Of Dragons & DragonCon

There Are All Kinds of Monsters…

This modest proposal went out last week on Facebook from my good friend (and fellow Swamp Thing creator/contributor) Nancy A. Collins. I’m sharing it here, with Nancy‘s kind permission; please, spread the word:

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve decided enough is enough. Everyone tells me social media has the potential for creating social change never seen before in human history. Okay, then I’d like to test it by seeing if social media can cut off the flow of money from DragonCon to accused child molester (and the convention’s co-owner) Ed Kramer, who has been using the 150K+ a year he receives each year from DragonCon to avoid trial and manipulate the justice system to allow him free reign to prey upon children, even while under supposed house arrest. All you have to do is publicly declare you will never attend DragonCon again as long as Edward Kramer profits from the convention.

DragonCon has had over 12 years to sever ties with this man, but has failed to do so. Although the convention’s chairman has bought enough shares from Ed Kramer to qualify as the controlling shareholder, Kramer refuses to be bought out. No matter what DragonCon does or says, funds from the convention will continue to go to Edward Kramer until either he dies or the corporation that runs the convention dissolves and reincorporates under another name. DragonCon knows what needs to be done, but has been dragging its feet on this matter, and has gone to great trouble over the last 12 years to hide the fact that they continue to fund Edward Kramer’s lifestyle. But now the cat’s out of the bag (in large part due to Kramer’s own decision to sue them for a larger share of the convention’s profits) and there’s no putting it back in.

It is up to the Professionals—we writers, artists, musicians, editors, actors, and film-makers—to make a stand, as we are a large part of what attracts (at last count) 50,000 fans to the convention each Labor Day.

Bear in mind, I’m not saying that anyone who chooses to continue attending DragonCon is a bad person. I understand that the convention can be extremely profitable and generates a great deal of exposure for its guests, especially given today’s economy.

  • However, I urge you to read [this] article, which was published in Atlanta Magazine in September 2012,
  • along with this recent news article,
  • and then ask yourself if you are comfortable with the knowledge of what you are, inadvertently, helping perpetuate by being a guest at their convention.

    If you approve of this message, please pass it along to all fellow creatives on you social media lists, especially those who attend or plan to attend DragonCon in the year to come.”

    Thanks, Nancy.

    Please, act on this.

    My own two cents:

    I’ve never attended a single DragonCon, and I never shall.

    I’ve never suffered sexual abuse directly, but I have a dearly loved one who has, and the life-long consequences of that abuse shook me and my family to the core; we have survived and still are a family, but the ripple effects do not end in a single generation.

    Finally, Nancy has been fighting this dragon longer than anyone I know. It is not a fight she sought or fomented: she had loved ones who were being stalked, and she did her utmost to protect them, and to then protect others.

    If there is a more thankless, selfless, costly, honorable, and brave battle being fought by any living creator in the comics or writing fields today, I’d love to hear about it.

    But Nancy has not been the recipient of any honors or awards for her efforts. She has not recieved or been nominated for any humanitarian awards the convention circuits like to gift to those they consider deserving (though I’m often left scratching my head over those decisions, but that’s neither here nor there).

    No, quite the opposite.

    Her struggle to get the word out has cost her dearly: personally, professionally, and those consequences have been very real and lasting, too.

    Now that there are public confirmations and articles vindicating Nancy and everything Nancy has been battling to warn folks about, the worm(s) are turning—though she has yet to receive a single public (or private) apology from the many professionals who maligned her and her work while they were busily defending DragonCon and its association with Kramer. Thus, Nancy has been pre-emptively “punished” for years now for speaking up and speaking out about what she perceived as a dangerous situation that continued to put children in harm’s way.

    I think it’s about time those peers and fellow pros stepped up to the plate and made amends to Nancy.

    Privately.

    Publicly.

    I think it’s past time you did so—you know who you are.

    ________________

    In closing today, a few more sketches (now en route to their new homes) of Nancy‘s and my favorite great green guy…



    ___________________

    Swamp Thing® and ©DC Comics Inc/DC Entertainment Inc.; sketch art ©2012 Stephen R. Bissette. All other artwork and photographs © respective years by their respective proprietors, posted for educational and archival purposes only.


    Discussion (51) ¬

    1. Thad

      He’s being defended by Bob Barr? One of the people responsible for the impeachment proceedings against Clinton? I…wow. I feel like I should say something snarky or sarcastic but I’m too busy being horrified.

      Thanks for the heads-up; I’d seen the occasional headline about Kramer over the past few years but hadn’t realized he was still profiting from Dragon*Con. Explains a lot.

      Thanks too to Nancy Collins for staying on top of this for so long and against such pushback.

      Looks like his day in court is finally looming. They shouldn’t have any trouble nailing him to the wall — but as the Atlanta Magazine article notes, he could still wriggle out with a lighter sentence because of the expense of his healthcare. You’re right: people need to choke off his funding, and it looks like boycotting Dragon*Con is the only way to do that.

    2. Broome Spiro

      Thanks Steve. I wish you would post a link to Nancy so folks can express their thanks, good wihes and support to her.

    3. DPM

      If it is true as I was told that Harlan Ellison, who did support Kramer and go against Collins, put up his house to secure Kramer’s bail originally, we are at some Joe Paterno level evil.

