For the fourth time in four years, I dove headfirst into the great depths of pop culture fandom by attending Emerald City Comic Con. This year, I had my sister (for the third year), Brendan (first year), Derek (first year), and Michael (first year) to join me in this strange journey. We separated ourselves into two groups. Michael and Derek went to panels all day while Lillian and I met creators and got free sketches all day. Brendan was the wild card – he could be found with the show room floor crew or the panels crew or just off in his own world perusing the vestiges of glory along the aisles.
I’ll give you my first impressions of the show before going into the finer details. Let me also get some stuff off my chest.
First off, the show was waaayyyyy busier this year. There were way more people, and I’m under the impression that all of this congestion caused some people to not be as nice. It still was pretty friendly, but it could be a bit too much. Waiting in line to meet people also seemed to last a long time. Other things? There were a shitload of The Doctor cosplayers (from Doctor Who, silly). To counter this, there were a shitload of Adventure Time cosplayers. Seriously, these two groups comprised about 60% of the cosplayers which is A LOT.
Other sidenote: All of the creators were fascinated at me spelling my name E-L-L-I-O-T-T. I’d be like “Can you personalize it to me? My name’s Elliott, double ‘l’ double ‘t’”. Most of them thought it was cool some called it a lot of vertical lines and many gave a great philosophic interpretation of my name’s spelling.
Here’s the thing I need to get off my chest: It’s really frustrating when certain creators have limited hours in which they’ll meet and greet/sign your stuff. Particularly, I’m looking at the Image/Skybound crew and Bryan Lee O’Malley. However, other people were not immune. I went multiple times to see if I could find Brian Wood, Mike Allred, and Ed Brubaker. Ed’s forgiven because he had three panels and a crazy long line the whole day. But, Mike actually had his booth taken over by Matt Wagner’s son. Brian Wood had a sign up for about three hours that said he was at a panel. Apparently, he was there in the morning, but I didn’t have my second backpack of stuff with his comics in them at that time. Anyway, I think that having these famous creators (Robert Kirkman) only sign for a grand two hours in a day is ridiculous. Kirkman and many of the Image group also required you to get (free) tickets to see them. Here’s how I figure it: creators need +1-2 hours for panels, +1 hour for interviews, +1 hour for lunch, and +1 hour for travelling and breaks (you could add even another hour for meeting with friends even though this usually happens at a bar afterward). If Saturday is a 9 hour day, that leaves you with 4 hours to sign and meet fans. I’m being VERY generous here. There were some artists who were there sketching and drawing for almost 6 nearly straight hours who happen to not be as “big” as those other guys. It’s even more frustrating to see someone (Kirkman) behind the Image booth just texting (or tweeting, I don’t know).
This is a problem for a casual fan like me who used just the ECCC site to plan out my day. I did not investigate these certain creators to see when their signing times were on their websites. So, it’s partly my fault. I just thought they’d make themselves more available…
Okay, let’s get into the show in relatively chronicle order!
Click the “Read More” and prepare yourself for the greatest and longest visual assault on your reading eyes. Pictures! Funny stories! Great people! Great art! This post is totally taking me 3+ hours…
Here are the boys heading out into the world of Comic Con from the Parking Garage (despite the first lot being full, we actually found a lot right next door (we literally just had to cross the street) that had a lot of space).
Derek and I getting pumped for the show waiting for the elevator… we will return to the elevator shortly… it’s actually where a lot of our pictures take place…
Michael looking glorious as we wait in line to enter the show… long lines, but they actually went by pretty quickly (…maybe 30 minutes…)
I like this photo a lot because of my expression. You can see the sheer terror and “oh shit! this is a lot of people!” in my face. But, in the eyes, you can see the determination.
Right away I went to Marcus To to get a commission. He was like “oh…well… I kind of have a lot, but come back later in the show and we can see what we can do.” He was really cool about it, and then signed his entire run on Red Robin for me. We’ll get back to him some more later… BECAUSE HE WAS AWESOME.
One of the goals Lillian and I had set for ourselves (myself) was to get everyone to sign my stuff and to get AS MANY free sketches as we could. So, we hit up the DC Booth because they were doing it. Round one was Dustin Nguyen. He was pretty quiet, but did a fantastic job on Lillian’s piece. Her bent for the con this year was to get as many Abraham Lincolns as she could (often making them evil or thug) while I continued my trend of collecting Leonardo sketches (from the TMNT).
Here’s a close up on Dustin’s Lincoln. He made him rather devious with great sideburns and a subtle sharp tooth poking out.
Here’s me with Dustin!
His Leonardo is pretty angular too. I like the super seriousness of his face and the chaotic lines beneath his head that might be his shell(?).
Here’s me with Ethan Nicolle who creates Axe Cop with his little brother (I think he’s 8 or something). He was pretty nice, but I unfortunately didn’t have too much time to talk about the comic. He did draw a giant drawing of Axe Cop when signing it to me.
