Emerald City Comicon Report 2005
It is the little con that could. Emerald City Comicon has grown steadily every year, starting three years ago with a one day show and evolving into the two day show it was this year. More then 6,000 people found their way through the door and into our own version of Oz. From the great selection of comic books and merchandise to the friendly atmosphere, this con is one to be reckoned with.
To make sure that we could maximize our show experience, my husband Jim and I made sure to get there Friday afternoon, and to stay at the same hotel that the creators were at. In the long run, I would say that the comfort of the room and the quality of the breakfasts served there were the high points, but our intentions were clear from minute one. We would be at the same hotel that all the cool people were at, so there were sure to be encounters of the fanboy kind. Little did I know that my intentions were misguided. I work out religiously and go to bed early so I missed the hotbed of activity that was midnight in the lobby!
We were fortunate enough to see Con Organizer and newly anointed demi-god Jim Demonakos in the lobby Friday night. We tend to try and overwhelm the guy at every opportunity, so his patience is always appreciated. He told us to go down to the Pike Street Bar and Grill, where there might be a creator sighting or two. Unfortunately, once there, the closest we got was some guy that kind of looked like Robert Kirkman but wasn’t. At least the food was good.
It was early to bed and early to rise, as we headed out to the first day of the con on Saturday. With high expectations and freezing asses, we stood outside until a retailer friend got us dealer passes that ensured our ability to go through the freebies line first. By the time the con opened at 10 a.m., Jim and I were pretty jaded, with bags full of free stuff. Our plan was to get Jim as many Green Lantern Kyle Rayner sketches as possible and find the best deals. The sketch idea stayed on task, but our money went fast as we visited Randy and John’s comic book selling booth first. I dropped $60 buying old school issues of Shazam and Wonder Woman. That was okay though, because that freed up time to get our books signed.
As my hubby and I walked around, holding hands and taking in the scenery, we were able to get our stuff signed by Jim Cheung, Russ Heath, Robert Kirkman, Adam Kubert, Steve McNiven, Cary Nord, Gail Simone, Roy Thomas, and Dexter Vines. We annoyed them all with praise and questions, and then moved along to the next party. It was especially interesting to note that Dexter Vines and his wife got to Seattle early to get over the jetlag that sets in from coming all the way from Atlanta, Georgia. Happily, he seemed well adjusted, and said he and his wife were having a great time. I also worshipped at the altar of Gail Simone, whose writing I admire greatly.
I must also mention that we spent a great deal of time just walking around taking in the sights. There were several Imperial Stormtroopers and Darth Vadar himself. It was also quite an eye-opener to see how huge the line creator Jhonen Vasquez had. For a good city block, there was a line of goth and darkly dressed type persons waiting for a glance and an autograph. Disappointingly, a great deal of these individuals just got Vasquez’s autograph and left. It would have been nice to see more of them go learn more about comics then the great offerings by Slave Labor Graphics.
One of the coolest things I got was a Billy Idol print from the amazing woman from www.gothfox.com. I gave it to my friend who is a huge Idol fan, and he is still in shock from its greatness. If you get a chance, check out her sight. Sitting next to her was Matt Haley, who in the past did an incredible sketch of Power Girl for me. One of our con highlights was talking with these two.
Leaving their area, it was time for the Marvel Panel. Present were Editor C.B Cebulski, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, John Layman, and Robert Kirkman. Between ribbing Brubaker about his big announcement (the worst kept secret at the con was his new Marvel exclusive) and fielding questions about how to be a comic book writer, the whole thing was irritating the crap out of me. Finally, I got my aerobicized ass up there and asked for scoops on upcoming books. The answers I got are as follows.
Bendis scoop: The New Avengers story will continue with a second arc that is drawn by Steve McNiven, but features covers by notable Silver Age artists, including Dave Cockrum. Other artwork will be contributed by Sal Buscema. He also said that there will be a focus on Jarvis.
Brubaker scoop: In issue six of Captain America, he does something that will shock fans to such an extent that he will have to hide for the next year. He seemed more excited then scared to me. Also, he said he would be doing more for Marvel but he couldn’t talk about it.
