Con Report: Emerald City ComicCon 2010

For Emerald City ComicCon this year, I decided to cosplay. Despite having gone to many cons (including this one) and even owning a Star Trek uniform, I’d never dressed in costume for a con. In particular, I decided I wanted to go as Alice, the main villain, from Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III’s run on Detective Comics. The run itself is one of my favorite comics ever, both in writing and art. And who doesn’t want a little style in her costume.

Alice from Detective Comics
Alice from Detective Comics

My friend Bonita did the construction for the shirt and cape. I spent two weekends at her home — starting with fabric shopping and ending with sewing on buttons and adding detailing to the art piece on front. Unfortunately, Bonita hasn’t seen the final product on me, only the photos. (Part of the problem of living 35 miles away from one another.) My mom helped out with a few final fit adjustments the night before the convention, and Saturday morning, my friend Gretchen showed up with her makeup arsenal. My makeup took about two hours to do. There were a few snags along the way — my shoes didn’t show up until yesterday — but overall, everything turned out great.

Me as Alice
Me as Alice
Me and Gretchen
Me and Gretchen

Gretchen, Jason, my mom, my fake!daddy, and I piled in Gretchen’s Mini Cooper, and minus the parents, we showed up at the convention fashionably late. Bonus: no lines. Cons: missing out on the convention freebies. And somehow, we started out the convention by losing Gretchen in the swarm of people. I argue that with the hooded cape on, my peripheral vision was blocked.

I did, however, run into Sigrid from Fantastic Fangirls while walking in to get my ticket. She was fabulous for the short time I saw her. And I hope we’ll be at the same convention in the future and have more time for fangirling.

Jason and I made it to the last 25 minutes of the Marvel panel. Most of it was typical con questions. One guy did ask about the Captain America and Teabagger controversy. Everyone stuck to their canned press answers about how it was a mistake, they don’t take political positions, how everyone sees Captain America a little different, blah, blah. Very non-answering. Though Ed Brubaker did point out that Captain America in the 1970s was very political, but couldn’t be that way now. I find the entire thing very interesting considering that any press is good press, and they wouldn’t be getting bad press everywhere. I say this as someone who’s mother thinks Obama is possibly a “secret Muslim terrorist ninja.” (Yes, she nodded her head to the ninja part. No joke.)

We moved closer to the front for the DC Comic panel. Some guy tripped over my cape, almost knocking over me by pulling on my hair. (I made the tweet during the panel that I wished I’d gone to see Leonard Nimoy (aka Spock) instead. Yes, Nimoy probably told the same con stories he always told, but there’s only so much Green Lantern plots I care about. Just never been my thing. Turned out the DC panel, way more gossipy than Nimoy’s would’ve been.) The panel consisted of Brian Azzarello, Peter Tomasi, Geoff Johns, Ian Sattler, Fletcher Chu-Fong, James Robinson, and Eddie Berganza.

The very first question, asked by a woman, concerned James Robinson’s Cry for Justice #7 and the fridging of Lian Harper. The question became awkward as Sattler, Senior Story Editor, had no clue what ‘fridging’ meant and started, like a good editor, arguing about using fridging as a verb. Robinson impressed me even less; there’s no way he’s even going to apologize for upsetting anyone or acknowledge any hints of sexism in his plot. As for why they killed Lian, to give the story more ‘weight and emotion’ and the Arrows a better plotline. Pretty much the definition of fridging. (At one point, I swore they looked around wishing for the canceled Gail Simone to appear out of thin air.)

Going more with the women theme, they were asked, as a panel of dudes, why they weren’t accompanied by women writers (again, looking for Simone) and how they approached women characters. The askee was a woman looking to break into the comic industry. The first part of the question was addressed by saying that less people become successful comic writers than are players in the NFL. (Oh, sweet irony, of Sattler comparing something to sports, football no less, when addressing a woman’s comment. (How many times do I have to say that I know nothing about hand-egg? Not that other woman can’t be football fans, just makes it seem boy’s club-ish.)) This doesn’t address why those few writers aren’t split more evenly based on gender (or race or sexual orientation).

On how they approach writing women characters, the answer of “we write women as characters” was given. Which is the canned answer for well-meaning men. However, pretty clear they don’t get why writing women is different than writing men and how being a woman reflects back into the character they’re writing. Women character’s behavior is certainly influenced by how women are treated in their universe. Wonder Woman is definitely treated differently than Superman or Batman due to her gender. Also the panel cited again and again that they wrote strong women characters, so those writing meta about how strong women just don’t cut it can pull out some more hair.

Another question I found interesting was a fan asking about bringing back the funny, cartoony characters like Captain Carrot. Sattler made a joke about putting them all the same team and then said that’d be a horrible idea. I have found both DC and Marvel’s refusal to publish any “funny books” really interesting. I do think indie/web publishers need to realize this and step up to filled in the role. Red 5 Comics’s Atomic Robo is a great example of an amazing book, a funny book, which couldn’t make it to any big publisher. This editorial direction is why She-Hulk, Next Wave, and other similar funny series haven’t thrived.