Ben Templesmith and Steve Niles of 30 Days of Night fame were probably the highlight of the show for me. The funny thing is, I didn’t really like the first volume of their comic too much. Then again, I read it really fast. But these were some of the nicest creators ever. Ben joked around with me a lot. He tried to make the E.T. joke but said his Australian accent prevented it from doing it. Then we talked about me wearing a tie and him wearing a suit. He insisted that I get a waistcoat. I was like “YES, of course!… but I’m poor… so, you know…” As you can see in the above photo, he’s making fun of me for holding up the comics in the camera with me (I do it so I, and you readers, do not forget who the person I’m taking the photo with is). So, he made us take another photo…
The great thing was, his Australian accent (not too thick) and my inability to understand accents was afflicting me. So, I had no idea what he was telling me to do. It didn’t help that we were laughing very hard. So, the photo is me trying to hold it all in and look dignified. After Ben, we went directly to Steve which leads us into the big story of the day.
The way I’m holding that comic is super freaky… Anyway, here’s the story: while signing my copy of the second trade of their comic, Ben misspelled my name. He wrote “E-L-L-O-I-T-T.” Upon realizing this he went “Oh shit! Did I misspell your name?” I was like “well, yeah… but it’s okay.” So, he drew a really happy vampire to make up for it. Even better, he tried writing oops and circle it but first he misspelled ‘oops’ by putting “opps” to which he quickly added an extra ‘o’ to make “oopps”. Well, when I showed Steve Niles, he joked about how foolish Ben was being. Then he was like, “hey, can I write something in here for you?” “Of course!” I replied. He then wrote “drunk” and drew an arrow pointing at Ben’s signature. This was hilarious! You could definitely tell that these guys were friends and joking around with each other. That made it even more special! Lucky for you, I took a picture of this page!
I will forever cherish this exchange!
After that, I spotted a Captain America from afar. I realized that this was my Con friend, Elliott! I yelled “ELLIOTT!” and we hugged each other. We talked about how we were both hoping we’d run into each other. I gave her my wordpress account so we could hopefully get connected somehow since she’s from Canada and totally out of my range of facebook friends. I was really happy to see here again. We discovered that we both had the same name last year when Lillian was talking to me and said my name. Elliott turned around and was like “uh… what?” And then we explained the same name thing.
I read a lot of books in preparation for Comic Con. This included Mouse Guard by David Petersen (unfortunately my Winter did not come in time for the Con) which ended up being probably my favorite book out of the bunch (beating out Incognito, Demo, and other greatness). David was great. He had to rush to a panel, but he took time to talk to me and sign my Micro-Series Ninja Turtle comics that he did the covers for. I complimented him on his amazing use of texture in his comics, and he drew a little mouse for me.
Let’s make this clear: Francis Manapul is a rock star of the comic book world. His work on The Flash is amazingly creative and breaks a lot of ground. Plus, look at him, he is totally badass. Look at that expression: awesome. This also shows off Lillian’s Lincoln Thug sketch that she got. The peace sign is such a great addition.
And here’s me with Francis. He still as an awesome “I’m-so-cool-look-at-my-hair” look on his face. AND HE DESERVES IT. He went with the classic look of the turtles which you don’t see artists remember that often. So, it was a great and different addition.
After going back to the car and changing out backpacks we returned to the DC Booth for more sketches. Moritat was a super methodical artist. He spent his time penciling his sketch and then inking over it with two different types of pens. This mean he took extra long time for each person and was relatively quiet throughout. It was frustrating waiting but, when it was turn, you didn’t want it to stop. Moritat was pretty funny too getting one of the DC Booth organizers/guys/(maybe an editor) in all of his pictures with him. So, thanks to that guy.
Here’s a closeup on his piece.
Here’s Lillian and Moritat. By that time, the booth guy had run off and Moritat was slightly disappointed. But, he still took the picture and was great in it.
Here’s a close up. I’m pretty sure Lillian would agree, but this was the best Lincoln she got. I mean, the hoodie… the spider tat… the wrist bands… This could easily be a commission with an extra 15 minutes.
First off, I’d like to say that a stranger took this picture. And I’m pretty sure Willingham purposefully looked unenthused… because he’s just that type of guy to joke around about that. I mean, he was kidding with the person with him the whole time about pirate accents. He signed my Fables and was super friendly. So friendly he invited me behind the DC Booth! I didn’t feel any magic rubbing off of the booth or him, but IT COULD HAVE.
This here’s Scott Wegener the artist on Atomic Robo. Unfortunately, my volume one did not come in the mail at that point. So, I only had volume two. I spotted some of the commissions he was working on, and they were AMAZING. Seriously considering getting him to do a commission of Leonardo in the future.
Turtles fan reaching enlightenment? I think so. I got so excited and just yelled “CASEY! APRIL! PICTURE PLEASE!” April was laughing a lot. Then, these Japanese people just went off and took a bunch of pictures of us. I was like “uh… yeah… sorry for stealing your thunder guys…” They laughed and were totally like “hey it’s okay!”
Okay, I realized that this post is CRAZY long. So, I’m going to break it apart into two and finish the rest tomorrow.
For Part 2 of ECCC 2012, follow this hereee link!
Check out our “coverage” also known as full geekage of last year’s 2011 ECCC HERE.
And our tailspin into ECCC 2010 HERE.