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And Fansplosions Abound

My First Trip To Emerald City Comicon Or, That Time Khal Drogo Recognized Me

I was lucky enough to attend several comic conventions in 2011, the last being New York Comic Con back in October, which meant I was going through convention withdrawal. Big time. For various reasons I had to scale back on the trips this year so I decided my first convention of 2012 would have to be one I never attended. I decided to make the trip to Seattle, Washington for the 10th annual Emerald City Comicon. And now I’m here to tell you all about it. 

Seattle was a beautiful city. I didn’t get to see a lot of it but what I did see, I enjoyed. My only complaint was the weather, which I expected, but even that wasn’t enough to dampen the mood. It was my first con of the year!!

One of my first Seattle experiences wasn’t at the convention but at the EMP Museum a few days earlier. The Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, as it was previously known, was recommended by more than a few friends. Unfortunately they had recently taken down their Star Wars/Star Trek/Battlestar Galactica exhibits. Besides their musical sections (which were enjoyable), the museum now has an Avatar exhibit as well as a special section on horror films and that’s where the above photo is from. That, my dear readers, is Guillermo Del Toro’s notebook/sketchbook. *drools*

One thing that makes me happy about conventions is when the surrounding area gets in the spirit of things. Seattle may not go as far as San Diego does for Comic-Con International but there were a few local businesses who geeked out for us. I suppose this as good a time as any to tell my Khal Drogo/Jason Momoa story. I knew the Game of Thrones actor was going to be at the convention but I hadn’t gotten around to trying to set up an interview with him. His panel conflicted with the DC Comics panel I was planning on attending but when the line for that one looked too long I decided, what the heck, I’ll go see Drogo talk for an hour just because I’m a fan. I say that because I’m almost always “working” conventions and don’t often get to experience the usual fan view of the con.

Momoa had interesting stories to tell about his casting on the HBO series as well as his past work on Stargate Atlantis and the recent Conan film but when it came time for his question and answer segment, I admit, I reverted to fanboy mode. I did something I would never recommend, I planned on getting on line to ask for a hug. And then two women in front of me asked first. So I frantically thought of something else to say which was to tell the actor about my Daenerys cosplay from SDCC 2011. And he already knew about it and told me he loved it. And then I died.

These amazing/random experiences are one of the best parts of conventions in my opinion. Someone has uploaded the entire panel on YouTube, I’ve cued it up to my part so you can hear me embarrass myself but it’s a good watch if you’re a fan of Momoa’s.

I was fortunate enough to be on two panels myself at ECCC. The first (audience pictured above) was the Womanthology panel. Along with Bonnie Burton, Cat Staggs, Joamette Gil, and Alexis Hernandez, I discussed my involvement in the IDW anthology. It was a great panel with a lot of good questions from the audience. One of the highlights? Mentioning I write for The Mary Sue and hearing audible recognition from the audience.

The other panel was called “I’m So Much Cooler Online: Maintaining Your Digital Profile.” Thom Zahler of Love and Capes (Hey, we interviewed him not too long ago!) asked me to speak along with Ben Thompson from Badass of the Week about how to conduct yourself online and how to spread your reach. I think I may have talked about tweeting pictures of my cat all the time. I can’t be sure, it was the last day of a very long weekend.

From what I noticed, ECCC is very much an artists’ show. The main show floor is not too large but the majority of it seemed to be taken up by artists. And that’s great, because that’s one of the main reasons I go to conventions, to meet the artists I love! One of the highlights was getting to meet Ramón Pérez, the artist of Archaia’s Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand. Not only did I meet him but I got him to draw in my sketchbook and I got to see the original art from Tale of Sand (and like a nerd, point at my favorite panel).

I got to catch up with a lot of creators I knew but also meet several for the first time. If there’s one downfall to conventions is that there’s always too much to do. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it is when things you love conflict and you’re stuck choosing between two, three or more things you want to see.

And then of course you have the nightlife at conventions. ECCC wisely had some fantastic after-hours events for fans but you can also have fun just hanging out with like minds at local establishments. There was a live art show run by journalist/photographer Molly McIsaac one night and a geek concert another, Kracklefest: A Night of Nerd Rock, featuring Kirby Krackle, Marian Call and others. But I think my favorite after-hours moment was getting to play with Burton’s Admiral Sackbar, one of her famous Star Wars crafts. I may or may not have given him a 1930s gangster voice.

Overall, ECCC was an enjoyable show (except for the part where I left some art in the lobby of the con by mistake and someone lifted it). I would certainly recommend this show to someone who’s never been to a con before since it still has a manageable size. But don’t expect it to stay that way for long, ECCC is rapidly growing in popularity. Did you attend ECCC this year or in the past? What were your thoughts on the show?

Don’t forget to check out the cosplay from ECCC we posted earlier this week!

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  • Mindy Crouchley

    This was my third year at ECCC and by far the busiest. Compared to 2009 and even 2011, it was insane. I think the Media Guests from more mainstream shows (The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones) really tipped it over the edge – along with the difficulty of procuring SDCC tix. I had a great time this year getting photos with celebrities and cosplaying (two things I’ve not focused on much in the past). Overall I think the event was managed well by the end of the weekend, but Friday was a bit of a nightmare with some line management issues. I heard 50,000 folks for the weekend.