    4. Nancy A. Collins

      Thank you for stepping up to the plate. It’s time DragonCon was forced to give its guests the straight dope on what’s going on with Kramer. They’ve been allowed to dodge the question for far too long.

    5. James Robert Smith

      When I first heard this stuff about Ed Kramer I couldn’t believe it. But as time passed and his actions revealed what he really is, it became obvious that the stories were true.

      I haven’t been to a Dragoncon in many years, but I agree with Nancy’s decision to boycott the show. Unfortunately, most of the fans who enjoy the convention will continue to attend, I think. The only thing to do is get the word out and make it hard for the other promoters to enjoy their positions and the profits they make.

    6. Stina

      Someone on my facebook page asked for some verification that Kramer was, in fact, still getting money from DragonCon. Here’s a link with some more info, in the event that anyone’s looking for it. Yes, he is still making money. http://www.examiner.com/article/dragoncon-does-your-ticket-money-go-to-an-accused-pedophile

    7. edd

      I would like to offer that getting him out is not anywhere as simple as “dissolve the corp and get a new name” FOrced buyouts are tricky and expensive to perform.

    8. Alexa

      Having been at the periphery of the comic industry for 20 years in Atlanta, I know a great deal about Ed Kramer and the weird, creepy stuff of which he is perfectly capable. The hard truth is DC drove out or absorbed all of the other major sci-fi conventions in the metro Atlanta area. I am a survivor of sexual abuse so while I empathize with Nancy’s position the hard truth is I am supporting 3 adults (including my elderly father) on my salary and if I don’t work my booth at Dragon Con my lights won’t stay on. It is simple as that. No, I do not want to perpetuate child abuse to my own profit, but the authorities have him now and if they don’t get him, the slow decay of his own person will.

    9. Reason Prevails

      Why is this the only response some people can think of to stuff like this?

      With the caveat that I’m not an employee or board member of D*Con, this is a bit misguided. Yes, Kramer might still be making money off the convention, but to draw the conclusion in your mind that the entire convention must be boycotted by all as a result… that’s irrational, by definition.

      On top of the fact that Kramer hasn’t had anything to do with the organization, planning, or execution of the show for many, many years now — a fact in which none of you folk seem very interested — there are the realities of the situation to consider, beyond one’s personal ideology. All those who think it’s a simple matter for the con to divest itself entirely from Kramer probably need a refresher course on both the laws of discorporation and the specific laws of the state of Georgia, among other things. Not only is a widescale boycott not going to happen, but even if it did, it would mostly just hurt the hard-working people who rely on the con to pay their bills.

      Yes, guests have a right to know what’s going on with Kramer (who has, I guess I’ll be the one to remind, yet to be convicted of a crime). But this? Wrong-headed. I’m sorry, but it is. Find another way to use your well-intentioned ideology and activism.

    10. Nancy A. Collins

      I’m not going to bother dignifying with Darren McKeeman (by his own admission a convicted felon), except to note that I have been divorced from my 2nd husband for nearly a decade and that he has been dead for almost 4 years.

    11. Nancy A. Collins

      Excuse me, that should read: I’m not going to bother dignifying Darren McKeeman (by his own admission a convicted felon) with a response, save to not I have been divorced from my 2nd husband for almost a decade and that he has been dead for nearly 4 years.

    12. Gary

      Darren Mckeeman: “…an anonymous phone call and no other solid evidence…”

      This also applies to your accusation of rape against Nancy Collins’s husband, here, with no solid evidence.

      I’m sure if his lawyer is any good, if there IS a demonstrable bias against him in Gwinnett county (where I live), they’ll file to have the trial moved elsewhere.

      My own thoughts on this are that whether Kramer is guilty or not, he should do the right thing and sever ties with Dragon*Con. It would help his public image–which is not very good right now–and give Dragon*Con the ability to say “See? We’re not connected to him anymore.” Look at Kevin Clash (the Elmo puppeteer). Whether he did what he’s accused of or not, leaving Sesame Street was the right thing for everyone involved.

    13. srbissette

      My apologies. Sorry about that; I didn’t allow the McKeeman comment; the site was at some point hacked later in the afternoon, and was posted without my permission/moderation. It has now been trashed.

    14. Eva Hopkins

      As mentioned on the FBs, I’ve heard both sides of this story for many years now. I know that the con trying to get away from its past, & Ed Kramer, has been an ongoing legal fight.

      Happy Mr. Kramer will have his day, or days, in court. Innocent until proven guilty – sure, that’s true. But he’s been fighting facing these charges pretty hard & I’m suspicious of how his health was super bad behind bars, yet he’s able to travel to different states, work, etc, the moment he’s released.

      I’ve gotten a couple of, if you are pro-Dragon*Con, then you must be pro-child-abuse, type messages. Great. & then some jerk has to insult Ms. Collins personally, above.

      Ya know, guys, you can disagree w/ Ms. Collins & Mr. Bissette over their conclusion reached, here – that your attendance of Dragon*Con indicates direct support for Ed Kramer & the crimes he is accused of – *without* being mannerless schmucks. This site is Mr. Bissette’s, he & Nancy Collins’s FB space is also theirs; they have every right to speak their piece without hacking & other shenanigans.

