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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Third annual Tucson Comic Con

    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Fuzzy Face Comics John Chihak is at The Hotel Arizona for Tucsons 2009 Comic Con. Between talking to guests of the convention and conferring with his associates, he keeps the creativity flowing by making comic character sketches at his booth.
    Alan Walsh
    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Fuzzy Face Comics’ John Chihak is at The Hotel Arizona for Tucson’s 2009 Comic Con. Between talking to guests of the convention and conferring with his associates, he keeps the creativity flowing by making comic character sketches at his booth.

    As Tucson Comic Con returns to Hotel Arizona for its third year this Saturday, it is difficult to imagine that the event might have been called “”Wizard World Tucson.””

    Convention director Mike Olivares said that after its first year, Wizard World contacted him with an offer to purchase the convention.

    “”They would have picked up the tab, paid for the promotions … Basically, I think it was just to test the waters, test the market for conventions in Arizona,”” Olivares said.

    Wizard World handles the funding and logistics for more than a dozen comic book and pop culture conventions throughout North America. It is part of Wizard Entertainment, a New York-based media company that publishes Wizard Magazine and Toyfare Magazine.

    “”The one enticing thing about that (offer) was that you would have a booth at any Wizard World in the United States and in Canada,”” Olivares said.

    Olivares would have been able to send comic book creators to the company’s conventions to promote their products. Wizard Entertainment also would have advertised the Tucson event in its national and international publications.

    Despite the financial security Wizard World would have provided, Olivares declined the offer.

    After last year’s event, the company approached him again with an offer to purchase the convention. This time, Olivares sought advice from convention organizers, friends and his wife, Teresita. He ultimately declined the offer again.

    “”It just went against everything I felt that I didn’t want to do for a comic book convention,”” Olivares said. “”I think any other sane person would have taken the money, but I just couldn’t do it.””

    Wizard World programs many of its conventions around TV and movie actors, some of whom may or may not be involved in comic book-related projects. Olivares wanted to keep Tucson Comic Con’s focus primarily on comic books, their creators and their readers.

    “”I just want a big room of creators and people who love comic books — a big hangout session,”” Olivares said. “”Those are my celebrities: writers, artists and just anybody that is participating.””

    Tucson Comic Con guests this year include “”Red Meat”” cartoonist Max Cannon, Arizona Daily Star political cartoonist David Fitzsimmons and John Layman, a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award winner and writer of the New York Times bestseller “”Chew.””

    This year, the convention will hold panels on different aspects of creating comic books, from writing to production.

    Despite his own doubts about declining Wizard World’s offers, Olivares said plans for Tucson Comic Con next year are set. The convention would move to the Tucson Convention Center, which might result in admission fees, and the event might last for two days instead of one day.

    A prelude to the event is the one-night Tucson premiere of “”Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods”” at The Screening Room, near the corner of East Congress Street and North Sixth Street. The documentary looks at the life of the Scottish writer of “”All-Star Superman”” and “”Batman & Robin.”” The screening is Friday at 8 p.m. and admission is $6.

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