Sunday wrapped up the weekend at ECCC 2015 just the way it should have: with AMAZING Cosplay! Well done Seattle!
All images were taken by Hush Comics co-owner Adrian Puryear. Please ask permission before re-posting.
Emerald City Comic Con is upon us again! We spend most of our day in the Main Hall for some amazing panels, but we were also able to grab some great Cosplay pictures today! Way to nerd out, Seattle!
All images were taken by Hush Comics co-owner Adrian Puryear. Please ask permission before re-posting.
Memorial Day weekend was crazy for Hush Comics. We made the drip down South to check out the Houston Comicpalooza, where we met up with Hush family member Taylor Lowe. This was another milestone convention for us, where we got the opportunity to go as press for the first time – which was a real pleasure. The experience of Comicpalooza this year was one of the best we’ve had, and we would love to share it with you! This article is our way of giving you OUR experience. Since there were four of us, we were able to cover a lot more ground, so here is the most complete description we could give you of Comicpalooza 2014.
Houston, Texas – it’s not exactly the nerdiest city in the world. There were a lot of people dressed up in the convention, but I felt a bit odd for wearing nerd shirts outside of the convention. It’s not that Houstanians are judgmental or anything, but it’s just not that kind of a city (compared to Seattle and Denver, which both consistently rank in the top ten of most “Nerdiest Cities in America” lists). Just because there might not be as many nerds per capita doesn’t mean there aren’t just as many socially awkward weirdos as we have at home. It’s not a stretch to say that the quality of weirdo is just as high as at the bigger conventions we’ve been to.
I suppose that’s comparatively speaking though, because Houston is a very big city. Unlike San Diego and New York (home to the two biggest cons in similarly huge cities), Houston’s downtown area surrounding the convention center is full of corporate office buildings with not a lot of “fun stuff” to do. The George R Brown Convention Center is right in between Minute Maid Stadium (home to the Houston Astros, consistently baseball’s saddest team) and the Toyota Center (where the NBA Houston Rockets play), but other than that, there isn’t a whole lot to do in the surrounding areas like there are in the aforementioned cities. Houston is full of big-time oil & gas companies, and it’s something the city is very proud of, making this much more of a business. Outside George R Brown, however, was this beautiful sprawling green space, as well as an outdoor area for kids to play, that made this an ideal picnic spot or place to take the kids if the convention gets overwhelming.
Being a huge business focal point in America, there are plenty of hotels nearby, and they’re all reasonably priced. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to do anything fun downtown that doesn’t include bar-hopping, you’ll need a car to get around the city. And because the city and its suburbs are massive, that means lots of traffic and at least 30-45 minutes to get anywhere. Public transportation in Houston is actually pretty extensive, so you can catch a ride to the museum district pretty easily, but for after-con adventures, The Woodlands were the spot for us – where we watched X-Men: Days of Future Past (movie review here), and we ate (and ate and ate). I’d suggest at least venturing over there for some TexMex – by far the best food in Houston. Some of our favorites were: Berry Hill Baja Grill, Spring Creek BBQ, and Lupe Tortilla.
As far as the weather, Houston is humid and hot almost all year-round, which can make dressing up in face make-up a nightmare. We saw numerous people who cosplayed in facepaint that were just dripping down their faces it was so hot outside. Also, everywhere you go in Houston, the air conditioning is full-blast, which led to us bringing jackets to the con in 90 degree weather. Our search for the indoors, as well as a free day to peruse local shops, led us to three unique and awesome comic book shops around the city.
The first of which was Third Planet, the aptly-described Sci-Fi Super-Store. There’s practically no way to peruse the store without picking up something out of nostalgia or avarice. Old Batman and X-Men animated series’ toys? Check. Enough Funko product to resurrect James Brown? Yes. I’d say the specialty here is novelty items – statues, replicas, and other awesome stuff that you can spend your cash on. It is a ginormous store that doesn’t feel overwhelming or impersonal. The selection of trade paperbacks is probably the highest of any store in the city. However, there wasn’t a great selection of back-issues, but we got the impression that single issues aren’t in high demand in Houston. This is a guaranteed stop for me anytime I come to town.
The next stop was to Fat Ogre Games and Comics, where Taylor Lowe gets his weekly fix from. This was a smaller shop that specializes in table-top gaming. It was full of like-minded nerds who were crushing each other in HeroClix, a popular superhero themed game. Fat Ogre had a great community feel and quite a few cool collectibles to add to the stacks of graphic novels on the shelf. Gamers will feel right at home here.
Our favorite shop was Space Cadets. Tucked away in cozy shopping center, Space Cadets had one of the most complete stores we’ve ever seen. My sister geeked out at the Pokémon cards while Taylor raided the shelves for Star Wars toys. Adrian took a trip back in time with their retro toys and I scanned the premium figures and statues. Any person of any nerd interest would find something to geek out here. While a lot of the back-issues weren’t in great condition, I saw a lot that were – from packaged collections of George Pérez and Marv Wolfman’s All New Teen Titans to signed copies of Jim Lee’s Superman: For Tomorrow. And unlike the other shops, there was a definite realization that Comicpalooza was that weekend, meaning spotlighted issues for: Neal Adams, Stan Lee, Greg Capullo and more. These guys were in touch with the community, a big plus for us. We even stopped by before leaving town for an impromptu game of chess. The people there are great, too, with a pretty deep selection of table-top gaming themselves, and a warm mom & pop attitude we couldn’t find anywhere else.
Alright, it’s coming – that Texas “big” cliché. You didn’t think you could read an article on the biggest comic book convention in the state and not see the words “it’s bigger in Texas,” did you? Comicpalooza has found its home in the George R Brown Convention Center (which isn’t the first Brown building I’ve been in; as an Engineer at Colorado School of Mines, a majority of my classes were held in the George R Brown Hall. Crazy, right?!). This massive convention center is much larger (Exhibitors Hall, anyway) than anything we’ve been in at all, let alone for a convention. The exhibitor’s hall of Brown is bigger than at SDCC – the largest con in the freakin’ world. Here’s how it stacks up against other convention centers’ exhibit hall:
* This data might seem daunting but it is via wikipedia; what the hell do they know?
