Category Archives: Convention News

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

Jury Rules Salt Lake Comic Con Violated San Diego Comic-Con’s Trademark

The jury has returned a verdict in San Diego Comic-Con’s lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic Con. Unfortunately for the hundreds of comic cons across the country, they seem to have sided with the California juggernaut.

Where San Diego Comic-Con was after as much as $12 million, the jury only awarded them $20,000. Importantly though, the jury agreed that Salt Lake Comic Con violated San Diego Comic-Con’s trademark.

This could have massive implications for events across the country that use variations of “comic con” in their names. Frankly, it’s a generic term, and was long before San Diego Comic-Con’s owners Comic Con International applied for the “comic-con” mark. Salt Lake Comic Con is expected to appeal the verdict, and hopefully sanity will eventually prevail.

Via Fox 13, Deseret News

The Catoosa County Film Festival Changed Venues Hours Before Opening, Cancelled Halfway Through

This last weekend was the scheduled dates of Georgia’s inaugural Catoosa County Film Festival. Founded by Edwin Morgan III and “co-hosted” by Christine Millraney and Kevin Sexton, the guest list included Samantha Newark, G. Larry Butler, a number of Horror film actors, and enough minor characters and extras from The Walking Dead to choke a horse.

And as far as we can tell, things went terribly. Continue reading The Catoosa County Film Festival Changed Venues Hours Before Opening, Cancelled Halfway Through

Anime Boston Organizers Suing Similarly Named Event

The New England Anime Society of Somerville, organizers of long running non-profit anime convention Anime Boston, has filed a lawsuit against an event run by two former volunteers over their name. The other convention is technically called “Boston SouthCoast Comic Con,” but they’ve begun marketing the for-profit event under the name “Boston AnimeFest.”

We’ve posted the Boston AnimeFest logo above, and the con has gone so far as to register the domain BostonAnimeFest.com (which points to the Boston SouthCoast Comi Con site). The Anime Boston organizers are obviously concerned that potential attendees could be confused by the similar names. I don’t think I would have necessarily agreed, but after typing the words “Boston” and “Anime” this many times in a row, I’m a bit turned around myself.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Via BizJournals.com

Checks Are Bouncing For Guests Who Appeared at Waxacon

About six hundred people turned up for the first ever Waxacon in Waxahachie, TX on November 18th and 19th. Attendees got to meet guests like Corin Nemec, Olivia Hack, Kevin Duhaney, Jeff Parazzo, Christina Masterson, Philip Andrew, Jack Guzman, Philip Jeanmarie and Chuck Huber. With so few attendees present, it must have been a fun, intimate experience for fans. But here’s the thing, as far as we can tell none of those guests have been paid yet.

We’ve spoken to representation for multiple guests who appeared at Waxacon, and those who were supposed to see payment arrive via Paypal haven’t received what’s due to them. What’s worse is that we’ve confirmed that guests who were handed checks by the convention organizer Alex Betsill have seen them bounce. Continue reading Checks Are Bouncing For Guests Who Appeared at Waxacon

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.