Emerald City ComiCon 2009

Last weekend, I was at the Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle, Washington. Here’s some of what I did there. (Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I never think about the fact that my phone has a camera until after.)

Sara Ryan had a new installment of her Flytrap minicomic series, this time illustrated by Sarah Burrini. She’s a German artist who’s starting to get work here. In this chapter, “Performance Anxiety”, one of the acrobats winds up having to play her ex’s wedding. The dialogue and character work are terrific, as always, and the art conveys subtle, realistic emotion. Burrini’s quite a talent, and Ryan’s story makes some interesting points about the desire for attention. I wanted to see what happened when the circus showed up at the ceremony, but the real point of the story was friends talking through a tough time. (How nice to see something that passes the Bechdel Rule, too.)

I picked up a charming minicomic from Steve Rolston (One Bad Day, Queen & Country) called “Lost Souls in Love”. It was originally his attempt at a 24-hour comic, but he polished it into a wonderful romantic interlude with a strong sense of place, as two new friends explore a deserted beach.

Other than that, I didn’t buy much. I was looking for some older Archie comics for KC, but no one brings that kind of thing to a show where they have limited space. I did get the second Girls With Slingshots volume and the new Phables collection (strips abut Philadelphia) from Brad Guigar at the halfpixel.com table. I figured it would be a neat nostalgia trip, since I lived in the city for three years. Brad did a lovely sketch of Ben Franklin in the front, although he is not eating a cheesesteak. These full-page strips are based on observations about what makes like in Philadelphia unique, often based on reader submissions. Guigar’s style works very well with this slightly exaggerated real-life humor. Frequent subjects include trash, cars, family, crime, and tradition. Some are touching, some are scary, and some really brought back memories.

I’ve found I don’t do a lot of shopping at shows like this because most times, it’s just easier to order online. Especially if you’re worrying about what will fit in your suitcase on the way back! But I came up with a few new webcomics to check out. Like The Comfort Guide, twisted wordless comedy based on instructional-style images. Or Unemployed Pandas, cute and timely. Or Sea Freak, the story of a tormented undersea mutant who eats people but is really conflicted about it. Or Ellie Connelly, a young woman who investigates the paranormal in a historical comedy strip that’s just starting.

Mostly, I had good conversations. I interviewed Scott Morse, who was a gentleman and a lifesaver, letting me sit with him when I came over dizzy in the afternoon. Instead of convention sketches, he was doing mini-paintings, including one of Batman. It was some grey shapes, then I closed my eyes briefly, and when I opened them, he was putting black over top and it was the hero! I don’t know how he did it. Sheer genius!

A terrific time talking with two young women made me feel old and slow. They were full of information about their comics, creative costumes they made, all these activities they had going. It was inspiring. One was Rachel Dukes, who does several webcomics, but I didn’t catch the other’s name.

With Keith Knight I talked about the future of comics. I found out from Jeph Jacques (Questionable Content) that he’s planning to put out his first book before the end of the year. It’ll have at least the first 250 strips, but he hopes for 500 — it depends on the size and the cost, since it’ll be printed in color.

I also checked in with several indy publishers about their upcoming works. I had a bizarre but eye-opening conversation with someone at Oni about comp copies and why they’re sent as well as whether I should be considered more of a reviewer or an industry professional. It was one of those situations where you realize that how you view yourself may be very different from how others see you. I’ll always consider myself a reviewer first, but that doesn’t mean others agree. I assumed that someone who sent me comics wanted me to talk about them, but that’s not always the case, it turns out. Anyway, I was thrilled to get a copy of the convention-only Scott Pilgrim color special.

Brett at Top Shelf was eager to tell me about the books they have upcoming this year, many of which I hope to cover shortly, because they look nifty! Perhaps most exciting to me was hearing that there was going to be an Eddie Campbell Alec omnibus called The Years Have Pants coming out in September.

I saw a preview of North 40, an upcoming WildStorm miniseries — 6 issues starting in July — by Aaron Williams (PS238) and Fiona Staples. It’s about folks with superpowers living in a rural county, an interesting mix.

Oh, and the Seattle Convention Center has the best con food ever. There’s a creparie on the sidewalk just outside. For lunch, I had a ham’n’cheese crepe followed by a sweet chestnut with creme fraiche for dessert. Yum!

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9 Responses to “Emerald City ComiCon 2009”

  1. James Schee Says:

    “Anyway, I was thrilled to get a copy of the convention-only Scott Pilgrim color special. ”

    Grrr!!! I want that!! lol

    Glad to hear you had fun, that’s interesting about industry professional and reviewer. Gotta be weird to wonder “was I sent these books because they want me to talk about them, or because they just thought I’d like them”

  2. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, it certainly wasn’t something that would have ever occurred to me.

  3. Sebastian Says:

    Yay for printed Questionable Content. Finally. Been waiting quite a while for this.

    I also need that new Flytrap comic. Sarah Burrini. Interesting. I bought some mini comics she made with the Pony X Press collective from her at the big german convention in Erlangen last year. http://www.myspace.com/pony_x_press

    And while Unemployed Pandas may be timely (and not bad at all), I’d rather have more of PMBQ’s Tea Club. I miss that series.

    And of course, a missed Scott Pilgrim color special makes me weep. Sometimes I wish I’d live on the other side of the Atlantic.

  4. FiestaHendersonNV Says:

    Totally agree with you Sebastian.

  5. Rachel "Roth Says:

    Man, I loved the ECCC. It was in a great place, Seattle was beautiful. The Con was really close to the Pike Place market, as well. There was some good food down there.
    At the con Art Balthazar was doing 1$ sketches, They were very cool! :) I got Nightwing.
    It was totally worth the drive from Canada. ;)

  6. I Interview Scott Morse » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] I talked to Scott Morse for PW Comics Week at the Emerald City ComiCon, I found he had plenty interesting to say, especially about how he views the comic book market in [...]

  7. PMBQ Says:

    Thanks for the mention!

    ECCC was definitely a fun show, and I always enjoy an excuse to visit Seattle.

    @Sebastian : My hope is to gain momentum on Unemployed Pandas and eventually return to Tea Club sometime this year. We’ll see how things pan out…

  8. Sarah Burrini » Archive » Stumptown Comics Fest Says:

    [...] das Fest seine Pforten.Glücklich wie ein junger Beagle am Strand durfte ich dort den neuen Flytrap-Minicomic präsentieren, der in Kollaboration mit der vielseits talentierten Sara Ryan entstanden ist.Meine [...]

  9. North 40 #1 and 2 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] I first heard about it at the Emerald City ComiCon, I thought it was “about folks with superpowers living in a rural county”, but [...]

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