If there’s one piece of advice I can bequeath to the prospective convention goer who might be considering a show on the scale of Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con, it would be simply this: embrace chaos. This isn’t to say that you can’t have a plan in place for attending the show, and a good amount of preparation can ensure you have the best experience possible within the tightly compressed four days of madness you’ll experience at the show. No, I mean to say that conventions are inherently places of chaos, of organic give and take and a plethora of pleasant distractions that can sweep you away if you’re not careful. Fighting against the current is a fool’s errand, so be prepared to face the madness with open arms.
The convention’s first day started off strong with an informative panel entitled Successful Pitching and Why We Love Turtles featuring Paul Tobin (Bandette, Mystery Girl), Justin Jordan (Luther Strode, Backways), and colourist Marissa Louise Czerniejewski. The panel offered practical advice on honing your comics pitch for potential editors, how to craft the pitch to be concise and marketable, and when to persist in distributing the pitch to potential editors before putting it aside in favour of new ideas. The panelists provided insight from experience on crafting the most effective, streamlined pitch possible while keeping things fun and breezy.
Also, turtles were appreciated for the majestic creatures they are.
After a period wandering the exhibitor hall and artist’s alley (which was extensive and showcased the abiding love ECCC has for its comics creators), I had the chance to take in the Panel to Prose: Translating Superheroes from Four-Color Staple to Literary Trope panel hosted by Ellen Beeman, Heather Reasby, Anna Alexander, Quina Kirkland, and Eilis Flynn. The authors sat down and discussed the challenges and advantages inherent to crafting superhero fiction for the prose format, as well as the potential for greater depth and detail that prose provides over the serial adventure format of contemporary comics. With superheroes doing so well at the box office the chance to use the format to tell engaging stories and play with variations on the theme (superhero romance fiction, for example) provided interesting conversation and engaging back and forth between the authors and the audience.
Wandering artist’s alley, I had the opportunity to strike up conversations with creators like Brian Clevinger (Atomic Robo), Art Adams (Monkeyman & O’Brien), and Todd Nauck (Wildguard). A benefit of convention-going on this scale is the chance to meet artists and writers you admire and let them know how much you appreciate their work. Sadly I was informed that there’s no plans for more Monkeyman & O’Brien in the immediate future (bummer), but Todd Nauck is working on a follow-up to his superheroes by way of reality-television series Wildguard. Mr. Clevinger and I talked Atomic Robo, as well as Paul Guinan’s wonderful Boilerplate.
The DC Universe panel included a plethora of comics professionals including Justin Jordan , Margueritte Bennett, Julie & Shawna Benson, Mitch Gerads, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, and Hank Kanalz. Highlights of the panel included the upcoming Action Comics #1000 (featuring an all-new story written by Marv Wolfman with previously unseen art from legendary Superman artist Curt Swan), the forthcoming Curse of Brimstone series written by Jordan set in the ‘lost places’ of the DC Universe with a decidedly supernatural vibe, and the upcoming event ‘War of the Flashes’, which will pit the recently returned Original Wally West against his former mentor Barry Allen. All that, and a look at the upcoming Krypton series from Sci-Fi.
What an amazing whirlwind of a convention. Shame that it’s all over so s-
There’s still three days to go?