Now onto the Best Part of the Con:

After the panel, I went to find Greg Rucka’s and J.H. Williams III’s booths. A helpful fangirl pointed me in the right direction. As I waited for my turn, Rucka saw me in my costume and pulled me behind the booths to go surprise Williams. Both of them really loved my costume, and I was a grinning fangirl. Williams asked if I was going to be speaking like Alice as well. Photos as follow:

J.H. Williams III and Erica as Alice with Greg Rucka on the side
J.H. Williams III and me as Alice with Greg Rucka on the side
J.H. Williams III and Erica as Alice
J.H. Williams III and me as Alice
J.H. Williams III, Erica as Alice, and Greg Rucka
J.H. Williams III, me as Alice, and Greg Rucka
More of us
More of us
Erica getting Detective Comics signed by Greg Rucka
Me getting Detective Comics signed by Greg Rucka
Erica (as Alice) getting her copies of Detective Comics signed by J.H. Williams III.
Me getting my copies of Detective Comics signed by J.H. Williams III.

Both of them were extremely nice and cool. Which I always figured (and I’ve had stuff signed by Rucka at other cons). Rucka mentioned that he hopes to develop Alice further in the upcoming Batwoman title. (I assume, the first villain in the title will be a mainstay of the Bat-verse to draw readers. I’m crossing my fingers — and will be making my purchases — to keep the sales going strong.) I’m considering getting my two signed issues of Detective Comics framed. The entire experience was amazing. Amazing. I feel like what I say here about it will never do my emotions justice.

Overall, wearing a costume was interesting. A handful of people asked to take my photo. I don’t think most people knew who I was. Which is tragic; people, read your comics. I’m still hoping to see some photos of me pop up on the internet. (Besides the ones I took and the one Rucka tweeted.)

After that, Jason and I had lunch, watched the crowds, and did some shopping. I took off my cape due to the vision problem and the floors being crowded. It was also hot and pulling on my hair. We ended up with a whole bag of graphic novels and the two single issues of Ms. Marvel (Vol 1) to finish my collection. Then we met up with my mom and fake!daddy at the Elephant and Castle bar down the street. They’d been drinking all day. Both of them rode public transportation for the first time and made friends with the bus driver. (No masquerade for those with visiting parents.)

I decided to keep my costume on the rest of the day, which meant no second day wearing it without cleaning. We went for dinner at Mulleady’s Irish Pub, where the Washington Pipes Band entertained us with bagpipe music as we ate our weight in food. Mmmm…blue cheese mac n’ cheese and blackberry goat cheese fondue with rosemary bread. Then we were off to Steve’s birthday party, which included giving him a Love Ewe and his ECCC ticket (that he’d paid for). Okay, real present was a bunch of Ellis’ run on Stormwatch and The Authority.

Sunday, Jason and I took my mom and fake!daddy to the airport at the crack of dawn. Okay, not the crack, but with the time change and the fangirl squeeing on Saturday, I was exhausted. Then we picked up Steve for breakfast at the Coastal Kitchen in Capital Hill. Even with a stop off for hair gel at Safeway so Steve could be pretty. More goat cheese for breakfast. Then off to the convention in my street clothes.

We hit up Terry Moore for signatures, and he asked me if I would be buying an iPad to read comics. My answering being no, that I liked my books in my hand. He mentioned that he still wished he had his vinyl. I’m so right there with him, which is why I still have my LPs. Steve got Jill Thompson to draw something for him, but then creeped her out by asking her to draw on his arm. She was too afraid he’d go get a tattoo. (Steve has a Sandman influenced arm-sleeve.)

I had both Colleen Coover and G. Willow Wilson sign Girl Comics #1. Had Jeff Parker sign Agents of Atlas #1 (Vol 2), where he showed off his Atlas HeroClixs and made sure I was able to follow Atlas’ backup stories in other books. (Yes, on my pull list.) Then onto Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson to sign the first The Order tbp, which Fraction was excited to see I brought.

Briefly talked to Rucka again, who’d since connected me to my blog and non-cosplaying persona, as I waited for Jen Van Meter. Jen signed Miss America #1 and we chatted about how awesome Miss America is and how fun it is to make new stories in the Golden Age.

Steve, Jason, and I then wandered around looking at booths, and Steve tried to find a woman he has a crush on. Steve also got scolded for taking “candids of Mr. Nimoy.” However, none of us could afford Mr. Nimoy’s fees for photo ops and/or signatures. We then had lunch, and afterward, Jason and I started going through 25 cent comic bins. Jason took a break to accompany Steve to the Vertigo panel, which neither gave a good review of. I stayed a die-hard of 25 cent bins, which ruined my nail polish and made me long for a rubber thumb. We stayed until they played the leaving song.

Overall, I had an amazing convention. It was awesome. Thank you to everyone who helped make it that way.

Support this blog and read the amazing comic book which inspired by cosplaying: Batwoman: Elegy.

6 Replies to “Con Report: Emerald City ComicCon 2010”

  1. Hi Erica,
    I enjoyed reading your coverage of the con.
    I am assuming you meant NFL in your reference, instead if NHL. But let me know if I am wrong. If you are interested, there is a student doing a study on gender and comics, specifically referencing Rucka’s Detective Comics work, in Seattle. I believe he has some flyers at Arcane comics in Ballard.

    1. @Greg — Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Good catch there. Yes, I did mean NFL. (I probably had hockey on the brain as I’m fan.)

      I think I saw the fliers at Arcane. Gender and comics is definitely an area I’m interested in, if you can’t tell. 🙂

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