Layman scoop: Issue 10 of Gambit will feature Rogue in a guest spot that is sure to be controversial.
Kirkman scoop: He most giggled and said he is using old Starjammer comics to cut and paste his new stories. (Most likely he was kidding, but with Kirkman, you never know.)
After that my hubby got up and asked a question about continuity that took like 10 minutes to answer. By that time my eyes were glazed over and we went back downstairs to the convention floor. We visited with our retailer friends and got refreshed. I sat and tried to eat a can of water-packed tuna, but found it frightened all the people around me off. I gave that up and just ate a power bar before going back upstairs for the “Fans vs.’ Pros” trivia contest.
My husband Jim, our friends Ben and Kris and I decided to be a team and go against Pro team Kurt Busiek, Roy Thomas, and Tom Peyer, who was filling in for the ailing Mark Waid. If Waid were there, we would have gotten our asses kicked, but we got lucky and were able to defeat the pro team by a score of 13 to 12. Feeling flush with success, we went downstairs and got an autograph from Bendis. I also did my regular routine of gushing how much I love Jessica Jones, which I am sure is not new for Bendis. It was a nice way to end the day.
Back at the hotel, we got a bite to eat and I went and worked out. Amazingly, there were no creators in the exercise room, just a scary guy who ogled me as I walked on the treadmill. Oh well, maybe next year. I went to bed at 9:30 p.m, much to my husband’s annoyance.
Sunday was a whole different vibe. Jhonen Vasquez’ line was shorter, and David Finch’s and Bendis’ were just as long, making me believe that the goth element were not early risers. Jim focused on getting sketches as I tried to get the rest of my books signed. I had Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country novel “A Gentleman’s Game” signed by the man himself. I admit I was so eager, I could hardly wait for him to take his coat off and sit down, but he humored me. Not long after there was a short group discussion on the upcoming Star Wars movie, with Brubaker and Michael Lark dissing it and Rucka defending it by simply saying “Hey, I have a five year old daughter so I have to keep an open mind”. Very cool stuff, indeed.
The DC Panel had a different vibe. Rucka, Brubaker, Simone, and Kurt Busiek took the usual how do I break into comic’s questions and some fan praise. Scoops from that panel were Rucka revealing that he is writing the OMAC project mini-series and that Sasha Bordeaux would be playing a part in it. Also, his upcoming Wonder Woman story arc is being penciled by Rags Morales, and Drew Johnson is off the book onto other projects. Simone is working with John Byrne on their Superman book, and is taking the Birds of Prey of Europe in an upcoming story arc. She is also writing Villains United mini-series as one of the breakouts of the DC Countdown. Brubaker isn’t doing more DC, as he gleefully mentioned several times. Busiek is hard at work on JLA.
By this point in the day, I had my fill of comic books shopping so I went and bought a t-shirt at the CBLDF booth. I also dropped some money at the ACTOR booth and bought two t-shirt there. To top it off, I bought an Emerald City Con shirt. I like to get comic book themed shirts and wear them when I workout and when I am out running errands. I find that they are a great conversation piece and great PR at the same time.
To cap off the day, Jim and I went to the Comics History panel with Roy Thomas, Russ Heath and Bill Schelly. I was surprised how many people focused on how to make comics great again as a discussion point rather then asking these fountains of knowledge about their backgrounds and historic points. It was disappointing to say the least, and I found my way downstairs to end the day.
We went and found Con Organizer Demonakos and were sure that by this point any conversations wouldn’t sink it. We thanked him for the great time and told him we would e-mail him, which I am sure scared the hell out of him. Sorry Jim.
My husband and I were fortunate enough that we could stay Sunday night at the hotel before heading home the next morning. Demonakos told us where the creators would be having dinner, but we were both so tired and sore from standing all day that we went back to the room and went through all of our newly acquired loot. Probably not the best decision, but in hindsight, the right one for us.
On our way out of town Monday morning, we saw Steve McNiven and his wife having breakfast and noticed Cary Nord was still in town. Rather then harassing them, we made a quiet exit back to our regular existence. We will always have the memories of the con, and that is enough, my friends.