Monday, May 12, 2008

Emerald City ComiCon, Day Two

Day Two of the Emerald City ComiCon. I arrived at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center just in time for the doors to the convention space to open at 10am.

I brought some comics with me to have them signed by their creators, so I spent most of the first two hours doing that. Some of the lines for signings were incredibly long, so I didn't get every comic signed that I wanted. I did get Birds of Prey #98 signed by writer Gail Simone (I also asked her for some advice to an aspiring writer like myself, and she was generous with her time in giving some), Superman #656 signed by writer Kurt Busiek, Manifest Eternity #4 signed by artist Dustin Nguyen, and New X-Men #139 (with Jean Grey in her Dark Phoenix costume on the cover) signed by artist Phil Jimenez.

I didn't have anything by writer Andy Mangels handy (you try digging through 6,000 poorly indexed comics to find something), but he had some of his work for sale, so I purchased Nightmares on Elm Street #1 (from way back in 1991 -- oh, and yay, Freddy!) and he signed it. He also threw in a signed poster for a related miniseries for free because I'm a fellow member of the GLA mailing list (associated with the Gay League website for GLBT comics fans). Mangels said he thought I might be someone from the list. Do I look visibly queer or something? Why, yes, I do. Heh. Jimenez is another GLA list member, so I also introduced myself to him as a list member when he signed the New X-Men comic.

From Noon to 1pm, I was at the "Sunday Conversation" panel moderated by DC Comics' senior vice president/executive editor Dan DiDio. The rest of the panel consisted of Busiek, writer Bill Willingham, and senior story editor Ian Sattler.

It was more of a give and take between fans and creators, with DiDio asking questions of the fans and then letting us have our say. I raised my hand when he asked how many of us had stopped reading comics for awhile and then returned to reading them. He called on me to explain why. I said the first time was in the 1990s when grim and gritty was the rule of the day, and the second time was last year due to 'big event' fatigue. I said I was coming back again this time because of the upcoming Final Crisis miniseries, which earned me a thank you from Sattler.

1pm to 2pm was spent at a Q&A session for actor/writer/geek extraordinaire Wil Wheaton. He's a great speaker with many funny anecdotes to share, as well as some serious ones about growing up as a bullied geek and dealing with fans who were nasty because they hated his character on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He had some great words of advice for a teenaged girl asking about how to survive high school when you're bullied for being different. After the session, he pulled her aside and spoke to her some more. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, as well as a mega-nerd.

Then I went to lunch. I had a hot dog and lemonade at the little deli on the convention floor. Then I wandered around the exhibition area some more. I bought a Buffy action figure complete with the magical scythe she acquired at the end of the final season. So two action figures was the sum total of my purchases this year. Some other items I had my eyes on were just too expensive to justify buying, like a Dark Phoenix action figure for $60.

But now it means my desk has even more protection. If you get past the Jawa and Hal Jordan (only the greatest Green Lantern ever), now you also have to deal with a Slayer and a genocidal pepper pot. Beware!

After lunch, I caught the tail end of writer J. Michael Straczynski's Q&A session. I finished off the day at a panel about self-publishing that included writer Phil Foglio. Very informative. Then I said goodbye to the con until next year.

I had a great time and I'm definitely looking forward to going again next year. It was worthwhile, even with my arthritic left ankle acting up after all the walking I did.

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