The spacious floors lead to TONS of room to do whatever you want. It allowed exhibitors ample spacing between booths and cosplayers the freedom to stop mid-stride to take pictures without being trampled to death. At one point, I started spinning around in circles like a farmer who had just seen rain for the first time all year. One of the biggest turn-offs of any type of convention is the ridiculous crowd. Here, we were able stroll at our leisure without worrying about being in somebody’s way.
The layout of the convention was really simple. There were no hidden floors, or panels you had to be at another building to attend – something that really annoyed us about Emerald City. We were a little lost at first, but quickly found our way around once we knew where to look. Everything was made easier with the Comicpalooza mobile app. Trying to boot everybody into the smartphone era, Comicpalooza all but did away with paper programming and went completely digital, although you could buy a “collector’s” program for ten bucks. The app itself was amazing; it constantly updated with scheduling changes, information on photo ops and signings, and a slew of other useful options. You can even add some customizable touches by creating a To-do list or a personalized schedule to avoid thumbing through all the events. We’ve used comic con apps before, but this one was completely reliable (even in airplane mode) and user-friendly. That is unless, of course, you don’t have a smart phone, which could make it quite a pain to find out where you need to go. It also won’t help carrying around a packet with times and locations of panels when schedule changes occurred – and they occurred fairly frequently. Overall, the app is genius, and I can only hope that other conventions follow suit.
Froggy’s Photos took up professional photography duties again, but this time, everything made much more sense and felt a lot more personal. There was more than sufficient time to get all the autographs and photo ops we wanted, with practically no wait time to meet people that we had been geeking out over since we were children. Due to the size of the convention, and the number of people attending, Comicpalooza felt much more intimate than others we’ve been to. We got to shake hands with Stan Lee, Spike and just chit chat with the same celebrities that, just a couple months earlier at ECCC, we weren’t even allowed to make eye contact with unless we’d been in line for an hour or paid for a professional shot.
The other added bonus of a smaller convention is that we got to do pretty much everything that we wanted to: panels, exhibitor’s hall, autographs and photos. There weren’t nearly as many volunteers here, and that’s a good thing. The logical layout of the convention center, in addition to the accessibility (nothing was really off-limits), meant that you didn’t need to be constantly asking for help. The volunteers at Comicpalooza were some of the nicest, most helpful individuals we’ve come across. Maybe it’s the high stress of the other conventions, but everything about Comicpalooza felt casual and fun. There were no worries if so-and-so would run out of prints, or if the panel you wanted to go to would be capped. Couple that with the plentiful free space to just sit down and hang out when you feel tired or need to formulate a game plan, and you have a stress-free experience.
Houston may not be the nerdiest city in the world, but the nerds that show up are nerds through and through. Because Seattle is such a hipster community, and Denver’s con is so new, it attracts a butt-load of intrigued yet uninformed people that wander aimlessly, standing in lines for people they don’t know and taking up seats in a Panel Room because lots of other people are doing the same thing – and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it was refreshing to see so many passionate fans. I mean, we saw live action Pokémon battles, guys. Upstairs were old-school arcade games and table-top figure painting, while downstairs held more of the extra-curricular events.
Houston is one of the most technologically-driven cities in the world; from Oil & Gas to Space technology, there is a strong emphasis on the science in science fiction, and it was definitely prevalent at Comicpalooza. There was a separate section of the con devoted to: robotics, computer gaming and (my personal favorite) 3D printing. It was refreshing to know that nerds can be evil scientists in real life, too.
When it all comes down to it, Hush Comics had an exceptionally fun time at this convention. There weren’t a large amount of comic book creators, but that led us to mingle with more independent people. The star power, on the other hand, was ridiculous, and was enough to get us down to Houston even before we heard about Stan Lee. The only thing I wish I would have seen more of is back-issues and comic book selection, but this is a feeling I had of every store we visited in the city. The seventh year of Comicpalooza brought a lot order to a massive convention, with optimal fun and minimal stress. Whether you’re a hardcore geek or just passing by to check out a celebrity, Comicpalooza should be a mandatory visit.
What really set Comicpalooza apart from any other convention was the amount of extra stuff to do there. If we really wanted to, we could have been there from 10AM – 10PM every day. Every niche nerd thing had events going on after and throughout the panels. We didn’t get to do it all, but we sure tried. Adjacent to the enormous exhibitor’s hall were a series of large performance stages, where a bunch of the interactive stuff went down.
Every day, Geeks Who Drink had a quiz competition in one of the ballrooms. Adrian and I have done a couple of the themed ones in Denver. One with Breaking Bad, where we kicked ass on placed in the top ten out of over fifty teams, and a Community themed one that we absolutely bombed. The quizzes were structured and prizes are given out for placing high, but not as nerdy as I would have expected, but we still had a fun time.
Elsewhere, LARPing was in full effect. In one section, there were trained swordsmen teaching noobs like us how to correctly wield a wooden blade. There was actually a separate area you could go to watch people go rounds and battle each other. We sat down and watched one of these intense bouts and became enthralled, giving the fighters nicknames, origin stories and grew quite attached. While there were plenty of big kids that took to the death-match with the gravity of real combat, we saw everyone from grown men and women to adorable little girls. Weird? Hell yeah. But these people were being themselves, letting go of the cultural boundaries they came here to escape, and they were entertaining themselves and others. You literally can’t ask for anything more.
Next up were the Quidditch matches. That’s right, the Harry Potter game is a real thing. Outside of Hogwartz, it’s referred to as Muggle Quidditch. It plays like a mixture of lacrosse, dodge-ball and flag football. I was confused by the rules, but after an hour or so of watching, I was pretty eager to try it out. I became so enthralled that I didn’t even notice how ridiculous(ly awesome!) all the players looked with pseudo-broomsticks in between their legs.When it comes down to it, there’s nothing cooler than playing a fun sport with a bunch of people who are used to getting picked last.
Our favorite post-con event had to be the James Marsters concert. James Marsters is better known as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where he crooned for fans in the musical episode, “Once More With Feeling.” Before the spin-off show, Angel, had ended in 2004, Marsters was already selling out gigs at LA clubs as a solo singer, and as the lead singer to his band Ghost of the Robot. That was all a round-about way of saying that the man knows how to woo a crowd. For nearly an hour, Marsters swooned the crowd with lovely acoustic songs. It was one of the coolest things you can find at a comic book convention.
From LARPing and hardcore Quidditch matches to roller derby and professional wrestling, there was always something going on in the convention. Nobody acted “too cool” to join in the fun. If you’re willing to let yourself just enjoy the show, there’s no way you won’t have a blast.
If you haven’t heard us freak out about it yet, I’ll fill you in. Comicpalooza is the first convention that Hush Comics has been to as “Press.” What does that mean, you ask? Not as much as you would think. We did get some pretty sweet zombie Deadpool badges, and some special treatment as far as getting ushered to the front of a few of the more-crowded panels. Also, it meant that our passes were paid for. This allowed us to give away all the passes that Taylor bought us for Christmas, which we did through Facebook. One of our winners was able to attend her very first con, which made us feel pretty darn cool! Here’s her account of the weekend:
Greetings Fellow Comic-conians!!
A huge thanks to HushComics for giving me the chance to experience my very first Comic-con. (Comicpalooza) Yes the cherry has been popped and I’m coming back for more. What a blast to see such amazing art pieces, crafts, actors and let’s not forget the cosplay. I’m very inspired and ready to participate in cosplay for next year. May the Comic-God’s smile upon you.”
Peace and Love,
Our first con was mind-blowing, so we’re glad that we were able to help somebody else get to experience that as well.
Perhaps the coolest thing about going as press was the opportunity to interview comic book creators. Comicpalooza didn’t have a whole lot of creators, but we knew of one that we absolutely had to sit down with. His name is Greg Capullo, and he has been the artist on Batman for nearly three years. We figured that, because he’s such a big deal in comic books, we wouldn’t be able to get a spot with him. After a little persistence and a lot of help from the media manager at CP, Rosario Perez (you’re the best!), we were able to get in contact with Greg’s wife and set up an interview. It was terrifying to say the least, but we were able to pull off something cohesive enough. Crazy story, while we were sitting down to talk with Mr. Capullo in this back-room break area for celebs, Stan Lee comes casually strolling across the room, sits down, and takes a power nap that only the 91 year-old Godfather of comic books could do – great ice breaker.
This weekend marked our first trip not only to Emerald City Comic Con, but our first trek to the wonderful city of Seattle. While ECCC wasn’t our first con, it is the first one we really attended as Hush Comics. This article is our way of giving you OUR experience. We don’t want to give you a transcript version of each panel and event because that wouldn’t fully embody our experience Note: The links for transcript versions are provided at the bottom. Instead, we bring you the most complete experience that our tired bodies could muster in a three-day period.
The Emerald City itself is one of the most gorgeous and interesting cities we’ve been in. Seattle is rainy, cloudy and sometimes really windy. We were told that it’s like that for about 9-10 months out of the year. The dreary weather was perfect for deep thinking and it makes the ground lush and green; Seattle’s weather creates a perfect storm of hipsters, coffee shops and grown men in My Little Pony costumes (even outside of the Con, from what I hear). If you think there is a Starbucks on every corner where you live, you haven’t been to Seattle. There was at least one within view of every street corner in downtown Seattle, and at one point, we found three in eyesight of each other in an indoor mini-mall. I don’t know how people there don’t absolutely hate Starbucks by now. The coffee place we really enjoyed was Seattle Coffee Works on 1st and Pike. They have magnificent mochas, chai tea, and chocolate (cayenne orange white chocolate, mmm). However, coffee wasn’t all there was to offer in Seattle.
Being right next to Puget Sound, we ate nothing but fish the entire time. The first stop we made when we got to town was the Pike Place Market. The market is full of unique shops, restaurants, street performers and a giant wall where people stick their used gum wads on (yes, it’s real, and yes, it’s disgusting). In a way, Pike Place Market, and downtown Seattle in general, reminder us a lot of 16th Street in Denver. We gorged ourselves on Clam Chowder and sushi. Our favorite spot was Blue C Sushi – which was actually right inside our hotel lobby. We had never had anything like this before: the sushi came out on a conveyor belt, an actual Sushi Train! One the blank wall above the Sushi Train, there was a projected video of cameras in Tokyo. Who knows when they were recorded, but during one of our dinners, we watched a flash mob version of Grease, Tokyo style. It was as confusing as it was enjoyable. There was also La Creperie Voila, which is a mom and pop Creperie directly outside the Washington State Convention Center; we ate there EVERY. DAY (Adrian loved the Lemon one and Sherif had the Dulce de Leche one).
We didn’t just stay at the convention, though. We took the monorail down to the Space Needle area. Aside from the breath-taking view, the surrounding area of the Space Needle was really intriguing. There was a glass museum, The Chihuly, complete with gigantic, singing flowers, and the Pop Culture Museum. The Space Needle looks intimidating from the ground, and the view from the top was amazing. The public transportation in Seattle is so navigable. The bus, monorail and light-rail system are so easy to use; Seattle is built for large conventions. We also stopped by the Museum of Flight on Thursday. We originally went for the Carol Corps Celebration, but we spent most of our time looking at all the badass planes.
By the end of our trip, we were in love with Seattle. The ease of public transportation, the friendly natives (most of the people from the Con were cool, too, but there were plenty of cranky people) and the unique melting pot that it has become, we enjoyed the city equally as much as the convention itself. And as much crap as we got for being from Denver (that whole Super Bowl thing), the two cities are more alike than their affinity for marijuana – which is not exaggerated (Canni-Bus? Really?). I guess it really is the greenest city in America.
