It seems that with any big event, you look back and think, “damn, wish I had taken more photos!” Unless you’re one of those people that takes 1000 photos per hour…
Anyway, looking back on yesterday at Emerald City Comic Con, it would have been nice to have some photos of the crazy crowd/lines, maybe us heading into Seattle on the bus or getting a Piroshky in Pike Place. Maybe a couple more pictures of some crazy costumes (although, I actually don’t recall as many people in costume – at least, phenomenal costumes – as last year). I almost had another disastrous moment as losing my wallet last year when, a couple minutes before the bus picked Lillian and I up, I remembered that I left the ECCC tickets in my other bag (because I was originally going to take my photo bag instead of my backpack). Luckily, my house was just around the corner.
So, the lines were definitely not as bad this year to get in; I congratulate the ECCC crew on providing a better layout and more organized system of getting people in. However, I also recognize that Lillian and I came about an hour later than I showed up last year to get in.
After reading Stumptown the night before, I knew I had to get one of the limited edition Stumptown prints from Matthew Southwarth as soon as I got in. So, that was step number one for my ultimate satisfaction of the day.
Last year, I was so overwhelmed with it being basically my first comic con and me losing my wallet earlier in the day that I really just went for the free stuff and wandered around with my head chopped off. This year, I had a game plan.
So, first off, I spotted the Image booth with Ryan Ottley sitting with only a crowd of a couple people in front. I moved in and looked at his folder of sketches which were super cheap! I got one sketch that was him planning out the cover of Invincible #56 with some sketches of the body shape of Allen the Alien. The other one was this wonderful piece of work which has an old man holding a cane with a mail box on top. I asked him if it was from anything and he said, “well, my brain. I was just doodling around and came up with it.” I also got him to sign the resolution to the controversial issue in which Adam Eve dies (the one where she quickly resurrects #64) with him remarking, “oh, that one was fun!”
Afterwards, Lillian and I rounded the corner of the same booth to find Kieron Gillen, writer behind Phonogram. I bought Phonogram: The Singles Club, and he signed it and what not. He was exceptionally charming. I thought he had a Scottish accent, but Wikipedia says he’s a Brit. So, I’m rather confused. He talked about how the TPB of The Singles Club just came out that day so it was like his newborn baby he had to show off to the world. As he was signing it, he made sure to get the spelling of my name right, and then he talked about how every publisher he’s worked for has misspelled his name at some point and how it’s really frustrating. I’m fairly certain I remember calling them bastards or motherfuckers, but Lillian and I were staring dreamily into his eyes and weren’t able to notice. I’m pretty sure, that, if given the opportunity, Lillian and I would have talked to him all day… preferably at a pool with drinks in hand.
After getting the picture I went, “oh fuck!” realizing that I never got a picture with Ryan Ottley. He seemed a little indifferent to my charms (joking about him having to sit down all day probably wasn’t too wise), but still an all around cool guy.
Lillian and I went over to Atomic Comics booth and said “hi” to my favorite comic providers and talked about how hectic it was. Lillian and the Woman who works there (I always forget her name) talked about Kieron Gillen and how Lillian did not want him stolen away from her. The gal said that Lillian having Kieron was okay because “Geoff Johns is mine!”
Walking over to the creator alley, Lillian and I came upon some local and independent comic zines where I bought one of their things. We also met Daniel M. Davis of Monster Commute who was super neat. I talked to him about silkscreen, woodblock, and linoleum printing. We also discussed the time differences between creating something digitally (his favorite would be through vectors which he has been doing for 15 years or so) and then through traditional mediums. He was super neat and offered for me to hit him up through e-mail to talk about some art more and was interested at looking at some of my stuff. I really don’t think any of my stuff (even though it’s drastically different) really compares to his, but I definitely appreciate the offer. Lillian bought a print off of him of Abraham Lincoln as a Frankenstonian monster with “He’s watching You” at the bottom because she doesn’t really like good ol’ Honest Abe too much and thought it was hilarious. Check out Monster Commute!
