Sunday, March 29, 2015

Con-Man: Emerald City Comicon 2015 Saturday

Saturday like most cons is THE DAY with bigger crowds and panels. Since we saw so much Friday, there was no rush to get there luckily. After a quick leg and cardio workout, the meat omelet breakfast wasn't the best idea as it made me tired and dehydrated. Walking the floor I got super giddy as the same vendor who sold me the Dolph in Rocky IV figurine had some new ones today including The mother fudging Phantom! Looking super yoked and ready for action in his purple suit, twin .45 pistols & holsters and skull ring, I nearly tripped over a trash can in the crowded booth to get it. I wasn't really on the hunt for more comics but Damme one vendor had all kinds of awesomeness on the cheap. You see, comics come in all shapes and values. You got the random rejects selling for .50 cents, maybe some overstock selling for a buck or two, variants with gimmicky hologram covers or signed by the artist, then the ones graded by some governing body on their condition, etc. This one was all "reading" copies, just issues that have been through hands of readers and selling for a buck or two. I got a huge stack of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos and had to refrain from buying more. The covers are just phenomenal with splashy, eye catching art depicting Nick Fury, Dum-Dum Dugan and the rest of the Howlers saving kids, skiing into action or rescuing one of their own with phrases like "Because you demanded it, Dino Manelli fights again!! 'Nuff said!" or "Keep yer blasted head down, lady! This ain't no picnic!"...Oh man so excited to read these.

On the panels side we meant to tackle several but came up short unfortunately. The first was How To Be A Nerd For A Living where half a dozen guests including the lady who voices the Fancy Feast cat food commercials talk about their ascent up the pop culture ranks of voice acting, illustrating and production design. Pretty basic stuff, everybody has a different journey, people who make it do it because they want to, rejection is part of the game and internet comments are toxic if you take them personally. From there it was Celebrating Will Eisner's The Spirit at 75 which focused on the noir comic strip masquerading as a superhero story. A very esteemed panel included Avengers, Marvels and Astro City scribe Kurt Busiek, novelist Carla Speed McNeil and badass artist Tim Sale of Daredevil: Yellow, Batman: The Long Halloween and Spider-Man: Blue. It was basically an academic style look at the genius of Eisner's art and writing where the panel discussed the iconic character not being a superhero or very good at his job, just very persistent. Not as cerebral as Batman and always getting beat up, Busiek basically summed up the character as James Garner from the 70's; the everyman who solves the case without much finesse and ends up with a few lumps. The panelists were very versed in Eisner's work explaining that The Spirit was more or less a cypher for whatever story the author felt like telling whether it was drama, noir, horror or "action". The domino mask was a simple concession to the publisher who asked for a superhero title.

We meant to make it over to the Cos Fit panel but got side tracked by all the Sgt. Fury comics! Then we wandered around The Writer's Block area and chatted with some local artists and writers. Being next to the celebrity area I decided to get an autograph from John Wesley Shipp. As I've been able to meet so many influences and icons from my pop culture upbringing, this isn't my bag but I loved the 1990 television series of The Flash and Shipp put on one of the greatest panels I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot! Like at his panel, Shipp was super cool and seemed genuinely appreciative of all the fan and viewer support. I asked what it was like filming all the running and fast forward scenes of him eating or cleaning up. He mentioned in the pilot episode when he was cleaning up the apartment, he started off going clockwise then they brought in his stunt double to go counter clockwise so it looks twice as fast. Or when he had to sort the deck of cards out by color and denomination basically fried his brain and was only a few seconds on screen. I thanked him for mentioning alternate reality Flash's that could lead to him being The Flash again and not just Henry Allen. Shipp said he'd heard that so much from others especially as Amanda Pays and Mark Hamill are playing their former characters. He just wouldn't be excited to re-don the suit...A great encounter and I hope the new show continues to showcase his character before giving us what we really want, Shipp as The Flash once again to validate the greatness of the original show!

Some more walking around the extra packed floor and I spotted another Dum-Dum Dugan, a handful of Alien and Aliens peeps, lots of Spider-Mans, several Disney princesses and a giant MODAK wielding the cosmic cube while being surrounded by A.I.M. soldiers. Meant to make it over for some more panels like Clark Gregg or the Valiant Comics retrospective but around 4:00PM just started crashing out and headed back to the hotel. Oh yeah, for any future attendees, if you're looking for an easy lunch head over to The YardHouse a few blocks down from the Convention Center as surrounding GameWorks and The Cheesecake Factory had mobs out the door. A fun show and next year has been announced to be expanding to 4 days! I'm interested to see how they'll up the celebrity and panel quotient to fill the extra day. Until then, nice job Emerald City Comicon, keep it coming!

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