Last weekend, thousands of people amassed in order to celebrate all things geeky at the Seattle convention center. Naturally, I was there. And, also naturally, I had a giant backpack full of things itching to get signed. I had a single goal: to get everything signed and personalized to me. Now, this of course meant that Lillian and I were at ComicCon for a giant 8 hours, but, you know, oh well. So, I present to you, a graphic history of the day in chronological order with some commentary intermixed. By the by, if you want to see any of the pictures close up (like the art), just right click and choose “view image.”
Going in, I knew I wanted to get a sketch by Skottie Young of Leonardo the Ninja Turtle because he’s my favorite character in all of comics and Skottie’s artwork is so idiosyncratic and imaginative. His work on the Wizard of Oz series is so crazy good and his art really has its own little corner of the world staked out. So here’s the commission he did:
I particularly enjoy that it’s a skinny Leonardo (gives me hope) and the sewer grate adds so much extra depth to the image. Skottie was also pretty cool always referring me to as “dude” or “man” or something. He was genuinely excited about everything.
I then waited in a very long line to meet Sergio Aragonés, the great MAD Magazine margin sketcher. He was selling some of his books, but most of them were in Spanish. Nevertheless, I snagged one of the last ones in English (“Fanboy”) and got it signed by him. He was a genuinely neat guy who still spent a decent amount of time with me despite the giant line behind me.
While I was standing in line for Kurt Busiek, I spotted Dream of the Endless and had to get a picture with him. I typically don’t really like to get pictures with Cosplayers for some reason, but this was a damn cool costume. Apparently Death of the Endless was at the show, too. Unfortunately I never found her, but it would have been really neat to get a picture with the both of them.
So, I ended up standing behind this girl once in the line for Mark Waid, and then another time for Kurt Busiek. While I was kidding with Lillian she, at some point, exclaimed my name “Elliott!” and this girl swung her head around and was just like “what?” Well, it turns out we have the same name! And not just the same name but spelled, in our opinions, correctly! We exchanged info, but I never really imagined how hard it would be to find Elliott Brown on Facebook. So, if you’re out there Elliott, please contact me! Because, really, we had a damn fun time while we hung out for a gigantic 30 minutes or so. We actually ended up talking to Chrissie Zullo’s friend for awhile together.
After chatting it up with Elliott for a bit, we both finally got to meet Kurt Busiek and we explained to him that we both recently met another Elliott and – for both of us – it was the first time we met someone with the same spelling. Kurt was just like “Well, have you read the second issue of Astro City? There’s an Elliott in there.” This sort of made me feel really stupid because I’ve only read “Marvels” of his and he published that in the 90s. I’ve thought about reading Astro City, but I just do not know where to begin. Oh well.
Next up was Cully Hamner who did The Question back-up feature in Detective Comics as it was running the Batwoman feature. He has this very blocky, strong-lined style that I really enjoy, but I haven’t really had the opportunity to read as much of his work as I would have liked.
I was super excited to meet Dave Stewart. Super Excited. He’s basically the best colorist in the business where he mixes color palettes and can work in multiple different styles. He’s phenomenal. I really wish I could have spent some time talking to him, but I had a schedule. Hopefully he’ll be there at the Con next year and I can spend some time talking to him because he really did not have that long of a line. He’s the guy that you go “Oh my god these colors are beautiful!” and you turn to the credits and realize, yet again, it’s Dave Stewart doing them. Plus, I think I may have been one of the few people to get him to sign “Daytripper” for me. He also helped me complete my perfect copy of Detective Comics #854 with Batwoman where I got everyone who worked on the art side of the comic (writer, artist, colorist, back up artist) to sign it.
Mike Mignola would have been great to talk to for a bit longer than I did. I basically got him to sign my battered copy of the first Hellboy storyline and left. It was mostly because I felt guilty for that being the only bit of work of his that I had read… (*wince*) However, I did really like it and plan on looking into some more of Hellboy.
So, I was just recently thinking about The Comfort Guide when I did a presentation on Airplane Safety Instruction Manuals. However, I forgot who did them and what they were. I just remembered the custom one from last ECCC of the proper etiquette to approach Leonard Nimoy. So, I was glad to find him at the Con and buy some of his stuff. Plus, Lillian in her Sailor Pluto costume with him is just priceless.
Lillian had to go downstairs in order to buy her ticket to get a picture with James Marsters and Nicholas Brendon. During this, she met another Sailor Scout! Apparently, there was a handful of them, but by the time Lillian had changed into her outfit for her picture, she was out of costume when we saw all of them together. Overall, though, it was pretty cool to see a couple other Sailor Scouts.