After finally making it to Artist/Creator Alley, I was about to peruse the booths of creators when a guy walked past us in a bright green costume. Of course, he didn’t have the hood up over his face, but as he passed I went “wow, that is a bright green man.” Then, it hit me. GREEN MAN FROM ALWAYS SUNNY! I turned around as I told Lillian to get the camera ready and yelled out “Green man!” He promptly turned around and I went – to make sure – “from Always Sunny, right?” He replied “yeah” and I asked for a picture. Then, I promptly texted Monique imagining her seething jealousy (even if it wasn’t Charlie).
As we walked across the back counters, I found Steven T. Seagle. Now, I’ve only read “It’s a Bird…” but I was blown away by it, and decided I needed a copy since I had only read a library copy. Walking up to the booth, a guy was getting Steven to sign basically 60 comics. The fan was really nice and allowed me to butt in to buy a copy of the book. I mentioned to Mr. Seagle that I had read the comic over the summer and had e-mailed one of my Professors suggesting her to use the book in one of her essays because she studies how disease (particularly incurable) is portrayed in sequential art. He replied, “well, I’m the guy for that!” Then, he gave me his card suggesting for me to get my Prof to e-mail him when they were done with the essay because he was interested. He then signed my book adding in a Superman diamond that had a question mark inside it. The other fan and I both laughed when he did it, but I realized that that symbol basically summed up the entire meaning of the graphic novel. It was pretty powerful.
We then continued down and met some independent publishers such as Erika Moen. She was really nice and I saw that she did a comic conversation with Lucy Knisley (whom I love the work of and might travel down to Portland for the Stumptown Comics Fest just to meet). Their art is kinda similar, and I really liked briefly talking to her, but Lillian and I were both already running low on cash. Lillian almost bought a card that had two anemones fighting and it read “Let’s not be Anemones.” The guy next to her was exhibiting some photographic nudes with octopus tentacles on their bodies. It was really, really amazing. Lillian was about to get one, but decided not to. If anyone knows who this artist is, please let me know. I really want to check out his other work. Okay, I just looked, and Dylan Meconis was next to Erika Moen. Her work is equally hilarious especially with the french revolutionaries, but I know there was a guy exhibiting between them, and I don’t remember who. Awww shucks.
AH HA! (this is an update, by the way) I figured out the Octopus Photo mystery! Erika Moen was actually selling them and she’s the nude in the photographs! Some of the photographs can be found at Visioluxus.
After figuring out the confusing (because you have to look over so many people), yet utterly simple organization of things, we finally located Greg Rucka and Matthew Southwarth who I really wanted to sign my recently purchased Stumptown print. Well, Rucka was heading to lunch, but I got Matthew to sign it, and he was super friendly. I didn’t get into any deep conversations with him past the standard “your art and portrayal of women is phenomenal,” but the overall experience was nice.
Right next door was J.H. Williams III, and I went over and looked at the art he was exhibiting. It was phenomenal going through his inked work for Detective Comics/Batwoman and seeing his crazy original layouts in person. However, I feel like I kinda pissed him off… I was looking at his book he had for sale (I’m pretty sure it was the last one he had) and I couldn’t afford it (with only 28/138 dollars in my pocket) if I wanted anything else at the show. Then, after telling him that I couldn’t get it, but if I could get him to sign a comic and take a picture, he seemed a little peeved. I felt really bad and a bit embarrassed afterward. He was still open and sort of friendly, but just kinda terse. Lillian really liked looking at his line work on the originals, too.
After getting the majority of the artists’ signatures or whatever that I wanted to (realizing only until after the show that I forgot about a handful including Doug Mahnke and Brian Azzarello) and not having the cash to get anything from Dustin Nguyen, Lillian and I braved all of the exhibitors selling their comics.
Really, there wasn’t anything that good this year. I mean, I love it when they bring comics and have them for 50 cents each, but then they’re usually not organized. Plus, with a backpack on, it was kinda hard to maneuver in the narrow passages to find the area I wanted to look at. Lillian never found any Sailor Moon comics that she was looking for which sucked.
Then, as we were near the photo booth (where Stan Lee was behind… even though we never saw him) there was an exhibitor with a whole box of TMNT comics for $2 each, which is a fairly reasonable deal. I bartered with the lady (by looking pitiful because of not having enough money) and got 13 comics for $20. I was quite pleased that these included the micro-series for each turtle that were one-shots that came out right around when Vol. 1 was at about issue #9 or so. These go for 10-30 dollars each on eBay, so I was rather proud.
