Vermont Sci-Fi & Fantasy Expo: Next April

With Vermont Comic Con melted down, there’s been numerous questions for Vermont SF/F and comic fans: what will replace the event? A contender appears to be the Vermont Sci-Fi & Fantasy Expo, which will be put on by event outfit Vermont Gatherings,. It’ll be held next year on April 27th and 28th at the Champlain Valley Exposition.

The group just launched a website and Facebook Page for the convention, and describes it as an event that will host “authors, artists, gamers, cosplayers, fan organizations, comic enthusiasts, vehicle displays, prop makers, fight demos, vendors and much more.”

There’s no other details just yet, but it looks like it could easily fill the void left by VTCC, which ran for five years in Burlington and Barre. What’s more, Vermont Gatherings has a pretty good track record for these types of events, and has steadily added to their portfolio in recent years, encompassing the Vermont Renaissance Faire, the Vermont Living History & Militaria Expo, and the Vermont Steampunk Expo. Hopefully, it’ll put a priority on the local creators and groups in the area.

Vermont Gatherings isn’t the only group  eyeing the state: a Facebook page popped up for Vermont Pop-Culture Con, although no date has been announced as of yet.

Norwich University Writer’s Series: John Crowley

Norwich University has a major author stopping by today: John Crowley, who’s written books like Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, and others. The series was founded in 2012, and brings major authors to speak at the school about writing.

Crowley has written a number of SF/F works beginning in the 1970s, andKa: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr is his latest. I haven’t personally read it, but the friends of mine who have have raved about it.

Here’s what the book is about:

Dar Oakley—the first Crow in all of history with a name of his own—was born two thousand years ago. When a man learns his language, Dar finally gets the chance to tell his story. He begins his tale as a young man, and how he went down to the human underworld and got hold of the immortality meant for humans, long before Julius Caesar came into the Celtic lands; how he sailed West to America with the Irish monks searching for the Paradise of the Saints; and how he continuously went down into the land of the dead and returned. Through his adventures in Ka, the realm of Crows, and around the world, he found secrets that could change the humans’ entire way of life—and now may be the time to finally reveal them.

Crowley will be speaking at the Chaplin Hall Gallery at 4PM on Norwich’s Northfield campus. The event is free and open to the public.

 

Tolkien in Vermont Conference 2019: Horror in Middle Earth

The University of Vermont has announced the 16th annual Tolkien at UVM conference. Run by Christopher Vaccaro, it’s a small academic conference devoted to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. This year’s conference is titled Tolkien and Horror, and will be held on April 6th, 2019.

The conference is currently accepting abstracts and session proposals (those re due by January 15th, 2019), and this year’s keynote speaker will be Professor Yvette Kisor of Ramapo College.

Details / RSVP can be found on Facebook.

Vermont Comic Con is ending

In a Facebook Live video this afternoon, Jason Moulton and his partner Natasha Durand announced that they were retiring from the convention business, and that there won’t be a Vermont Comic Con in 2019. “Effective as of the show, we had to make a decision, and the long and short of it is, we’re going to retire.”

A 2019 Vermont Comic Con and Green Mountain Comic Expo had not been announced.

“The difficult part of that is the fans,” he said. “We really have done a lot of soul searching, and we’ve done a lot of debating over the last few months, and we really felt the need to move on with our personal lives — you don’t have a personal life when you’re a promoter.” Durand said that “while Vermont Comic Con and our other shows are definitely coming to an end,” they will remain part of the convention world, and that stepping back will allow them to pursue other interests, like writing comics, and a “memoir of his time as a promoter.”

Moulton founded Vermont Comic Con in 2013, holding the inaugural event in Burlington for four out of the five years. In recent years, he’s expanded his range of shows to include the Green Mountain Comic Expo and Vermont Horror Con, which was held in 2017 and 2018 in Barre.

In recent years, however, a number of groups, stores, guests, and individuals began skipping the show, citing problems with the con’s management and volunteers. Last year, Moulton announced that Vermont Comic Con would move to Barre’s Civic Center, citing lower costs and flexibility as opposed to its former Burlington location. The pair heavily promoted the show this year, hoping that its more central location would bring in more people from around Vermont, but it seems that this year’s convention didn’t pull in the traffic that was needed for it to continue.

What this means for Vermont Comic Con isn’t clear, but Moulton’s outfit isn’t the only group that hosts Geek-related conventions and events in the state. Vermont Gatherings hosts the Vermont Renaissance Faire, the Vermont Living History & Militaria Expo, the Vermont Steampunk Expo, and others, while Springfield Vermont has hosted the Springfield Steampunk Festival in recent years. There’s also the long-running Bakuretsu anime convention, which will be held in October in Colchester.

This weekend: The Vermont Living History & Militaria Expo

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, head over to the Champlain Valley exposition: it’s hosting the first Vermont Living History & Militaria Expo, showcasing reenactors, museums historians, collectors, and more. The event will take place today and tomorrow between 10AM and 5PM.

Vermont Gatherings is the outfit behind it: they’re the ones who produced the Vermont Renaissance Faire, Winter Renaissance Faire, and Vermont Steampunk Expo. There aren’t many reenactment showcases here in Vermont, so if you’re interested at all in military history, this could be the place to go.

Tickets range from free (kids under 6) to $25.

Make-A-Wish fundraiser: Witches, Wizards, & Wishes!

Vermont’s Make-A-Wish is partnering with the Vermont Teddy Bear factory in Shelburne for an upcoming fundraiser:, which will take place on October 27th: Witches, Wizards & Wishes.

The organization is working to raise $40,000, and they’re more than halfway to their goal now. Here’s the details:

Join us for Witches, Wizards & Wishes 2018 – a Make-A-Wish® fundraiser that celebrates the Vermont wishes that have already been granted, while raising funds for future wishes. It’s a family-friendly event powered by wish families, volunteers, donors and friends.

Visit us at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory in Shelburne for a family-friendly, autumn festival! Register your team, invite friends and family, and take part in a 5K walk, Hyperfocus Art face-painting, Big Blue Trunk games, and many craft activity booths! The Dairy Center will cater lunch and DoughBro will have cider donuts! All attendees are welcome to participate in VT Teddy Bear Factory tours and costume contests. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome, and costumes are encouraged for them as well!

We ask all registrants coming to the event to raise a minimum of $100 to gain admittance. Attendees who do not raise the minimum amount will be charged $10 per person, in order to participate in all activities. We encourage all participants to fundraise for wishes!

By participating and fundraising, you help bring the life-changing impact of a wish to children in our community who are battling life-threatening medical conditions. A wish experience can truly change a child’s life, and you can help.

Encourage friends and family to support your team and help support Vermont’s Wish Kids! Prizes will be awarded to top fundraisers and the best costumes. Registration provides lunch, access to all activities and Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.

Tickets can be found here.

Jason Lutes’ Berlin and tour


Vermont cartoonist Jason Lutes recently released his new book: Berlin, a massive compilation of his long-running cartoon.

Here’s what it’s about:

Twenty years in the making, this sweeping masterpiece charts Berlin through the rise of Nazism

During the past two decades, Jason Lutes has quietly created one of the masterworks of the graphic novel golden age. Serialized in twenty-two issues, collected in two volumes, with a third to be co-released at the time of this omnibus, Berlinhas over 100,000 in print. Berlin will be one of the high-water marks of the medium: rich in its researched historical detail; compassionate in its character studies; and as timely as ever in its depiction of a society slowly awakening to the stranglehold of fascism.

Berlin is an intricate look at the fall of the Weimar Republic through the eyes of its citizens—Marthe Müller: a young woman escaping the memory of a brother killed in World War One; Kurt Severing: an idealistic journalist losing faith in the printed word as fascism and extremism take hold; the Brauns: a family torn apart by poverty and politics. Lutes weaves these characters’ lives into the larger fabric of a city slowly ripping apart.

The city itself is the central protagonist in this historical fiction. Lavish salons, crumbling sidewalks, dusty attics, and train stations: all these places come alive in Lutes’ masterful hand. Weimar Berlin was the world’s metropolis, where intellectualism, creativity, and sensuous liberal values thrived, and Lutes maps its tragic, inevitable decline. Devastatingly relevant and beautifully told, Berlin is one of the great epics of the comics medium.

 

Lutes has a busy tour ahead of him to support the book, and he’ll be stopping in Maryland,Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Quebec, Texas, Washington, and Vermont. Here’s where you can find him here:

  • The Center for Cartoon Studies
    Thursday, October 4, 2018 – 5:00pm
  • Phoenix Books Rutland
    Tuesday, October 9, 2018 – 6:30pm
  • Vermont Book Shop
    Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – 6:00pm
  • Phoenix Books Essex & Burlington
    Thursday, October 18, 2018 – 7:00pm

Upcoming event: Cyber Warfare discussion w/ NYT’s David Sanger

This is an event that looks really intriguing: the Vermont Humanities Council and the Brownell Library will be hosting New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger, who will discuss a cyber warfare.

The event will take place on October 17th at 5:00PM at UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel.

New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger describes America’s move to using cyber warfare as a key part of its arsenal. Examining its impact on both defense strategy and civil liberties, he argues that over-classification is not only impeding our understanding of government actions but also hurting American national security.

Details.

Vermont Comic Con debuts in Barre this weekend

Now in its fifth year, Vermont Comic Con is making a big change: it’s debuting in Barre for the first time, after it was founded and ran for four years in Burlington’s Hilton. It’ll run this weekend on September 15th and 16th at Barre’s Civic Center.

The con, run by Moulton Conventions, follows the Green Mountain Comic Expo, which has run for the last couple of years in the Civic Center. Speaking with the Times Argus, Jason Moulton notes that he sees the center as the long-term home, and that the central location makes it a bit closer for people coming in from around the state.

This year’s show will feature a variety of comic artists, actors and personalities, as well as a lineup of panel discussions, gaming sessions and a cosplay contest. Tickets are $30 for the weekend, $20 for Saturday or Sunday, while kids under 7 can be admitted for free.