      If you’re so sure of your point, state it reasonably. Hacking/insults are the refuge of the weak.

    15. Rick Tucker

      Steve, I haven’t attended this convention in over a decade but had plans to do so soon (I have a novel to promote). Now, I’ll have to give it a pass. I appreciate the update and the passion behind it. The way dirtbags can play the law with well funded stacks of influence from otherwise innocent people never ceases to give me pause.

    16. Nancy A. Collins

      Over the years I’ve been accused of being an anti-semite, a Satanist, and a domestic terrorist, amongst other things when it comes to the subject of Ed Kramer and DragonCon. But that was before the all-seeing eye of the internet and social media became what it is now. All this most recent attack goes to prove is that anyone defending Kramer this hard & this late in the game is as odious as he is.

    17. srbissette

      Edd: 13 years. I’ve seen businesses close, dissolve, and reopen under new management in shorter timespans. I put it to you Nancy, myself, and anyone speaking out is NOT the problem here.

    18. srbissette

      I posted Nancy’s proposal, to bring attention to it; I haven’t been, nor will I go, to DragonCon.

      The convention was founded in 1987.

      The first arrest was in 2000; this has dragged on now for 13 years, with the Georgia Court of Appeals issuing a verdict in 2007, and I kept my mouth shut until today.

      That’s nothing I’m particularly proud of, either.

      The only thing I, in my own words, actively and aggressively added to sharing Nancy’s statement, without altering a single word of her statement, was suggesting that apologies might be overdue to Nancy.

      There’s been no apology to Nancy.

      I’ve been hacked, my Facebook acc’t was attacked, and the apologists have been out in force.

      It’s been interesting to see this all play out in less than 24 hours as it has.

      As to DragonCon: I’ve not been to more than two US conventions as a guest since 1999; I honestly have a tough time stomaching the current environment, given the treatment of the Kirby heirs, the Siegel/Shuster heirs, and other creators, and the utter disdain and open contempt reflected in much online discussion of corporate ownership of IP.

      If I could wield enough clout to protest ALL comic conventions as a way of reaching the public at large Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner, I would. I’m sorry if that would impact livelihoods; dealing with all this, in my own humble career arc, certainly impacted mine in many negative ways, but I’d do MORE if I thought for a nanosecond it would sway affairs involving DC & the Siegel & Shuster heirs, Marvel/Disney and the Kirby heirs, etc.

      And this—well, this is something else entirely. I’m not conflating creator rights abuses with what has been alleged to be sexual predation and abuse of minors; this, to my mind, is far, far worse, in terms of the central crimes and criminal charges.

      If I could afford the time and expense to attend cons again, I would only be attending independent comics conventions supporting new creators, period. I can’t afford that time or expense, though. I have put my all into my teaching the next generation of cartoonists, as circumstances allow.

      Though all accounts I have seen over the past decade report that Kramer has not been directly involved with Dragon Con planning or activities for 12+ years, he still owns 34% of the business (according to a ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION November 2011 article I’d archived two years ago, and the more recent Georgia articles on this matter), and I don’t care to support such a venture.

      For its own well-being and that of the community at large, I’d say the necessary steps to redress this matter do not involve silencing folks like Nancy (or myself).

      13 years is a long time.

      We’re not the problem.

      Honestly.

    19. Nancy A. Collins

      The biggest problem seems to be that they’ve left it too long, hoping it would all go away. As far as I can tell, DragonCon still had a relatively genial relationship with Kramer up until the point he chose to sue them (2008? 2009?). They had even allowed chairity auctions to raise money for his Defense Fund at the convention for several years–possibly as late as 2006. The remedies are going to be extreme and unpleasant, much like resorting to amputation after allowing a ingrown toenail to turn gangrenous because it hurts to touch it. In any case, odds are DragonCon will end up sued if they don’t sever from him, much like Penn State and Sandusky, since it is alleged sexual abuse actually occurred at the convention itself.

    20. Nancy A. Collins

      Steve,
      Actually Kramer’s first arrest was in 1996. But it was successfully kept out of the papers. And even then, there is suspicion that wasn’t his first arrest on these sort of charges. The boy who brought those charges eventually dropped them, although there was strong suspicion by the DA he was pressured/threatened into doing so. Those charges were originally incorporated into the 2000 and 2003 charges (when a boy contacted police to confess what Kramer had done to him for several years), but have recently been dropped as the boy (now man) was murdered in an unrelated case.

    21. CelebrityWatchdog

      Just another veteran Atlanta geek here wanting to cast a vote for Nancy A. Collins as a class act.

    22. Andrea

      Ms Collins, Mr Bissette, thank you for bringing this to light. I had no idea, and this needs to be known by anyone planning a DragonCon trip. I’m sorry your convictions are ending up with you getting harassed.

