Tag Archives: dragoncon

DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer Accused of Taking Picture of a 7-year old

DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer is in trouble again with the law and is accused of taking a picture of a 7-year-old in a doctor’s office.

Kramer is a convicted child molester and in the past was sentenced to five years of house arrests on three counts of child molestation. He was released in December. Due to his conviction and his being a sex offender, the photos are illegal.

Authorities are attempting to revoke his probation and he could be resentenced on his original conviction. He faces up to 55 years in prison.

Police found computers and storage devices in Kramer’s home and are going through them.

Kramer heads to court Thursday.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Sex Offender registry.

DragonCon Launches the Dragon Awards

DragonconlogoDragonCon is turning 30 this year and they’ve decided to launch a new award ceremony, the Dragon Award. The nominees were released this past Friday. The awards have a wide variety of categories, including comics, books, games, and more. The winners will be announced on September 5th at DragonCon.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

Best Science Fiction Novel

  • The Life Engineered, J-F. Dubeau (Sword & Laser)
  • Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Agent of the Imperium, Marc Miller (Far Future Enterprises)
  • Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
  • Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)

Best Fantasy Novel

  • Asteroid Made of Dragons, G. Derek Adams (Sword & Laser)
  • Blood Hound, James Osiris Baldwin (Gift Horse Productions)
  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher (Roc)
  • Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
  • Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Grave Measures, R.R. Virdi (Self-published)

Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

  • Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo (Holt)
  • Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
  • Steeplejack, A.J. Hartley (Tor Teen)
  • Trix and the Faerie Queen, Alethea Kontis (Self-published)
  • The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)
  • Carry On, Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Griffin)
  • Calamity, Brandon Sanderson (Delacorte)
  • Updraft, by Fran Wilde (Tor)

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

  • Blood in the Water, Taylor Anderson (Roc)
  • Chains of Command, Marko Kloos (47North)
  • Wrath of an Angry God, Gibson Michaels (Arc Flash)
  • Allies and Enemies: Fallen, Amy J. Murphy (Self-published)
  • The End of All Things, John Scalzi (Tor)
  • Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
  • The Price of Valor, Django Wexler (Roc)

Best Alternate History Novel

  • Germanica, Robert Conroy (Baen)
  • 1635: A Parcel of Rogues, Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis (Baen)
  • 1636: The Cardinal Virtues, Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt (Baen)
  • Deadlands: Ghostwalkers, Jonathan Maberry (Tor)
  • League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Bombs Away: The Hot War, Harry Turtledove (Del Rey)

Best Apocalyptic Novel

  • Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)
  • Chasing Freedom, Marina Fontaine (Self-published)
  • Dark Age, Felix O. Hartmann (Self-published)
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • The Desert and the Blade, S.M. Stirling (Roc)
  • A Time to Die, Mark Wandrey (Henchmen)

Best Horror Novel

  • Honor at Stake, Declan Finn (Caliburn)
  • Alice, Christina Henry (Ace)
  • An Unattractive Vampire, Jim McDoniel (Sword & Laser)
  • Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (Self-published)
  • Chapelwood, Cherie Priest (Roc)
  • Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Paul Tremblay (William Morrow)

Best Comic Book

  • Astro City
  • Civil War II
  • Daredevil
  • DC Universe: Rebirth
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Providence
  • Saga

Best Graphic Novel

  • The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
  • Chicago, Glenn Head (Fantagraphics)
  • March: Book Two, John Lewis & Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf Productions)
  • Virgil, Steve Orlando (Image)
  • Sacred Heart, Liz Suburbia (Fantagraphics)
  • Killing and Dying, Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

  • Daredevil
  • Doctor Who
  • The Expanse
  • The Flash
  • Game of Thrones
  • Jessica Jones
  • Outlander

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

  • Ant-Man
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Crimson Peak
  • Deadpool
  • The Martian
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

  • Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios
  • Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks
  • Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment
  • Undertale by Toby Fox
  • XCOM 2 by 2k Games

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

  • Quaser One by Emre Taskin
  • PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist by Outerminds Inc.
  • Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks
  • Hyper Burner by Patrick Cook
  • Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

  • Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games
  • Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Blood Rage by Cool Mini or Not
  • Talon by GMT Games
  • Monopoly: CTHULHU by USAopoly
  • Codenames by Vlaada Chvatil

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game

  • Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Flying Buffalo
  • Magic the Gathering: Shadows over Innistrad by Wizards of the Coast
  • Magic the Gathering: Battle of Zendikar by Wizards of the Coast
  • Mouse Guard 2nd Edition by David Petersen & Luke Crane
  • Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.
  • Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games

(via The Verge)

Disabled Gamers Among Us: A Look At Gaming Accessibility

AbleGamers Logo

AbleGamers Helps Those In Need.

