme to do a joint photo. As the two have been notoriously feuding for years, Frank apparently thought Van Damme wanted to bury the hatchet.

This wasn’t so much the case.

When Frank arrived at the green room, he found a hostile Van Damme. As The Blast reports:

That’s when the Power Ranger says he realized it was “all a setup.” Frank tells us JC approached him with cameras rolling and demanded Frank apologize for calling him out in 2010 and said if he wanted a fight, “Let’s throw down.”

Tension seemed to rise (as the cellphone video posted by The Blast shows), and you pretty much end up with two guys who have way too much invested in their masculinity and egos getting in each other’s faces. Continue reading Jean-Claude Van Damme and Jason David Frank Faced Off at La Mole Comic Con

Armed Militia Shuts Down Libya Comic Con

The second annual Lybia Comic Con was shut down by an armed militia this weekend in Tripoli. The Special Deterrent Forces (SDF), a right wing militant group affiliated with the UN backed Government of National Accord raided the convention, arresting initially not just organizers but reportedly some attendees too.

Over twenty people (out of the hundreds present) were detained, though all but six were later released.

The SDF claimed the convention needed to be shut down as it was “derived from abroad and exploit[ed] weakness of religious faith and fascination with foreign cultures.” Organizers were shocked by the raid, as they had obtained permission from the government to hold the event.

The organizers told the Libya Herald that the SDF accused them of crimes against public morals and Islam including “agnosticism, atheism, holding masonic ideas, believing in Halloween, distorting the minds of youth, and kufer (abandoning Islam).” Organizers also said that some of those arrested had been beaten, being told that “Libya was a Muslim country, not a free/liberal country.”

This is bad.

This is very bad.

Via Libya Herald, BBC

‘Famous Monsters Halloween Convention’ Cancelled Just Weeks Before Event

If you were planning to attend the Famous Monsters Halloween Convention put on by Famous Monsters of Filmland from October 27-29, you’re going to have to come up with new plans. The California based convention announced this weekend that the event was officially cancelled.

The convention’s organizers are blaming the ongoing wildfires in California for the cancellation.

This is, frankly, slightly puzzling. While their office is based in Petaluma, the convention itself was going to be held in San Jose. San Jose is about two hours away from the closest fire, and conditions are much more likely to improve between now and the scheduled dates. And while the staff may be based in Sonoma county, it’s not like TWiT.tv has gone off of the air — and I haven’t heard news of Patrick Delahanty of AnimeCons.com packing a bug-out bag and fleeing while screaming at the top of his lungs. To be fair, organizer Philip Kim does claim to have been evacuated from his home since last week, and there may be circumstances we’re not aware of. But with rumors around financial problems surrounding their Texas show, it’s hard to be skeptical.

But this is the reason the con is giving, and with no insight into their internal workings I guess we have to buy it.

In an earlier version of this story I was a bit more of a dick. Some of that dickishness has been edited out of the article. Maybe not enough, but sometimes you just sort of have to own your mistakes.

Time Lord Expo Cancelled Just Weeks Before Event

After a good week of speculation, what some saw as inevitable has occurred — Dayton, OH based Time Lord Expo has officially been called off just two weeks before the con’s scheduled date. Convention organizer Patrick Baumgardner took to the con’s official Facebook page and announced the cancellation earlier today:

This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise to most people, as just a few days ago Doctor Who “Superstore” Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey announced they had been told to cancel any guest flights that they had booked for the con (as the store’s owners had gotten heavily involved with the con’s planning), and as a whole pulled out of the convention in response.

The main reason for the cancellation hasn’t been given, but we can make a few guesses. In the official post, Baumgardner said that refunds could immediately be requested, but asked that people wait until Friday evening to do so if possible. If anything screams “we’re out of money,” it’s someone asking you to wait to hit them up for money until what is, for many people, payday.

