So this morning I drove downtown for the Emerald City Comics Convention, a show which has just crested over the status of "up and coming" and may be verging into the domain of "fandom overload". It is a two-day convention (for which I appreciate), and the last few years was in the cavernous depths of the stadium complex next to Qwest Field. This year it moved to the downtown convention center, and neatly occupies its main floor while giving both the booths and the fans sufficient space to breath.
Still, it was a mob scene. It was, however, probably the most polite mob I've ever seen (that's a Seattle Thing). When I arrived they had formed into a serpentine queue snaking through two rooms, which they KEPT to all the way through (no line-jumping). The lines moved quickly, and I thought it was because of all the people who had purchased tickets in advance. Imagine my surprise when, getting to the head of the line, the big block was at people trading their prepurchased tickets for badges, and almost no one was at the "pay cash to walk in" section. I felt pretty good about my procrastination (well, my local comics store was sold out by the time I remembered).
The floor was nicely packed, with frequent fandom clots. And while I am tolerant of all the stoppages due to a) costumes being photographed and b) families with strollers, I have no patience for the back-pack wearers who suddenly drop to their knees at the crosspaths, trying to dig something out of the voluminous packs. Saw a lot of friends, most of them behind booths, which was pretty cool. There was a "when nerds collide" equality here from the largest and most popular companies and creatives to the small press and self-published, all in one great room.
The longest line was for Wil Wheaton. The second-longest line was for the DC booth, where they were giving away Wonder Woman Tiaras and Flash rings (I got one of each, gave the tiara to my wife, and the ring to a friend whose booth was on the long line into the DC area. The third longest line was for writer Brian Michael Bendis. Met Doug Sneyd, who did wonderful cartoons for Playboy (yes, when I was young, I read Playboy for the cartoons). I bought the last copy of Keith Knight's "K Chronicles" compendium from the artist. Bought my annual trilobite from Phil at the Studio Foglio/Girl Genius booth (I buy one every year - someone admires it, and I make it a gift to them, then have to buy a new one the next year). Picked up some literacy t-shirts ("Will Work for Books").
The convention is just getting big enough to more than a peaceful afternoon. A lot of folk are avoiding San Diego as it gets larger and larger (To quote Yogi Berra again - "Nobody goes there anymore - it's too crowded"), and local conventions like Emerald are picking up the slack. Last time I went there was a rise of Cthulhu and Oz books. Now there is a strange coming together of young families and the Suicide Girls. And, of course, zombies.
Its a good show, and should slow down a bit tomorrow, if you're interested in browsing the floor. Go have fun.
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