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April 19, 2014

Posts in "Comic-Con"

April 16, 2014

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

Another day, another few thousand costumed characters kicking back outside the U.S. Capitol. That’s how Awesome Con organizers see things coming into focus on Friday, when they’ll attempt to assemble a collection of cosplayers by the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol in a bid to break a standing world record.

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

(Courtesy Awesome Con)

The point of the whimsical stunt is to trump the swarm of would-be superheroes that mugged for cameras outside China’s World Joyland in 2011.

According to one account of that Guinness World Record-breaking gathering, approximately 1,700 people showed up to participate in the momentous occasion — but roughly 10 percent were disqualified by stickler GWR judges because they had modeled their attire on “characters from video games, TV shows or story books instead of comic books.”

The remaining 1,530 cosplayers still carried the day, surpassing a previous effort during which 1,016 comic book fans stepped out in full regalia.

As we learned last summer, during our inaugural swing through Comic-Con, cosplay is all about freedom of expression and stretching one’s imagination.

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Full story

December 3, 2013

John Lewis, Top Shelf Productions Shower Congress With Free Comics

Top Shelf Productions, publisher of the top-selling graphic novel based on Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis’ contributions to the civil rights movement, is spreading the wealth this holiday season, gifting his congressional colleagues with a free download of digital versions of “March” and “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.”

John Lewis, Top Shelf Productions Shower Congress With Free Comics

(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)

Lewis has spent the better part of the year sharing his debut graphic novel, the first in a planned three-part series, with the world. He broke ground by being the first sitting lawmaker to brave the wilds of Comic-Con, matched wits with a parade of cable talk show hosts (Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow) and has chatted up everyone from trained librarians to local readers.

This latest effort, however, appears to be more personal, as Lewis conveys in a note to be delivered to every congressional office today. Full story

August 26, 2013

John Lewis Tops Best-Seller Lists

John Lewis Tops Best Seller Lists

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. John Lewis’ debut graphic novel, “March,” is a bona fide hit, landing in the top spot on multiple best-seller lists — including the coveted Gray Lady’s.

The book is currently No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list for paperback graphic novels and leads The Washington Post’s entire nonfiction section. Full story

July 24, 2013

Educators Gleefully Picture ‘March’ in Their Curriculums

Yes, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., made a big splash at Comic-Con last weekend, barreling directly into the belly of the entertainment-starved beast to promote his debut graphic novel, “March.”

And, yes, Top Shelf Productions, the publisher of said title, would undoubtedly love it if every major book vendor/discerning magazine stand/corner comic book shop stacked “March” right in the sightline of serious buyers.

But everyone involved seems to know exactly where their bread and butter is in this particular scenario: educators.

And it seems that those tasked with bringing the past to life for tomorrow’s leaders can’t wait to add Lewis’ groundbreaking project to their toolboxes.

Making It Count

Long before anyone was even thinking about putting pen to paper, “March” point man Leigh Walton said Top Shelf thought long and hard about whom they might tap to translate Lewis’ vivid memories into striking 2-D.

Educators Gleefully Picture ‘March’ in Their Curriculums

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

They ultimately settled on award-winning graphic novelist Nate Powell because of his eye for detail, as well as his passion for capturing every shade of the American experience.

Full story

July 23, 2013

‘March’ Got John Lewis All Choked Up

SAN DIEGO — Any autobiography should be expected to make the author a little misty-eyed about days gone by.

‘March’ Got John Lewis All Choked Up

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

But as Rep. John Lewis learned after working on “March,” the graphic novel chronicling his civil rights era activities, comic books can also pack a seriously emotional punch.

Per Lewis, staring at the artfully arranged way his collaborator, Nate Powell, depicted a silly anecdote about a wayward hen the Georgia Democrat once tended to really struck a chord.

