Saturday, February 15, 2014

Con-Man: Emerald City and the Price of Fandom

Seattle's Emerald City Comicon is just around the corner and this guy will be attending his first out of California popular culture convention in quite some time.  Originally I thought about heading to Oregon for the Wizard World there in January but those shows tend to be based around celebrity signings with programming coming in a distant second.  Emerald City seemed to boast a nice mix of media and comics guests while highlighting each with screenings, panels and signing sessions.  As all conventions, Emerald City has been growing like a mofo in the last few years and is looking to welcome more than 50,000 attendees again this year.

Their guest list is impressive and on the comic book side you've already got Art Adams, Mark Bagley, Kurt Busiek, J. Scott Campbell, Frank Cho, Peter David, Klaus Janson, Erik Larsen, Ed McGuinness, Dustin Nguyen, Stan Sakai and Jeff Smith among dozens more scheduled to be on site meeting fans and slinging art for the weekend.  Media wise there are plenty of familiar faces on tap like MICHAEL BIEHN, Richard Dean Anderson, Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Kelly Hu, Rachel Nichols, Ron Perlman, Alan Tudyk and Karl Urban.  So there should be plenty of people to see and swag to buy.  Here's where it gets tricky for Con goers.  I've never been one for celebrity sightings, autographs or photos with famous peeps.  Why?  It just seems kind of pointless.  It's not like if I take a photo with Michael Biehn then he's going to go home and show it to his friends, know what I mean?  Shows like these are ways for actors and artists to make money and interact with the fans that help keep them going.  While you can commission your favorite artist to create a custom piece of personalized art, getting a glossy photo with your name and some signature on it doesn't quite seem to have the same depth.

As I was looking through the guest lists and the prices for their autographs or photos, I was shocked to see MacGyver and Stargate's Richard Dean Anderson would be charging $85 for an autograph and an additional $85 for a photo!  Everyone else on the list was in the $30 to $50 range which to me, still seems like a giant waste of money.  I can understand actors needing to make a few bucks between gigs but come on, do people really pony up nearly 100 bones to get Anderson's sloppy Sharpie signature?  They must if he's charging so much more than everyone else.  Do you know how many comic books, toys, statues, shirts or just random cool stuff you can get at a Con for $85?  Or you could spend the money on food and drinks while making new friends and seeing an awesome city.  Unbelievable.

When I saw Lance Henriksen at Long Beach, I wasn't interested in a signed photo of him, I wanted to see how much his autobiography, Not Bad For A Human was going for.  I figured on getting gouged since we were at a convention and he needed to collect some gas money so I was quite surprised that a hardcover book AND a glossy photo of my choice would only set me back $35.  Then he signed both to me and was super cool too boot.  So Richard Dean Anderson, I don't know if you've got ex-wives and kids to feed but you're no Lance Henriksen.  Just like Joel Kinnaman ain't no Peter Weller, bro.

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