    This made roaming the show floor about as fun as at SDCC (not very) until Sunday afternoon right before closing time. Kind of a bummer. I’m getting most of my artist/writer love at Stumptown, which is another cool, indie comics fest in the Pacific Northwest you should check out!Also: bummed that I missed your panels. I wanted to meet you in person since I’ve been stalking you on twitter, Has Boobs and now Mary Sue for years. Sorry to hear about your art being stolen. Hope we can meet at some other convention!

  • Samantha Cross

    My fourth year attending the show and the first time going for the three-day pass, which I highly recommend! It always strikes me how much bigger the show gets each year! I think, other than some of the media guests, the voice actors were a HUGE draw. I spent a lot of time in line for their autographs and went to their panels specifically since I was basically meeting the cartoon voices of my childhood. And there were a lot of people doing the same or kids were there based on recently popular shows like Adventure Time or My Little Pony.

    I also got to ask a question at The Animaniacs/Pinky and the Brain panel and Rob Paulsen sang “I Am The Very Model of a Cartoon Individual” to me after asking what their favorite pop culture reference or parody was in the cartoon! Made my day, hands down! They were all so sweet and lovely. Jess Harnell (voice of Wakko) thought we were siblings since we both have wild curly hair!

    Incidently, when I walked to the Convention Center from work, I was right behind the bronies. They are…interesting. 

  • Brian

    Did you see the “Voice Actors Read the Star Wars Script” show? It was amazing. If hearing Batman read the opening crawl didn’t kill me, hearing Bubbles as Darth Vader sure did.

  • Amanda W

    I’ve been attending ECCC ever since it was like 12 rows of tables at the Qwest Field Convention Center. It’s just gotten better with age, I think this was the first year I spent more than one day at the con. I really enjoyed the artist booths and bought a couple of prints from Mary Blair-inspired artist ladies. I missed out on the Katie Cook sketch cards because she always had a crowd.

    I was in the Steampunk Justice League group (Superman crossplay) on Saturday. We had a blast! It’s always more fun cosplaying in a group.

  • Victoria Eden

    This was my first con. I was at the Womanthology panel, and I didn’t come up and say hi because I wanted to bring my copy of the book to get signed. Then I was stuck in lines the next day and didn’t see you. I was so mad at myself!

    I thought the whole thing was an awesome time. Gail Simone talked me into going over Twitter, so it was great to meet her in person. I had to wait almost two hours in the signing line for Wil Wheaton, but I made a couple friends with the people in line behind me. I will definitely go the whole weekend next time and budget time better. I missed a couple panels due to waiting in line.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Aww shucks! Well hopefully we’ll be in the same place another time. Glad you had fun!

  • Lake Desire

    ECCC sounds fun!  I live 3 miles from the convention center, but I didn’t go to ECCC because I don’t really like crowds, spending money, or some aspects of fan culture (like the competition over who is the biggest fan).  

    Thanks for not being that fan who asked for a hug and asking a fun question instead!  Maybe I am crotchety, but I wish it was more socially unacceptable for folks to take up time during the Q&A with topics only pertaining to them (hugs, autographs, OMG I am your biggest fan).

    Drogo’s tattoo is interesting.

  • Pocketdoom

    Sorry to hear about you art. Did you check in with the Information Booth (also serves as lost and found)? Several art pieces were turned in over the weekend. 

  • Anonymous

    dang it. I wish I could go. why why why do I live half a continent awayyyy?? 

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Yeah, I was on my way to the airport but my friend went to all their lost and found areas more than once throughout Sunday. He left his card with them too in case it turned up. But, the good news is, the artists are amazing folks who have offered to replace what was lost!

  • Jill Pantozzi

    I totally talked about you at the Womanthology panel, Hanie!! I hope you can make it to a con in the states soon, we’d love to have you!

  • Trish Loyd

    I was at ECCC and absolutely loved it. I worked most of the con, I moderated the Women In Webseries panel, and the webseries that I helped create, Produce and act in premiered at the con to a packed house.  I wish I could’ve connected with you at the con, that would’ve been so cool!   In case you didn’t get a chance to see the show here’s a link, we show new episodes every Monday.  Would love to hear what you think.

  • Bonnie Burton

    Thanks for the shout out of our Womanthology panel, and of course my crafty sidekick Admiral Sackbar! I had a blast seeing you!

  • Ividia Kt

    I love this part : “And he already knew about it and told me he loved it. And then I died.”

    Haven’t been to a con of any kind in far too long, but those are the kinds of moments that make them shine forever.  I will never forget my casual pub chat with Jimmy Doohan…. sigh

  • Anonymous

     I’m gonna stake out youtube now to see if anyone recorded the panel! Not sure if I can make it to a stateside con (the distance means it’s also quite pricey but hey, who knows? Maybe some rich philantrophist (*coughBruceWayne*cough*) decided to drop some monies down my way XD

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Someone was definitely recording in the front row with an ipad, and I believe it was one of the panelist’s friends so I’ll let you know if it goes up!

    And I’ll put in a good word with Bruce for you. ;)