Sunday, April 1, 2007

Emerald City Comic Con

I was off on a daytrip to Seattle this last weekend for the Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC). The festivities commenced in Qwest Field (Seahawks Stadium) Event Center south of downtown just off of I5. Having the con in a new building (they blew up the Kingdome a few years ago) really provided a nice atmosphere for the event and the experience was a total contrast to the Portland Comic Book Show. This being its 5th year, it’s my understanding that ECCC keeps improving by leaps and bounds. Since Seattle is a city that people have actually heard of, there was an extensive list of creators, media guests, and exhibitors. Personally, I was just happy that there were enough booths and events to keep me engaged for a few hours making the drive up worth it.
This funny realization came over me as I was strolling through the crowded stalls. See, I was keen on talking to some of the media folks and artists but once I was there, I felt uncomfortable walking up to them when I had no intention to buying their stuff. It just seemed rude. All, I wanted was a moment of their time, but with other much more rabid fans shelling out huge piles of cash for signed pictures and sketches, it seemed pointless. Not that I didn’t have a good time mind you. It was just that I felt like more of an observer, which was surprisingly enough for me. Maybe it’s the filmmaker aspect of my personality. Dunno, I guess going to a con were they actually have a significant amount of famous folks made me really think about it for the first time.
The Boom! Studios booth was one place I didn’t shy away from. These guys are publishing the kinda stuff I wanna’ read. See, I’m kinda burned out on superheroes. Dark Horse, Vertigo and Dynamite Entertainment are wetting my appetite for other genres but its not enough. Boom! on the other hand, burst on the scene about 2 years ago with a concept to serve the fan with a need for alternative genres. They publish supernatural thrillers, adventure, sci-fi, and horror comics. Where others companies dabble, Boom! Studios delivers. Their current claim to fame is Talent, a paranormal comic, which has been optioned for a film. These guys are also publishing Cthulhu comics, so I’m pretty excited about what they have coming down the pike. I picked up Pirate Tales, Cthulhu Tales, Tag and Savage Brothers. The Engima Cypher looks really good too, but I was running low on cash.
I had a great conversation with Ross Richie the publisher of Boom! Studios. He spoke at length about his love for comic books and the need for his company in the market place. At first, he gave his standard pitch about why his company produces the kinda comics they do, but once he realized he was speaking to the converted Ross became much more relaxed. He loves working with guys like Keith Giffen, and pretty, much let’s them do want they want, what as novel idea. I tried to express my appreciation, rather poorly I might add, that finally somebody grasps that we really need more choices in our stories, and that Boom! is really filling that role. Ross understood and said that he knew there were readers like me out there. That’s why he started the company.

It was a pleasant surprise when I realized that Clint Hollingsworth the creator of the web comic, The Wandering Ones was at the con. I really enjoyed meeting Clint and his wife Susie. I like post-apocalyptic stories a lot, so it was wonderful to pick up a copy of the collected strips, as I dislike on-line orders. The Wandering Ones is a wilderness survival story set in 2066 with tribal survivors of a devastating plague hunting, tracking and fighting their way across the Pacific Northwest. The art reminds me of the roleplaying game Aftermath for some reason. I urged them to visit Portland someday if they could fit it in.

Feedback (Matthew Atherton) was there. He was the guy that won Who Wants to Be a Superhero He was by far the most popular media star, as he had a steady stream of fans all day long. Feedback was charging for photos so I had to stand back to get this shot. It was difficult as you can tell because of the crowd.

Here’s a shot of Margo Kidder and Peter Mayhew. One woman started to freak out because she had not realized Peter was at the show, and apparently she’s a big fan. She actually said “I’m gonna freak out!” I got out of the way quickly.

