Tag: Emerald City Comicon 2009

ECCC 09: Wrap-Up And Looking Forward With Jim Demonakos

The Emerald City ComiCon has solidified its position as the little comic convention that could.
In fact, it’s not even fair calling it “little” anymore. It’s grown from its humble origins in a corridor of Qwest Field to the main room at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.

This year, Battlestar Galactica cast members Tahmoh Peniket, Aaron Douglas, and Michael Hogan, plus Wil Wheaton, Jewel Staite, Ray Park and the Suicide Girls worked the floor alongside an impressive horde of comic book writers, artists and publishers. All corners of the nerd-world were representing (including the cosplayers), making it a very enjoyable convention.

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ECCC organizer Jim Demonakos took the time to talk about this year’s con and answered some questions about the exclusive “Monsters and Dames” artbook, what it’s like running a convention amidst a recession, and forming the first-ever comic book rock band.

Pop Culture Zoo: First off, congratulations of what appeared to be another successful year. What were your impressions of the weekend? What were your highlights? Was there anything you thought could have gone smoother?

Jim Demonakos: Thanks! The weekend was great, the show was really successful and we’re really thrilled with the results. For me, the highlights was just seeing the fan response to all the stuff going on, whether it was the guests, the panels, the celebrity photos, it just seemed everyone was having a good time on both sides of the table everywhere. My only complaint, and this is something of us to address, was because of the growth of the show, registration didn’t run as smoothly as it could have and we aim to fix that by next year.

PCZ: Do you have any attendance numbers yet?

JD: We were at about 11,000 this year, compared to around 9,000 last year and 2,500 our first year, it’s been nice and steady growth.

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PCZ: Why do you think Seattle has proven to be a successful breeding ground of nerd activity?

JD: Seattle is very technology friendly, and those fields and “nerd activity” as you call it blend together pretty well, so I think it’s something… of a no-brainer, we have some of the best fans in the industry.

PCZ: Let’s talk about the “Monsters and Dames” art book. I managed to snag a copy of it and it’s a fun book with a great lineup of artists. [The book has new art from many of this year’s guests, including Becky Cloonan, Dave Johnson, Amanda Conner, Bruce Timm, Ted Naifeh, Gene Ha, and features a great cover by Frank Cho.] Can you talk about the process of putting this book together?

JD: Well, the idea was to do something cool for charity, specifically, Seattle Children’s Hospital. It took me a long time to come up with the theme, but after I did and started talking to artists about it, it kind of came in a flood – everyone loved the concept and doing it for charity was definitely something artists could get behind. So little by little, we started getting in these amazing pieces of art and the book came together pretty nicely.

We have a few of these great books left, so if anyone out there reading is interested in getting a book and supporting a great cause, drop us an e-mail at info@emeraldcitycomicon.com.

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PCZ: While I was walking the floor I saw the Kirby Krackle booth, which I found out you’re involved with. Can you talk about where the idea to form a comic book influenced band came from and your involvement in it? Also – how did Sunday’s show go?

JD: Kyle [Stevens, co-band mate] and I talked about the lack of good comic book music out there, it’s usually some guy yelling the name of a hero over and over again, or just small references to them in songs. Kyle is a full time musician, so that combined with our shared geekiness for all things pop culture, came together in to what Kirby Krackle is, a mix of real music with pop culture-infused lyrics.

The show on Sunday went great, it was a pretty full room and it was also the first time KK performed live with a bassist and drummer. You can check out some of the YouTube videos we posted. It was tons of fun.

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PCZ: It doesn’t appear to be the ideal economic climate for comic conventions right now – but the ECCC continues to get bigger and better each year. Did the economic doom and gloom affect your planning for this year’s convention at all? What about looking ahead to next year?

JD: It definitely made us nervous about the show, we did try our best to be conservative on our spending, but at the end of the day, we just did the show like we always did and hoped for the best, which turned out okay, hahaha.

Same goes for next year, we have a definite plan and a budget, just trying to make sure we get the mix of exhibitors, guests, dealers and more that
makes ECCC a show people want to come back to year after year.

PCZ: Where do you see the convention heading in the years to come? Have you even started thinking about next year yet?

JD: I think eventually the show will find it’s way to three days, but that’s a couple years off minimum. I’m already working on guests and ideas for next year, I can announce that Skottie Young is on board and we’re talking to a lot of cool people. We’re also starting on “Monsters & Dames 2010” which
will benefit children with autism. It’s pretty early to actually announce anything, but I’ll say we have some really exciting things in the works!

The 8th Emerald City ComiCon will be held March 13-14, 2010. Jo Chen, Joe Casey and Darwyn Cooke are also tentatively scheduled.

ECCC 09: A Conversation With Aaron Douglas

Over the last decade, Canadian actor Aaron Douglas has had several prominent guest-starring roles on many high profile television series. Six years ago the Vancouver, British Columbia native landed the role of Chief Galen Tyrol in the re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica. We caught up with Aaron at this year’s Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle, Washington and he graciously agreed to chat with us about BSG and where you will see him next.