So, DC was doing something super cool, they were having their artists work at their booth and give out free sketches. I, of course, had to go straight out and get all of my Leonardo sketches. So, I felt a little bad to some artists who were totally out of their comfort zones with sketching Leonardo. One artist, in particular was Chrissie Zullo. She has done some beautiful art for covers of the spinoff Fables miniseries based around Cinderella. They’re mostly pixie-esque stunning women. So, here I am, asking for a Ninja Turtle! Nevertheless, I had some reference material for the artists to work with, and Chrissie did a pretty good job working with that. It was pretty impressive how quickly she could mimic the reference art.
Another artist I got a sketch from was Pete Woods who is currently working on Action Comics with Lex Luthor. To be honest, I haven’t really checked out much of his work, but I did really enjoy his depiction of Death of the Endless when she met with Lex. When I whipped out my reference pictures and asked for a Ninja Turtle, the guy in line behind me went “Well done, man, well done!” Apparently not that many people ask for Ninja Turtles (Smiley faced emoticon)! I noticed while watching Woods draw was that he was mostly doing side profiles which was pretty interesting. I’ll show some more sketches I got for free towards the end.
We got dual pictures with Marv Wolfman! I was pretty happy with meeting Marv Wolfman because I got my collected edition of Crisis on Infinite Earths signed (and personalized) as well as each individual issue (which I got all 12 at a garage sale for about $5). Lillian was also excited because she is a big Teen Titans (primarily Raven) fan. He also told us that he and artist George Perez are collaborating yet again on a new Teen Titans story that sounds pretty badass!
I was pretty pleased with meeting Steve Lieber. While he was signing my copies of Whiteout, I explained to him that I read both of them while I was in Mexico which was a funny place to read books that take place in Antarctica. I then told him that I showed my Grandma (and then my mother later on) his art because it was so beautiful and rugged. It’s the type of art that has care in the chaos. Fantastic.
So, I was actually surprised how easy it was to meet Frank Quitely. Mind you, I met him at the DC Booth, but it was a relatively short line. I really loved his Batman & Robin work as well as All-Star Superman. Unfortunately, the copy of All-Star Superman I was going to buy at the bookstore was already gone two weeks before the Con. So, I had to settle with JLA Earth 2 which was sort of his first foray with the DC Characters. You could kind of see him struggling with drawing them and I didn’t care too much for it. But, oh well, that’s what I got signed! Then again, I did get the first three issues of Batman & Robin signed by him! While we were waiting in line, Dustin Nguyen and this other guy were doing free sketches, but unfortunately they already put a cap on their line so I couldn’t get sketches from them. Oh, and I could understand Frank’s accent! It was weird because normally I can’t.
Next up was Pia Guerra the fantastic artist behind Y: The Last Man (check out my Super HeroiHOT of her character Agent 355). Unfortunately, a nice little sign of her held some unfortunate circumstances. Apparently, she had suffered a concussion and could barely speak up at the moment. Yet, she trooped on. Because of her concussion, I didn’t have the heart to ask her to sign on the inside of the cover.
Next up was my favorite writer: Greg Rucka. Unfortunately, I have only read his independent stuff like Queen & Country and Stumptown as well as his Batwoman work that I was introduced to him by, but I’m planning on reading more of his superhero work. He’s just a really neat guy with a knack for writing strong female voices which is something the comics industry always needs more of. I also talked to him about speaking at schools and he said that he would definitely be interested. I sure hope we can snag him!
Mark Waid was actually the first person I saw at the con, but I forgot to get a picture with him. I later ran into him while he was meeting up with Greg Rucka and he did this classic handshake pose. I have got to say this: Mark Waid is one of the nicest guys in the business. He genuinely cares about what he does and he’s warm and welcoming. He’s just super friendly and it is really refreshing. He’s a great writer, but he has not let that gone to his ego (I’m looking at you Geoff Johns). If you are interested in comics and really want someone great to meet, then that person is Mark Waid.
So, there was this massive line for Erik Larsen, and caught in the middle of it was Ryan Ottley. So, I squeezed my way in between people and got him to sign almost all of the issues of The Viltrumite War for Invincible. He was pretty cool but seemed a little beat. I could imagine, it was 5 or 6 when I finally managed to get to him. I complimented him on the amazing 10 or so dual page spreads in Invincible #75 and told him that I managed to stare at those for an incredibly long time. I think I made him pretty happy with my compliments.
Here’s a picture of Lillian with Shane at the Atomic Comics booth. The best damn comic shop in Tacoma and the best and most friendly comic shop I’ve ever been in!
