Takeaways from this year’s Emerald City Comic Con

19 Mar

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Despite changes which had many fans vocal about the 16th annual Emerald City Comic Con, I found they were not too distracting to the overall experience. Attending the event for all four days than my usual two had me quickly accustomed to the modifications. Walking between hotels was not a big deal. The disabled were able to get around too. Escalators and elevators (twelve of the latter were available) and the slowdown was not completely terrible. Proper planning can allow most to arrive at their respective panel in time.

The added security is a must when considering the climate these days. With more conventions are taking precautions to protect the attendees, they are needed. My pro tip includes having a pouch to keep all items that can set off detectors and staff can see what you have instead of waving a wand.

Unusually, the moving of the entire celebrity experience to The Hyatt Regency hotel did not include the metal detectors or added security at the gates. The venue may well have their own countermeasures in place or they were invisible. The new main hall has the capacity of holding 3000 people versus the original of 5000, before setting up the stage. When I was there, it feels larger; perhaps its the darkness and floating lights which gave this room of feeling bigger. When a few celebrity Q&As hit standing room only status, somebody at venue planning forgot to include overflow rooms to watch from. The whole floor could have been opened up for this. Instead, people were directed to watch online or with their cellphones. Unless everyone has a decent data plan that option was negligible.

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Celebrity photo ops and autographs were its own separate floors at this hotel. The larger space made crowding less noticeable and I welcomed this change. The exhibit hall remained in the Washington State Convention Center and the added bit of space allowed for more exhibitors to come in. All the Pacific Northwest mainstays, Dark Horse Comics, Oni Comics, IDW, Skybound had plenty of products to sell. Suspiciously missing were Dynamite Comics and Boom Studios Maybe they did not want to jynx things since parts of the centre are going to be torn down for expansion. Next year will be the one to pay attention to for crowd management.

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I found Geico, an American insurance company, out of place with this show. They were giving away bags to those willing to listen to their spiel. Seeing them here suggests to many industry observers (and many whispering) this event is going corporate. The by fans for fans appeal of this show is being diminished in favour of big-name sponsors. I would rather see a proper Marvel Comics or DC booth over companies that have no connection with the world of illustration and media. As long as the informational panels stay part of the show and wonderful guests enjoy their time here, I doubt many will care about the occasional oddities which have a product to sell in this convention scene.

Other quick takeaways include:

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Scott Duvall, the author behind the comic book Army of Darkness vs Bubbahotep, chatted with SyFy Wire about his work. The second issue is coming out this week and I look forward to seeing these two characters deal with 70’s culture in Las Vegas while chasing down the mummy!

This unofficial sequel has lots of dynamic art behind it and I’m particularly keen on seeing how Ash can work with a likeness of himself as Elvis when facing down a greater evil. The story is essentially on how to keep going. The years have finally taken a toll of Ash, and he’s seeking advice from Elvis. The comic book read was quick. It follows on the standard Marvel Comics trope of the fight first and asking questions later. I need one more issue to know what’s going on!

At Emerald City Comic Convention, three video premieres stole the comic book spotlight. There were plenty of demos to be found on the show floor, and Bakugan had a huge area for competitive play! Anyone coming by this booth could learn about the game and the anime. Spin Master is the mastermind behind this cross-media product and had this company had a proper booth, I’d be inquiring about the strangely limited availability of How to Train Your Dragon products from country to country than this game. To dodge the bullet, the reps here confirmed this anime is coming to other countries very soon!

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I spent more solid time at AMC‘s screenings than at any other presentation. Their third season premiere of Into the Badlands was nearly packed. This American-made wuxia series continues to up the stakes and I need to get caught up! This episode shows Sunny learning of a darker conspiracy slowly gestating. To do what’s right means turning the tables (or should that be obelisk?) upon the aggressors. I was left feeling I have to get caught up with those episodes I have missed. I was watching with the home video releases and season three is not out yet.

As for the next premier, no knowledge of Joe Hill‘s book is required to understand NOS4A2. I was glued to every frame as the world was not only silent but also slowly getting disturbing. There are dangers up in them thar hills.

I sensed shades of Sleepy Hollow when considering the area the tale takes place in. There’s even a cool set of easter eggs I will not spoil. Instead, what I learned is that the world of Christmasland is a terrible place where all kids go to. Zachary Quinto is effectively creepy as Charlie Manx and takes no humourous tones as the Crypt Keeper.

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I get the feeling he’s an energy vampire who feeds upon the life force of children. Vic has little time to worry about the evil lurking about as audiences get to know more about her with this episode. The premiere was all about getting us to understand the home life of she has to deal with before the larger arc steps into play. Eventually, she will reveal how she’s seemingly psychically connected to this unflappable terror of the night.

Image result for alien 40th anniversaryFans of Alien got to see ahead of time the release of all new short films, six in total, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of this franchise. These are made by other visio0nary filmmakers and their take is nothing but re-invigorating! I do not want to say much other than you cannot miss this one. The first four made their debut at this convention and they will also be screened at C2E2 in Chicago on March 23rd. The final two shorts will screen exclusively for fans at WonderCon on Saturday, March 30th. Of the three events to find these Alien(s), the final stop is the one to attend as a panel with the directors is set to follow. These shorts will become available online, starting Friday, March 29th on IGN and on May 3rd, through AlienUniverse.com, additional behind the scenes content will be offered.

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