If you’ve ever been to a comic book convention, then your logic will fail you here. Nothing is set up the way you would think it is. The autograph sessions are set up in entirely separate floors than the photo ops, the panels are immediately before or after the photos and signings – which means it’s practically impossible to do both. The photos are taken professionally, behind walls of security, and ECCC volunteers will tackle you if you take your phone out in the signature hall; yes, those areas are separate. Everywhere you go, you are herded and prodded like cattle. It was often hard to find where a line stopped or started unless you knew where to look and lines to see people were often capped and then un-capped moments later. It wasn’t all bad, though.
Everybody was generally helpful when we asked questions. The convention is mostly a local one more than an international one (like San Diego) from what we saw, so people are more likely to give you honest and positive advice when asking for directions or opinions, both in and out of the con. Like most things comic book related, ECCC has exploded within the past few years, so it’s only natural that there are some growing pains. I can understand the need for a tight system to keep things moving, but the whole ordeal feels disconnected and impersonal. Denver Comic Con (DCC) did a much better job of letting patrons interact with the very people that attracted them to the convention in the first place.
The layout of the convention’s exhibition hall was pretty straight-forward – it consisted of two big rooms separated by a sky-bridge. Where previous cons we had gone to, like SDCC, have been geared towards retail and pushing big brand names, ECCC is largely focused on independent artists and writers. You’ll have a guy who does beautiful air-brush paintings that he did in his garage in a booth right next to Dustin Nguyen, renowned Batman artist. We saw a bunch of our favorite comic book people just hangin’ out at their booths, giving free autographs and telling stories. The fan interaction is what makes people go to these conventions in the first place, and unless you’re looking for somebody ridiculously big in comics right now, you don’t have to stand in line for more than 10-20 minutes to do it.
Overall, the convention is fairly well organized, but it takes a good day or so to understand how things work. These two newbies were able to attend all the big panels we wanted to, get all the signatures and photos we wanted, plus meet a whole bunch of cool people along the way – but we were exhausted, every day. The convention could serve itself well by having a preview night similar to San Diego Comic-Con; it’s just getting that big. There are so many celebrities, both in TV/movies and comic books that they may need it. It would also benefit them to send in the programs along with the badges next year before the show.
Forget the exclusives, the big-shot comic book companies and their fancy doo-dads; why do you go to a comic book convention? More than any convention we’ve been to, we were reminded that conventions are run by nerds, with nerds, for nerds. The insane amount of comic book artists, writers and inspired product-makers made for a great opportunity to interact with people who we admire and look up to. When they’re all just hanging out at a booth, signing comics, posing for pictures and telling stories, it’s easier to erase the celebrity we’ve given them. In many ways, they’re nerdier than we are.
One of the best times I had on the floor was meeting Matt Fraction (who writes Hawkeye and Sex Criminals) and Kelly Sue DeConnick (who writes Pretty Deadly and Captain Marvel). This married couple are like the Jay-Z and Beyoncé of comic books. Both were very receptive to comic books, and despite the line, were very willing to answer questions. Along with Chip Zdarsky, who does the art for Sex Criminals, they were quite possibly also the most entertaining group there. At one point, Matt had told people that one copy of their Sex Criminals hardcover had been blessed with Chip’s semen; which one? Who knows? Other notable creators we were fortunate enough to meet were Dustin Nguyen (Lil Gotham), Scott Synder (Batman, American Vampire, The Wake), Ed McGuinness (Superman/Batman, Nova, Amazing X-Men), Gail Simone (Batgirl, Tomb Raider, Red Sonja) and G Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Cairo).
The Hollywood celebs who drew us to the con in the first place are pretty nerdy, too. Chad L. Coleman, of The Walking Dead and The Wire, geeked out when we met him at his photo-op when he saw Sherif’s “Omar Comin’, Yo!” t-shirt. During his TWD panel with co-star Emily Kinney, he talked extensively about what the show means to him and was very deep about his feelings regarding the story and his character, noting that Tyreese does not think of Carol as a monster and that Tyreese is not a one-dimensional character. He kidded Emily about how she reacted to Hershel’s death. Oh, and for all you Bethyl haters out there, Emily approves. Emily Kinney loves Bethyl. Ok, that is out of our system, now.
Stephen Amell aka Oliver Queen aka The Arrow aka the best abs on the CW was fresh off a shoot that started at 3 am in Canada. He almost wore his Arrow costume and fans of the main hall were let down to know this was even a possibility. Amell talked a lot about how he shoots his bow (he doesn’t and there is in fact no safe way to shoot one on set), how he is trained by a professional archer on how to hold his bow and how his hair is “grippy” enough to hold that hood on as he runs. He was also equally excited as the fans were that in the Suicide Squad episode that Harley was alluded to and was voiced by Tara Strong (pretty much any Batman animated series ever, My Little Pony, and my god, every cartoon ever). Stephen showed his soft side by talking about his experience in helping out the BatKid story, making women in the audience sigh. And he won a place in Sherif’s heart forever by rating The Dark Knight a “10”. We both agree that Stephen Amell is one of the most down-to-earth stars and clearly loves his job.
Eliza Dushku wooed the audience within about 1.5 seconds of her entrance, even though she was almost 10 minutes late. She is so cool and so sexy; she can just flip her hair (apparently her hair is her comfort zone) and everyone will swoon. But don’t take her looks or demeanor for granted. Eliza is very aware of herself and her projects. She pitched her new project Gable 5 several times during her panel. And yes, she takes Faith very seriously. She was quick to correct anyone who dared misspeak anything about the other Vampire Slayer. One fan asked her what “five by five” meant and another nervously said “Want. Need. Have.” Miss Dushku was quick to correct her with “Want. Take. Have.” Very Faith. She told us she didn’t know what Boyd’s fate would be in Dollhouse and that she broke her elbow while filming the last episode. She seems to be very used to male fans asking her semi-inappropriate questions, handling them all very well. She even indulged some by sensually feeding them her Turkish Apricots. Yeah, she fed people. Notably, she talked about how she loves all the characters she has played, but that Faith is eternal. Our favorite part of her panel was when she talked about how Buffy fans are intense; popping out of a bush and asking who she thinks she is. Hmmmm… Buffy fans would do that. At her signing, we picked a still of her from Buffy. She got very nerdy and crossed out Buffy’s name and wrote over it “FAITH” in all capitals. It was precious, and so is she.