Twenty percent of the video gaming market is alienated by most AAA titles out there. Twenty percent of the market is unable to play certain games; Not because of money, not because of lack of a console, but because of their accessibility. Twenty percent of gamers out there are disabled in some way.

Disability is anything that could prevent you from being accessible to doing something else. Inability to use a body part is fairly common, whether it’s use of a hand, legs, eyes, but even color blindness and Parkinson’s disease are other fairly common problems. Someone that wears glasses can even be considered disabled. A lot of these make several games out there very difficult for this twenty percent.

Everyone is susceptible to it, even later on in life, as aging can cause problems and disabilities. This is referred to as Temporarily Able Bodied, or TABs, as nearly everyone will eventually have a disability in life. Even minor inconveniences can occur earlier in life. For instance, I suffer from minor “tremors” in my hands that prevent me from playing most First Person Shooter Games on a normal keyboard and mouse. I have to use a controller to sustain my grip, as I have a problem double and triple clicking on a mouse.

I attended a panel on Disability in Gaming at DragonCon (in Atlanta, GA) a few weeks back with a great discussion on this issue. Mark Barlet, President of AbleGamers Foundation, was on the panel to discuss what they have been doing to help disabled gamers from a developer angle. Liz Prasad and Ben Jacobs from Tools For Life (at Georgia Tech) discussed the accommodations of proper tools and devices to help disabled gamers enjoy more games, where Laura Levy of Georgia Tech’s Psychology Department discussed the economics of need for this to be a pushed issue. Also in attendance, Chris Larson (Executive Producer at Hi-Rez Studios) and Daniel Fishman (Game Designer at Hi-Rez Studios) discussed their game SMITE and all of the accessibility features they bring to the table.

Mark (of AbleGamers) spends a lot of his time pairing up with developers of video games, discussing how the developers and publishers can maximize their market share among that percentage, as accessibility starts with software and development. Laura Levy agreed that there has to be a market need and necessity for disabled gamers to enjoy games the same way able-bodied gamers can, but it has to be cost effective. The problem with catering to disability is whether it’s profitable or not. If the developer loses money in the process, they would be less inclined to do it.

On the opposite end of the discussion, Chris and Daniel (of Hi-Rez Studios) discussed their newest game, SMITE. SMITE is a MOBA-style game, similar to League of Legends and DOTA 2, that utilizes deities and gods from all different religions and faiths; So, a match featuring Zeus, Odin, and Ra would be fairly common in this game. SMITE features several functions that would cater to disability and accessibility. Chris explained he is color blind, and this can prove to be disastrous in a game like SMITE. Allies’ tags are colored green, where enemies are colored red, which makes it very difficult to play for someone with this quirk. A special screen overlay is available for their game that caters to color blindness, boosting colors and hues, helping visibility.

Not all of their accessibility tools cater only to disability. Many gamers want the option to re-map their controls or change the heads-up display or mini-map. SMITE allows for these functions, and many games out there are following suit. Customization is key among all gamers, not just those with special needs. Closed Captioning is really for the hard of hearing and language barriers, but many gamers utilize it as subtitles for everyday use. SMITE, among many others, allow for a mini-map to become larger, or move to a different part of the HUD.

Liz and Ben (of Tools For Life) discussed devices and options that can be used to help aid against the problems disabled gamers face. Several manufacturers cater to this market, such as Evil Controllers and the Quad Stick. Sony’s own Playstation 4 now even gives accessibility options, such as remapping buttons. Left-handed mice are available from Razer and Corsair, for those that need it. They discussed other thoughts on virtual reality, such as the Oculus VR and even Google Cardboard. Haptics and feedback can be paired with touch screens and tablets, or even the virtual reality, to immerse both able-bodied and disabled gamers alike.