    23. demoncat4

      when i first started hearing the evil kramer was doing i could not believe that not only was he managing to continue avoiding trial but also is still getting money from dragon con to continue avoiding lady justices punishment. plus the fact that nancy who was not afraid to finaly blow the whistle on kramer and dragon con having to continue supporting his evil ways though they have tried to get free of him for good even buy him out . was vilified instead of thanked and considered a hero for helping in the fight to put kramer where he belongs in dark cell. and that dragon con is still sadly a source of funds for his evil

    24. Tim Lieder

      I love how the apologists for Dragon Con like to repeat the same lie about Ed Kramer having absolutely ntohing to do with the convention since 2000. At this point you’d think that they believe it themselves.

      I found Peter David repeating that line of horseshit on a different news story. Nice to see that Ed Kramer’s manipulation is not working for him personally but it certain is happening with Dragon Con’s history of lies.

      Kind of too bad since I liked Peter David’s writing on the Hulk way back in the 80s, but fuck that guy (and I don’t even care that he had a stroke. If he’s going to be outright lying on behalf of Dragon Con and its Ed Kramer connection, he’s scum)

    25. Jorge Jaramillo Villarruel

      You can attend the D*Con if you want. But, if you do, you MUST know that by attending it, you are an accomplice of whatever Kramer has done in the past and would do in the future.

      There is a war here in my country. The army vs. the drug lords. I don’t smoke marihuana anymore, because if I did, I’d be and accomplice of ex-president Felipe Calderón’s killings (last account: 80,000 dead people).

      I don’t buy Marvel comics because Disney is bad evil shit. I don’t want to be an accomplice for that bad evil shit.

      Do you willingly accept to be an accomplice for Kramer’s deeds? I won’t judge you, I don’t even know who you are. But I’ll despise you.

    26. Smegol

      D*C appears to be a privately held company and it certainly seems that Mr. Kramer is a shareholder. That said, Mr. Kramer has been convicted of nothing though his delay tactics have been well documented. Do not forget though that Gwinnett county had a great deal of problems of their own including a Grand Jury that was dismissed over corruption issues.

      That said, I am not sure what D*C can legally do to not pay Mr. Kramer his dividend. He’s not been convicted of any crime – yet. Even if he is convicted they would still have to pay him. I suppose they can choose to dissolve the company and form a new one and screw Mr. Kramer. I am no lawyer, maybe one reading this can comment on a legal strategy that would deprive Mr. Kramer of his shares and yet maintain public good will. I am also willing to bet that dissolving a corporation to force out a shareholder and reforming to basically perform the same function might get you sued into the next century.

      How many of you during our banking crisis ran right out and moved your financial accounts from the too big to fail banks to smaller regional banks? That was pretty horrible behavior – wrecking the world economy. What if Mr. Kramer owns stock in Coca-Cola or Starbucks? Gonna give that up too?

      Yea, it sucks that Mr. Kramer still appears to a shareholder and profits from the convention. So be it. I am not going to punish the convention, the volunteers and the folks who genuinely have a great time because of one asshole who has been removed from any position of responsibility or authority. If you choose to do that – go with god. There are plenty of great conventions out there – make sure you research each and every one and know the people that run it, own it or are involved with it so that you don’t get fooled again.

      Ms. Collins can you site any source indicating Mr. Kramer was arrested in 1996? I have good access to research tools and I can find nothing.

      In researching this I can find no record of any charity event at D*C that benefited Mr. Kramer’s legal defense. He had a public defense fund that is no defunct but I can find no record of D*C being involved in any of it – at the convention or otherwise. Hey, we get it, you hate Mr. Kramer (with good reason if he is guilty) and you appear to hate on D*C only because he helped found it and owns part of it. Good on you.

      Hopefully, Gwinnett county has their stuff together now and can proceed to trial though I expect a change of venue at the very least as the first of Mr. Kramer’s further delay tactics. Mr. Kramer avoided trial before due to a judge that ruled he was not physically capable of standing trial. I think there are plenty of objective accounts now that detail Mr. Kramer’s physical ability to at least sit in a chair for 6 hours a day that the court is not going to be fooled again. At least I hope so. It’s ridiculous that it has taken this long.http://srbissette.com

    27. srbissette

      Re: “Reason Prevails” (hey, MY name and Nancy’s name are on OUR statements):

      “Why is this the only response some people can think of to stuff like this?”

      Why is the only response “support the status quo”? This ISN’T the “only response,” this is Nancy’s proposal after waiting 13 years for DragonCon to redress this.

      You know, this isn’t MY problem or Nancy A. Collins’s problem to fix, however much so many folks are eager to make it “our” problem. DragonCon, step up to the plate. I’ve no desire to hurt anyone’s livelihoods, but I’ve no stock in continuing to support, much less “invest in,” emotionally/materially/apathetically, this kind of corrupt organization.

      I also want to bring attention to cartoonist/self-publisher/SCAD alumnus/CCS alumnus Sean Knickerbocker’s suggestion on Facebook last night:

      “ATL friends, is there any way to start a counter-con to raise money for a local organization against sexual abuse? Anybody? Dragon-Con needs to change their ways, or disappear.”

      Now, THAT’S the stuff.

