Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Emerald City Comicon Report 2009 - Part I

Whoa. Seven years. That's how long the Emerald City Comicon has been held. And I've been to every single one of them.

Emerald City Comicon

The first year was short and sweet. Year two allowed me to develop new friendships. Year three we hung out with the Dorothy folks. I brought Torvald the Troll to the con for the first time in year four, and wrote a four part convention report. In year five I trolled Margot Kidder and wrote another four part convention report. Last year I met and trolled Atlantis Chronicles artist Esteban Maroto and wrote yet another four part convention report. This is my report for this year (in case you already hadn't figured that out). As usual, I'll have forgotten the exact order events happened, and no doubt will forget people who I really ought to mention. I'm sorry in advance for any inaccuracies in this report, and please, if you see an obvious mistake feel free to correct me. This con report is more for me, so I can remember what happened, than for anyone else. You just get to peek at my thoughts.

Hubby-Eric and I moved away from Seattle since the last Emerald City Comicon, so the trip this year involved a three-hour drive to the Seattle area and several nights at Hotel Mom&Dad. Luckily, my parents had room for us and were willing to put up with us... er, put us up for the duration. We arrived in the Seattle area on Thursday, ahead of a storm in the passes that would've made driving difficult, and stayed with hubby-Eric's parents the first night. On Friday, we were treated to a birthday party for my niece which included dinner and a movie. Saturday morning, my evil twin came to get me while hubby-Eric wandered off to Oz. Lisa and I headed down to the Convention Center, and got there in good time.

This year the con was again held in the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, but in the North exhibition halls (4E and 4F) instead of the South (4A and 4B) like last year. This meant the convention used the skybridge as a registration area, so fans were treated to this gorgeous view of Pike Street while we waited to get in (click for full size):

The lines on Saturday to get in were pretty long. The problem was that the convention center staff decided to mix the lines of people who had already bought tickets with people who hadn't, which meant that those of us with tickets in hand had to wait just as long as people who didn't plan ahead. It was a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless. There needed to be three lines (Pro/Exhibitor, Pre-Paid, and No Tickets), but there was only room for two.

Dawn in the Emerald City
Lisa and I had one main mission to start the con, and that was to get a Lisner Dawn/Oz print for hubby-Eric. So our first action was to try and find Lisner... who was in section L. The problem was, we couldn't find section L on the map. Sections A through J were clearly marked, so we headed out to section J, figuring once we were in the area, we'd spot something that would lead us to L.

As we wandered, I spotted Bob Schreck, whose first Troll picture was... a little undignified. He saw me, saw the troll, rolled his eyes, but then happily took my offer of a better picture.

About this time, I overheard someone else wondering where section L was. Then I noticed that the map showed a section K along the North wall, and ... well, section L was along the West wall, it just wasn't as clearly marked. I told the folks I'd overheard, and all of us happily trooped over to find who we were looking for.

Joseph Michael Lisner had plenty of the prints, so I bought one for Eric, and then Lisa and I headed for the media guests. Having finally started watching Battlestar Galactica, I really wanted to get those guests. On the way, we passed the Suicide Girls booth, and I just had to Troll them.

The first media guest victim was Noel Neill, Lois Lane from The Adventures of Superman. She was bemused to be trolled, and gracious. She had a book for sale that I wish I could've gotten, and I noticed she was sold out by Sunday. She never had a huge crowd like Wil Wheaton, but she always had a few people hanging out with her.

Next up, Lisa and I got in line for Jewel Staite, but when I got near the front, the ECCC keeper of Jewel refused to let me take a picture with the troll. So we just said "Hi!" and shook hands, then moved along. I got in line for Aaron Douglas while Lisa hovered. Aaron was fantastic! He loved the troll, and was totally into getting his picture taken with Torvald. His keeper attempted to be stern, but couldn't manage with Aaron's upbeat attitude. I thanked him profusely, and moved on to see Tahmoh Penikett. I had to talk Helo into the photo, because he'd been cowed by another keeper, but he agreed when several other people in line behind me started to say, "do it!" and so we took a quick picture and I gave him his trolled card.

