SW 2017 Emerald City Comic Con Show Report

The 2017 Emerald City Comic Convention in Seattle happened last weekend, delighting many for its 15th successful year.

I attended for my 5th consecutive year.

I spent one full day through what some say is the largest comics convention in the Pacific Northwest. That which is sad, being the comic books presence was not front and center for this year. Attending for my fifth year, I felt disappointed. Its artist alley, located on an upper floor while back issues, trades, and graphic novels sellers were held further back. The larger comic publishers (Image, Dark Horse, Valiant, Boom!, Oni) stood tall and proud, yet somewhat hidden in the mass jungle of gaming, anime, pop-culture merch and pop sci-fi art dealers and small publishers. Still, much fun for the attendees who now come to these comic conventions in search for such. I, being a comic enthusiast wished better for the struggling sequential arts industry.

Yet, there was a good presence of creative talent present, both old and new.  The great Stan Lee was present, in panels and for autographs. Most of the Image Comics founders were also present for their 25th anniversary for a panel and signings; including Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, and Jim Valentino. Sadly, no core founder Jim Lee present. Meanwhile, in Artist Alley, many familiar faces to the comics industry were also present; Tim Sale, Mike Mignola, Jeff Lemire, Mark Waid, Babs Tarr, Scott Snyder, andm more.

I was also pleased to see the growing presence of webcomics among the traditional monthly comics. Cyanide and Happiness, The Oatmeal, Agents of the Realm, Namesake, The Meek, and more were present. Such brings hope, that perhaps the comics industry will change and accept the digital frontiers. Then perhaps, learn from the new pioneers in web-coming publishing.

Drawing the bigger numbers were the pop-culture celebs, which included stars from well-known entertainment shows like Daredevil, Stranger Things, Star Trek, Walking Dead. They came, and talked, and signed many things. Such are vital to the success of the show. But, I had little time and patience for the long lines.

So, I walked around a lot and purchased much from the sellers and publishers present. Below, are some pictures and notes of my ECCC 2017 experience.

The crowds were a plenty, and so were the cosplayers. Here, many lined up for a mandatory weapon check. I feel safer already!

No convention or geek-culture pop fest is complete without some attendee dress-up. Here, are two Hobbits.

The best booths here at the ECCC involve the mix of creatives and their products. Here, the cartoonists behind the hit webcomic Cyanide and Happiness, and new hit game Joking Hazard..greeted fans and signed for a bit.

Shane White, present at the Steve Jackson booth for his work as Guest Artist for the new Munchkin Pathfinder game.

Here is Barry Kitson, a professional artist from a range of well-known Marvel and DC comics titles. He was sketching the Hero Initiative booth, a non-profit charity helping comic creators in a time of desperate need. For more info, visit www.heroinitiative.org.

I did not quite get what this costume referred to or about, but I love it!

A Green Lantern group pose, with a little extra green from a possible leprechaun photobomber.

The God of Thunder vs. the Grouch of Sesame.

Pokemon never die, they just multiply. Pickacheers!!

I met Marguerite Bennett at the Aftershock Comics booth. She is the author of one of a new favorite comic series, Animosity, of which she signed the volume 1 trade paperback in her hand.

Comic cons lately have been host to many booths of glorious fan art prints and interpretations. Mike Vasquez had his display. See more at mikegoesgeek.com

I like how this booth utilized its floor space. Check out Terry Huddleston’s work at thuddleston.deviantart.com

Part of the fun of the Comic Cons are the discoveries of new reads. Sometimes, they discover you. Here, self-publisher Travis Vengroff sold me a hardcopy of his new book, Liberty Deception. It’s a sci-fi dystopian thriller, of which I will be reading soon.

Back at the Explosm booth, where the Cyanide and Happiness crew are busy in their cartooning.

A print purchased from the great Duck and McDuck Disney family comics artist, Don Rosa.

I purchased many comics from the back issue bins. This was a favorite among them.

Later into the night, the ECCC Western Championships of Cosplay show…

There was a good mix of masterful hand-made costumes. Many cheers from the audience in return.

Overall, I had a good time at the ECCC for 2017. I spent more than I expected, but with no regrets. I also took more picture of some attendees in colorful cosplay attire. Those will be shown soon, in another posting featuring my favorites in costume as see on the show floors. Look forward!

– Orion T

(photo credits – taken March 2016 by Orion Tippens for strangerworlds.com..please ask permission and credit the site if sharing elsewhere)

 

San Diego Comic Con in Pictures and Notes – Part 2

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(continued from Part 1)

Take a closer look at the great San Diego Comic Con, and you will see more of its heart and soul within the booth displays. Within the Exhibit Hall, are the people and subjects that make such the event long worth going to, before the glam of celebs and pricy exclusives.

