Shamus invades New England!

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Gareb Shamus has purchased another convention, the New England Con in Boston. According to the PR, it’s a 35-year-old show run by Larry Harrison, owner of Harrison’s Comics & Collectibles, and Jimmy Tournas and dates will be announced.

Given Shamus’s recent track record of aggressive competition with existing shows, it would seem the move to Boston enters a rather low-key market. But a Google check of the principals raises more questions than it answers.

A search for “new england comic con” and Larry Harrison yields almost no results. Dig around a little and you get a “North East Comicon” site run by Harrison’s Comics which looks to be a modest one-day hotel/dealer show set for January 10 with Ethan Van Sciver as a guest.

Adding to the confusion, there’s a listing for the Boston Comics Spectacular which announces

THE BOSTON COMIC SPECTACULAR IS NOW The New England Comic Con – Boston’s Longest running show gets a new promoter and a new name! http://www.necomiccon.com/ .

The Boston Comic Spectacular shows a previous event in September, again with Van Sciver.

There is also an existing Boston Comicon, with the next event set for April. The last one was held in October, to some local interest.

No matter what this show’s pedigree and provenance, it is NOT Shamus’s first foray into Beantown: A Wizard World Boston was held in 2005, to what most attendees thought was a very, very disappointing turnout. (At the time, the Sunday of the show was described to us as “The slowest day I’ve ever seen.”)  A second WW Boston, planned fro 2006, was canceled.

Is this going to be another battlefront in Con Wars? What event is Shamus going to plan THIS confab against? It could go up against the same weekend as Reed’s Pax East, also held in Boston, but Shamus already planned his own Toronto Comic-Con against that. DEVELOPING, Hell yeah! Complete PR in the jump.



Gareb Shamus, CEO of New York based Wizard Entertainment, announces today that he has purchased New England Comic Con, in a move to further expand the Wizard World Comic Con tour.

“We’ve known Larry for many years, and his exceptional 35-year old New England Comic Con gets us into Boston in a big way. New England has a long legacy of cartoons and comics embedded in their history, making the fans there very appreciative of comics’ impact on society and pop culture,” said Shamus. “I’m excited to bring these discerning fans an even better Con experience and everything they expect from a Wizard run show.”

Larry Harrison, owner of Harrison’s Comics & Collectibles, and Jimmy Tournas, the former owners of New England Comic Con, will be intimately involved in the new show production to ensure fan favorite traditions are maintained.

“Working with Gareb is an awesome experience. The folks at Wizard World have a great sense of how to grow the show in a way that I’ve always wanted to see it flourish. This should be the best comic con the city of Boston has ever seen,” said Harrison.

The New England Comic Con acquisition is the first of several Comic Con tour expansion announcements expected in the weeks ahead.

“We bring together more fans, in more cities than anyone, to celebrate their passion for pop-culture. We’ve had such a strong positive fan and industry reaction to our new show launches that expanding the tour just made sense,” said Shamus.

New England Comic Con venue and dates will be announced soon.

Comments

  1. I’ve been to a few of these. They were always more “semi-regular local hotel show with a few guests” than actual con. And interesting that Shamus would try to go into Boston again, considering how Wizard World Boston went over like a lead balloon.

  2. Sean Walsh says:

    A local store (in northern MA, near NH) called Monkeyhouse Entertainment ran the Boston Comic Book Show Spectacular for many years. They also ran a series of comic shows out in western MA and also in CT too, not to mention a record/music collectibles show (usually in the same space as the comic shows). It’s a rather small show – it’s been on the 4th floor of the Boston Radisson for several years now, mostly comic vendors with few guests (although more local folks and 1 or 2 name guests have appeared in the last couple years).

    Harrison’s (a local chain store – well, they have 2 locations I’m aware of just north of Boston) came in earlier this year and bought the comic show portion. They’ve run 1 or 2 shows as far as I recall. And now Gareb’s apparently bought them.

    The Boston Comic-Con is run by another local store – Bedrock Comics – and has nothing to do with this one. Oddly enough, they’ve operated as a much larger show than the Spectacular – many name guests & local artists at each show, much larger space. They’re moving to a larger one next year, their top guest is Jim Lee.

  3. Rich Johnston says:
  4. Sean Walsh says:

    ^^ That’s apparently the one. (6th floor, not 4th, whoops) It’s gonna be a helluva expansion – from a hotel ballroom to a full-fledged WizardWorld-esque event.

  5. Alan Coil says:

    Does anybody remember Great Eastern Conventions?

    Does anybody remember the dodo?

    In 5 years, will anybody remember Shameless Conventions?

  6. I bet he could buy the Las Vegas Extrosion!

  7. Jroug says:

    This is the longest running show in Boston, originally called the Sunday Funnies and run by Don Phelps. It has only been owned by Harrison for only one show; he purchased it from Monkeyhouse, who were running it into the ground after physical altercations with dealers, which in turn drove away other dealers.

    Smooth move on Harrison’s part, not sure about Gareb. This is starting to have the same vibe of Vince McMahon Jr invading local territories and setting up a national circuit (look it up).

    If Wizard can lock up publishers and guests as exclusives, he may have a business. As others have pointed out the WW Boston was a spectacular disaster and he’s going to need to go all out to prevent it from happening again, esp in light of the Boston Comic-Cons, which appear to have been doing nicely.

  8. Just to reiterate what Heidi said in her article, Boston Comic Con is a totally separate entity from New England (or North East) Comic Con and is in no way affliated with Gareb Shamus or Wizard Entertainment.