Here’s a very energetic Cameron Stewart with me having absolutely no idea of what’s going on behind me. He did a couple runs on Batman & Robin that were pretty great and I really love his style. It’s reminiscent of a cleaner version of Frank Quitely but still completely his own. To tell the truth, I almost liked his run on Batman & Robin more than Frank Quitely, but that’s a close race.
So, before Lillian and I headed back to the car for her to change out of her Sailor Pluto costume and for me to drop off half of the books I was lugging around and switch off with the other half, I happened to spot someone doing $10 commissions. Of course, this was a steal! On top of that, they were insanely adorable commissions. So, I got Becky from Tiny Kitten Teeth to draw me up a super cute Leonardo while we went and switched out.
Her partner Frank and I also chatted it up a bit about the TV movie Turtles Forever. It was pretty rad. $10 for that thing!? It was a steal, and I’ll gladly continue supporting them for a long time, it was probably one of the great discoveries at Comic Con.
So, one of the primary reasons Lillian came to ECCC was not only to dress up in her costume but to get a $90 picture with James Marsters and Nicholas Brendon otherwise known as Spike and Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s kind of surprising how tall she is in comparison to them! Well, the last hour of the Con was her getting the picture and waiting for it to be printed, but it was pretty gland. You have no idea how excited she was after she got the picture, “I GOT TO HUG THEM!” or something of the sort. Ahh, the world of the celebrity. It was pretty awesome, all in all.
So, at some point during the Con, we managed to spot this treat from far away. Lillian and I have a huge obsession over Scott Bakula. His Quantum Leap days were fantastic. So, imagine our surprise over a parody of Scott Pilgrim with Scott Bakula! Fantastic!
Lillian got this free sketch from these guys dressed in fancy 18th century clothes with wigs! It was grand.
This was my first free sketch from Yanick Paquette and his inker (who I did not really catch his name). Yanick was very excited the whole time talking fast with his Canadian accent. You could tell he genuinely enjoys drawing. When I asked for my Turtle sketch he was just like, “you know, in the 17 years that I’ve been drawing, I have never once been asked to draw a Ninja Turtle” which I replied with “At least that makes me memorable!” His inker also made fun of him for the turtle having a heaving chest with hardly any neck. They had some pretty funny banter.
So, I came to Jeff Lemire (which I was really looking for a copy of Essex County before going to the con but couldn’t find any) who does Sweet Tooth which is a darling yet poignant comic with human/animal hybrids, basically. So, it would have just been unfair to ask him to draw a Ninja Turtle (even though I still did this with Chrissie Zullo, woops). So, I asked him to imagine a boy in his world that had the characteristics of a turtle. So, he came out with this. Afterward he was just like, “Sorry, it kind of looks like a peanut.” I told him I still really liked it. It’s pretty adorable in that weird, charming sort of way.
So that concludes our foray into Emerald City Comic Con 2011. So, let me leave you with some observations:
- Out of everyone I saw it was obvious that there was one thing very striking about the situation. The majority of comic book creators are White youngish to middle-aged men. I only saw two female creators out of everyone and that was pretty surprising. There were no black people that I saw (although, one guy was doing free sketches at the DC Booth, but I don’t know who it was) really at all behind the creators tables. This wasn’t just me choosing to go around and avoid these people: there was a genuine lack of diversity with creators.
- I really need to spend some time at the LGBT booths and look at their stuff because I sort of missed out this year.
- Next year I also need to support more independent creators rather than just going all out on the big names. As shown through Becky from Tiny Kitten Teeth, there are some fantastic creators out there that do not have a big name attached to them.
- It’s occasionally a little unfair to ask people to draw Ninja Turtles all of the time, but at least I provide references.
- The ECCC staff did an excellent job at remaining organized through the massive amounts of people.
- There was no big information releases by any of the companies and most of the panels seemed like character worshiping (this is of course through just what I’ve read rather than actual experience since I didn’t go to any panels).
- There’s a great potential to bond with people and meet new friends like Elliott (PLEASE CONTACT ME!), and I should come with a plan to meet creators but also keep a loose enough schedule to actually soak in the experience.
- I have this problem where I get overwhelmed by too much stimulus. Comic Cons definitely have too much stimulus, but it’s so much that it’s almost welcoming.
- I need to spend more time actually talking to creators and have some questions prepared for them rather than just signing and leaving. The ones they remember are the ones who care enough about their work in order to talk to them about it.
- Everyone there seemed very fun and friendly.
So, I hope you enjoyed living vicariously through Lillian and I, and I really encourage you to check out a Comic Con sometime in your life because they’re really amazing.