This is the third consecutive year that R2AK dynamic duo Ian & Venus have crossed country line to invade the Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle. Here is Part 1 of their excellent adventure rife with tips, tricks and plenty o’ love.
Friday: Day 1
2012 was a great year for commissions. You never know for certain going into a Comic-con, that’s why you need a game plan. Here, we will give you the run-down of an efficient, effective, 3-day heist at Emerald City.
Friday: Day One
Don’t kid yourself, you need this extra day. In 2011, the Emerald City Comic Convention (ECCC) added on an extra day to better handle the growing crowds. Most con-goers only attend on Saturday which makes them suckers. They are under extreme pressure, limited time and at the mercy of the masses to get whatever it is they want to get done.
The first day of the con is where almost all of the heavy lifting gets done. It’s the time to case the joint and lay the groundwork for the rest of the weekend. Once you have your map of the con floor in hand, along with the list of guests in attendance, you can start to prioritize.
If you favour collecting commissions from artists, today is the day to see all of them. Most attendees have one or two big names on their list so those big names will be the people to see first. Their commission lists fill up within the first 5 minutes of the day so it’s best to make haste to their table. You can swing by your lesser known favourites later to get on their lists. If you don’t make it onto a list the first day, most artists take names at the start of each day so you still have 2 days left to make it happen.
Once you are on a few lists, you can take the time to decide who else you’d like to see and what else you’d like to do while you eagerly await for those soon-to-be-had commission pieces. You know who to see later and if you’ve got some comics that need signing then you have time to get into some lines.
It’s the same deal if your poison is collecting signatures from the big names. The big names almost always have big lines, are not always at their tables and have engagements other than signing all day. They speak on panels, they go for lunch, they nurse hangovers, they hang around with other big names. The sooner you get into that line, the sooner you get out.
It’s actually surprising how much you will get done your first day, and this will be of great comfort come the maelstrom known as Saturday…
More on how to thrive at ECCC in the next two articles. And now, THE AWARDS!
Best Man-Crush: Ian and Brian Wood
IAN: For years there have been two creators I’ve always wanted to meet. One is Darwyn Cooke (which will never happen because he doesn’t exist) and the other is Brian Wood. If you’ve been reading my critically acclaimed articles for the past couple of years, you know that I pine for anything new to come out of Wood’s brain. From Demo to Local to DMZ to Northlanders, I’ve bought it all and I’ve loved it all. And now I’m all about The Massive and Conan: Queen of the Black Coast, his two new books that I love more than I could ever love a human child.
Meeting Brian Wood on Friday was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done at a con. For one thing, there’s always the chance the person you’re going to see will be a complete jack-ass. You know, the whole “you should never meet your heroes” thing. The other concern being that I tend to get all flustered and jabber on like an idiot when talking to someone whose work I really respect (various strippers). Brian Wood, though, is one cool cat. He was happy to stand and talk to anyone who came by and I had a really nice conversation with him about how sad I was that Northlanders is ending. I actually told him I could cry when I think about how the next issue will be the last. “Buck up, my new best friend,” said Wood, but not really. What he really said was that after the first Conan arc, he’s pretty much going to do whatever he wants with the book. NICE! And he also assured me that he’s putting everything he’s got into his creator-owned series The Massive. I would expect nothing less! Brian Wood, I salute you!
Best Girl-Crush: Venus and Gail Simone
VENUS: I. Heart. Gail Simone. The first time I met her was at ECCC 2008. I got to see her again this year and it kicked ass. She is a sweetheart, she’s smart and she is very passionate about her work. During her ECCC Spotlight panel she divulged that when she was writing for Wonder Woman, it took her eight months of preparation before she wrote a single thing . Eight months because she wanted to get it right, she wanted to do it well and she didn’t want to let the fans down. She also loves to take a lesser known character (like all of the Secret Six) and make it her own. She’s funny as hell, she likes to see what she can get away with and she doesn’t like to be made to kill off characters (like Knockout). I saw her several times over the weekend and she was warm and inviting every time. Gail Simone is a champ in the world of comic book writers and if you get the chance you should definitely go talk to her, or just listen to her talk.
Nicest Dude at the Con: Greg Capullo
IAN: Seriously, he’s so nice he GAVE AWAY the kick-your-dick-off Scarecrow print below to the first 200 people to hit his table. Good thing I was one of ‘em…
…too bad that SCUMBAG Nuv has my ENTIRE Brian Wood collection hostage! (You win this round, asshat, but if you harm ONE PANEL of those comics I will give you a death-enema with a rake!) Ahem, back to somebody that isn’t pure douche…
If you’re not following Greg Capullo on Twitter, you should. He’s the nicest and most humble guy around. Seriously, the guy is like my buddies at work. Laid-back, good natured, foul-mouthed and awesome. And you know what? That’s exactly how he is in real life too. Despite having huge lines all three days, Capullo got up out of his chair and shook hands with every person who came up to his table, asking them their names, asking them if they were having a good time at the show, and generally palling around with everybody. He’s one of the biggest and most celebrated creators in the comics industry, but you’d never know it from talking to the guy. I told him that I’d never been a committed Batman fan until I started reading his book and he asked me what I normally read. When I told him I’d been a Marvel fan for most of my life he said he was the same, and that he never expected he’d be drawing a Batman book. That kind of personal one-on-one, even if it lasts less than a minute, is the reason fans go to conventions and come home excited about comics. You know, there was a really great feel to the convention this year, and it’s a great roster of people like Greg Capullo and Gail Simone that made that happen.
Most Improved Couple: Terry and Rachel Dodson
VENUS: We met the Dodson’s last year and it was a bit anticlimactic, to our surprise. They seemed grumpy in general and unimpressed by the fact that they were at the convention. Comments were barely acknowledged and any exchanges were very short. This year they surprised us again! Both Terry and Rachel were sunny and smiley, friendly (if a little worn out from the busy weekend) and appreciative of their fans. We ended up stopping by their table a few times and even got a quick picture of the two. Whatever was going wrong last year for the Dodson’s? Gone and good riddance!
IAN: Yeah, it just goes to show that you can’t judge people based on a minute-or-two of knowing them. Who knew? The important thing is that we got two different limited-edition prints from the Dodsons, who are now our friends for life. Also, if everyone had as many freckles on their arms as Rachel has, the world would be a much better place.
Best Driver: Ian
VENUS: AKA the only driver. He laughed, he cried, he fell asleep at the wheel and gave a great air guitar solo. All while doing 120km/h in the trusty Tercedes and on the I-5. The best part? We got there in one piece.
IAN: Actually the best part is that I was driving away from NUV.
Stay tuned for more of our ECCC 2012 coverage!
– The Explosivos