    28. carol

      So why has no one been upset with the legal system that obviously has failed numerous times because Kramer pulled yet another fast one? Also why is it that there is many different articles saying many many different things about this? Show me the absolute proof of what the man gets. Or that he isnt getting most of it by suing D*C like he has in the past to which goes back to legal system allowing him to win the suing. Im not saying that I am not angry at this. I think Kramer should be done away with and soon. Find the honest articles because way too many are spouting 6 different things so which is the truth do you know? Do you also knwo that maybe just maybe the Kramer asshole may just be causing such a stink for D*C legally that they are in a bind? If this si still going hen no they cannot say anything. Media twists words actions and makes their own story out of the truth. I just cant stand that so many are on the attack of each other. Nancy I am sorry you should not be treated like you have, then again the rest of us should not be treated like this either.

      But hell go ahead and stop buying gas for cars cause it goes to countries that hate us and kill us. Oh and stop paying for water and electricity that goes to cities and towns cause that money goes into pockets or corrupt politicians. Speaking of which dont pay taxes that goes to Gov. to which we all know is corrupt and has their fair share of criminals of epic proportions. So if you are going to go on the war path of dont do this or that why not go on and boycott everything in the country because I PROMISE you that the money will fall on hands of murders rapists and pedophiles. TRUE STORY. If you want to not go then dont go but dont make the rest of us feel like scum for going. I have children and I fear things like this happening to them so does that make me a bad parent for attending these cons? No it does not. I have friends of sexual abuse to whom they even find this insanity stupid. Evey place in the world ends up giving money to someone who is bad on many levels we just dont know about it. Think about that

    29. thequack

      Forcing the convention to buy out his shares is only going to benefit him by getting him a higher share price. A boycott will not hurt this man. It will profit him.

      It is notoriously difficult to sell shares in a private corporation so I’m sure this Kramer guy is tickled pick that your proposed boycott might finally get him some real liquidity.

      If a corporation has issued dividend paying stock then it must pay the same dividend for each share, whether that share is owned by a non-profit charity or a prisoner on death row. To do otherwise is securities fraud.

      A Georgia Corporation cannot be dissolved without approval of the shareholders. O.C.G.A. § 14-2-1402

    30. srbissette

      Nancy Collins tried to post this, but it was refused as spam due to the three links. So here goes:

      “All I wanted to say is:
      Smegol’s internet must be seriously broken if he can’t find evidence of DragonCon holding a charity auction for Ed Kramer. This is dated 2004. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StarfleetRegion2/message/4787
      It should also be noted that Kramer was an *announced* guest at DragonCon in 2008, but was only taken off the list after attendees complained. http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/DragonCon/message/32193
      He still attended the convention anyway, even though doing so was in violation of his bond. http://crimevictimsmediareport.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/3865560488_376c47dbae.jpg
      …”

      There ya go.

    31. srbissette

      Carol: I’d say exasperation with the legal system itself is pretty clearly stated. However, what to do when that simply doesn’t address or redress an ongoing situation?

      As with the outcry I get any time I raise my own disgust/concerns with how Marvel/Disney treat the Kirby heirs, hey, I can’t say I’m “sorry” pointing out injustice makes someone “feel badly” about indulging whatever the media product/venue is under scrutiny or, in this case, made the target of a proposal from a fellow creator. Clearly, we are HOPING some folks will question their choices.

      Given both your statement, and the one following posted by “The Quack” (again, Nancy and I put our NAMES to our statements, folks), I suppose the “solution” for some is to simply bury one’s head back in the sand. Sorry, that’s not cutting it.

      Furthermore, DragonCon is hardly the “victim” of two big, bad nasty powerbrokers here. We are two individual creators, one of whom (Nancy) did participate in DragonCon early in her career, trying to bring some attention to how DragonCon, its managers, et al, has/have conducted itself/themselves. They have conducted themselves in a certain manner since 2000, they are responsible for that behavior and misbehavior, and it’s DragonCon’s behavior Nancy and I are calling on the carpet—NOT Kramer’s, per se; we can’t do anything about that, nor can you, other than to steer clear. His conduct and eventual fate is in the hands of the courts now.

    32. Castaigne

      Others have pointed out the legal difficulties involved in divesting Mr Kramer of his shares due to his status as only a stockholder, not an employee, of D*C. That doesn’t need to be gone over again. But has anyone considered the ramifications of dissolving and reforming D*C in violation of the GA Code as mentioned by thequack above? Possible consequences:

      - Mr Kramer would have a very good case for suing the former D*C corporation, claiming that the action was taken as a punitive measure against him and thus abrogated D*C’s fiduciary responsibility towards him as a stockholder. The damages would probably be for expected future dividends he would have received to the end of his life, probably going into the millions.

      - D*C would also be heavily liable for breach of contract with hotels and vendors in the Atlanta area and would be required to pay out further millions, considering the majority of these contracts are for 10+ year durations. Reforming the corporation as a new entity does not resolve the breach; the breached contracts would have to be paid for and new contracts established up front.

      - There may be an issue of trademark, as Kramer can be legitimately said to be the inheritor of the D*C name and logo and associated identifiers. Might be a tough case to prove, but he could keep it in litigation for years.

      - We have lastly the hostility of the Atlanta city government and the Fulton County government to D*C. It is unlikely that a convention of that size could be recreated; it would require immense grudges against D*C to be foregone.

      I do not point these out as reasons not to boycott D*C, but simply to show that D*C going away and being replaced with something else is not as easy as everyone appears to want to believe. It would realistically be better to acquire a conviction of Mr Kramer; at that point further steps can be taken to divest him of his shares.