Below are my notes on why, and what has changed for this year. Let’s go for a walk…

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The Marvel Comics Booth, constantly crowded with heavy push for the Marvel Cinematic Universe  movies. Aside from freebies, I didnt notice much of the monthly comics being promoted. I think there is another reboot of sorts called Marvel Now, which I have withheld my excitement for. The strength of Marvel Comics at retail racks has been with well-written books including Marvel Girl, Moon Girl, Vision, Totally Awesome Hulk. I wish it was more that, and not the movies.

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The Nickelodeon always puts much thought in their booth designs. This year showed expression, with throwbacks to the their golden 90’s era.

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So much nostalgia, so much love…Legends of the Hidden Temple, Ren and Stmpy, Rocko, Rugrats never die!

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In the corner, vinyl and designer figures still make their impression on collectors. I see their stands rising in size, and exclusives for attendees to hunt down. Funko still being the most massive and ridiculous.. Here, I know not of the company, but love the giant Kobe and Astro Boy.

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The Lego booth never disappoints with their display craft. I wonder how many blocks it took for Captain America to make his stand here.

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And Wonder Woman!

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Meanwhile late night talk show host Conan O’Brien was quite the strange self promoting icon. I feel conflicted about this odd presence here at the con. I think from watching, he could be one of us..but not so much as it’s just he’s becoming a pop-culture icon as well, complete with exclusive con collectibles also at the show.

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Booth signings are a bigger deal with year, with studios giving the fans a chance to meet entire casts, with the luck of a raffle hours before. Here, the cast of Supergirl greets a long and very eager line.

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One booth shows off some rare and cool Japanese import figures.

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The Symbiote Studios stand I think is a newcomer to the designer figure corner of the Exhibit Hall, or at least new to me.

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Another booth, I did not get info on. But they sell cosplay clothes for pets, I think..

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The typical awesomeness of the Artist Alley section, where the small booths are just as grand as the huge companies ones. Here you need no lottery ticket to meet the extraordinary people who also make a substantial impact on the fandom.

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Of the Artist Alley and Small Press areas, some creatives have much fun and leave a memorable impression. Here is artist Joe Phillips (I think on the left) promoting his new comic, a Midsummer’s Knight..a fantastical take on the Shakespeare classic.

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The Hasbro booth barely changes every year, but always nice to see the latest in new Transformers toys that appeal to my nostalgic soul, like the new Fortress Maximus on display.

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The Ugly Dolls booth cheers me again with its huggable plush monsters..

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The Dark Horse booth stands proud and tall once again, with much on the new reads and the better array of guest artists and writer signings..

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An overhead shot of the comics area, which with little emphasis on exclusives or swag, has a less claustrophobic crowd. That is until, Sunday where less panels happen and last-minute shopping kicks in..

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The Sideshow Collectibles booth, a constant at the SDCC for many years, where high-end figurines are showcased and presented for attendees to at least appreciate.

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Back at the Dark Horse booth, an awesome mural behind the booth showcasing its 30 year history. Cheers to “Building Characters!”

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The DC Comics booth, which I love for still reminding all of its other awesome licenses, including Spy vs. Spy..

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This year at he Star Wars booth, costumes from the upcoming Rogue One movie are on display..a definite treat for the fans attending.

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A favorite booth on recent years at the show, DKE toys; an awesome array of artist designed figures and packages.  Many are on sale, at extremely limited quantities.

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Back at the DC Comics booth, original costumes on display; featuring the new and upcoming Wonder Woman movie, Suicide Squad, and the classic Wonder Woman TV series (with a costume work by Lynda Carter herself!)

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My current favorite comics publisher, Image Comics has the usual awesome booth.

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The Cartoon Network booth, featuring the return of the Power Puff Girls..

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The Super 7 booth, featuring a reissue classics large Alien movie figure.

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The Square Enix booth, though not as visually impressive from afar, got a much larger crowd coming in for a chance to play the upcoming Final Fantasy XV game, and get a very exclusive T-Shirt!

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More artist alley impressions!

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Many booths also showed upcoming products, like the DC Bombshells figurine line at the Diamond comics booth. More, on featured  products in an upcoming post..

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Sometimes, one good draw is all one needs to make a great impression. The Hermes publishing booth brought in Garfield creator, Jim Davis!

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That’s all for part 2, with my personal highlights of the Exhibit Room displays and presentations, with much thanks to the many involved. Come back to strangerworlds.com for part 3, with a zoomed look at the exciting people of Comic Con, with a focus on its creative talent.

