Monday, May 12, 2008
Emerald City Comic Con part one
Well, I learned my lesson last time and so I’m going to post this in parts. I think my wrists will thank me for it.
Lady Bug and I drove up to Seattle in a one-day mad rush for the Emerald City Comic Con. The show has really grown by leaps and bounds and so this year’s con was in a larger venue, the Seattle convention center.
I had brought a ton of books and comics to sign but I did tell myself that maybe some of the lines might be too long and sure enough there were a few folks I didn’t have the patience queue for but there was so much going on it didn’t matter.
Here the entrance into the main showroom… kinda looks like the Superman movie’s fortress of solitude.
I lucked out when I had Bill Willingham sign my comics. For some reason there wasn’t a big line but while I standing there, with only a few folks in front of me, a huge gaggle developed. Bill’s gaggle was merging with the line for Ed Brubaker, which was creating a big mess. I took charge and said “hey, why don’t we shift this around the other way.” Bill thanked me for adjusting things and then proceeded to sign several issues of Shadowpact for me.
I asked Bill about the connection between the Villains and Vigilantes modules (Death Dual with the Destroyers and the Island of Dr. Apocalypse) and the Elementals. Basically, while he was trying to break into comics, Bill was doing art for Fantasy Games Unlimited and worked on a couple of modules. Around that time, He had created a portfolio containing generic superheroes that he sent to Comico. They liked what the saw and Bill had a new job. When he showed up at Comico’s offices, Bill asked what he was going to be working on and their response was something like “what? You’re going to work on the proposal you submitted to us.” Bill was like “oh, yeah, of course” so he took the generic superheroes and fleshed them out into the Elementals. Needing a storyline quickly, he grabbed the outline from Death Dual with the Destroyers and the Island of Dr. Apocalypse as he owed the rights to all the characters and the rest is history. Sadly, Bill says the Elementals will never be reprinted, as the guy that owns the rights to the stories is a complete jerk. Back when Image was flush with money in the ‘90s, they tried to offer the jerk a large sum for the rights, but he always kept asking for more. The Jerk has disappeared and Bill has heard he’s homeless now. Maybe he should have taken the deal.
Here’s the multitalented Brandon Jerwa, along with his band mate Jessica Blackshear from SD6. He’s been writing several of the BSG titles for Dynamite Entertainment. Brandon told me that they’ve had such success with the BSG season zero comic that they might extend the series. He wasn’t sure they would do a Capria comic book based on the upcoming BSG related show, but he did say that there is going to be a BSG comic with a different group of survivors. Basically, you’ll have you’ll the same cylon models but a story that’s centered on a completely different group of humans. Kinda reminds me of a Star Trek: New Frontier approach.
Brandon signed my copy of BSG Season Zero #1, which had a great photo cover of Jamie Bamber.
Since Jamie Bamber was at ECCC, I decided why not have him sign my comic as well. His line was small at one point, so I just walked up and marveled at how short and how handsome he was. I shook his hand and he had a genuine smile on his face. It was funny because I guess Jamie hadn’t seen any BSG comics before because he was very intrigued with the issue I plopped in front of him. He opened it up and looked at pages. He then said with disbelief “is that supposed to be Colonel Tigh?” pointing to a scratchily rendered image. He flipped another page and again with disbelief said, “is that supposed to be Eddy?” Remember, he’s asking these questions in a gentle British accent. He looked right at me pleading for an explanation. I just raised my hands in an “I don’t know” shrug. With that, Jamie said, shaking his head, “I love comic books” and signed the cover with his image on it.
I realized at that moment that Dynamite Entertainment had really blown it by not getting an artist for the BSG comics that could draw realistic representations of the actors. I think Jamie was actually offended that the characters and actors he’s so familiar with didn’t look as they should. In this situation, the negative stereotype of comics was reinforced because the folks at Dynamite couldn’t be bothered I guess. The stories are quite good, but most non-comics types will look at the art and dismiss the titles completely just as Jamie did.
Moving on, I asked Jamie a few more questions. He told me he has nothing lined up after BSG. He’d slightly prefer to do films to more TV but if a TV show had the same level of camaraderie as BSG came along, he’d jump at the chance. I asked what was the best part of being on BSG for him personally and he said it was working with and learning from such a great group of people. Finally, I thanked him for coming to Seattle and (because of some theater experience in my background) I told him the one thing you are supposed to say to compliment an actor. He really seemed truly touched by my expression of gratitude and I walked away feeling like I needed to talk to some women to shake off our man moment. (Oh and I’m not going to tell what I said, this is the Internet of gosh sakes, so do your own research). .
Phil Noto & Gerry Duggan
I was really eager to meet Phil Noto as I greatly enjoyed his work on Jonah Hex and his current work on The Infinite Horizon. Phil, come to find out, is a very quiet guy actually so I ended up talking to Gerry Duggan the writer for The Infinite Horizon. We discussed the apocalypse-light world of IH a little and also adapting the odyssey into a near future tale. Gerry mentioned his post-apocalyptic x-mas story The Last Christmas and I bought it from him on the spot. Santa fighting cannibals in bombed out cities? I had to have it. Lastly, I encouraged him to check out the Stumptown Comics fest in Portland. He seemed very interested in the comic creator centered event. Hopefully he’ll make the trek to Portland someday.
Rick Remender and his wife Danni had just had joked about something that’s why they look kinda snarky in the photo. Maybe it’s was something about my geekiness? Heh heh. Regardless I let him know how much I was enjoying The End League and that I saw a huge improvement from issue one to issue two. I think we’re at the beginning of a very cool series. I also decided to give Rick’s XXXombies a chance too and picked up the first issue of that. Kieron Dwyer drew it so how could I not try it out?
I came across Matt Maxwell by chance and found the cover art to his book Strangeways: Murder Moon very compelling. Matt was happy to tell me about it, basically it’s a cowboys and werewolves horror story. I threw out the term Weird West, and Matt joked that his book is listed on wikipedia under Weird West. He also, mentioned that he’s working on a new horror western and it will include vampires but it won’t be all Goth like Vampire the Masquerade. I mentioned that that’s a good idea because I’m really tired of the artsy bloodsuckers and that I prefer the monstrous type. He joked that Vampire the Masquerade was a lifestyle and not merely a game. I laughed and agreed. Needless to say, I bought his book.
Here’s Eric Powell, creator of The Goon, and next him is one the Nashville Roller Derby gals that Eric has designed promotions for… That's pretty f***ing cool. I had Eric sign an issue of the goon, and the Devil Dinosaur one-shot for me.
The fantastico Esteban Maroto, had a bunch of amazing art, including original pages from Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan. I really wanted one, but I was afraid to ask how much they were because I would embarrass myself if I couldn’t afford any of them. I had Esteban sign my copy of The Adventures of Red Sonja trade, which reprints a story he drew. I thanked him in Spanish.
J. Michael Straczynski
The lines were too long to meet J. Michael Straczynski, except at one point but then he had to rush off to a panel discussion, so I missed out. I wanted to tell him how much I enjoyed Babylon 5 and his current comic series the Twelve. I did learn that that he’s a very tall guy though. He’s friggin' huge.
I had Gail Simone sign an issue of Villains United. I’m not reading her titles so I felt bad that I had nothing to ask her. Maybe I should have found out what Marvel character Gail would like to write if she had the chance, She-Hulk maybe?