While at Comic-Con 2013, Lewis also shared the fascinating trajectory that took from seminary student to civil rights leader to comics scribe — a totally new experience the seasoned pol thanked Powell and Andrew Aydin, his staffer and “March” co-author, for weaving into his incredibly multilayered life.

Chuck Grassley Would Have Hated Comic-Con

Chuck Grassley Would Have Hated Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

We grabbed the teaser comic for “Vikings” — The History Channel’s none-too-veiled ploy to tap into the burgeoning “Game of Thrones” viewership — while out at Comic-Con, thinking it might be right up Sen. Charles E. Grassley’s alley.

The Iowa Republican is, after all, a rabid history junkie.

Chuck Grassley Would Have Hated Comic Con

(Screenshot)

But nothing brings out the curmudgeonly programming critic in Grassley — his beef with the network runs so deep, the solon is now giving interviews exclusively about the dearth of backward-looking shows — faster than flipping on The History Channel and finding nothing but “reality”-based ratings bait.

Except maybe cosplay.

Full story

July 22, 2013

Comic-Con Sticks It to the Man

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

SAN DIEGO — As magnetic a draw as he proved to be during a 48-hour swing through town, Rep. John Lewis hardly cornered the market on political speech at this year’s Comic-Con.

Per the show’s handlers, the Georgia Democrat’s visit marked the first time a sitting politician had come to mix and mingle with the make-believe obsessed. Lewis made the trip to promote the first volume of “March,” a retelling of the civil rights leader’s career of nonviolent protest lovingly rendered in graphic novel form.

If one needed any proof that Lewis’ life lessons are not just still culturally relevant, but perhaps more important than ever in today’s troubled world, art posted all around the fantasy fest suggested that the struggle for equality rages on.

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Posters used by the anti-corporate Occupy movement echo the very strategies Lewis advocates in the new book.

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

One attendee became his own billboard, urging others not to forget the horrors of Hurricane Katrina.

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Some egged comics fans to stay forever vigilant, think for themselves and, above all, “read irresponsibly.”

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Others openly scorned elected leaders — some real (Ronald Reagan) some totally imagined (A “Planet of the Apes” version of Che Guevara) — taking creative license with many of the qualities (strength, aggression) demonstrated by the modern ruling class.

Whether thumbing their nose at the tea party:

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Or throwing bruise-purple street knowledge in the faces of the rose-colored-glasses-wearing set:

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The message came in loud and clear: We know what you’re up to.

Comic Con Sticks It to the Man

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

And we’re not going down without a fight.

This Has Been a Test of Comic-Con’s Zombie Alert System

SAN DIEGO — Just a little warning we spotted while shambling around Comic-Con:

This Has Been a Test of Comic Cons Zombie Alert System

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Guess the lesson here is: Keep Calm and Consume Brains.

July 21, 2013

Comics Vets Rally Around John Lewis

Comics Vets Rally Around John Lewis

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

SAN DIEGO — Socially conscious collectors weren’t the only ones psyched to commune with newly minted graphic novelist Rep. John Lewis, who traveled here to Comic-Con 2013 to promote his groundbreaking project, “March.”

Aaron Haaland, owner of the Orlando, Fla.-based A Comic Shop, billed the Georgia Democrat’s appearance at the fabled pop culture mecca as a potential turning point for the traditionally under-the-radar medium.

Rich Koslowski, author of the politically themed “BB Wolf and the Three LPs,” was just happy about having Lewis finally join the club.

John Lewis’ Arresting Life Advice

SAN DIEGO — In town to celebrate the highly anticipated debut of his graphic novel, “March,” an illustrated account of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., also laid bare at Comic-Con the grim realities of a life often lived in direct opposition to the status quo.

Speaking with the utmost conviction, with nary a hint of contrition, the veteran activist urged others to bravely speak out and act up — cultural defiance he dubbed “good trouble” — against all manner of injustice.

‘Senator Cash’ Campaigns at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — A faux politician, displaying the savvy of Willie Sutton and showmanship of P.T. Barnum, this weekend threw a little cold water in the faces of the sea of humanity gleefully floating around Comic-Con.

