Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: Will ‘Marvel Only’ Conventions Work?

October 18, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Marvel Legacy

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Spirits of Vengeance #1, Batman: White Knight #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

Last week we talked about The Scariest Comic Characters!! Here’s what some of you had to say:

James Jennings: “I try to look at it as what if this villain was real and showed up at my front door. In that case, Darksied would not be welcomed on the front lawn. Neither would Carnage or Venom.”

Serotonin: “The Corinthian and his creator, Dream, from The Sandman. Never mind that Dream is arguably the protagonist of the entire series, he’s the anthropomorphic manifestation of dreams, and is therefore utterly terrifying.”

prowriter: “Whiteface from Squadron Supreme is just as terrifying as Joker. Alpha and Beta from TWD are also terrifying.”

Adam: “Carnage is nightmare fuel”

ChErikS: “Something that really freaked me out the first time I read it was the zombies in Marvel Zombies, especially their first appearance in Ultimate Fantastic Four. Was all these classic characters doing the most disgusting awful things. Now of course the shock affect diminished by Marvel Zombies 2, but the first one kept me up at night after I would finish an issue.”

David Wilkinson: “I know this will date me and probably sound ridiculous but the first time I read X-Men 132 and X-Men 133 Wolverine scared me. It was the first time my 12 year old self read a comic where the “hero” outright tried to kill the villains. I actually thought to myself “that can’t be right” and had to go back and re-read what just happened. This, of course, was before Frank Miller and Chris Clairmont turned him from a wild animal into a fucking samurai.”

Shapadoinkle: “I remember seeing the poster for Demon Knight at the movies when i was a kid and the Crypt zombie scared the shit out of me. I had nightmares for years.”

To read ALL the comments from last week’s column, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss…

Will Marvel Only Conventions Work?

It’s an interesting time for conventions. While it seems like there’s a handful going on every weekend, some companies are trying to find ways to evolve and take them to the next level.

Gareb Shamus, from Wizard Magazine fame, is he’s hoping to bring new life to convention side of the comic book industry as he and his brother Stephen begin their new venture, ACE Universe.

The new company plans to host ‘ACE Comic Cons’ that approach the events from a different perspective – namely, making each gathering into an arena-based, highly immersive, live-streamed event that’s themed and, as they put it, “curated” around the talent who will be appearing.

In his own words:

“What we’re doing is, we’re creating a more curated and immersive type of event. And someone who’s interested in superheroes – whether they’re a beginner or they’re in advanced stages of knowledge – they’ll be able to come to the event and be incredibly engaged in the experience of it and being a part of it.

We’re switching the venue. Typically, comic cons occur in convention centers. We’re going to be in arenas.

That creates a much more intimate space for people. And also, when you go to our arena, you feel like you’re going to an event. People typically go there for sporting events or concerts … and when they go there, they have this level of excitement that being in an arena creates. We’re going to be totally taking advantage of that aura of feeling that people have.

It also gives us a chance to re-think how we want people to engage in this world. So rather than saying that we’re going to have these huge open floors where we have this obligation to fill up the space, we’re creating a much more curated environment.

We can have people who are the best at what they do, or they’re a lot more related to the types of talent that we have, or the themes that we have, or the superhero genre that we pick.”

Now Marvel Entertainment is considering doing their own convention. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed that there has been discussions for a D23 Expo-style event specifically focused on Marvel.

“Over the years there have been discussions about that,” Kevin Feige told Fandango. “I think what we try to do occasionally in San Diego we’re very proud of and think is a fun tradition. That being said, I think [Star Wars] Celebration is pretty amazing. I’ve been to a few Celebrations and the idea of doing something like that … I think we have enough content, and enough fans, and enough ideas that we could easily do something like that, I’m just not sure where or when.”

It’s been noted that Marvel already held their own convention…in 1975. It was called Marvelcon and the most memorable moment from that was when Stan Lee announced Jack Kirby was returning to work for the publisher after a five year stint at DC Comics. A second Marvelcon was planned for 1976 but was cancelled.

I enjoy going to conventions. I recently went to the Baltimore Comic Con and had a great time. Mainly to the diversity of studios, artists, writers, and related vendors. Conventions like that feel like Netflix, where you can find something for everyone. When Marvel starts pushing their own convention, it’s like CBS breaking off and asking you to pay just to watch their shows.

Plus, would Marvel keep it comics only or open it up to their movie and TV areas? Then you have the books being regulated to the corner while kids stand in line for 2 hours to get Mark Ruffalo’s signature. No strike against Ruffalo. I like him.

If it catches on, then you’ll have DC follow and hold their own conventions. Then Image might throw their hat in the ring. Pretty soon you’re attending a show inside an elementary school cafeteria for some indie web comic publisher, wondering where it all went wrong.

What do you think about the state of comic book conventions? Are you interested in Marvel’s idea or ACE Comic Cons? When was the last time you went to a convention and your thoughts?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!