– Orion T

San Diego Comic Con in Pictures and Notes – Part 1

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Back at the San Diego Comic Convention!

Now in its 46th year, and for me the 22nd; also known as Comic Con International or just simply, Comic Con. The event now holds about 167,000 people, ever-growing but not as fast where the convention center has reached its limits, with hope for expansion in the far future. Meanwhile,  there are many more events and happenings outside the con, unaffiliated with CCI; where most are run by big media companies and promoters of new movies, television shows, and games. Comic books sadly, are not as visible.

Inside the show, is my favorite area; especially the Exhibit Hall, with a football floor sized area filled with the best creative talent, booth displays and merchandise a Comic convention attendee could ask for. Every year, show goers have goals. For me, they change; now looking to meet new creative talent discovered in the last cycle of comics reading. Then, shopping for exclusives and odd finds. Swag, interesting visuals, along with meetings and interesting conversations with fellow attendees all fill the great in-between moments. Comics here are quite visible, if you are looking for them.

Here below, are some pics I took of the general area (mostly Exhibit Hall), with notes. This is the first in a series showcasing interesting aspects of the great show, and all involved…

The overall atmosphere itself, with the situation below depicting a somewhat calmer moment free of exclusive hoarding and celebrity snappers. To simply walk around and see what’s new and interesting is a prime cornerstone of attending.

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Perhaps the most enthusiastic and visually striking of the Con, are the cosplayers. Here, they are many, with hints in their attire on what’s current. Here, we have the upcoming Suicide Squad movie done by cosplayers

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Notable writers, pencils, inkers, colorists are important to the overall Con structure; as many fans arrive from afar to meet and greet, gaining signatures and perhaps a sketch if lucky. Below (fourth from the right is Jim Lee).

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Comic Con remains a hub for those who collect comics in their original form, with heavy emphasis on back issues. Notable rises in back issues for prices are titles and featured issues including Black Panther, Luke Cage, Flash, Venom, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man.

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While comics are better preserved in their plastic bags and boards, there is a wonderfulness on seeing aged books out of bag and board. One fav booth does just that, selling them at a reduced flat rate. I took much joy in making a bundle of my own.

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People love their autographs, some more than others in their hunting. One attendee showed me his Batman hardcover book, filled with many pages of creative talent and notable persons who made Batman what he is today.

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Another page, of many more.

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The most noted among the new cosplay crowd, is Harley Quinn as depicted from the new Suicide Squad movie. Such was likely the plan by its marketers, for the fans to have fun with the outfit and add to the movie hype. I approve, and hope the movie lives up to the hype.

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My favorite among the cosplay crowd, are those who represent the more obscure and lesser known of the sub-genres. This looks familiar, and can’t put my finger on it..

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I remain astounded by the popular of The Walking Dead. Here, live participants in zombie makeup await attendees at the AMC, Walking Dead Booth. Such is a fine example of what makes Comic Con fun, to promote with more than signs and flyers; by providing fans with over-the top visuals and experiences.

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New shows are also a thing here, though their interest remains in question. Here, a new show has a walk-in booth created to look like The White House. Usually such booths promise some interesting swag or celebrity greets; which helps generate excitement, I guess. Such is less and less for me as the Con years go.

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The Entertainment Earth booth, one of many here who showcase and sell collectibles. Some items are previews to new products coming out. Other items are show exclusives one must wait in long lines and/or be very lucky to buy.

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A favorite among the displays every year, the Cartoon Network booth. This year, the glorious return of the Powerpuff Girls.

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A favorite feature of the DC Comics booth for me are the live sketches.

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Here is a cornerstone heart and soul of Comic Con, the creative talent who self promote in the small presses and artist alleys. They each, who by their own funding and hard work promote themselves and their work. Interaction is valuable to growth, and helps sustain their daring lifestyles of doing what they love, while they love what they do.

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A more crowded moment at Comic Con, at its worse on Sunday when the panels and outside events are fewer. Shopping and swag hunting goes up.

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Looking a bit closer, are the treasure some will take home for a lifetime. One fan proudly displays a fresh autograph fro Samantha Newark, best known for her work on the classic 1980s cartoon, Jem and the Holograms.

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Another notable theme of the 2016 year, was Wonder Woman; now reaching her 75th Anniversary. The DC booth and many more gave presence to her cultural impact, across all mediums.

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And that’s all for now, as I will go more in-depth on the many aspects and interesting observations of this 2016 San Diego Comic Con. Next post will focus more on the booths, with the products and people who make them awesome..

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To be continued, in San Diego Comic Con in Pictures and Notes – Part 2…

– Orion T , Captain writer and editor ic, has been attending geek gatherings since childhood, and will continue on until the breathing stops.