|Venue||Radisson Hotel Pittsburgh ExpoMart (1994–2008)
Monroeville Convention Center (2009–present)
|Organized by||Comics World|
The Pittsburgh Comicon is a comic book convention held in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, United States, at the Monroeville Convention Center. It was founded in 1994 by Michael and Renee George. It is traditionally a three-day event (Friday through Sunday) and features a fan-friendly experience that allows the fans to interact with comic professionals at all levels.
Though it primarily focuses on comic books, the convention features a large range of pop culture elements, such as professional wrestling, science fiction/fantasy, film/television, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. Given Pittsburgh's connection to George A. Romero's zombie apocalypse films (with Romero's Dawn of the Dead being filmed in the Monroeville Mall), horror fans are also welcomed at the convention to meet and greet with the film's actors that regularly attend.
The show also makes a concerted effort to promote local-area talent and publishers. The show raises money for various charities; over the years the show has supported local literacy organizations, the Comic book Legal Defense Fund, local Food Banks, and has raised more than $250,000 for the Pittsburgh chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Windber, Pennsylvania-based comics retailers Michael and Renée George (proprietors of Comics World) staged the first Pittsburgh Comicon in April 1994 at the Radisson Hotel Pittsburgh ExpoMart in Monroeville. It was the first major show staged in Pittsburgh for the comic community since the 70's. From the beginning, a major focus for the show has been giving to charity, the Make-A-Wish Foundation in particular, which is the primary beneficiary of the Annual Comicon Auction.
The Pittsburgh Comicon hosted the Harvey Award ceremonies from 2000–2002, with Evan Dorkin serving as master of ceremonies. Jeff Smith was the keynote speaker of the 2000 awards. Superstar creator Frank Miller gave the keynote speech at the 2001 award ceremony in which he vilified the comic book speculating industry, in particular Wizard magazine. He ended his speech by tearing up a copy of Wizard. Tony Millionaire gave the keynote speech at the 2002 awards ceremony. In 2003, due to a cancellation from scheduled keynote speaker Neil Gaiman, funding shortages forced a cancellation of that year's Harvey Awards ceremony and banquet (which had also been scheduled for the Pittsburgh Comicon), although award-winners were still named.
The 2000 edition of the show raised $26,000 for the Pittsburgh chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The 2003 show raised $27,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The 2007 show raised $30,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and $5,000 for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
In 2009, the show moved from the defunct Pittsburgh ExpoMart to the new Monroeville Convention Center, welcoming Stan Lee as their guest of honor to inaugurate their first show in the new venue.
Dates and locations
|This section is missing information about attendance & guests. (November 2012)|
Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with comic book professionals, there are previews of upcoming feature films, portfolio review sessions with top comic book and video game companies, and such evening events as a costume contest, featuring dedicated cosplayers who put great effort into their costumes and props. Traditional events include gaming and hours of other programming on all aspects of comic books and pop culture.
One popular annual event is the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Quick-Sketch, which usually raises between $5,000 to $6,000 per show. Other charity events taking place during the Pittsburgh Comicon are the annual "Casino Night," and various drawings and donations from attendees. These events benefit such charities as The Hero Initiative and local food banks.
Like most comic-book conventions, the Pittsburgh Comicon features a large floorspace for exhibitors. These include media companies such as movie studios and TV networks, as well as comic-book dealers and collectibles merchants. Like most comics conventions, the Pittsburgh show includes an autograph area, as well as the Artists' Alley where comics artists can sign autographs and sell or do free sketches. Despite the name, Artists' Alley can include writers and even glamour models.
In 2008, show promoter Michael George was convicted of the 1990 murder of his first wife, Barbara George, in Macomb, Michigan. (After collecting a $130,000 insurance policy on Barbara, Michael married Renee and they relocated to the Pittsburgh area in 1992.) George was also convicted of filing false insurance claims of $12,600 in comic books supposedly stolen at the time of the murder. Michael George was sentenced to life in prison without parole. After the initial verdict was set aside in 2008, George was retried in 2011 and once again convicted of the crime.
Since George's conviction, his wife Renée has continued to run the convention.
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