Some of the cast from Farscape made it to ECCC. Lani Tupu (left standing), Wayne Pygram (sitting) and Gigi Edgley (standing with sandwich right). I wish I was a fan of the show then I could have talked them, but alas, I’ve only seen a few random episodes of Farscape so I had nothing to say. Apparently no one else had anything to say either because their booth was pretty quiet. Lani was always on the phone, he must have been arranging his next gig, or making it look like he was arranging his next gig. Gigi was always eating a sandwich every time I walked by. She had a pleading look like “please let my finish this. I’m starving.” Seriously, there is nothing hotter than an attractive woman stuffing food in her mouth. I finally felt bad, so I went up to Wayne and thanked him for coming and told him enjoyed his work. Which is true as Scorpius was the coolest character on that show.

Twomorrows Publishing was there to my joy and regret. Joy because I love their books and magazines, regret because I couldn’t buy all of their wares. I did pick up Modern Masters Volume 07: John Byrne, Modern Masters Volume 08: Walter Simonson, and How To Create Comics.

Here’s some creators that I didn’t stand in line for:
Frank Cho

Brian Michael Bendis
Gene Ha

Here are those Star War guys again!

Here is the Top Shelf booth. Brett Warnock, their publisher, didn't want to be in the picture. See Brett! I didn’t get you in there.

I stopped by the booth of the folks that write the Comics Fairplay blog. We had a fun time chatting. I think they’re on to a great idea in terms of the right way for fans to participate in a con. Thanks for the free comic guys!

All and all I had a great time but before we (Me and my SO) left Seattle, we had to get some chow. The nice thing about the ECCC being at Qwest Center is that the Chinatown-International District is nearby. It’s only a few blocks away and really easy to get to with the pedestrian overpass. My SO hasn’t had any good Japanese ramen in a loooong time, so we finished up our trip by stopping off at a new shop called Samurai Noodle. Well the place was very busy and the food was excellent. So if your hungering for real Japanese ramen, Samurai Noodle is the place to go.



Don Snabulus said...

Do you mean to say that Japanese ramen isn't mass-produced noodle clusters in flavored saltwater? I would never have guessed. ;)

Looks like a good show. We might have to head up there with you next time (assuming we are in town).

Dean Wormer said...

I almost went to that convention knowing Kidder and Mayhew were there. Both were in movies that meant a heck of a lot to me as a kid.

I was thinking about you and hoping you went. Thanks for reporting and taking pix!

Free comic book day is on my calendar and if I miss it this year like last my kids will have my head...

Overdroid said...

I've never really been a comic geek. But I make up for it in many other types of geekyness.

ladybug said...

Sounds like fun! Especially since I got to hear the detailed version...

Perhaps as time goes by, Portland's Comic-cons will get better as well.

Now if there was only some way to join a needlework/embroidery show w/cute young guys....(and not so young guys, like Hugh Jackman) - oh the possibilities!

Swinebread said...

snab yeah, real ramen is great, especially on a cold day.

dean I think you would have had fun, and the kids would have too. Make plans for next year!

Don’t miss Free Comic Book Day! What store(s) are you going to?

Here is the link so folks know what we are talking about:

o-droid That’s true, but know enough about comics to run a game about it. :D. Also, they had some cool cthulhu products, one which I’ll talk about soon as I picked it up.

LB It was lots of fun. The Stumptown Comics Fest is getting better every year. The Portland Comic Book Show is stagnating.

It’s much better that you’re now into guys like Huge Jackman instead of no-talent pretty boys like Keanu.

Dean Wormer said...

We went to Excalibur last time (year before last) which was really fun. Let me know if there's a better place to hit.

BTW: that live artist stuff you were only marginally interested in up in Seattle was the stuff they liked the most. All of them like to draw and watching a pro do it live really tickled them.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Yes, but can you tell the difference between Tokyo-style, Sapporo-style, and Asahikawa-style ramen? They really can be different...and gourmets can even identify the specific restaurant where a bowl of ramen has come from. Yes, the real thing beats the instant kind any day.

I keep telling myself I'll go to a convention like that someday, but I think I'd be totally lost.