The Vintage Tempest’s Emerald City Comic Con Journal 2014

31 Mar

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

To get my nerd on depends on when I have time to drain my thoughts out and process them like Dumbledore in front of his Pensieve. With Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington, the experience is mind-blowing. I started going to this show in 2012 and I knew I had to make attending an annual pilgrimage — or rather a tradition! When this event has grown to have its events and exhibits housed in three buildings and multiple floors, just what can one guy do?

I am not fast enough to run around like Speedy Gonzales and absorb all the fun this convention offers in one go. Comics, cinema and ‘toons are my life — to spend a good part of the con getting to meet my favourite artists, creators and television/movie stars spanning decades meant doing a lot of prioritizing. Looking for back-issues of Marvels, DC’s and Independents were the furthest things from my mind. In fact, two-thirds of my time was spent in the main Exhibit Hall gleaming little tidbits of information about what’s coming in comic or cartoon land. Yes, a Fall of Cthulhu Omnibus collection is coming (hopefully by the end of the year), and the next Transformers cartoon will focus on the antics of Bumblebee.

In a different front, Scooby Doo is leaving high school. That is, the next animated series is going to feature Scooby and Gang having one crazy summer upon graduation. Titled, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo, I had hoped Sean Galloway (who did storyboards in Mystery Inc. would still be on board, but he’s moved on. Hopefully, this version can surpass the standards set in its former incarnation.

Ed meeting Nancy Cartwright

As for what’s next with one of television’s longest-running shows, The Simpsons, sadly I did not make it to the Q&A panel with Bart Simpson aka Nancy Cartwright. I did get a chance to meet her on the last day and say thanks for more than a decade’s worth of entertainment, but on the days prior, I was stuck in lines that lasted for a good hour or more. The wait to get a photograph with a celebrity was a gong-show. There were no signs to indicate to attendees where they had to wait in line for (last year was better organized), and honestly, loudspeakers were needed. I’m sure a public announcement system exists in the convention center and the only time it was used was to say the exhibit floor is now closed than any important service announcements.

As a result, half that time I spent during this convention was in one area because this year had a lot of stars I liked to meet this year. At least this spot was well used by con-goers to relax and for me to catch a chance sparring match between cosplayers, dressed as The Doctor having a fun moment with Xena and Gabrielle. I got photos, but none of them came out at a good angle.

ECC Ron Perlman IMG_1957

Froggy’s Photos is not a good company to use for celebrity photo. Some fans want their pictures autographed the same day and that means getting the image out in a timely manner. The picture I got with Kelly Hu did not emerge until the next day. Now if only I could spend that amount of time with her for real, I would not complain. She’s very lovely, and to talk to her at length about her various roles from being a blossoming comedienne (yes, I remember her in that Growing Pains episode where the Seaver family travels to Hawaii) to geek culture icon (as Lady DeathStrike/China White) can be a thrill. Out of all the photos I got this year, the one with Ron Perlman was the best! I have this on my wall and yes, it’s worth bragging about.

Another talent I would have loved to sit down with to talk to is Jim Lee. I have followed his work ever since Uncanny X-men and to see him progress in the industry to become a head honcho over at DC is just a show of dedication. Fans had to pick up badges at the DC Booth first before they could get in line for meeting Jim. I was just close enough to overhear the staff saying that he’s going to stick around and talk to every person who has been waiting in line for hours than to split when his scheduled time was over. Now that’s class! (Supposedly, the next person in this meet n’ greet canceled, but I’m not 100% sure on that.)

Ed Meets Kenichi Sonada IMG_3119During that time, I got to meet my favourite artist, Kenichi Sonoda, from Japan! This year had a great diversity with him present. Sadly, he overshadowed his friend, also an artist, who was also doing signings. I did not recall him being promoted as a guest and that’s a shame. If Mikimoto, Takahashi or even Miyazaki can be brought over (yes, I know Miyazaki-san does not do conventions), then can anyone imagine the lineups for them? Although I have not been to Sakuracon in a few years, I am glad to see it became over the years, a huge celebration of Japanese culture!

As much as I like ECCC for all its celebrity visits, maybe a little diversity can help if they start bringing in musicians who are just as ingrained into pop culture. Maybe one year they will have a music alley. Of all the talents I like to see, Stan Bush, the man responsible for “You Got the Touch!” would be fantastic! I’m not asking for Justin Timberlake to make an appearance, but to have this show open to performers who contributed to the pop culture scene heavily, like Danny Elfman or John Williams would elevate this convention to a whole new level. If Gene Simmons can take the KISS brand into comics, I can expect him to appear too.

Much to my surprise, this year had two returning guests. I got to talk to Stan Sakai. I mentioned that the first time was at Baka! Con (now known as Sakuracon). I do not expect him to remember, but to see him as a regular to show made my day. I am always impressed with his work.

Until that happens, ECCC is growing at an exponential pace. Fans of a specific medium of the geek culture scene can find a section of the con to enjoy if they can find it. To locate where gaming is or the model displays requires a map and plenty of signage and trained volunteers to point to show attendees where they are. Alternatively, having Star Trek style transporters and Scotty in order to beam me back and forth can work too. Or maybe giving everyone Time-turners so they can take on everything this convention offered. Lord knows I saw plenty of them, the non-functional kind, offered for sale in the “Harry Potter Booth” down in the second level.

The responsibility is on the fans to know what they want to prioritize on. With only escalators (one primary one and a secondary) to carry fans back and forth, to get to panels or a different aspect of the show can take up to 15 minutes! And then there was the wait.

I had too many clashes since the wait time for photos was longer than the panel itself. It felt like I was being caged by Daleks! In order to go to them, I would have needed to be cloned by the long-necked albino aliens from Kamino and given a psychic implant. That way, all the experiences made can go into one central depository for me to fathom and enjoy. I am sad to say this was one year I missed the Star Wars reading by Twisted Toonz. They are up to Empire Strikes Back now, and with a voice cast that consisted of Nancy Cartwright, Bill Farmer, Andrea Libman, Jeremy Shada, William Salyers and Cree Summers must have been hilarious. To hear Goofy as Boba Fett or Elmyra as Chewbacca reconstructing C3P0 just had to be heard. Sadly, this panel moved from its traditional Friday night time slot to Saturday morning, and I found my own lack of faith disturbing. Where was I? Waiting in other line-ups, and waiting for Sunday to roll around so I can attend the panel featuring Karen Gillan. Fortunately, this can be found online on Youtube!

I’m hoping ECCC will consider bringing the cast from Doctor Who to future shows.

But as the final hour fell upon this show, just where I went was to explore what I haven’t seen yet — the autograph room. It was fairly quiet for the most part without a single huge lineup anywhere. In a show like this, can I at least finish off by asking ECCC if they can bring adventurer Josh Gates of Destination Truth fame to Seattle? If Paul Bradford of Ghost Hunters International can get a table, I do not see why Gates can not. Some of the talents who appear apply and others are invited. I really like to see this show offer some paranormal goodness. They are media pop stars too! To chat with Bradford only cemented what I knew about these television productions, they are mostly for entertainment and really should not be taken seriously.

In a pop culture show like ECCC, these talents will see a lot of love. I do not feel they will be out of place. Since the paranormal is often explored in many a comic book, to learn about actual hauntings can be interesting. Since this event has a Writer’s Block, perhaps these guests can be featured there! The world of pop culture does encompass many things. Since this show has guests from shows like Supernatural from time to time, I do not see any reason to not expand this fact. I gotta get my ghoul on somehow.

GALLERY

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: