I wanted to show you all the art print I recently colored. I created a black-and-white line art version of this print for CONvergence 2014, to commemorate the radio play that Greg Weisman wrote then produced entirely at the convention. But I just colored it this month. This is the very first time it’s been colored.
And here’s a recording of the radio play, “Recruits”. It is a mashup of Young Justice, Gargoyles, and The Spectacular Spider-Man. and it features CONvergence 2014 Guest of Honor Marina Sirtis.
Why am I sharing these things? Well…
Most of you know that way back in 1999 I helped start a science fiction convention here in Minnesota called CONvergence. (Yes I have a second career as a con runner in addition to my career as a comic book artist.) Many years later the convention is still going strong with 6-7,000 annual attendees. One of our favorite repeat guests at CONvergence is Greg Weisman, among other things, creator of Disney’s Gargoyles, producer and writer for The Spectacular Spider-man, Star Wars: Rebels, Young Justice, and, of course, my collaborator on DC’s Young Justice comic book. Beyond Greg’s impressive list of writing and producing credits, he always makes a great convention guest because he’s a great talker and great panelist – great both in terms of quality and quantity. No guest ever does more panels at our convention than Greg Weisman does. (Seriously, he’s broken records.)
So, some of us are trying to bring Greg Weisman back to CONvergence this year. How, you ask? Well, he’s been good enough to volunteer to be our guinea pig for a new program CONvergence is piloting called “Fan-Featured Guests” – guests brought in by an outside group with approval from and working directly with the CONvergence Guests of Honor Department.
The funding for bringing in a Fan-Featured Guest is provided entirely by the group bringing the guest and can be crowdfunded, fund raised, or privately donated. This means that the budget to have Greg as a guest at CONvergence 2016 isn’t coming from the convention budget, but rather from a third party – in this case, a crowd-funding campaign that Hal and I are running. As of right now, it’s 70% funded!
I’d particularly love to see Greg back as a guest at CONvergence this year because Khary Payton (the voice of Aqualad on Young Justice and Cyborg on Teen Titans) will be a Guest of Honor as well. (And strangely enough, so will I! After having been a guest at most of the other sci-fi and comics conventions here in Minnesota, I’m finally going to be a guest at the convention I helped start. It’s a little surreal. But I’d love to have TWO members of the Young Justice family there with me to join in the fun.)
The last time Greg was a guest at CONvergence in 2014 he wrote and produced the radio play at the beginning of this post – a mash-up of three of his TV shows: Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-man, and Young Justice. Marina Sirtis was also a Guest of Honor at CONvergence that year and she provided the voices of her characters Demona from Gargoyles and Queen Bee from Young Justice. The rest of the characters were cast from volunteer attendees of the convention, during the convention. I wasn’t kidding when I said Greg produced the play at the con. He held auditions and everything. I mean, this was a hell of a thing.
Greg has said that if he returns to CONvergence this year, he’ll write and produce another radio play, and this time we’ll have Khary Payton to lead another cast of fan volunteers. I would do a new art print to commemorate the new play as well.
You can probably tell where I’m going with this. I’m inviting you to contribute to help bring Greg Weisman as a guest to CONvergence 2016. We have a number of rewards for various contribution amounts, including the new color version of the 2014 radio play print. I’ve also donated copies of prints I’ve done based on Young Justice and on Greg’s novel and audio play Rain of The Ghosts, which will be signed by both Greg and myself. Those prints can be picked up at the convention or mailed out if you are unable to attend.
Hold the phone. Why would you support the campaign if you are unable to attend?
Well… Some of the rewards are things like Khary Payton (Aqualad, Cyborg) recording a custom greeting for your voicemail. You could have Greg Weisman or me do one too, but if it was ME I’d want the Khary Payton option. Or you could have one of the art prints mailed to you. On top of that, the radio play will be recorded and made publicly available after the convention, so that’s a new, original production by Greg Weisman for everyone.
Also, if you don’t want “Black Manta’s Celebrity Hot Tub” to be a real thing, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Because it will definitely be a real thing if we can get Greg Weisman to CONvergence 2016.
And please share this with your friends. Together maybe we can all give this effort the last push it needs!