Mark Barlet, President of AbleGamers

Mark Barlet, President of AbleGamers

Mark’s non-profit company, AbleGamers Foundation, helps find other ways for disability and inconvenience. When asked what impact the AbleGamers has really had, Mark responded, “Before we came along, no one was really putting any real world work into these challenges. It was all academic and rarely made it out of the classroom.” He explained that he helps to make sure the structure and groundwork within games allows for more players with disabilities to enjoy these games just as much as an able-bodied person can. Mark also pointed out there is a 48-page document, written by AbleGamers, readily available for free, called Includification.com, that game developers can use to make their games more accessible (or as he puts it, “a total guide for how to include more people.”). “It is easy to include basic accessibility,” he added. “Just do good game design.”

Those with disability can request a grant to help them obtain tools to make their lives better from AbleGamers’ website, ablegamers.com, or if you are not approved for the grant, they can get you in contact with the manufacturers and vendors that sell the peripherals to help better your life. The AbleGamers Fellowship, on the other hand, is a new cause that awards two $10K scholarships to disabled gamers in need. The resources are there.

Twenty percent of the gaming market can’t play many of new games out there. That twenty percent would really like to, though. Accessibility is a need and necessity in this day and age that developers need to stop avoiding.

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic day tomorrow! What are folks looking forward to checking out?

Around the Tubes

The Mary Sue – DragonCon Co-Founder Ed Kramer Pleads Guilty To Molestation Charges, Is Sentenced – Ok then.

Comic Vine – CW Allegedly Working on Live Action Young Justice Show – Could be cool.

BBC News – What’s up, Doc? How comic strips are improving bedside manner – Cool to see.

Houston Chronicle – Film on black stereotypes in comic books to be screened Dec. 19 – This could be cool to see.

Kotaku – If Batman Were Broke – Ha.


Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Indestructible Hulk #16

CBR – Thief of Thieves #18

Aspen Heads to Dragon Con 2013 With an Aquarium Beach Party

In celebration of their tenth anniversary and Fathom’s 15th Anniversary, Aspen Comics in association with Dragon Con 2013 will be hosting an Aspen Comics Beach Party at the landmark Georgia Aquarium on Saturday, August 31st. Featuring DJ Spider, an Aspen-themed costume contest, and a special live dive with the whale sharks by the creators behind Fathom, Soulfire and other notable Aspen hits, this is a one-of-a-kind night to commemorate ten years of Aspen Comics at Dragon Con.

Aspen creators Frank Mastromauro, Peter Steigerwald, Siya Oum, Alex Konat and Jordan Gunderson will be appearing at the Aspen Comics Booth in Artist’s Alley as well as the Aspen Comics Beach Party, and offering new Dragon Con 2013 exclusives as well as free sketches and live cosplay photo ops throughout the weekend.

In addition to the special Beach Party event and booth appearances, the publisher will be offering three new exclusive books for the show, beginning with the world premiere of their seventh “10 for 10” title, Overtaken, with a special issue one Dragon Con 2013 cover by Siya Oum, limited to 200 copies. Also, Aspen will be offering an All New Fathom #2 Dragon Con 2013 exclusive cover by Alex Konat and Peter Steigerwald, limited to 200 copies.

Aspen will also be offering the latest Aspen Tour Print 2013 Anniversary Edition by Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald, limited to 75 editions, as well as a new lineup of their industry-leading art prints.

The Aspen Comics Booth in Artist’s Alley will also be featuring free live cosplay photo ops with cosplayers Jenifer Ann and Heather 1337 throughout the weekend as they will be appearing as Aspen’s popular heroines, Soulfire’s Grace and Fathom’s Kiani

Aspen Beach Party Costume Contest Contestants will be judged and awarded Aspen Comics prize packages including items such as original art, statues, signed comics and rare exclusives in the following contests:

Categories specific to Aspen Comics:

–Judge’s Special Grand Prize

–Best Aspen Comics Character themed costume/s.

–Best Fathom themed costume/s.

–Best Michael Turner Cover Recreation costume/s.

Categories not specific to Aspen Comics:

–Best Male Costume.

–Best Female Costume.

–Best Kids Costume.

–Best Boys 13+ costume.

–Best Girls 13+ costume.

AllNew_FATHOM-02d-Konat-DragonCon_1 Grace-Cosplay OVERTAKEN-01f_Oum-DragonCon_1