Friday, July 6, 2012

Pacific Northwest Trip March 2010 Day 2 Saturday March 13 Emerald City ComiCon Day 1

This is the second of a series of posts dealing my sixth trip to Seattle as an adult and first of two trips that year. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification. 

A bit sleepy as I type this.  Had a tickle in my throat that bothered me a lot of the night.  Likely in part because I walked around a bit too late last night and I think the cold air irritated my throat.  Also someone was working on their laptop until after 12 so the room was well lit at first.

Free breakfast is officially at 8.  Will see if anything's out yet; otherwise while sleepy I'm anxious to get going so may opt for a pay breakfast downtown if it means fewer delays getting out.

[NOW: The above was written in the morning; the rest I wrote in the evening.]

This was definitely the monster day of the trip.  Pardon typos.  Lots of ground to cover and don't want to hog the computer.

[NOW: Typos all hopefully edited out.] 

After my previous e-mail I visited Olympic Sculpture Park.  A lot of what's there is hard to describe.  Aside from the two things I mentioned in past years (the ampersand on a pole; the fountain with the naked man and boy facing each other), there's some metal/wood triangle thing, and a tire that looks like it's having a bad hair day (blue hair as well).

[The ampersand piece is Love  & Loss.  The nude statue is Father and Son. The triangle one is Bunyon’s Chess. The blue hair thing is Typewriter Eraser, Scale X.]

I then visited Seattle Center to get some daytime shots before grabbing breakfast at the hostel.

I went downtown and bought a few things at Walgreen's, then went into the Downtown Transit Tunnel and added more money to my ORCA card (used as a convenience for riding transit busses, while I'll start doing Monday).  At the mall complex that has Borders a security guard would only let me use the restroom if I was a customer.  I told him I planned to shop at Borders and was allowed in.  Borders actually opened too late for me to visit but I bought something there later that day so it all worked out.

[Now: Borders is now defunct.] 

And now for the Emerald City ComiCon.  on the 4th floor of the Washington State Convention Center, where most of the events took place, I traded my two day ticket for a clip on pass and was soon confronted with a mass of people that the Times Colonist Book Sale could only dream of, closer to Disneyland on a busy day.  So when the doors opened I acted strategically, immediately finding people a little ways away from the doors.  I'm pretty sure I was the first person today to meet Astro City writer Kurt Busiek, whom I had met previously in Victoria.  Then right after I met writer Len Wein, co-creator of Wolverine and then soon after the classic 1970s X-Men team.

I got lots and lots more autographs.  Around 11:20 I began a long process leading to Stan Lee's autograph.  First you had to get in line to trade your e-mail print out for a pass with your time (in my case 12:00).  Then you were supposed to get in line a second time to get the autograph.  It was actually around 12 when I got the slip of paper so I opted to meet him later, as I'd probably get cut off by his break if I got in line a second time.  Besides when I was very sore from the first wait in line and wanted to go to a Marvel panel, which was fun.

After that the Leonard Nimoy Q&A was pretty far away so I opted to go for more autographs, including Lou Ferrigno, who unfortunately charged $40.  I fear my having a speech impediment which sometimes makes my voice soft when nervous and his being partly deaf made the meet less than ideal, but I got the autograph.  I also spent $10 on an autograph with Filmation (cartoons) co-founder Hal Sutherland.  Actually I'm not 100% sure of the chronology here.  It was a very long day.

[NOW: I decided to delete one paragraph of the report for personal reasons.]

I went to the Stan Lee Q& A a couple floors up, which was a lot of fun; Stan's a funny guy.  I spent $25 for an autograph with Buck Rogers co-star Erin Gray, and since I hadn't been in any celebrity pic with me in them, splurged on another $10 for a photo.  There was a bit of confusion about where the line-up was at Joe Quesada's table (editor in chief of Marvel) and my camera went AWOL during the confusion.  It was also getting time to get my Stan Lee autograph, which was in a different room than earlier that day.  So when I asked a security woman for directions to Lee I also asked about lost and found, which turned out to be a great move.  I went in line for Lee; although it was during four my having a 12:00 pass put me a lot earlier in the line.  The security woman found me saying she thought my camera had been found and told me to stay there.  Beyond shuffling ahead with the line I basically stayed put and was soon reunited with my camera.  My meet with Stan was very short, very assembly line, but I can honestly say I told him what an honour it was to meet him and he thanked me.

