EMERALD CITY COMICON 2011: A personal recap, Part 2

ECCC  Day Two

The second day of ECCC went at a dramatically different pace: the whole day there were crowds, crowds and more crowds. Everywhere you went in the main show room there were large numbers of people trying to get from one creator or company table to the next. Multiply this by a few thousand people over a few hours and you can imagine how bogged down things could get. I am not kidding when i say that you pretty much had to alternate traffic or line up to even navigate down some of the narrower aisles.

I guess it was no surprise really since this was Saturday, the day when most people would want to be there and when most of the guests could be expected to be there, too. On the second day I continued my hunt for autographs, getting comics and trades signed by the likes of Jim Cheung (Young Avengers), Steve Epting (Captain America, Marvels Project), Jonathan Hickman (Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four, SHIELD, Pax Romana) and others.

I had some interesting experiences that day; the lineup for Jim cheung was moving very slowly and I ws not really sure if it was because he was trying to do a sketch while also signing books by alternating every few minutes, or if he was looking through someone’s portfolio. Either way, after about ten minutes of standing in a four person lineup and not getting anywhere I decided to bail and instead head one table over to where Steve epting was sitting with almost no one in front of him. I then was able to spend a couple of minutes chatting with Epting while he signed a couple of books. I was kind of teasing him about how despite everyone telling us that the Human Torch/Johnny Storm is now dead, they never realy showed him being killed and since then we have only seen a ripped piece of his shirt as some kind of confirmation of this. As well I mentioned how I expect himto be brought back in the next twelve issues when FF hits another milestone (500 issues, I believe). To this Epting laughed and said, “Its comics, what can you do? You know they come back- its comics.” After this pleasant encounter I headed back to Cheung’s table and the same people were still there waiting, so I decided to give up on waiting there for the time being and go to the next name on my list: Jonathan Hickman.

When I got to Hickman’s table I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was indeed at his table and that there was only a couple of people lined up for his autograph. It appeared that the Gods did indeed favour me! It wasn’t long however, until I realized that the guy getting his books signed appeared to be getting a copy of every book ever written by Hickman signed! To be fair, Hickman has only been in the biz for a few years as of yet, but long enough to make for a very large stack of books to be waiting to see signed before your turn is up. The icing on the cake had to be that after all of these signatures, the guy then asked Hickman to do a quick sketch on a comic board and Hickman agreed to do so! I made a quiet comment to the guys ahead of me and they replied with a comment to the efffect of, ‘it’s damn rude of that dude to be getting all those books signed!’

After this, the guys ahead of me went up to get some signatures and a very big guy next to them asked why they were cutting the line? Wha? It turned out that one of the volunteers at the show (called “minions” on their volunteer t-shirts) had not realized that we were an official line and had gone ahead and started a second, competing line. Whoops. I had to get the volunteers from both sides to communicate to sort the line trouble out before things got too heated. When it came to my turn to meet Mr. Hickman (respect!) I said the expected things about how I had been a big fan since his early work, starting with the Nightly News, and that I really appreciated his sense of humour on such early works as Transhuman.  It slipped my mind to ask him about why we were supposed to accept the death of the Human Torch without actualy seeing him die ‘on-panel’, but I’m sure he had already had a few challenge him about that at a Con somewhere, so…

It was at this point that I kind of decided to go and pimp Mr. Hickman while I had the opportunity; Realizing that as of this point of the Con (mid-Saturday) I still had no ECCC 2011 sketch in my sketchbook and, due to budgetary reasons, had no concrete plans to get a commission from anyone at that point, and influenced by the events that had just transpired in front of me a few minutes earlier, I decided to go and take a shot. I asked Hickman if he was doing any sketches this weekend(knowing full well that he had been doing them up until a few moments before)? He kind of shook his head to the side and muttered, “well…, if you have something ready in front of you…” I shot back: “yesrighthereinmysketchbook!JustturntothefirstblankpageyoufindanddrawwhoeveryouthinkofbecauseIcantthinkofanyonerightnow!”

And with that I thrust my beloved con sketch book into his hands, and yes, I said that so fast that my words pretty much did run together like that! While he sketched away (a pen and ink head sketch!) we discussedsome aspects of his humour writing and how he appreciated the opportunity to write humourous stuff because he seldom got the opportunity to do so. After that I thanked him very much for his time and walked away the proud new owner of an original Jonathan Hickman head sketch of Cyclops. Cyclops? Wow, I never figured he would be thinking mutants, but it was all good for me. Should I feel bad about pushing for a sketch? Not really. I only asked him to sign the first issue of every series of his that I had read as well as Monsters and Dames ECCC 2011 art book sketch, and I was obviously a big fan of his so it wasn’t a big deal I’m sure. Of course there was some added motivation from the fact that right before asking I had a brief flash of how I would likely be sitting depressed in my hotel room that night if I did not at least ask about getting a sketch from him! Yep, no lie, that was a motivation and it ended up keeping my yearly ECCC sketchbook tradition alive for another year, to boot!

The rest of the day at the show was pretty much anticlimatic after that, however that evening after the show, a group of us who are all fans of a comicbook podcast called Eleven O’clock comics and who are also members of that podcast’s forum, met up at a local eatery called Von’s and had a really enjoyable evening of good food, tasty alcoholic beverages and engrossing discussion. It really makes a difference when you can enjoy good company and share your experiences during a show.  I look forward to hooking up with at least a few (if not all) of these people again next year. After this delightful evening I wandered back to my nearby hotel. It was only a couple of blocks away, making for a conveniently brief jaunt after my rather heavy imbibing…

Next time: my third and final day at the Con.

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