When cmsof first approached me about covering the Emerald City Comicon for ColuMn™, I was cautious. Not because I think comic conventions are inherently dorky (they are), but because cmsof usually takes all the good assignments for himself. I accepted it because I went to the ECCC in its inaugral year, but had yet to return. Lots of things kept me away. Finances, vacations, and work all contributed to my absence. But primarily it was because I’d sort of lost a little bit of my love for comics in the intervening years. I’d gone from being a weekly (sometimes twice weekly back in the days when comics were released on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) to once every few months. My only resolution this New Year was to make the trip to the comic store a weekly event once again. I plowed through the stack of around 100 comics that I hadn’t read, catching up and ready to fulfill my destiny. And then I got super sick and missed the first couple of weeks. Since then I have kept that appointment and, as the weather gets better and better, I don’t see that changing. I’m happy to be back in the swing of things and I’ve sort of recaptured that intangible something that I’d lost and regained my love for the medium. In short, I was pumped to hit the comicon.
In the days leading up to the convention, I did my homework. I mapped out exactly what I wanted to do, which panels to see, where my favorite comic creators were located, and, most important, what time to show up to get my picture taken with the only living legend who’s worth a damn: Stan “The Man” Lee. Stan Lee, for those legally braindead, is the creator and/or co-creator of some of comic’s most beloved characters: Spider-man, The Fantastic Four, X-men, Silver Surfer, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, Ravage 2099 . . . . I could go on and on and on. The man has touched each and every one of our lives at some point in time. I would have loved a photo with Wil Wheaton and Leonard Nimoy, too, but knowing that I only had the cash for one, there was never any question in my mind: I was going to meet Stan Lee.
Finally, Saturday, March 13, 2010 arrived. And it didn’t start well. I was jarred out of a sound sleep at 7:00 a.m. by the sounds of construction across the street. I needed at least an hour’s more sleep. I had an appointment to get my oil changed at 9:00, but I wanted to maximize my sleep. It was going to be a long, grueling day. I knew that. To start off less than ideal was just unacceptable. But what choice did I have?
Three hours later, wide awake and oil changed, I contacted The Woodsman. He was down with hitting the convention, so he picked me up and we drove the short distance to the Washington State Convention Center. I’d decided to forgo the Baggyman mask and not cosplay (this time). The Woodsman was dressed as an ugly woman. Hmm. In looking at the pictures, I guess he wasn’t wearing a costume afterall. Well, he sure did get a lot of catcalls.
The place was packed. I mean packed. You could barely maneuver from booth to booth. The crowd was in good spirits, though, and the asshole meter was remarkably low. But enough jawin’. Here are some pictures (and a couple of really short videos) that I took that give a good general idea of what the ECCC was all about this year.
A big reason, if not the MAIN reason to hit any comic convention is to interact with the artists, writers, and publishers that create the comics that you love. I didn’t really interact with any, but I did cowardly huddle at the sidelines, taking quick snapshots and then running away.
I didn’t get all that many photos of creators. They were all located just inside the main doors and I was a little overwhelmed. The convention has grown A LOT since the first one that I went to in 2003. That said, I’m a fan of Brian Michael Bendis (though I prefer his indie stuff to his Marvel stuff). He’s a great writer, though. You should check out Powers (which is still published monthly) and Jinx if you’re interested in some good crime fiction. I’m not all that familiar with Ed Brubaker’s work, though I have heard good things about Criminal and his run on Captain America. Bendis and Brubaker both did long stints on Daredevil, and, while I preferred Bendis and artist Alex Maleev’s run, they’re both definitely worth picking up.
I would have loved to have spent some time bugging Joe Quesada, but I felt the need to do things The Woodsman would enjoy as well (though it didn’t really work out that way in the long run). Quesada has made some controversial (and sometimes terrible – see The Amazing Spider-man) decisions in his stint as Editor-In-Chief of Marvel, but he’s done a lot for the company, so I don’t begrudge him . . . much.