Torvald and Aaron Douglas

A quick aside about the "trolled" cards. They consist of a close-up of Torvald with the words "You've been trolled!" and Torvald's URL. I printed 60 of them before leaving Churchville. I didn't think I'd use all of them... but I really should've checked my previous years and done some math. I ended up with 92 pictures, and I probably could've handed out 100 trolled cards easily. Next convention I'll be more prepared.

Lisa and I looked at Michael Hogan's table, but passed by because another stern-looking keeper was sitting there and the line was huge.

So we wandered. Lots and lots of wandering. I checked with a couple of artists about sketches, but it looked like everyone was charging for sketches and even the inexpensive ones would add up too quickly for my strained budget. Technically, I shouldn't even have come to the con this year for our financial woes, but I did anyway because of tradition and my love of this convention. But I digress.

I'm skipping around a bit in time, because my only guide for when anything happened is my pictures. So sometime during our wanderings, we stopped by the Hero Initiative booth to see Heidi and get our Hero buttons. I got a hand button, and I wore my button on my lanyard for the entire convention.

We eventually ended up in front of Patrick Gleason's table, another Aquaman artist. I trolled him, but I didn't gather up the nerve to ask for a sketch. We chatted a little about Green Lantern Corps and the fact that I just don't like the book that much. I talked about Soranik's fate... as she's not long for the DC Universe if she's dating Kyle. Patrick disagreed with me. He asked what he could do to make me like the book, and I had to confess my problems are all pretty much with the writing and the overall status of the GLC, not with the artwork.

Torvald and Patrick Gleason

When Lisa and I entered the convention center, we ran into Greg Hatcher, who told me that I must get a picture of Rachel this year with the troll. So we headed over to the Madison/Aki Kurose Middle School booth and found Rachel and Aja and Trolled them.

In artist alley we visited Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti and Trolled both of them. Amanda drew an Aquaman sketch for me WAY back, but she'd never been Trolled. So I dealt with that discrepancy. It's a little odd. There are a number of artists and writers I know on sight, and to my surprise quite a few of them have never been Trolled because I was more focused on getting sketches back in the day. I've been doing what I can to rectify the situation, but as the day wore on it became increasingly clear that I needed a guide to who had been Trolled and who hadn't.

Torvald, Franco and Art Baltazar

Two guys I knew for sure I hadn't Trolled were Art Baltazar and Franco, the tag-team dynamic duo behind Tiny Titans, one of my favorite books on the shelf. They were also sketching, but charging a steep $1 each for a quick sketch. I was tempted, but decided to just Troll the pair. They need to do a stand-up act together, the two of them were funny, gracious, and just plain neat to be around. I later directed some of the Middle School Students to them, but I don't know if they went or not.

About this time, Lisa was collapsing from the strain of a tough work and school schedule, combined with a hyperactive evil twin (me) and so she took a break from me. I went off and Trolled James Kolchalka. I mispronounced Eli's name (argh) then tried to explain myself (double-argh) and felt like an idiot. I'm a fan of Eli's Monster Attack comic and particularly pleased that Eli is an Aquaman fan, too. So, off into the ether of the internet: I'm so sorry Eli! I hope you'll forgive!

Right... in disgrace I tromped down to the lower lobby and met the tired Lisa, and we both went down to eat lunch in the car. The sandwiches my mom made for us were satisfying (thanks, Mom!) and we both felt a little better after chowing down. Lisa decided to stay in the car and nap while I paTrolled some more, so I headed back up.

Emerald City Comicon Poster

I wandered to the Heroes Initiative booth and was cheered by being able to troll Alan Porter. Then I attempted to Troll Brian Pulido again, and something very annoying happened.

Hubby-Eric and I bought my current camera many years ago. At the time, we also purchased two sets of rechargable batteries to go with it. They've served us well, but I've noticed recently that the batteries hold less and less of a charge. The batteries that were in the camera gave out completely, and when I put in the batteries I'd freshly charged Saturday morning... they didn't work. I was up a Troll without a working camera. I figured that was it for trolling the con, but I didn't really want to stop.

However, I do want to stop for the moment in recounting the convention. So look for part II maybe as early as tomorrow.