    33. carol

      All I can say is I hope that Kramer gets what is coming. It just sucks in general. Plus I had a friend act as if I was scum because I went last year. I didnt even know of this news. I get that people will be passionate about things like this and with every right they should be. I just get frustrated lately because no one has given what I can take as real as to what is going on with him getting money or what is being done through courts because again many different stories floating around. I would love nothing more than for this to get resolved. So I can go back and enjoy something with groups of other amazing con goers with out being accused as a pedophile supporter to which my husband and I were called this week because we went last year. Which is why I said were are being made to feel guilty. We were not even planning on going this year which is probably good now seeing as how we have been talked to for something last year that resulted in something we didnt even know about. So as I see your point maybe you see my frustration in this.

    34. Smegol

      What’s the solution here? If Mr. Kramer is a shareholder how does D*C rectify that? Can they forcibly buy him out? Can the sue him for damaging the convention?

      Nancy Collins said D*C needs to step up to the plate. What does that mean? Nancy Collins, what would you like to see D*C do? All I see is a lot of hate from you toward D*C, the volunteers and the fans. Lay it out for us, Ms. Collins. What should D*C do?

    35. srbissette

      What part of “This isn’t Nancy’s problem, and Nancy isn’t the problem” doesn’t register, “Smegol”?

      Why and when does pointing out an obvious, apparently interminable concern and issue mean Nancy A. Collins must provide any and all answers and alternatives?

      DragonCon isn’t her, and, I daresay, our concern—any more than I gave or give a royal rat’s ass about Penn State or the so-called sanctity of the Catholic Church in light of their harboring and circling their respective wagons to shelter accused (and, in the case of both, convicted) abusers.

      YOU want to defend and salvage DragonCon, then do so: get creative about something other than attacking Nancy and/or anyone speaking up about what’s been going down with the institution, or insisting that raising OBVIOUS questions and no longer settling for pretending nothing is wrong ipso facto means it’s Nancy’s (or mine) or provide solutions for, or she (we’re) full of shit.

      It’s NOT our problem.

      Sign your NAME, “Smegol.”

    36. theperegrine

      Mr. Bissette,

      For the record, there have been many attempts over the years to start or revive competing cons, like the Atlanta Comics Expo. The scope of DragonCon has become larger than any startup can hope to rival. Rather than rallying behind a boycott, it might be more damaging to DragonCon if artists of your stature were to sponsor other regional cons.

    37. Thequack

      I shared what I know about being a minority shareholder in a privately owned company.

      I don’t really know anything about this Kramer guy or DragonCon. I read The Mary Sue and when I saw a call for vigilante action I was curious enough to follow the links here.

      Many people use pseudonyms for many different reasons. Not all of them are sinister.

    38. Tess Fowler

      Let me just say this:

      I grew up without champions. With an entire family laced with abusers of every kind (sexual, physical and mental) And when I stepped up to fight for a victim who was younger than me, my entire family cast me out and turned on me.
      So I hope beyond all hope that Ed’s victims have internet access, and can see that Nancy and Stephen have been so adamant about speaking out. About lifting the rocks and calling out not only the abuser…but those who have protected him.
      You give me hope that there still might be good left in the world. You really do.

    39. Neville Ross

      The best thing that people can do about situations like this? Go to non-profit fan-run (remember those?) convention instead of ones like these!

      The only problem with that? Most of the fan-run conventions are gone or are going to be gone thanks to people going to big corporate behemoths like these (this local con in Toronto being one of the victims-it used to be held in July, now it’s going to be held in November;the only good thing about it its that it will be held at the beginning of the month instead of in the middle.) Fan-run conventions have an easier set up, and no one person can take over the con committee and do nefarious things like what this guy did (IIRC).

      Unfortunately, people are lemmings, and will go to this event even though it’s been tainted by being associated with this man, thus proving that people are sheeple.

    40. Ryan Davidson

      Look, I’m a lawyer, and I can tell you this for true: unless Kramer decides to sell his shares, there is nothing that anyone can do about it. Nothing at all. Period. He cannot be forced to sell. Those shares are his personal property, and there is no legal mechanism for forcibly depriving him of them if he chooses not to dispose of them voluntarily.

      Neither can D*C refuse to pay his dividend. He is legally entitled to those profits, and failing to pay them will result in a lawsuit that D*C will lose 100% of the time.

      So this isn’t something the organizers can do anything about. Even criminals have property rights. If you are not comfortable patronizing a business owned in part by Kramer, then fine. Don’t go. But do not couch this as some kind of petition, because there’s no possible way for anyone at D*C to get rid of Kramer more than they already have.

    41. Remy

      Well, Dragon*Con is fan run, almost exclusively.

      And, keep in mind that here in the USA, no one is actually guilty until proven innocent. The dividend that Kramer gains from Dragon*Con is due to legal requirements. However, while he is under house arrest, and now that he broke that and had to be re-arrested he has not been allowed to actually use/access those finances until his court dates and decisions have been finalized.

      The reason those have not happened is solely on the shoulders of Bob Barr.

