Reed Launches New Chicago Con; Moves NYCC to Fall 2010
Reed Exhibitions, which launched the fast-growing New York Comic-con in 2006, plans to launch the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, a new comics and pop culture convention, in April of 2010 at the McCormack Place convention facility in downtown Chicago. And after years of shifting dates for New York Comic-Con, Reed Exhibition plans to move the New York show permanently to the fall and the next New York Comic-con is scheduled for October 8-10, 2010 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Reed Exhibitions also owns New York Anime Festival, scheduled for September 2009 at the Javits Center.

Lance Fensterman v-p and show manager for NYCC, said the new Chicago show had the support of traditional comics publishers like DC Comic and Marvel as well as wide range of NYCC exhibitors. “we spoke with our exhibitors and they told us they wanted a professional show like NYCC in downtown Chicago. Our customers came to us and we saw it as an opportunity,” Fensterman said. Despite the distressed economy, Fensterman said, “Reed Exhibitions has the resources, even in a down economy, to act on an opportunity.” Fensterman declined to speculate about the future of the New York Anime Festival, and said that it would remain in the Fall.

Fensterman also said moving New York Comic-con, which has had a series of shifting dates since its launch, to the Fall of 2010 would “balance the sequence of our events.” NYCC has been a success for Reed Exhibitions growing from more than 30,000 attendees in 2006 to more than 67,000 last year. This year’s NYCC is scheduled for February 6-8 at the Javits Center. In 2010, Fensterman said, the NYCC will move to October and remain in October at the Javits Center for three years with an option for a fourth year. “We needed consistency on the calendar to keep NYCC growing,” Fensterman said. He said the 2010 show would have more space at Javits (“the entire top floor”) and that exhibitors were indifferent to the switch to later in the year. “They said just do what you do and we’ll follow,” Fensterman said. Chicago has a long running comics show organized by the Wizard World company and scheduled for August.

Marvel v-p of merchandising Michael Pasciullo, called the new Chicago show, “very exciting news” and said Reed’s success with NYCC, showed the organizer can “bring together comics, TV and film in new and exciting ways for the industry and the fans.” DC Comics president Paul Levitz said he was, “looking forward to Reed adding a Chicago show. Our Midwest fans have a great history of celebrating comics at conventions.” —C.R.

Blutch Wins Angoulême Grand Prix
French comic creator Christian Hinker, better known by his pen name Blutch, has been awarded the top prize at the 2009 Angoulême Comics Festival. Angoulême, known in French as Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême, is held in the French town of Angoulême and is the leading comics festival in Europe. The Grand Prix is awarded annually to a comics creator for their entire body of work and lifetime achievement in the medium. Previous winners include Albert Uderzo, Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Joann Sfar and Moebius.Winshluss's Pinocchio won the Fauve d'Or, the festival's award for the best comic book of the past year. Winshluss, also known as Vincent Paronnaud, was co-director of the movie Persepolis.A full list of prizes awarded this year is available on the Angoulême website.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization that defends the First Amendment rights of comic creators, retailers and fans, will host a number of events at this year's New York Comic Con. The CBLDF will run a series of workshops aimed at aspiring comic writers and artists. Teachers include such notables as Jim Lee, Terry Moore and Brian Wood. Tickets to the workshops are still available online at the NYCC website on a limited basis. The annual Welcome Party will be held at The Side Bar and feature drinks, door prizes, free sliders for early arrivals and comic luminaries such as Dean Haspiel and Colleen Doran. The party will run from 7-10 p.m., February 5, and admission donations will be $5 and up to current CBLDF members and $10 and up to non-members. The Side Bar is located at 120 East 15th street, New York, NY, off Union Square. All proceeds of the workshops and the party will go to the defense fund.

PWCW Editors at NYCC
PW Comics Weekco-editors Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald will moderate several panels at the 2009 New York Comic Con. Reid will moderate “The PW Comics Week Comics Industry Panel: Selling Good Books in a Bad Economy.” Panelists will be Kuo-yu Liang of Diamond Comic Distributors, John Cunningham of DC Comics, Judith Hansen of the Hansen Literary Agency, Stu Levy, CEO of Tokyopop and James Killen, graphic novel buyer for Barnes and Noble. The panel will be held Friday, February 6; Panel Room 1 (1A06) at 12:45pm-1:45pm in the Javits Center.