And then there was Alan. Alan Tudyk, Joss’s gift to Firefly and Serenity. Not only was he hilarious during his photo-ops, but pretty much all the time. After picking up a baby during his pictures, he offered to pick Adrian up the same way. She missed her chance. During his panel, he talked a lot about how Wash had the biggest part of Joss in the character. Alan also broke it to fans and all that fan-fiction that Wash is really dead. “It sucks, but he’s dead.” Apparently Nathan Fillion thinks its funny that Wash died, and Summer is glad because she gets to fly the ship. His response to Summer? “Boppity Boppity Boo… You’re craaaazzzzzyyy!” He also discussed that the Firefly Christmas party became the cancellation party. Joss said he wasn’t done and Alan said every one else said, “That’s so sad. He thinks he can do it…” Alan really knows how to tell stories geared towards his audience. He also revealed that he is writing something to be hopefully released very soon… maybe. It was all very cryptic and ended with him just saying, “Yup.” Geeks will have to wait to see what that is. Every fan who asked a question during the panel got to hear, “Get some shit.” This was his endearing way of pulling out random crap from his bag, autographing it, and handing it to adorers. The best fan question was from a kid dressed as Wash complete with his toy dinosaurs. He was taken on stage and got to act the infamous inevitable betrayal scene, but rather that get some shit, the kid got his dinosaurs signed. How priceless is that? That kid and everyone in the main hall adored Alan Tudyk just a little more.
One of the most personal connections we made at ECCC was with an independent artist from Portland named Ibrahim Moustafa. He draws a book titled High Crimes, a ComiXology exclusive book (that we have since read and plan to review soon!). Just like Sherif, he is a half-Egyptian nerd who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Just like it’s great to identify with characters in the industry, meeting people who work in the industry you can relate to is just as important. We talked a lot, and it was really cool to meet someone that gifted who was willing to shoot the breeze with us. He was so cool, he even commissioned a drawing of our logo. We hope to keep in touch with Ibrahim, it not for his amazing art, then his hilarity.
Amell panel: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=51826
Dushku panel: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=51822
DC All Access: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=51792
Marvel – Breaking into the Business: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=51825
DC Batman Eternal: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=51790
Written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib
With Adrian and Sherif in the wonderland that is Emerald City Comic-Con, I will be taking over the weekly news updates, and since we weren’t able to publish on Wednesday, this edition is PACKED with nerdcore details.
Think there is such a thing as too much Spiderman? Marvel, Spidey writer Dan Slott and Hush all disagree! Get ready for the Spider-verse!!
Speaking of ol’ web-head, I knew it wouldn’t take long before Disney got on their corporate high horse and decided to be a dick to Stan Lee, telling him that he doesn’t own Spider-Man. It’s the equivalent of telling your grandpa that his service in Vietnam didn’t mean shit for your freedom. Shame on you Disney. Respect your elders; I mean, the guy is twenty years younger than Walt Disney himself and has arguably brought just as much joy to the world.
This might be old news to some of you, but this is Batman’s 75th Anniversary (Detective Comics #27 debuted in May 1939). DC has announced their plans for the year to celebrate the Dark Knight.
On a somber note, original Batman TV series creator, Lorenzo Sempler Jr. passed away earlier this week. Our cowls go off to Sempler who was truly a trailblazing force for one of the most iconic and popular heroes of all time.
EA says that upcoming Star Wars games will try to follow the Batman: Arkham model. Good news is that Arkham games are awesome. Bad news is that the last time EA tried to model something after another publisher, we got NBA Live 14. Why not emulate Mass Effect? We hear that was pretty good.
Looks like we’ll all be able to start liking our friend’s status in a whole new virtual world we wear on our face!! Facebook purchased Oculus in a move that’s sure to make techies all over the world giddy. What’s an Oculus you ask? Think of ski-goggles that put you right in the middle of your favorite video game/virtual world. Finally – something to take my Farmville experience to another level.
Been practicing your bending skills? Compare how much progress you’ve made when Book 2 of the Legend of Korra hits DVD and Blu-Ray shelves – officially announced to be released on July 1st.
We all knew whoever was lucky enough to date S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent Coulson would have to be able to hang with the likes of the Avengers. Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse) is no stranger to action and adventure, so we think she’ll fit right in. It’s also got us wondering – does Acker really know how to play the Cello?
AMC’s Comic Book Men got renewed for another season. They must really be hurting for new shows. I’m still wondering how they will cope with the end of Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Two options: ride The Walking Dead til the wheels fall off or put out a new version of Low Winter Sun every year.
Arnold is back at it again. Schwarzenegger will play an aged cyborg in Terminator: Genesis, the next installment in the popular sci-fi series. He did say he’d be back…
This next one left me shell shocked. I’ve already donned my masked and strapped on my sais. The first TMNT teaser is out. Watch it as many times as you can while you wait for that pizza you just ordered.
Also teasing us this week is the first trailer for Hercules: The Thracian Wars. This one is bound to be better than the other Hercules that dropped earlier this year. I mean, it stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson pretty much as himself. Can you smell what the demigod is cooking?
This kid is out of control and Hush is eating it up.
And it case you hadn’t heard – The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale premiers in a few hours! Catch up on where our wayward survivors by reading our reviews!
The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.