    42. srbissette

      So—”fan run” but reaping enough money annually & wielding enough economic/political clout to crush all regional competitors; nothing we can do about this.

      So: “do nothing; you can do nothing; quit complaining; don’t hurt ‘a good thing”; just consume.”

      You know what? Fuck this. It’s the American comicbook industry in a nutshell: corrupt to the core, but ignore that: ENJOY, and resent anyone who speaks up how corrupt the whole monster is.

      Given just the events of this past week, I wouldn’t piss on Dragon*Con if it were on fire.

      All the more reason NOT TO PARTICIPATE WITH DRAGONCON, period.
      On any level.
      Ever.

    43. Jon Stover

      As the Penn State affair and so many others have demonstrated, Dragon*Con better try a lot harder to get in front of this because I’d imagine the civil suits are waiting on criminal action, and a lot of people (and the Con) will be sued for everything they’ve got. It’s a matter of time. And the stuff with Ed Kramer in 2004 and 2008 is damning stuff in terms of the con’s attempt to pretend it separated itself from him.

    44. Nancy A. Collins

      Jon Stover is right. DragonCon’s days are numbered, at least under that name and configuration.
      According to the charges filed in the 2000 & 2003 charges, it was a CRIME SCENE more than once. Instead of raping little boys in a locker room shower, at Penn State, Kramer was raping them at his hotel room at DragonCon. And people who worked the con KNEW he routinely kept unrelated boys in his room. It was not a secret.. So, yeah, the civil lawsuits should be flying fast and furious.

    45. buzz

      …so why don’t all non-Kramer shareholders in D*C vote to hold it on a park bench for one hour on a Monday morning, then form a brand spankin’ new corporation to promote SomeOtherCon?

    46. eliamyles

      Why doesn’t somebody call up Hyatt Hotels on their involvement with this company? They would fall all over the place trying to disassociate themselves from this stuff, and the con might have to scramble to find another venue, thereby losing attendees and revenue…
      The other vendors and suppliers are all a part of this, too. Who supplies the food? Who advertises in the magazine? Any small Atlanta businesses? They don’t need bad publicity. Hit them with it anyway.
      What about any sex offenders registered in Atlanta or anywhere else EK lived or worked? …any of them ever been to D-C? Any of them ever been associated with Ed?
      I live abroad so I am not well-placed to head up any of these campaigns, but if I lived in Atlanta I would try to organize a boycott or protest against any and every business involved in any way with D-C or the Hyatt, even down to the linen company that services the hotel.
      What about the temp agency employees that might not want to work the event for fear that they could be photographed and labelled as enabling this evil man? Name and shame them. The temp agency stops supplying the staff, the service suffers, ticket sales drop…
      What about the other authors, studios, game developers, performers?? Photographs with captions like ‘Kramer’s Cronies’ posted to a paedophile watchdog site might do the trick.
      Think outside the box people. This is not the time nor the place for playing nice.

    47. M.M.

      You should REALLY consider the other side:

      http://elfgrove.tumblr.com/post/42488318281

      There have been people suggesting that Dragon*Con Corp “could dissolve the corporation, and then form a brand new corporation without Ed Kramer before lunch.” That is entirely untrue. For one, if they were to dissolve the corporation, the con would lose the Dragon*Con name, which it has spent 26 years building up as a recognizable brand. It could potentially take years to reform the corporation and reinstate a convention from that dissolution. Also, a dissolution would force the con to pay out even more money to Mr. Kramer. BUT. Let’s assume the Dragon*Con Board of Directors decided to take the risk, lose the name, maybe work for years before the con could get started again. They still can’t.
      Under Georgia corporate law, Dragon*Con Corp cannot voluntarily choose to dissolve so long as there are outstanding legal cases pending against it. So they can’t force Kramer to sell his stock, and every time they try to take other actions, he files a lawsuit against Dragon*Con Corp so that they cannot dissolve the corporation. If they were to attempt to simply not hold the con in the hopes of forcing Kramer to sell, he could sue the con for negligent use of IP and get even more money, and still own 31% of the convention’s shares. The city of Atlanta and local businesses would be hurt by the lost income normally produced by the influx of 40~50,000 attendees spending money.


      Dragon*Con does not support Ed Kramer, he’s the gum on the shoe of the con that they’ve spent 12 years trying to scrape off. Yet, every time this bastard pops out from under his rock, people try to accuse the con of supporting and working with him when they’ve been doing their damnedest to keep him as far as legally possible from anything related to Dragon*Con.

      Dragon*Con wants Ed Kramer gone as much as you do, and boycotting the con isn’t going to change their inability to force him out because it’s the legal system that has their hands tied, not a lack of desire to be rid of him.

    48. srbissette

      I pre-emptively covered those issues in the followup post to this one, at http://srbissette.com/?p=16675 —in short, Dragon*Con clearly continued relations with Kramer into 2008, and there’s ample evidence of that.

      This post, according to our statistics, has now had well over 9,000 unique visitors; the sequel post, mere hundreds. Read the post, then talk to me here, if you’re so moved.

      Everyone HAS considered “the other side” for 12+ years, MM.
      TWELVE.
      YEARS.

      That’s a lot of slack.

