After an exciting first day at Emerald City Comic Con on Friday, a sea of attendees flooded the many downtown venues around Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center. But the place to be for the evening was the bar of the Sheraton hotel where many of the comics professionals gathered.
ECCC, like Heroes Con and Baltimore Comic Con, is a creator favorite because of its focus on comics over video games and other flashier media. So it’s not surprising that the large space quickly filled up with an impressive roster of talent. I spotted “I, Vampire” writer Josh Fialkov in a distressed Green Lantern tee from his expansive collection of shirts (I don’t believe I’ve seen him wear the same one twice.) While many readers are sad to see the end of “I, Vampire” in April, Fialkov will be going green and red soon, taking over “Green Lantern Corps” with artist Bernard Chang, and also the “Red Lanterns” series.
Fialkov introduced me to the tall, familiar looking gentleman on his left. I noticed him on my flight earlier because he resembled a junior version of “Locke & Key” writer Joe Hill. He was, in fact, James Tynion IV, the rising star for DC’s “Talon” and Scott Snyder’s backup writer for “Batman.” Tynion is taking over “Red Hood and the Outlaws” with issue #19 in April.
By now the bar was packed and everyone was having a good time. I did a sweep of the room with Dynamite Founder and President Nick Barrucci. Barrucci and Dynamite generated a fair amount of buzz earlier in the day by revealing fan favorite Gail Simone as the new writer for a relaunched “Red Sonja.” Simone was previously exclusive to DC making the announcement even more interesting. Amidst the sea of beards and plaid, clean shaven Jim Zub stood out, happily socializing. The creator of the brilliantly hilarious Skullkickers series has also been working on a Dynamite title, the fantasy “Pathfinder.”
Near the elevators, I ran into Marvel’s peripatetic talent scout C.B. Cebulski and his wife Mutsumi returning from dinner. They had been in Seattle since Wednesday, taking advantage of ECCC to adventure through Seattle’s culinary landscape. For foodie nerds, Cebulski’s blog Eataku is an invaluable resource for convention eats as well as drinks. I offered him the Flying Monkey Dogfight Pale Ale to try. The Flying Monkey was the official convention beer by a local microbrewery American Brewing Co. I have seen C.B’s encyclopedic beer knowledge in action before and was curious to hear his rating. Cebulski took the glass, and like a pro beer taster, swirled and smelled before sipping and pronouncing it to be “good.” Whew.
By 11 pm you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting an Eisner or Harvey winner like Jim McCann and Janet K. Lee whose “Lost Vegas” seemed to be selling briskly over the weekend. Or Francesco Francavilla whose beautiful creator owned pulp action comic “The Black Beetle” with Dark Horse has been flying off the shelves. Mark Brooks, exclusive artist to Marvel, seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. Lately, he’s has been busy with covers for Marvel and enjoying the creative control of doing all the pencils, inks and colors himself.
Tynion and I went in search of Scott Snyder and finally spotted the writer of the moment off to the side. Batman: Night of Owls trade may be #1 on the New York Times hardcover graphic books bestseller list, but here he was, staring glumly at a glass of water. By the time he arrived, the bar was so packed, it was impossible to get the bartender’s attention. I left as they strategized what to do.
On Saturday the star of the show was the sun, making a rare appearance for Seattle, and brightening the convention mood even more. After the show floor closed at 8 pm, I walked back to the Sheraton with artists Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen, and Peter V Nguyen. I asked Peter what was up with all the female fans stopping by his table. He told me his secret: his Nightwing prints were very popular with the ladies and he was half seriously considering doing Gambit next.
At the Sheraton bar I ran into Vertigo’s Mark Doyle, editor of Saucer Country, New Deadwardians and their hit American Vampire. He introduced me to Brooklyn based artist Robbi Rodriguez. Rodriguez is working on a new series for Vertigo, “Collider” involving physicists investigating bizarre anomalies. Soon we were joined by artist Andy MacDonald, the artist on the new Yen press graphic novel Zoo by James Patterson. He and I compared bourbon and scotch notes as the DC folks decamped for their dinner.
The bar lobby was bustling, this time with more fans. Comics pros who were tied up at company dinners or up in their hotel rooms busily working on commissions started trickling in again. The Marvel crew finally returned from their event – I gave Marvel editors Sana Amanat and Jeanine Schaefer the seats vacated by Doyle and Rodriguez. Amanat, who edited Marvel Illustrated and several of the Ultimate Comics for Marvel, has been busy with “Captain Marvel” and the hit “Hawkeye” with Matt Fraction and David Aja.
Before long it resembled the previous night’s crowd again. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. For the first barcon of the year, it was an auspicious start.