War Of Words Breaks Out Between Rob Liefeld And Big Apple Comic Con

This Saturday sees the return of the Big Apple Comic Con in New York, the first of the long-running comic conventions to return to a physical show after lockdown. With a scaled-down "Prelude" show, the Big Apple Comic Con had rearranged its planned date from next weekend to this, to accommodate the schedule of Rob Liefeld, as their A-List comic book guest which would have brought the Big Apple Comic Con back with a bang. And would have fitted in with Rob Liefeld's tour of comic book stores, selling his exclusive cover comic books.

Liefeld Pulls Out Of Big Apple Comic Con, Starlin & Steranko Step In

This morning, Bleeding Cool reported that despite the Big Apple Comic Con still having Rob's name on the website, he was not going to be attending anymore over health concerns, but would be attending the original schedule clash appearance at the Fantastic Comics Store in Scottsdale Arizona next weekend. But that the BACC had drafted in two Jims… Jim Starlin and Jim Steranko instead. At which point all hell broke loose. The Big Apple Comic Con issued the following statement after our story ran.

We are terribly sorry to inform you that Rob Liefled will not be at the July 17 BACC. We do not know why he is not coming, we have not been contacted by him, his agent does not respond to calls or messages since Tuesday evening. He has simply stopped communicating with us and tweeted he was not coming. We were uncertain if it was a scam of some kind as we were in contact planning the Friday evening event as late as Sunday night. Yesterday however, we received our $15k payment (his fee prepaid) back and thus came to know that he will not be coming. Again no word, no contact, we have never experienced anything like this in 25 years of BACC. Even if it is a question of health (as happened with Stan Lee in 2017) someone should be in contact with us, and a message from him and/or his staff should be on offer to our ticket holders and management. Mr. Liefeld is still booked for a virtual signing in the UK on the 17th! We seek no controversy but we find Mr Liefeld's actions thoroughly unprofessional, and disrespectful to his fans. For our part we are already moving past it, and have added Jim Starlin the creator of Thanos and Jim Steranko the legend, and Al Milgrom the amazing penciler and inker for West Coast Avengers, Spider-Man and a few more to come. This will be a great show, we are sold out there will be free video games, and we will be showing off our new virtual reality space we are builting with Urban Action, and of course the Cosplay Contests will rock with super gifts from Ultimate Wireless. See you all at the show,

Naturally, I went to Rob Liefeld for comment, but he had already posted to Facebook, first on Big Apple Comic Con's Facebook page saying "My representatives contacted you first and earliest on Tuesday afternoon about the fact that I was unable to travel to your show. This statement is misleading and untrue." BACC didn't respond directly but as Rob Liefeld's fans dived into comments to defend their here, the convention added "Mr Liefeld is not being treated badly, his contract was respected, he was paid. We are not interested controversy, we make contracts and expect them to be respected. We believe that personal responsibility is a fundamental characteristic. We are still waiting for Mr. Liefeld to actually give us a reason why he cannot be at the July 17th show. We pray it is not a health issue, but even if it is there is no excuse for not contacting us given we are 2 days from the scheduled Friday evening Meet and Greet event." On his Facebook page, Rob commented further.

I appreciate that social media affords me the opportunity to respond to mis-information like this. Phone records will inform that my representative, the only rep that BACC has dealt with, informed the folks who run the show on Tuesday afternoon first and earliest, following up on communications from Monday evening, that I would be unable to travel and attend the show. I then took to all my social media to get the word out in advance so that folks were informed. Since that time, the BACC folks have contacted my rep repeatedly the past 48 hours, leaving all manner of unfortunate messages. This post by BACC is truly unfortunate, and more importantly, not true. Cancellations are a part of conventions, virtually every show experiences them. This is my first cancellation of an appearance in well over a decade. As when my rep informed BACC on Tuesday, I regret that I will not be able to attend BACC this weekend.

Rob also added "I'm truly shocked that they have responded in this manner. I acted immediately when learning I could not travel and informed so as to give them nearly 5 days advance notice." I am guessing we have not heard the last of this one, from Rob or the Big Apple Comic Con. But it does suddenly feel like two years ago.

UPDATE: Rob adds "UPDATED – not only did they know and were informed, they then contacted me directly Tuesday afternoon, twice and through additional partners to offer me additional, un-requested sums of money in order to make the trip. I declined. They reached out to my rep as well. These were through text messages and are time stamped. This statement from BACC is completely false."

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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