Superior Spiderman #30 – A
We knew the end of Superior Spider-Man was approaching when an all-new Amazing Spider-Man was announced late January. However, the details of how it would come about were still up in the air. This issue unveils that mystery, and in spectacular fashion. Otto does the only thing he feels he can to end the terror of the Goblin. There are a lot of heart-felt, you-had-no-idea-this-was-coming moments, which makes it a tad unbelievable, but genuinely moving at the same time. The series wraps up in next issue, so don’t miss the thrilling conclusion to Superior Spider-Man where we find out who really is Superior. – S
Blackout #1 – B+
A suit that lets you travel through shadows and dimensions?! Now that’s a sweet concept. And that’s exactly what readers get with Blackout #1. What I really like about the start of this new Dark Horse series is that it’s not a cliché superhero comic. It’s just an average scientist using a supercool suit to do supercool stuff. Kinda like Ironman, but a lot more complex in premise. Blackout is already shaping out to be one of Dark Horse’s more interesting series. – T
Tomb Raider #2 – B-
The story of the video game continues with the island coming home to haunt Lara. There is really no major indication of what the heck is going on but I assume that it will continue with the progression of Lara from beginner to seasoned adventurer. The part that I find most disappointing is that after years of her being a badass and for that matter a badass by the end of the game, she has regressed to an unknowledgeable non-badass that clearly contradicts what we have come to know. I am assuming and hoping that Gail Simone’s plan is to show her evolve into the badass we expect her to be. – R
Injustice: Year Two #3 – B
Just because a series isn’t canon doesn’t mean it can’t have impact. Superman’s totalitarian regime is just starting to dig its heels in to the rest of the world and there’s really nobody standing in its way – unless you count the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps. As the rest of the world falls in or out of favor with the Man of Steel, everything is getting real. Fast. I was pretty disappointed in the Batgirl/Oracle and Jim Gordon reveal, especially when Barbara was moments away from revealing herself in Batgirl. – S
Rocky and Bullwinkle # 1 – A-
The first of a four-issue Rocky & Bullwinkle special was great. If you have ever seen the classic show this issue will really bring back some good memories. The whole time I was reading it, it felt just like watching the series with updated jokes to include modern culture; on top of the two part Rocky & Bullwinkle story in this issue, we get a short story for Dudley-Do Right where he has to thwart his nemesis Snidley Whiplash for the 349th time, supposedly. The style of Rocky & Bullwinkle lends itself to comics very nicely and makes me hope they extend this series beyond the four issues planned. It would be great to see shorts of Aesop’s Fables and Fractured Fairy Tales, as well, but I believe Dudley Do-Right is the main focus besides the title characters. Definitely a good read for anyone needing a laugh, anyone who enjoys classic animation, any comic aficionado, or any kids alive today. – JR
X-Files: Conspiracy #2 – B-
It is the final issue of the X-Files: Conspiracy series and it all goes out in a bang, well almost. Only one of the properties that had been included in this series makes an appearance in this issue, which was a bit of a let down. We only see the man possessed by the Crow show up but it would have made me squeal with glee if we could have seen Egon, Michelangelo, Optimus Prime, and The Lone Gunmen together. Despite the absence of the other properties, this issue seemed rather simple. The conflict ends half way through the issue and gives us a look at an alternate reality. In doing this, it was rather upsetting because we had to see some people go through things I never wanted to see again… But hey, it was in a different reality so no worries, I guess. Ultimately, I feel this series was hyped up and looked way better than it was, but it is worth a read – and seeing The Lone Gunmen save the world once again is always a plus. – JR
Deadly Class #3 – B
Deadly Class #3 was a good issue and I like that we gained more background story on a few of our characters; however, it doesn’t hold up to the standard set by the first two issues. There were minor story developments that got me excited to read the next few issues. I still believe that Deadly Class has been a great new comic and I hope it continues down the path set by the first 3 issues. – E
The Walking Dead #124 – B-
Has anyone else noticed that there a now two guys named Carson in TWD? The Hilltop is under siege by Negan and The Saviors. Rick is rushed to Doctor Carson after being shot by Dwight’s arrow. Eugene and his group are desperate to get back to help in the fight and he even kills his first man. The battle continues, Rick and their combined forces fight desperately to free the kingdom as Jesus and Michonne make a shocking discovery. – JS
Well, there are only two more issues of All Out War; so far, the twelve issue run hasn’t really produced anything. All relationship building has been put on hold. A bunch of people have kicked the bucket, and the Negan has dropped the F bomb more times than The Wolf of Wall Street. I really do hope something happens here that will inspire me to keep reading past this arc. I never thought I’d say this, but the future of the book is in Dwight’s hands. Is the Two-Face looking gentleman a double agent, or just that much of a pussy? – S
The Revenge #2 – C+
This comic is just plain weird. It’s full of blood and boobs and dwarfs with horns… I don’t know. No matter how weird and strange it is, there are some pretty cool things about this comic. Based off some of the dialog from this issue, I am semi-confused about who is going to backstab who, but I don’t believe it really matters at this point. Overall, this comic is crazy and I am fairly interested to see how it progresses in the future. – E
Sex #12 – C+
The plot continues to stagnate to the point where I’m wondering when the hell something is actually going to happen. If the Armored Saint doesn’t show up in the next few issues I can’t see myself continuing to be interested in where this is going. If you are buying this for the sex scenes then I feel sorry for you because I am sure there has to be better stuff out there. As for this issue, the foreplay continues. There was finally some action but it didn’t come from the person we are all waiting to see. It is time to step it up or they are going to start losing readers. – R
Real Heroes #1 – C
In the first issue of Real Heroes, we are introduced to the super hero team The Olympians, or at least the actors that portray them. This seems to be a basic story that has been done before of the mistaken heroes being thought to be real. The story so far seems to be a super hero version of the film Galaxy Quest with heroes that seem to mimic famous ones, almost to a tee. Although the originality of the story and heroes is incredibly small, the villains and the set up are both very original. I feel this series may have a rocky start, as many people will give up on it due to the fact it has been done before, but ultimately it will likely end up becoming something so much more. It was hard to give this a C grade as it just seemed so bland so far, but just like every origin story you have to get past the hump to fully respect the material and the universe jumping, the huge brained aliens, as well as what seems to be the depiction of real actor types had me engaged despite the plot and idea behind it all. – JR