Update: Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey is organizing a free replacement event on Sunday, October 14th. Terry Molloy and Caitlin Blackwood will appear.

Wizard World “Postpones” All But Two Remaining 2017 Shows

In a press release yesterday, Wizard World announced that they were “postponing” five of their remaining seven 2017 shows. While their Austin and Oklahoma City shows will still take place as scheduled, their events in Biloxi, Peoria, Springfield, Montgomery, and Winston-Salem won’t be taking place this year.

Now a normal person would refer to these events as “cancelled,” but I guess saying they’re “postponed” reads better from a PR perspective.

Considering the financial difficulties Wizard World has had over the last few years, it’s hard to be all that surprised. The money made by the company per-show has been down, and the market has kind of reached a saturation point. In the same release, the company has also announced their 2018 lineup of shows, which currently totals at seventeen (though they also said more shows will be added).

How many of those will actually happen remains to be seen.

Anime Punch Disbands After Con Chair Michael Beuerlein Pleads Guilty to Sexual Battery

Columbus, OH based convention Anime Punch has been disbanded and will no longer hold any more events. The convention staff announced that they would be ceasing all future operations on in a statement on their official Facebook page on September 14th:


This is in the wake of convention chair Michael Beuerlein pleading guilty to Sexual Battery in the state of Virgina on September 5th. A misdemeanor, Beuerlein is currently currently out on parole. He has also been required to register as a sex offender.

It’s always terrifying to find out someone like this is running around the con scene. For what it’s worth, not many seem surprised about Beuerlein, as at least this rather lengthy Facebook thread seems to detail a number of other alleged incidents involving Beuerlein. Whether those other allegations are true or not, he sure seems like a person you wouldn’t want to let into your con, let alone operate an event

Rose City Comic Con Taking Firmer Stance Against Nazi ‘Cosplay’

Last week Portland, OR based Rose City Comic Con expanded their ban on hate symbols to include any cosplay that includes accurate recreations of Nazi uniforms. The convention expanded their policy in the wake of a couple of “cosplayers” who wore what are effectively Nazi uniforms with Hello Kitty imagery integrated into them. As Women Write About Comics points out, this year’s convention (which was held September 8-10) wasn’t the first time these particular cosplayers have showed up to the event either.

The convention tweeted about the update on their official twitter account.

While many cons would consider Nazi uniforms banned as hate symbols, the Rose City Comic Con’s old policy was fairly vaguely worded on the matter:

Hateful symbols aren’t welcome at Rose City Comic Con. Historical costumes can be great, but reminders of unspeakable atrocities are not appropriate.

The new policy is much more specific and harder to purposefully misinterpret:

Hateful symbols aren’t welcome at Rose City Comic Con. Historical costumes can be great, but reminders of unspeakable atrocities are not appropriate – this goes for Old School Hydra and Red Skull or any other Nazis from entertainment properties. Those figures, while comic-related, are still very much Nazis. As a result, they are 100% banned, always. This includes any sort of “ironic” or satirical costumes that re-appropriate Nazi paraphernalia or gear. You won’t just be banned from that year’s convention. You will be banned from coming to RCCC for life.

Honestly I think this is a much needed step. Some outlets (*cough*) have reported this as a ban on “Hydra and Red Skull” cosplay, but what’s really being banned here is Red Skull and Hydra cosplay that integrates actual Nazi uniform designs. It’s a perfectly reasonable ban, especially in the current political climate.

When you get down to it, there are two kinds of people who put on Nazi cosplay. There are people who are too microfocused on their fandom to think about how what they’re wearing will be perceived by the people around them, and then there are people who are completely aware of it and it’s the whole reason they’re doing it. The former are good people who need to take their convention blinders off (and I’ve been complaining about this issue for a while). The latter though are people who have no place at our events, and we need to take a stand against as a community.

When real Nazis are marching, we shouldn’t be dressing up as them.

Via Women Write About Comics, Rose City Comic Con