MacDonald, known for her comics industry blog The Beat, will moderate a panel entitled “The Beat Presents The Art of Storytelling” with panelists Jim Lee and Marv Wolfman at 11:15 a.m. on February 8. MacDonald will serve as an interviewer as well, talking with Golden Age comic creator Lilly Renee Phillips at panel the “Lilly Renee Philips Spotlight” at 1:45 p.m. on February 8.

Reid will also moderate a panel during the afternoon session of the ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference on February 5, sponsored in part by Publishers Weekly. The panel is entitledLiterary Adaptations—Building on Success.” Panelists include Jennifer Besse of the Disney Book Group, Les Dabel of Dabel Brothers Productions, Betsy Mitchell of Del Rey Books and bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon. The panel will be held in room 1A03 on Thursday, February 5 at the Javits Center.

Way Hosts Fresh Ink Online
Umbrella Academy
creator and
My Chemical Romancelead singer Gerard Way is guest hosting this week in place of reviewer Blair Butler onG4 TV's Fresh Ink Onlinecomic book video blog show. In the ten minute segment, Way showcases several of his favorite comics including The New Frontier, Zombie World: Champion of the Worm and The Biologic Show.Gerard Way hosting Fresh Ink Online is available on the G4 TV website.

Whedon’s Dollhouse at NYCC
Joss Whedon, creator of the fan-favorite television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly, will be premiering the first act of the first episode of his upcoming show Dollhouse at New York Comic Con. The screening will be followed by a discussion session on the show led by Whedon. Dollhouse is a science fiction program about a group of people who have had their personalities erased in order to be temporarily imprinted with whatever self their clients request, enabling them to perform a wide variety of roles. The first episode of Dollhouse will air on Fox on February 13. The screening and panel will take place on Sunday, February 8 at 12:45 p.m. in the IGN theater at NYCC.

British Porn Laws Target Comics
The British government has enacted two anti-pornography laws that may, as a side effect, make many mainstream comics illegal. One, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, will make the possession of “extreme pornography” illegal. Films containing such content can be labeled with an official classification and sold legally, but printed matter covering similar material will be entirely banned. The other, the Coroners and Justice Bill, makes the possession of any image involving sexual activity and children illegal. Both laws consider drawn images and fictional images to be the equivalent of photography. In the legal definitions given, "extreme pornography" includes any image of sexual injury, and "images of children" includes any picture that might convey the impression "that the person shown is a child." Comic book retailers and fans in the U.K. have expressed concern that an excessive interpretation of the law might threaten mainstream comics. A kick to the groin, the staple of many a fictional fight scene, could be considered to be sexual violence. The large-eyed and highly stylized characters of some Japanese manga might be seen as young-looking enough to be considered illegal content.

MySpace Comics Lay-offs
The L.A. Weekly reported that the social networking site MySpace has laid-off a number of employees in their comics division. Myspace Comics has been the home of the acclaimed Myspace Darkhorse Presents free comics anthology series as well as such promotions as Boom! Studios making Hexed available free online. The layoffs are part of company-wide downsizing.

Graphic Novel Buyers Survey, New York Comic Con and BookExpo America are sponsoring an online survey of retailers, librarians and educators about graphic novels in order to better understand their needs. If you fall into any of these categories, the survey may be of interest to you.

Jerry Craft Children's Book
Comics artist Jerry Craft, creator of the syndicated comic strip Mama's Boyz, has illustrated the upcoming book Looking to the Clouds for Daddy by author Margo Candelario from S&S/Karen Hunter Media. Looking to the Clouds for Daddy is a children's book intended to help children deal with the grief of losing a parent. Mama's Boyz is known for its humorous and positive portrayal of African-American families.

Murder of Abraham Lincoln Reprint
The Murder of Abraham Lincoln, volume 7 of creator Rick Geary's graphic novel series A Treasury of Victorian Murder, will be reprinted by NBM in honor of Lincoln's 200th birthday. The book covers lesser known details of the assassination, including Booth's part in a larger and unsuccessful assassination plot and the federal manhunt for him and his co-conspirators.

Unlovable Book Launch; Exhibition
Artist and author Esther Pearl Watson's book Unlovable, with Watson's visual interpretations of the diary entries of the teenager Tammy Pierce, will be coming out from Fantagraphics Books on February 7. The launch party at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle will also double as an exhibition of Watson's art. Musical entertainment will be provided by Rusty Willoughby, currently of the group Llama, and formerly of Seattle bands Pure Joy and Flop. The event will be open to the public on Saturday, February 7 from 6:00 — 9:00 p.m. at 1201 S. Vale Street, Seattle, WA, in the Georgetown neighborhood.