      During those twelve years, Dragon*Con has reportedly continued to depend primarily on volunteer labor—so the “work”/job argument is specious, at best, in terms of the convention itself—and during those twelve years, by ALL accounts, Dragon*Con has relentlessly discouraged and crushed any and all competitors.

      Judging by the 2008 evidence, for eight of those twelve years, Dragon*Con lied about trying to disassociate itself from Kramer, too.

      My sympathies are not with the giant business entity here. As I’ve said directly, I’ve no dog in this fight—I don’t live in or near Georgia.

      I do, however, have a stake in my friendship with Nancy Collins, and she has yet to get ANY apology from ANYONE—which is, after all, if you’ll reread my post, all I personally suggested or asked for here.

      So:
      TWELVE.
      YEARS.

      Enough is enough.

      As I’ve repeatedly stated, this IS NOT Nancy’s problem, or MY problem.

      This is Dragon*Con’s problem, and their problem to solve.

      The tenor of your post—that I really “should” consider “the other side”—is risible at best. That’s the status quo: ignore the offense. Ignore the questionable. Do not question the important doing of important business, little man.

      Screw that.

      The specious arguments at the link you’ve cited are the classic arguments of an enabler mentality. Such specious business-centric arguments carried sway at Penn State for decades, too, and for much the same reason.

      TIME TO ROCK THE BOAT. Time for Dragon*Con to SOLVE this, however extreme the measures required.

    49. srbissette

      Let’s take the Dragon*Con debacle a step further, shall we?

      Along with the massive onslaught of “shut up Steve!” emails and complaints, I’ve also been sent further info on Dragon*Con matters I chose not to post initially. Since the apologists are out in force this week, thanks in part to elfgrove.tumblr’s viral post, let’s share a bit more, shall we?

      This in:

      “In 2010 DragonCon suffered a bout of sexual assaults at the convention, due largely to the fact they do not have a professional security force to keep the geeks away from the football fans sharing the same hotels.

      http://dragoncon.livejournal.com/2542632.html?page=4

      On page four of the discussion of this problem amongst (mostly) female and sympathetic fans, a poster called Moral Decision makes this rather shocking declaration:

      “I can’t really say anything about inappropriate touching… but I don’t expect much protection of anyone when they let a convicted child molester work security a couple years in a row.

      http://services.georgia.gov/gbi/gbisor/SexualOffenderDetails.jsp?action=SexualOffenderDetails&sexualoffenderId=97324CB8

      Just sayin’.”

      Then on page 5, at the bottom of the page, a poster called catiep2011 describes being drugged and raped at DragonCon in 2011.

      “drugged and raped (content not suitable for children)
      I came to dragoncon this year for my first time. It was my 23rd birthday so my girlfriend payed for me to go for the whole event. She has been going for years and never had a problem. to make a long story short. I got separated from my friends, wound up meeting a group of people and hanging out with them for a while. I met them in the stairwell. I made the mistake of passing my birthday drink around for them to try. about 45 mins later i black out. I don’t remember the next 8 hours. My girlfriend found me with a SKETCHY guy who had no dcon pass. she said he helped her get me to our room and on the way there i started punching him sceaming “you fucked me” over and over. I have no memory of it. but i later found my tampon shoved waaay up in my. what a birthday. she remembers what he looked like, but we are at a loss on how to find him. I wound up sitting in jail for 4nights 5days. appearantly i flipped my shit after i started punching him. it has ruined a lot of my life. I am rebuilding but am very scared of long term effects from this. The guy told my girlfriend he was suppose to die from Cancer in two months. then asked her if they could just leave me in the room and offered to buy her a drink. glad she stayed with me.”

      http://dragoncon.livejournal.com/2542632.html?page=5

      …”

      So, there that is, too.

      Dragon*Con has gotten a free ride from the comics and media fan community for too long. Volunteer labor-driven conventions—particularly conventions of such magnitude—invite abuses like these.

      Again: THIS is Dragon*Con’s problem, NOT ours.

    50. Neville Ross

      In support of Steve & Nancy:

      The Harder They Come-Jimmy Cliff

      Well they tell me of a pie up in the sky
      Waiting for me when I die
      But between the day you’re born and when you die
      They never seem to hear even your cry
      So as sure as the sun will shine
      I’m gonna get my share now of what’s mine
      And then the harder they come the harder they’ll fall,
      One and all!

      Well the oppressors are trying to keep me down
      Trying to drive me underground
      And they think that they have got the battle won
      I say ‘forgive them Lord, they know not what they’ve done’.
      ‘Cause as sure as the sun will shine
      I’m gonna get my share now of what’s mine
      And then the harder they come the harder they’ll fall,
      One and all
      Ooh the harder they come the harder they’ll fall,
      One and all
      And I keep on fighting for the things I want
      Though I know that when you’re dead you can’t
      …But I’d rather be a free man in my grave
      Than living as a puppet or a slave
      So as sure as the sun will shine
      I’m gonna get my share now of what’s mine
      And then the harder they come the harder they’ll fall,
      One and all
      Ooh the harder they come the harder they’ll fall,
      One and all …

      The Harder They Come

    Pings & Trackbacks ¬

    Comment ¬

    NOTE - You can use these tags:
    <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>