The theatrically inclined protestor — in reality a fed-up 99 percenter — adopted the graft-friendly persona to lobby in support of the electorate-splitting Keystone XL pipeline.

Senator Cash Campaigns at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Senator Cash Campaigns at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The veteran rabblerouser even papered passersby with buck-shaped leaflets bearing revelatory quotes from real-life Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and former Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, about the congressional need to continually fill campaign coffers.

John Lewis Receives a Hero’s Welcome at Comic-Con

John Lewis Receives a Hero’s Welcome at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

SAN DIEGO — The anticipation had been building for days.

But given the prodigious outpouring of effusive praise showered on Rep. John Lewis, one could argue that many here at Comic-Con had waited a lifetime to meet a genuine hero.

Legions braved Comic-Con’s wilds to hear the Georgia Democrat speak and later waited in snaking lines for personally signed copies of  “March” — the graphic novel chronicling the civil rights icon’s unwavering commitment to nonviolent protest.

Exuberant fans — some, like he, who make it their mission to topple barriers to racial equality, others so young they’ve only known a black president — turned out en masse to welcome Lewis to the campy fantasy fest.

John Lewis Receives a Hero’s Welcome at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

July 20, 2013

Bracing For John Lewis’ Big Day at Comic-Con

Bracing For John Lewis’ Big Day at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

SAN DIEGO — The stage is literally set for Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights leader cum comic book co-author, to step into an entirely different universe today as he strides into Comic-Con International to promote “March.”

Lewis, a featured guest at this year’s show, will share the origin story of his superhero treatment at the first politician-led panel at 10 a.m.

Project collaborators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, a Lewis aide and award-winning artist, respectively, have been warming up the crowd here at the entertainmentopia for days, sharing their insights into the landmark book and all that went into it with fellow comics gurus and the general public.

Bracing For John Lewis’ Big Day at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Top Shelf Comix has primed the pump by offering potential readers a trio of purchasing options: a traditional soft-cover version of the book ($15), a handsome hardcover, complete with glowing endorsement from former President Bill Clinton — “I’m so pleased he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America’s young leaders,” 42 stated — on the book jacket ($25) and a limited edition (only 500 printed) version designed to look like the hand-me-down textbooks of Lewis’ youth and bearing the signatures of all three contributors on a faux library card tucked inside ($40).

Meanwhile, Lewis is expected to add his John Hancock to many more. The Georgia Democrat is tentatively scheduled to camp out at the Top Shelf Comix booth (#1721) to chat with fans and sign copies of the book for four hours on Saturday (three shifts) and another four-and-a-half hours on Sunday (ditto).

“March” goes on sale nationwide August 13.

July 19, 2013

Making a Statement at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Sure, there are lots of people traipsing around in mind-blowing costumes (or nearly nude, in some cases). But some folks travel to Comic-Con with a very specific mission in mind.

Making a Statement at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

This DIY activist clearly wants the media-industrial complex to quit effing around with the programming he most enjoys.

Is he bummed that “Battlestar Galactica” ran its course on SyFy?

Incensed that the criminally short-lived “Life on Mars” was not renewed by BBC America?

Beside himself that NBC’s “Heroes” became totally unwatchable after the first season?

We wanted to discern the cause of his consternation. But by the time we turned to give chase, the anonymous rabble-rouser — like a TV pilot without a seasoned show-runner — was gone.

 

Comic-Con: First Amendment Central

SAN DIEGO — We hate to break it to everyone that camps out on the front steps of the Capitol to get their First Amendment on, but Comic-Con appears to be much more fertile ground for advocating religious freedom.

Comic Con: First Amendment Central

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

You’ve got the good.

Comic Con: First Amendment Central

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The presumably bad.

Comic Con: First Amendment Central

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

And the heretical all hanging within 100 feet of one another…

Mission accomplished, Founding Fathers!

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