  9. Torsten Adair says:

    Boston is a regional metropolis with a large college population. It should be able to support a comic con of some sort.

    Instead of creating a brand and then finding locales (Wizard World), Shamus is now buying locales and confederating them with a unified trade dress.

    Of course, it’s not too difficult to create a dealer show like this… high schools have done it in the past. Of course, if participants are not happy, then future shows are troubled.

    As I have said of Big Apple, Shamus would be smart to host these shows in a hotel, which provides: a visible venue; heating, air conditioning, carpeting; accomodation for guests; affordable labor; cachet. If the show outgrows the largest hotel space, hotels can be clustered (Dragon*Con) or moved to a convention center (San Diego).

    This is a growing market. If a city can support a regional science fiction convention, it can support a comic con. (The lines are blurring, or have been for years.) New Yorkers and Angelinos may be jaded over a B-List celebrity. Middle-market America will pay $25 to gawk and fawn.

    Creation Con is still in business… running themed shows in certain cities. That seems to be Shamus’ competition, not the big Cons.

  10. The Beat says:

    Yes Rich, the same page I linked to. Thanks for repeating it.

    Sheesh.

  11. The Boston Spectacular was phelps then Greenberg and so on . The Wizard show , Once a year will be Wizard New England comic con. Wizard has partnered up just for one show a year.

    The spectacular will now be North East Comic-con (1 day show). Both seperate both seperate from the Boston Comic con and Wizard show.

    Hopefully all shows will go off smoothly, and make fans happy to be in Boston.

    I agree about the B-list, in Boston it may not be to good for a show.

    Jim

  12. ephraim says:

    Rich—shouldn’t you point out that you have been employed by Shamus whenever you comment in any way about Wizard?

  13. If I had been employed by Shamus I promised I would say so. As it is, I got my travel and hotel paid for for Big Apple and entry to the show.

    Basically I got to go to the show free. But I was never employed by Shamus or Wizard.

  14. ephraim says:

    “I was never employed by Shamus or Wizard. ”

    you just received goods for services rendered

    thanks for clarifying!

  15. Nat – please don’t get into that whole Las Vegas can support a comic book convention argument again.

    ~

    Coat

  16. Ephraim,

    No more than any other press attending. I know a number got free entry. Just my free entry cost a little more!

  17. According to some of my sources, we have not yet gotten the whole story on this “plan.” I feel this has the potential to hurt the comic book fandom in Boston and nearby localities than help them.

    Here’s what I know thus far:
    http://captionbox.net/loosepages/?p=610

  18. Lewis, whoever he is, has nothing but innuendo and rumours. Things will be clear soon enough.

  19. Lewis, whoever he is, has not a clue. Things will be clear soon enough.

  20. Lewis, whoever he is, has not a clue. Things will be clear soon enough.

  21. Basically, to sum up what has already been said, and what I know from my sources:

    On paper, Wizard bought the New England Comiccon, and are expanding it. The previous owners are starting a new show, called the Northeast Comiccon.

    In PRACTICE, Wizard essentially only bought the NAME “New England Comiccon,” a name which was only used once when the show was changed from “Boston Pop Culture Spectacular.”

    Wizard is basically setting up a new show from scratch that will be the size and scale of the other Wizard Shows we are used to. It will use the newly aquired name, New England Comiccon.

    The previous owners’ “new” show is essentially the OLD show…but having sold it’s name and legacy, is now called the “Northeast Comiccon.” It will be in the same location, follow the same schedule, with the same venders, and basically be the same size it was before.

    End Result, Boston’s 2010 con season now looks like this:

    -Northeast Comiccon: Smallish bi-monthly con we’ve had for years with maybe 1-2 decent name guests…

    – New England Comiccon: Brand New Wizard-run, Large scale con in a convention center, lots of big names and media stars….

    – Boston Comiccon: Home grown convention, doubling in size from last year and featuring an IMPRESSIVE guest list including Jim Freakin Lee.

    As near as I can see…we now have a little of everything. It seems like a hell of a year to be a comicbook fan in Boston…

  22. HerbFinn says:

    Wen’t to Harrison’s NE comic Con yesterday and it was abssimal – worst than the last show – less than 150 people through the door,and half the regular dealers no-shows!

    They didn’t do the right promotion, didn’t send out any postcards to the mailing list from Primate Promotions,etc.

    SOME retailers SOULDN’T run comic shows! In 2 shows they killed a show that has run for 35+ years!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] When we ran the press release announcing the new New England Comic-Con last week, we were puzzled by one aspect of the acquisition by con impresario Gareb Shamus: namely that the show acquired had been running for 35 years. As revealed in the comments section and now a post by A. David Lewis, that’s because the show Shamus acquired was run only once by its current owners. Lewis lays out the facts and digs up all the scuttlebutt, as well: My sources (who at this time wish to remain nameless) say that Shamus, indeed, is taking part in the show run once by Harrison. That is not a typo: It wasn’t “once run” by Harrison but, rather, run only once by him. Prior to that, it was overseen by Monkeyhouse Entertainment/Primate Productions as “The Boston Comic Book & Toy Spectacular,” frequently taking place at the Boston Radisson. (Note the convenience of dropping the “& Toy” from its title.) This no-frills, recurring event passed to Harrison recently when its original show-runner alledgedly got into trouble with the authorities for assaulting a person. Moreover, attendance at the latest Spectacular was less than 200 people, putting Harrison et all in dire straights. [...]

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