All-New Ghost Rider #1 – B+
I actually enjoyed the first issue of the All-New Ghost Rider. I appreciated how they developed a solid background history, and story line for the new character Robbie Reyes in such a short amount of time without making everything feel rushed. I can already tell by the way the first issue ended that there is going to be much more to come from this story and I’m actually pretty excited to read the next issues. Seeing that it is only the first issue, it has a lot of potential to be great or terrible; hopefully it will turn out to be a solid character and story. – E
Honestly, the story was just too short to really get the good debut that it definitely could have. We get to see the relationship between Robbie Reyes and his brother, and then we see Robbie’s character, and then somewhere in there his face melts off and he becomes the Ghost Rider. The art team did a great job; All-New Ghost Rider has a unique identity in color and shape, giving off a graffiti vibe. I’m really excited for #2, I just wish that there was more happening in #1. – S
Origin II #4 – B+
Talk about an interesting plot twist, I didn’t think this issue was going to go anywhere but by the end I was left a bit speechless. This issue we are finally given a little advancement on the plot, and not a moment too soon seeing as we only have one issue left after this. They still haven’t really let on to what the purpose of this origin sequel is but I heavily suspect that it shows the beginning of the eternal feud between Sabertooth and Wolverine. With only one issue to go I’m not sure how it’s all going to end but I look forward to the epic conclusion. – R
Amazing X-Men #5 – B-
Once it was announced that Nightcrawler was coming back in hi own series, I knew that his tenure in Heaven was to be short-lived. With that in mind, I still readily enjoy any time an X-team comes together to kick butt. The issue is a bit predictable, but Jason Aaron’s lucid writing keeps the story going, and fills in all the gaps with some truly funny quips. – I can’t wait to see the boy in blue again. – S
Hawkeye #18 – B
After a spectacular animal-centric issue in #17, we join Hawkeye Kate as she uncovers something fishy going on in Los Angeles. I’m usually a bit weary of issue built around here, but so much crazy stuff goes down, I couldn’t help but get sucked in. Trouble is a’brewin, as Kate has kicked the hornets’ nest. – S
Survive #1 – B
The world is in mourning in the wake of Galactus. Ultimate Cataclysm left us with Reed Richards branded as a terrorist, Monica Chang blamed for the loss of human life and the deaths of Thor and Captain America. Most of this issue sat us in the back row of Steve Rogers’ funeral where Tony Stark delivered a heartfelt, although forced, eulogy. I personally expected Stark to deliver something a bit more grand to honor his Avenger brethren, but it served its purpose. The speech inspired new heroes to form, and by the end of the issue we are introduced to The Young Ultimates. – JS
Silver Surfer #1 – B-
To be honest, I found this issue somewhat boring. I felt that a lot of it was very bland and there wasn’t much about this issue to keep me entertained. There was indeed action; however the way it was drawn and colored made the action panels look boring or dull. I didn’t feel much excitement from much of this comic. There were some interesting and cool things about this comic, though. With the introduction of a new “plant” and the story line that is about to develop is just enough to make me want to read more. Hopefully future issues will prove to be better. – E
All New X-Factor #5 – C+
If it wasn’t for amazing artwork and a story focused on a small core of fan-favorite mutants I would have but this series down three issues ago. But something keeps pulling me back every few weeks! All New X-Factor has developed into a story with two plots – one involving the interworking’s and secret motives of Serval Industries and it’s CEO Harrison Snow, the second being pure Marvel mutant action & adventure. On the second front, I’m completely lost, BUT totally captivated due to the really engaging battle and action sequences. My patience is wearing somewhat thin on the first front. Die hard X-Men & Marvel fans are sure to love this, but an average Joe like me is struggling a bit. That said, I’m still looking forward to the next issue. – T
Iron Patriot #1 – C
Tony Stark’s substitute teacher is back for another go. Admittedly, it was difficult to get excited about this title. As Iron Man hype dies down we are still well aware that his is the only hero arc we REALLY care about in his universe. James Rhodes is a less compelling character but this book seeks to change that perception. Iron Patriot vows to the world to “limit my involvement in military operations to those occurring on American soil.” The powers that be see this as a threat and plans are set in motion to put James and his niece Lila in harms way. – JS
Deadpool #26 – C-
I go back and forth with this series a lot. On one side, you gets arc like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. that make you believe that maybe there is some merit to a character like Deadpool. And then some months, you get crap like fighting MechaHitler with a time machine. Shames me to say it but this was actually a bit enjoyable – like smelling your own farts enjoyable. It seems like it’s only gonna get worse, as we go back to a groovin’ Wakanda next issue. This is why Deadpool fans can’t have nice things. – S
DC Comics: 1 B, yielding a 3.00 (really?? one book? )
Marvel Comics: 1 A, 6 B’s and 3 C’s, averaging out to a 2.80
Independents: 1 A, 5 B’s and 3 C’s, averaging out to a 2.78
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
In just a few days, we will be escaping our day jobs to visit Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con! It will be our first out-of-state Comic Con since 2012, when we went to Comic-Con International. We were initially stoked for ECCC just for the sheer amount of guests coming, but when the programming was released just a couple days ago, we are now ecstatic! In preparation for the Con, we’re going to be highlighting the guests that will be coming and the panels that we’ll be attending. We’ll be writing live from the event, so if there is anything crazy happening, you’ll hear it straight from us.
It was so difficult for us to narrow down the list of things we want to do. If it were up to us, we’d do everything, but Emerald City Comics Con is so ridiculously awesome, the Adrian and I will simply not be able to do everything (or will we??). Here’s a list of the stops we absolutely have to make:
Jim Lee: Legendary artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee will be stopping by on one day only. His art from X-Men to Batman: Hush, all the way to the ongoing Superman: Unchained has been phenomenal. At cons, he usually holds his own drawing workshop where he holds Q&A while he sketches. It’s the best thing ever. We are looking forward to seeing him again at ECCC. Check out our profile on Jim Lee in our weekly piece “Respect My Craft.”