As you might expect, Star Wars was all over the comicon, and I loved it. Well, most of it. With one glaring exception.
This is the one photo that I didn’t take (click on the photo to see who to blame). I’m sorry I made you look at it.
This is just a photo of a bunch of Star Wars characters standing around looking bored, but it makes for a nice palate cleanser.
I was able to get this extremely rare photo, even though it’s a little blurry. I mean, imagine my excitement. Spidey and Boba in the same room!
Spidey got the hell out of there as fast as he could when he saw who was coming down the corridor.
Just down the way from that awesome site, The Woodsman and I ran into what has to be the biggest Ewok in Ewok Village. We also bumped into ColuMn™ EIC cmsof!
This is big, folks. HUGE. We learned in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones exactly what Boba Fett AND the Stormtroopers look like under the helmets. Like this. Right? But in this EXCLUSIVE photograph, we see not only unmasked Stormtroopers that are obviously NOT clones
but did you see who was buried in the background?
Boba Fett! Unmasked! And it’s not the clone of Jengo Fett!
Remember. You heard it on ColuMn™ first!
When I first agreed to do this article, my #1 priority to was have my picture taken with Stan “The Man” Lee. I was willing to forgo all else to accomplish that goal. The ECCC offers opportunities to be photographed with some science fiction icons:
Yes. They’ll sign your autographs and have their pictures taken with you. For a price. Those prices range from $30 to $60, and I don’t blame them at all. It’s got to be grueling to be nice to people and sign stuff and have your picture taken while you just sort of sit there. I’m not being sarcastic. If they didn’t charge for a picture or autograph, that’s all they’d do. So I get it. And I didn’t mind in any way paying $40 for 20 seconds with Stan Lee. Unfortunately, cmsof stepped in at the last minute, grabbed my ticket and got his picture taken with my idol, Stan “The Man” Lee.
I was devastated. Not one picture exists of BlackJack at the ECCC. Even The Woodsman, who spent most of the convention creeping people out at the Hot Tub Time Machine display, got a photo!
cmsof wanted to tell this story:
So I had to wait a while to pick up my Stan Lee photograph. I didn’t mind, but when they informed about six of us that they were done printing the Stan Lee photos and we still hadn’t spotted ours, we weren’t exactly happy. We’d waited two hours as batch after batch of Stan Lee photos slowly trickled out. And then, after two hours, to be denied our photos and told to email the photographer, well, it was a little much. We finally got them to agree to interrupt the printing of the Leonard Nimoy photos to print our photos one by one as we stood there. While I was standing there, Wil Wheaton, who had just wrapped up his own photo session, was packing up his gear and getting ready to head out. I quickly raised my camera to take a quick snap, but I’d had my camera set on video for the Leonard Nimoy clip and so I accidentally hit video when I wanted a photo. Not only that, but as soon as I pushed the button, Wil finished packing up and started heading toward me. I quickly pocketed my camera and hoped he hadn’t noticed. I don’t think he did. He’d lost a bet to Aaron Douglas and was wearing a Team Canada hockey sweater to pay his debt. I, of course, was wearing my Team USA hockey sweater that I’d purchased for the Olympics a couple of weeks prior. He laughed and commented on my sweater saying, “I’m so jealous. I should be wearing that one!” We shared a laugh and he commented on how much he enjoyed ColuMn™ and admired how great I, personally, was. I told him that Erin Grey was waiting for me in my limo and we bid each other farewell.*
And that pretty much brought our comicon experience to a close. The Woodsman and I did get to wander around quite a bit. I bought a few items, but we mostly checked out our fellow conventioners. Especially the women.
So I leave you with this, a gallery of some of the interesting people who make the ECCC worth attending. Hats off to you all. Especially you, Vulcan chick. Especially you.
See you next year!
* these two sentences are complete and utter bullshit – BlackJack