There was another Marvel Q& A in progress in that far away room but between the scare of the camera, the euphoria of meeting Stan, the distance to the other room, and wanting to meet as many people as possible, I passed on the second Marvel panel.  I do kind of wish I had gone, but it was simply the wrong time to go.  I did actually get quite a few autographs during the hour of the Q& A.

Now at this point I'll abandon any pretense of a chronology (I'll leave that to my photos) and go stream of consciousness.

Val Mayerick was an unexpected guest at the convention (former artist on Howard the Duck).  Unfortunately I hadn't packed any Howard stuff, but it does seem I have something with his art in it so I'll meet him tomorrow.

[NOW: He was listed in the convention listings after all, but only with the more unknown artists. He wasn’t there the next day.] 

Other notable people I met today: Terry Moore (writer/artist of Strangers in Paradise), Ben Templesmith (artist on 30 Days of Night; he has a punk hairstyle but was one of the friendliest people there), long time Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis, Jeff Parker (writer of Agents of Atlas), and former DC editor/Marvel writer Mark Waid.  There was a bit of a delay waiting for his autograph because current Captain America Ed Brubaker writer came over to vent about someone who had been a bit confrontational at the first Marvel Q& A, so I picked the right one to attend.

[NOW: Without going into specifics, Brubaker was right to vent about this person.]

Seeing different people's reactions to Marvel comics DVD-ROMs I had was interesting.  Steven Seagle (not to be confused with martial artist/actor Steven Seagal) was shocked that one existed and said he wanted one.  Bendis knew about them but also indicated he wanted them.  Waid, a diehard trivia buff was the most familiar with them.  I'd say most people I met were previously unaware that their work was collected on a DVD-ROM.  Justice League International artist Kevin Maguire was another person who was amazed by this.  Another artist I suppose I shouldn't name said "You don't really want this autographed, do you?" Happily he did sign this.

X-Statix artist Michael Allred wasn't at his table when I went over, but his wife Laura, a colourist was.  She didn't recall colouring the stuff I had her autograph (I'm pretty sure she did) but said "I'll sign anything."

Things that tended to slow lines even with few people included people bring multiple items, people buying sketches from artists (that delay was at least understandable as a they were paying customers), and people tell creators their life story (the latter slowed down the Marvel Q& A as well) 

For someone who's character was hated on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Will Wheaton's line was packed.  I didn't actually see him or Leonard Nimoy even from a distance but given the line sizes have no doubts that they were there. Unlike Stan they'll be there tomorrow so will try to at least see them.

[NOW:  I caught glimpses of them but that was about it.  The Trekkies made them hard to see. Also Nimoy wanted $60 for an autograph.]

Glad that my Official Marvel Handbooks to the Marvel Universe are being reworked into hardcovers because a couple misguided artists actually signed over the text.

There are still a lot of big names to meet tomorrow.  Hopefully with Stan gone and it being a Sunday I'll be able to meet the people I still want to meet the most.

After the convention I ate at the McDonald's at the Westlake Center Food Court, having missed lunch, then confirmed that the fye that used to be in that mall was gone, then visited Borders (bought a 3-movie cult DVD), then the next few places didn't buy anything: Barnes & Noble at Park Place (also visited the scrap metal penguin in the mall) Nordstrom Rack, Swerve, and Elliott Bay Book Company, which will be moving soon from its traditional location unfortunately.  Heading back to the hostel, I visited Kress Supermarket (an underground store in the physical sense) and then returned to the hostel.

[NOW: Swerve is now closed. The new location of Elliott Bay Book Company is in Capitol Hill.] 

As I type this it's now roughly the time I started exploring yesterday, but I'm beat, and the clocks go ahead tomorrow, so I'm not going for another walk today.

So way today fun for me?  Actually... no for the most part.  The crowds were overwhelming and there was a definite assembly line quality about the day.  But absolutely it was an amazing day.  Between today and presumably tomorrow I doubt I'll even again be in the midst of this many celebrities, many of whom I greatly admire and respect.  In fact one reason I probably won't ever do this again is during this trip I've already met or will presumably still meet the vast majority of still living creators whom I really want to meet.  To do this again would be to face the same kinds of crowds but not meet people as high on my list to meet as I have this trip.  So no this won't likely be an annual occurrence for me.  But despite all the hassles I'm glad I did it.  Again, I can't imagine ever being in the same room again with this many amazing writers and artists even if I attend other conventions of this size.

Let's see though how I'll feel tomorrow.

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