At the beginning of March, Denise and I drove down to Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Con. Due to leaving the ticket buying to later than we should have, we were only able to get passes for Friday (opening day) and Sunday. Seeing as the first thing we were going to see, a Lego display, wasn’t until 3pm or so, we leisurely drove into town and got checked into our hotel by about 2:30 or so. We were just a block away from the Convention Center, so plenty of time to get over there. Or not. First things first… the hotel.
We stayed at the Paramount Hotel right in the downtown core. Easy walking distance to just about everything we wanted to do. This was one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept on in a hotel room. Could have easily slept a family of four on that pillow-topped mattress of awesomeness. Plenty of plug-ins for all your electronic goodies and fairly decent free wifi. It wasn’t until the second day that Denise found the mini fridge, the coffee maker, etc. in what I thought was just a dresser. The washroom was set up a bit strange for me. There was a separate WC for the toilet and tub/shower, with the sink and mirror being open to the room. Not used to that. It takes a lot of work to make myself look as pretty as I do, and I like to do that right out of the shower before getting dressed. Awww… who am I kidding? I look pretty regardless.
After stowing our gear in the room, we leave for the Convention Center with my courier bag filled with various comics and books that we were looking to get signed. We still have a good 20 minutes to get to the Lego show and only a block or so to walk. The line up to pick up your badge was insane. Yes, you’ve already bought it online and yes, you have to stand in a line to pick it up. Just how bad? Ninety minutes of slowly inching our way along the sidewalk outside the building, turning back around (with the line), getting into the building and finally getting to go up the escalator to what we thought was the ticket area. No. No it wasn’t. Back outside, through a park, over a bridge, back around to the building, eventually getting into a big rat maze queue that led to a bank of people exchanging printed ticket receipts for badges. Crazy. It was fun to people watch though. Saw a lot of people dressed up as various characters. No idea who some of them were though. One question crossed my mind while looking at some of them: cosplayer or just a hipster? It was hard to tell at times. I got the feeling some of them always dressed like that. What was kind of neat was seeing someone I actually knew there. While we were standing in line in the park, I hear someone calling my name and it’s Trev D. He was much further ahead of us in line.
Seeing as we missed the Lego dealie and the Chris Claremont panel, we just hit the floor to see what there was to see. Massive describes the scope of things. Multi levels, tons of booths and thousands of people. Got a bit hard to move at times, but we were in our nerdy glory. A lot more Doctor Who fans than I would have thought.
I was pretty useless at taking pictures that first day. We were standing beside this one girl dressed like Rogue from the X-Men for about 20 minutes trying to get Chris Claremont to sign some stuff. Even though there were only about 20 people in that line, Claremont was obviously telling each and every person his life story when they got to him. In the 20 minutes we were there, we moved maybe 10 feet forward. The best picture I could do when I finally remembered I had the camera with me was of her back, just as she turned. We decided to abandon the line shortly after I took the picture in order to get to the Fables panel.
As with Rogue, the same thing happened when I tried to get a picture of one of the guys dressed up like Darth Vader. He turned just as I was taking the picture. For a bit I thought that this was going to be my “thing”. I’ll take pictures of everyone in costume and only get them from the side or back. Perfect. Heh. I eventually got him when he was posing with one of the other attendees. I know the cape looks like it’s a different color, but it’s the same guy. The flash went off for one picture and not the other.
The Fables panel with Bill Willingham was kind of fun. If you watch it online, you can see the backs of mine and Denise’s heads. We’re famous!
He spilled a lot of beans about what’s coming up in the comic and lots of pushing about the convention happening in Minneapolis with Fables and other fantasy-based comics. Denise got several of her comics signed at the end of it. Forgot one of them though and found him Sunday at his table and got that one signed too.
I only brought two comics with me to get signed. After the Chris Claremont line fiasco, I was a bit gun shy about trying to get signed, but I went for it anyway. We found Kurt Busiek at his table on the floor and there wasn’t a line up at all. When I weeded my comic collection down to just a handful of ones that meant the most to me, his series Marvels (with art by the incomparable Alex Ross) was one that made the cut. I’ve been babying it for 20 years and now it’s signed. I just need to find a convention that Alex Ross is a guest at and get him to sign it too.
Right across from the Chris Claremont line, Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) had his table. While Denise stayed in line, I crossed the aisle and stood in Mignola’s line. In seconds, I was in front of him babbling about how much I liked his stories and how long I’ve been following his work. He thanked me for making him feel old.
I really wish that I had some of his stuff to bring, but I pretty much only have digital comics now. I ended up picking up a comic from the convention for him to sign. Totally forgot about the poster Denise had folded up in the courier bag.