Scott Synder: Batman has been written by more writers than I can count, but there’s something insanely special about Scott Synder’s New 52 run of him. Synder, whose work on Detective Comics: Black Mirror and American Vampire has scared the pants off readers, has been superb on Batman. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a Batman comic book. Meeting the man who created the Court of the Owls will be quite the treat.
Gail Simone: Gail is one classy lady. She is the strongest female presence in comic books today, writing DC’s Batgirl, Red Sonja and now Tomb Raider. We love her color commentary and she recently reached out to us on Twitter when we spotlighted her in our weekly “Respect My Craft” article. She’s good stuff and I can’t wait to hear what kind of stories she has for us!
Matt Fraction: This guy just might be the funniest writer in the biz right now – or a giant perv, the jury is still out. I religiously follow Hawkeye and Sex Criminals. He manages to capture perfectly relatable situations and turn them into ridiculous stories that you can’t find in a book. Sadly, he’s a much bigger deal than he makes himself out to be; a lot of people don’t realize how much he’s had his hands on in the recent Marvel universe (Fear Itself, FF, Fantastic Four… a lot of F’s).
G Willow Wilson: A Colorado native who has spent most of her adult life in Egypt? Sounds like somebody I want to be friends with! Her graphic novel Cairo, as well as past novels Alif the Unseen and The Butterfly Mosque, have accredited her as a unique storyteller with insight on Muslim culture while still having a keen sense of American humor to tell the stories with. Her recent start in Ms. Marvel has shot her near the top of my list. Check out our profile on G Willow Wilson in our weekly piece “Respect My Craft.”
Very Honorable Mentions:Chris Burnham (artist for Batman Inc.) J. Scott Campbell (artist, famous for Spiderman, Danger Girl and Gen 13) Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer for Captain Marvel) Kyle Higgins (writer for Nightwing) Jeff Lemire (writer/artist for Trillium, Underwater Welder) Ed McGuinness (artist for Superman/Batman, Amazing X-Men, Nova, etc) Dustin Nguyen (artist for Heart of Hush, Lil Gotham) Jimmy Palmiotti (veteran writer & artist, will be releasing the graphic novel Denver) Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo) Tim Sale (artist of Batman: Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory, Spiderman: Blue)
See all the special guests here.
“What does copyright protect? What is infringement? When does “fair use” protect me? What happens if I infringe? Join attorney Caitlin DiMotta for a primer on copyright infringement, the fair use defense, & how to understand the difference.”
“Not all fanfiction is bad. Some is just written that way. And some is so bad you may need therapy. Join us as we read aloud the worst in Whedonverse fanfic plots, puns, grammar, & super sexy scenes with Bobby Roberts, Benja Barker, & Kara Helgren.”
“This program discusses the intersections of Hip-Hop and comics, from rappers and graffiti artists utilizing super-heroic imagery and adopting fantastic alter-egos to comic creators utilizing the rich visual vocabulary of hip-hop in their work.” Note: Check out our “Diggin’ Through the Crates” articles for more info on comic book references in Hip-Hop.
“Join Andrew Farago, author of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History, Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo, and Mirage Studios alumnus Michael Dooney as they look back on three decades of Eastman and Laird’s TMNT!”
“From eugenics (Kahn and Star Trek Into Darkness) to manipulating DNA in embryos (The Auguments on Enterprise), genetic engineering was invented by science fiction, but how far behind is science? It is closer than you think! Join Professor Ilana S. Lemann, author of the upcoming book All You Need to Know About Disability Is On Star Trek, for a fascinating look at the science in science fiction.”
“Jimmy Palmiotti, Becky Cloonan, Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey talk candidly about how they got their first comics off the ground. Be prepared to take notes – we’ll cover tough topics like collaboration, print vs. digital, finding an audience, and importantly, the money stuff!”
The Clock King and other villains have hatched a plot utilizing costumed decoys and they’ve chosen Emerald City Comicon as the place to select their team of miscreants! You’ll see various costumed attendees walking the showroom floor during the convention… Now see the best ECCC has to offer from multiple comics and cosplay-related categories. Judges will pick winners from each category and the audience will determine the best overall, who then will join a masters’ round of veteran cosplayers for a final showdown and ultimate prizes. Costumed audience members may also be selected to come onstage to show off their creations for prizes. Temple Fugate hosts what is always a highlight of the weekend.
“The Carol Corps. Find out what the fiercest & friendliest fandom is all about! It’s a powerful movement happening in comics right now and you can be a part of it! Join Prof. Ben Saunders as he speaks with Captain Marvel scribe Kelly Sue DeConnick and Ms. Marvel author G. Willow Wilson. They’ll talk about the origins of “The Carol Corps”, it’s Ms. Marvel-inspired offshoot “The Kamala Korps” and what’s in store for the future.”
Check out all the programming here.
At the Seattle Museum of Flight, there will be a celebration celebrating Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and their creators. So Kelly Sue DeConnick and G Willow Wilson will be there! It’s a great way to kick off the convention and visit the flight museum at the same time.
We’ve never been to Seattle, so we’d love to spend some time outside the convention exploring. The Space Needle is a must, as is the fish market. Without a car, our options are a bit limited, but if you all know of any places in Seattle worth checking out, please pass us along some info. 🙂
Each night of the convention, ECCC will be showing a movie that stars one of their special guests. The guests will have a Q&A session while watching. At $25/person, it’s a bit steep of a price for a movie and some Q&A, but the thought of watching Serenity with Alan Tudyk is hard to pass up… aside from that awkward moment at the end there. Leaves on the wind and all that.
Going to Emerald City Comic Con? Have any topics you want us to cover while we’re there? Care to share any tips about Seattle in general? We want to hear it!