Boston Comic Con has been rescheduled for this weekend, August 3-4, at The Seaport World Trade Center. Founder Nick Kanieff joins us for the epic conclusion of our two part interview (Part One HERE) about the challenges of moving this great independent comic book show and the incredible growth Boston Con has seen since its first years.
The Boston comics community was looking forward to the show in April, and now are even more ready to get together this summer as a celebration of comic books and pop culture at the rescheduled date and venue.
DIGBOSTON: We have portfolio reviews, cosplay contests. Is there anything you are looking forward to as an event organizer?
NICK KANIEFF: The ongoing joke is that as the organizer I never get to enjoy my own show. I’m really excited this year about the original art auction. We had our first art auction last year and a portion of the proceeds goes to the Mike Wieringo Foundation, a scholarship for aspiring comic book artists to attend a program at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Our first art auction was very successful.
This year we are still donating to that particular charity and we are also donating to The One Fund.
Once we put that out there to the artist’s community, the support was overwhelming. People that would not normally donate to an art auction—there aren’t that many of them in the comic book convention world (Heroes Con, Baltimore Comic Con, and us)—probably because we are the three conventions that are considered more comic book purist and comic art driven shows. Mike Mignola (Hellboy) said “I am putting a piece of original art at your auction.” That’s gigantic. Mike Mignola’s huge and his art goes for tons of money. Everybody is stepping up to the plate, so I have a feeling the art auction is particularly huge this year.
We have the costume contest, every year that gets bigger and bigger and bigger. The cosplay community keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
I’ve been to Anime Boston and I scratch my head because it’s all cosplay. It’s a social event. There’s not a lot going on, but it is a huge social event.
It’s mindblowing to me how big the cosplay community really is. That’s always exciting. We have IDW showing up as a publisher this year. That’s pretty cool. We’ve got a Magic the Gathering tournament going on.
DC Comics and IDW will be doing portfolio reviews for you aspiring comic book artists out there. We’ve got our exclusive Boston Comic Con t-shirt by Tim Sale. We have our exclusive My Little Pony Boston Comic Con variant comic (Agnes Garbowska) – limited to 1000 copies.
Of course we have cool celebrity guests coming, Laurie Holden (Walking Dead), True Blood’s Kristin Bauer. People seem to be going ga-ga over our two Hobbit guests, Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman (Kili and Fili in The Hobbit). Especially, the lady fans are going nuts.
Of course we have vendors from all over the country selling new and old comic books and toys and posters and collectibles. There’s a great assortment of comic creators from George Perez to Mike Mignola to Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodrigues—the co-creators of Locke & Key, which is an independent comic set in Boston that was just optioned for a feature film.
Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodrigues only do one comic book convention a year, and that’s San Diego. They both did not go to San Diego this year and tweeted out to all of their fans they were headed to Boston over San Diego.
Do you feel like Boston Comic Con, to parallel this to the comic book industry itself, do you feel like an indie publisher? Do you feel like you are an Image Comics as opposed to San Diego and New York being the bigger shows that are more like Marvel and DC?
That’s a really good analogy and I never thought of it that way but I think you are right. Again, we try to set ourselves as a comic book purist show. Originally, I wanted to bring back the magic of the old school comic book convention. You’ve seen that disappear quite a bit. The fans have spoken with wanting celebrity guests, which is new for us, but I have made the strategic decision this will remain a core comic book convention, comic art driven show, and the celebrity guests that I bring in will be a compliment.
I’m not going to bring in 30 B-Level celebrity guests and turn this into a nostalgia show. You aren’t going to see The Brady Bunch cast at Boston Comic Con.
You aren’t going to see wrestlers, strippers, Playboy Bunnies. What we bring in will be main cast members from TV shows and movies in the following related genres: Comic Books, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Horror. That is it.
We’re bringing in a main cast member from Walking Dead and True Blood, we’re bringing in main cast members from The Hobbit. I’ll probably limit to a half a dozen celebrity guests a year tops. They will be the cream of the crop, and will be related to the theme.
We are like the Image, the IDW, hopefully in the next couple of years we’ll be Dark Horse. Will we ever be as big as San Diego or New York? In my dreams, yes. Highly unlikely. San Diego, as you are probably aware, they bring in 300,000 people, it’s a week long event. The reason it becomes that large is that Hollywood has taken it over. It is really not a comic book convention per se, but a media show.
You need to have that ‘One’ touchstone.
That’s the big one, that’s where the deals are made, that’s the Hollywood show. That’s where you see Robert Downey, Jr., Christian Bale. You aren’t going to see celebrities like that at anywhere else but SDCC.
New York is the second biggest show in the country and it is still at third of the size.
Would I like to be #3? Sure! I’ll attempt to keep Boston on the map without compromising the quality or integrity of the show.
We’ll continue to stick to our vision and our mantra.
When I was a kid, comic books were an underground thing. Now, because of the movie industry, they are mainstream. They are in everyone’s household. Everyone knows the characters. If I had said to the regular person on the street five or six years ago, “Who’s Iron Man?”, they would have said, “What are you talking about?”.
Now their kids have Iron Man swimsuits at the pool!
Now Iron Man, Captain America and Thor are household names. Ten years ago, the average Joe on the street knew Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and maybe Spider-Man.
These movies keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Disney acquired Marvel and have a huge marketing machine behind them. As you know, Time Warner owns DC. This is big big big business. There are more and more and more and more fans. You take these characters, they have an animated TV show, a live action feature film, video games, toys, it never ends. These are huge franchises, a giant money making machine.
Comic books are mainstream now.
Maybe you have a better answer for my friend. Can kids come?
Absolutely, this is a family show. Kids under the age of 10 get in free. There is nothing risqué or in bad taste or offensive to children. Our programming is all family related.
Families should bring their kids and kids should partake in the costume contest.
Every year, we have tons of kids in costume, and we have special prizes for the kids.
Tickets still available online, you can buy them at the door, you may have to wait in line.
This is a reminder we are at the Seaport Trade Center on Saturday and Sunday!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT … PART ONE HERE: EARTH PRIME TIME: BOSTON COMIC CON WITH NICK KANIEFF (PART 1)
Boston Comic Con!
New Location – Seaport World Trade Center. SAT August 3 and Sunday August 4
SAT 8/3 – LUCKY’S LOUNGE (6-9PM):
LeaguePodcast Boston Comic Con After-Party 4.1
Thanks to you from your pals at DigBoston, LeaguePodcast, Forces of Geek and Boston Comic Con.
League of Ordinary Gentlemen Podcast #160 —”The Party-Prep Podcast!”
Josh and Dursin gather in Josh’s living room to get ready for Boston Comic-Con, and our after-party! Plus, The Wolverine, Age of Ultron, and we talk in high voices. How can you not listen?
Direct Download / Mp3 Stream (opens in new window).
[TUESDAY 8.6.13 | MIDDLE EAST UPSTAIRS
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