We stopped at a booth that had these little folded paper figures of heroes, villains and monsters. Picked up a few of them. Such a cool idea, but I’m a bit reluctant to cut into it in order to fold him up. I got the Superman (naturally) and Denise picked up a Mummy and another one that escapes me right now.
I guess I could just scan it and print it out again on photo paper, just in case I eff it up. Yeah. That sounds like a good idea. I’m sure he’ll look great standing beside my collection of little superheroes on top of my computer.
The second comic that I brought with me to get signed was Preacher #1 by Garth Ennis. Ennis is one of my current top 3 writers in comics today (the others being Mark Millar and Mark Waid). I had no idea who he was before I picked up Preacher back in the 90s at my buddy Andy’s comic shop, but I took notice of him after that. I’ve read pretty much everything that he’s put out since then. I ended up buying one of the exclusive comics at the con for him to sign too. Not sure why he signed directly over the preacher’s face on the great Fabry cover, or why he chose to sign over the guns instead of all that green space at the top, but he’s the famous dude. His prerogative I guess.
I gave the camera to Denise on Sunday so that more pictures would actually be taken. She didn’t care for how rugged and manly my camera was, but eventually got the hang of it. Heh. We decided to leave the hotel early in order to pick up Denise’s Sunday badge (I had mine already). We pretty much were able to walk right up to the bank of badge giving people (a bank of badgers?), then got into the queue to get onto the floor.
We had planned to see at least two panels on Sunday; the Geek and Sundry panel with Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day and the Spotlight on Eric Powell, creator of Goon. We wouldn’t have minded going to the Charlie Adlard panel (artist for The Walking Dead), but it conflicted with the Geek and Sundry one. As it was, according to the schedule, we would only have a 30 minute wait between the two panels/talks. Nicely done. Or not.
We head into the main hall and catch the last 15 minutes of the Chris Sarandon panel. With how engaging he was in just that short time, I kind of wish we had been there for the whole thing. As you can see from the picture, we were kinda far away. I zoomed in a bit to actually catch him on the screen. He was in the middle of a question and answer session when we got in. Lots of fun stories about Fright Night and The Princess Bride.
We didn’t get a chance to move up when the Geek & Sundry panel started. We tried, but those front seats that looked like they were emptying, didn’t. We ended up just sitting back
down and relying on the screens again. Some fun stories about Eureka and farting in a small room, Big Bang Theory, and table top games. The hour went by rather quickly. About 40 minutes in though, all the empty seats were being filled in for the next panel, an hour with Dirk Benedict.
After it was over, we slowly made our way through the crush of people and located the room for the Eric Powell spotlight. We were going to sneak in to watch the last 30 minutes of the Charlie Adlard spotlight, like our schedule said *and* the sign outside the room. We finally get in and it’s Eric Powell. He’s literally just answering up the last of the questions from the dozen or so people that are in the room. When it’s over, one of the volunteers says that there was a mistake in the guide book (and the website, and the sign out front of the room, and the app on Denise’s phone) about the times. Well, that’s just awesome. Fortunately, it’s available to be seen on that FlipOn.tv website that were live streaming it the day of and archiving it for later viewing. Unfortunately, the sound is very, very shitty.
We wandered around the main floor for awhile, making sure that we had seen everyone and everything we wanted to see and to pick up a few more autographs. There was a table with a couple of my favorite webcomics sitting side by side, Channelate and Invisible Bread. I bought a book from the one guy and he drew a little cartoon in it for me. Denise ended up buying a print from the Channelate guy.
This past summer I found a comic called Atomic Robo. I put off reading it because it just didn’t sound all that interesting at first. I finally read it when I ran out of everything else and was I ever wrong. Great art, fun story… made me get the rest of them. The writer/artist was at the convention too, but by the time I finally found his table, he was sold out of any of the smaller stuff and only had original comic pages for sale. Not having $200-$400 to spend on a page of artwork, I decided on the next best thing: my badge.
The next little bit will just be pictures of people in costume.
There were tons more, but these are the ones that we got. For the most part, I was rather impressed with the costumes, especially the Star Wars ones. There were a few that were less-than-impressive, but I can’t really put them down because I didn’t even try. Next time. We just need to come up with some good ideas. I’d prefer to tailor it to a character with my body type instead of being like the sad Spider-woman we saw. Great costume, wrong, wrong, wrong body type.
This was the first comicon that I’ve ever been to. It was a real eye opener to have to enter with the herd and only have limited access instead of those all access guest passes I used to get at the Stargate conventions (thanks Alex!). Despite the lines, the crush of people and the screw ups in the schedule, I’m totally willing to go to another comicon. It was great meeting some of my favorite artists and writers and seeing all those people in costume.
Comic book nerd forever.