Friday, March 27, 2015

Con-Man: Emerald City Comicon 2015 Friday

Phew, what a day! After a morning workout it was off to the Washington State Convention Center via a parkour inspiring shortcut. Emerald City already had the doors open and we waltzed right onto the show floor. It's a little confusing as the show takes up no less than 10 separate sections of the multi-story center that is actually on two sides of the street. On the floor we passed artist Thomas Overbai who we've seen at multiple shows and picked up his postcards based on movies like Predator, Blade Runner, Leon and whatnot. His new stuff wasn't up my alley this time out though. Walking around we ran into IDW Transformers comic book artist Livio Ramondelli, who attended the Sunbow Celebration. This was after chatting with Michael Bell at the airport Thursday and we'd run into several other California based convention folk which I guess had to happen after traveling to 9 shows in a year. Nice to see the guys from Cape and Cowl again as well, see you in Anaheim for WonderCon next week!

I hope people took the time to walk around as there was a lot to see. Artist Alley, a section for writers, comic books on comic books, video games, celebrities, a small arcade, board games, toys and so much more tucked into every nook and cranny. Since we're flying, can't grab too much but ended up with a short stack of comics including Jack Kirby's Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth, some Liefeld X-Force and the collected first half of Jim Lee's "crazy sexy alien prophecy pizza boy slacker" adventure Divine Right along with an awesome figurine of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. Funko's were everywhere as usual and a surprising amount of paper dolls you could put together yourself from Big Trouble In Little China to Street Fighter to Marvel regulars. I was surprised that we didn't see very many 8-bit magnets as I was looking to add another Chrono to the fridge. Publisher wise Dark Horse and BOOM! seemed to have the biggest presence on the floor while mother f*cking Valiant is back apparently. Remember them? They did X-O Manowar, Bloodshot and NINJAK! It was just announced that the Valiant library is headed to the big screen so there were a couple panels to reintroduce the universe to con goers as well as unveiling them to the uninitiated.

Panel wise only checked out a handful today due to timing; How to Make Beer Money With Zines and spotlights on actors Hayley Atwell and John Wesley Shipp. Zines was interesting and entertaining as writers and married couple Amanda Meadows and Geoffrey Golden explained how you can self publish a zine on your favorite subject then through friends, comic stores, conventions and online you can make enough bucks to buy yourself beer on a regular basis. Would you pay 3 bones for Dammaged Goods in Zine form? Yeah I dunno either, I can barely keep up here...The Main Hall hosted Captain America and Agent Carter actress Hayley Atwell who was only in town Friday. The room was packed and a giant space, making me think there was a couple thousand in attendance. Grant Imahara from Mythbusters and those McDonald's videos moderated a pretty breezy affair basically highlighting that Atwell kicks ass, is an icon and role model and how the success of Captain America: The First Avenger and ensuing fan reaction lead to the ABC show. It sounds like season 2 is in the works with Atwell open to having a romantic subplot as round 1 was more about the grief of losing Steve Rogers aka Cap. Even though Chris Evans didn't appear on the show itself, shooting in Los Angeles meant the two spent much time together drinking beer, playing video games, eating pizza and competing in charades. Interesting facts and revelations also included that Carter's hair is a wig and that she might have a cameo in Ant-Man. Atwell's also great at catching grapes in her mouth and accidentally kicked various stunt men in the balls at least 6 times during production. Many a young goer professed their admiration for Atwell in playing a smart, physical and capable character and the Shakespearean trained actress took it and responded marvelously with charm and grace.

There were more than a few persons in Agent Carter cosplay which might have been the most popular of the day. A few Banes were seen, one Jack Frost and lots of Jayne's and Mal's from Firefly. Pilot Snoopy was a great one as well as TARS from Interstellar and one Dum-Dum Dugan. The one panel I really wanted to check out was John Wesley Shipp: Back In a Flash, a spotlight on the Emmy award winning Broadway actor who came to pop culture prominence as Barry Allen aka DC's The Flash for one season in 1990 then played James Van Der Beek's dad on Dawson's Creek. This might have been one of the greatest panels I've ever seen as Shipp was quick witted, intelligent, caring and sincere. Originally studying music and theatre before dropping out to pursue acting in New York, the Norfolk, Virginia native ended up on daytime television during it's heyday and won back to back Emmy's which made him a Jeopardy question. After playing a good guy for years, Shipp found notice and critical acclaim as an abusive husband and psychopath. Upon landing in Los Angeles and being approached for The Flash, Shipp was at first reluctant but was urged to read Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo's script which fused superheroics with real emotions. Shipp spoke fondly of current Flash Gustin Grant as being a terrific actor and person with their scenes always being so powerful because it's two people just being truthful.

Shipp was also complimentary of former co-stars Amanda Pays and Mark Hamill, both whom appear on the new series. He did address the fact that Pays and Hammill play their former characters while Shipp plays a new character, Henry Allen aka Barry's dad aka he's playing his own father. But there was talk of going all out with the time travel and multi universe angle of the comic books so maybe Shipp will rightfully appear as The Flash in some capacity in the future like we all want to happen. For the Q&A portion, Shipp actually came down from the stage to face his audience which was a nice touch. For the Dawson's Creek fans, Shipp talked about shooting it in a tiny, remote town with four very smart young actors and having lots of fun boating and jet-skiing on the weekends. Working with Hamill was a treat as the show was long and difficult shoot so to have someone so enthusiastic coming in to bring the energy back up was fantastic. Touching on the art-deco motif of the show, Shipp talked how the production directive was to highlight the 40's - 60's and 90's while skipping the 70's and 80's. Shooting in rough parts of Los Angeles at a 1920's building meant putting down plywood boards to cover feces and syringes. Shipp was pleased to see the current Flash show handled so well as it's reached critical and commercial success. The 90's show garnered such acclaim from its first press screening that CBS became overconfident and plopped it down against The Simpsons and The Cosby Show so it was on the cusp of commercial success but fell short. Much more was discussed but it was just a great time because of Shipps enthusiasm and attitude. Sleep fast and see you tomorrow!

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