We walked around trying to sneak a peak of Stan Lee or Leonard Nemoy in which Lillian reviewed her plan of deciding to interrupt a photo session with Nemoy and a fan by joining the picture and then tackling Spock himself. A rather risky plan, but fucking hilarious when you imagine Lillian doing this. The line to get pictures taken with them reached all the way outside the main rooms, and we knew right away that it just wasn’t worth it. While trying to navigate our way back to see if Greg Rucka had come back, we passed Lou Ferrigno looking kind of miserable at his booth taking pictures with fans, autographing, and displaying a slew of press photos (mostly, sadly, from his time as The Incredible Hulk). Nevertheless, it was quite impressive to see this 58 year old guy still have huge biceps and other muscles that could probably all break both of my femurs at the same time.
Lillian and I stood in line to get the free stuff at the DC booth, and she went a little overboard. At this point, I also got a text from my equivalent to Voldemort (I shudder at making a Harry Potter reference) which was fairly spiteful. It almost ruined my day, but FUCK! I was at Comic Con. Still, it hurts that someone I was so close with could be so hateful towards me when I never did anything explicitly wrong and they did. Anyway, DC was giving out a bunch of free stuff including a bunch of comics (Joe the Barbarian, the Authority, Batman and Robin, DEMO, and Daytripper to name a few). Looking back, we forgot to get the exclusive free comics at BOOM! and Image, but oh well. After getting our stock and some buttons, we went over to see if Greg Rucka had come back.
Luckily, we got in just as a large line formed. Lillian decided to go and buy and Owly shirt and apparently talked to Andy Runton for awhile about the comic. She came back just in time for when I got up to Greg after a guy who Greg had gone, “Oh sheesh!,” over because of all the comics he had for him to sign which Greg limited down to 5 or 10. However, right as I walked up, Greg was just like “oh hey, can you wait just a sec! Don’t worry, I’ll come right back!” So, I was left waiting at his booth with my Detective Comics (that Williams had already signed) and Stumptown print. He ran over and had a brief conversation with J.H. Williams III, and Matthew Southwarth looked over at me and was just like, “so, Greg’s deserting you, huh?” I shrugged and went, “well, I guess so!” Greg came back doing a sort of run, ballet action with his arms slightly outstretched navigating the backpacks and chairs behind the booths. He said “Sorry about that!” Then, he signed my stuff, and as doing so saw a person dressed up as the Scarlet Witch and said, “You know, some people… There are things that you dress up in at home… for your significant other… and then there are things you just never put on in public.” We laughed and I made some comment, then he did his dance around the booth to come out and take a picture with me. He observed the line waiting to meet him and said, “Hold your horses! You’ll get me in a sec!”
He was pretty funny, but in a way that you could tell he was covertly making fun of the whole convention scene which I thoroughly enjoyed. Therefore, I propose this, Greg Rucka, can we become friends?
Lillian and I took one last walk to see if we could spot Stan Lee or Leonard Nemoy, but failed in our great quest for Stan The Man and Spock.
We decided to leave, but, as we were leaving, I spotted that the DC Nation panel was going on. We caught about the last 5 minutes of it where Riddler was announced as the main villain in the first Batman: Earth One graphic novels and one of the last people asking a question asked about the panel’s opinions over the XXX Batman movie coming out. Ian Sattler jokingly kicked him off the mic. So, at the last moment, Lillian and I got to see Geoff Johns, Brian Azzarello, Peter Tomasi, and James Robinson.
We left, went to H+M and Urban Outfitters, but we didn’t get anything. Then, we got on the bus and headed back to Tacoma. On a bus transfer, we had time to go across the street to the Mad Hat Tea Company which was really neat and had some great drinks.
We came back to my place and read some of our free comics as Sabretooth laid across them, and then we watched an episode of Quantum Leap as we ate dinner. Some more comics reading, and then we played Upwords where she kicked my ass.
Overall, we had a pretty damn good day with a lot of new artwork (to now spend money on the frames) to hang up and admire. I’m counting for next year’s ECCC (which will now be a 3 day event) to be just as awesome.