PCZ: Have you been to Seattle before?

AD: Yeah, I live in Vancouver, I come down for Mariners games and Seahawks games. I probably get down four or five times a year. I love Seattle, Seattle’s gorgeous. The restaurants are great, the people are lovely, obviously. Seattle is very much like Vancouver. Same kind of city.

PCZ: BSG is done. That show had to have been a lot of work, a physically demanding, emotionally demanding, mentally demanding show.

AD: Absolutely. Six years of getting put through the ringer day after day. Our writers are unbelievable. The stories mirror our real lives so much, a lot of it was really difficult to do, but exhilarating and fantastic. I’m really proud of the show, really proud of the work. It’s over, but it’s a good thing.

PCZ: What did you think when you got the first script, where you familiar with the first Battlestar Galactica?

AD: Oh yeah! No, I grew up on the old show. I read the mini-series and I thought that it could be really great. It’s a weird thing, you know, you read all kinds of scripts. I’ve read scripts that are fantastic, but the movie turns out to be a piece of crap and I’ve read scripts that are kind of so-so and, for some reason, it just works. You have no idea what’s going to really happen. It really depends on the actors, the crew, the director and then sort of tweaking as you go along. It’s a really interesting process.

PCZ: Was it a little more appealing because it wasn’t hardcore sci-fi where you were going to be having pages of techno-babble?

AD: Thank god I didn’t get the Gaeta role for sure! The techno-babble is tough stuff. The great thing about our show was it was really just a human drama that just happens to take place on a spaceship. So, it could be anywhere, on a battleship, it could be in a conference center, it could be anything. What’s so great about the show is the human drama and the interaction in the relationships. And that we don’t have green monsters.

PCZ: Were you surprised or did you find out ahead of time that the Chief was going to be a Cylon?

AD: They sat us down the day of the read-through before we started shooting that episode and told us initially. I didn’t like it at first, but I sure like it now.

PCZ: It played out pretty well.

AD: Absolutely, absolutely.

PCZ: And in the finale episode the Chief gets to be the first Highlander.

AD: That was my idea!

PCZ: Excellent!

AD: Yeah, Ron [Moore] wrote it to be Vancouver Island. The dialogue I think in the script was, “The last raptor out tomorrow is going to drop me off on an island off the northern continent.” My mind immediately went, “Scotland!” because I’m a Douglas and I’m fiercely, fiercely proud of my Scottish heritage. I called Ron and I asked if it was Scotland and he went, “Oh, ummm…” and I said, “Can it be Scotland?!?” He said he was thinking more of it being Vancouver Island as an homage and I went, “No, no, no, Scotland, Scotland!” So he sure, of course. I ad-libbed the part about the Highlands and a few other things and that’s what it became. I then talked to Bear McCreary and told him the island I’m going to off the northern continent is Scotland and so then he put in the bagpipes and the Celtic flute, which I just loved. I can’t hear that stuff without crying, it just melts my heart. It’s in my blood and DNA. Bear is such a genius and it was so wonderful of him to put that in. It was very, very cool.

PCZ: As the show went on, I was starting to wonder if we’d get to the end and still like any of the characters. Every one of these characters did something reprehensible…

AD: What the hell did I do?? What did the Chief do that was reprehensible?

PCZ: He killed one of the Number Eight Cylon models to replace Boomer in prison so she could escape.

AD: (pause) Ok, fair enough. (laughs)

PCZ: And then she absconded with Hera!

AD: Yeah, well that’s true. He didn’t know she was taking Hera, though. He just whacked some Cylon.

PCZ: Has there ever been anything in the show where you were like “Guys, are we sure we want to do this?”

AD: No, I love all of that stuff. The more difficult it is to watch or read, the better it is, because it just gives you more to play and it’s more interesting. I mean, people in life are really screwed up. It really mirrors life. Not everybody is good, everybody has sides of themselves that are good and not so good. That’s really what it was.

PCZ: Especially in the situation that the characters were in, that seems how people would behave instead of being a merry crew.

AD: And that’s what they wanted to match, they wanted to match real life.

PCZ: You have a new show, The Bridge. You get to be a cop in that one?

AD: I play a guy who was a cop for eighteen years and becomes head of the police union for six. It’s based on a real guy. So, it’s the story of him being a beat cop and then also being head of the union and dealing with all the brass, all the bullshit they go through. The pilot’s amazing. Fortunateky, I have the creator of the show also being the guy who I’m playing. He’s on set everyday and he’s a great resource.

PCZ: So, it’s based on a true story?

AD: Based on a real guy, yep. It premieres July 9th on CBS after CSI. Thursdays at 10:00PM.

PCZ: You’re also working on Emissary?

AD: Yeah, yeah, we won’t start shooting Emissary until the Fall. That’s going to be a direct-to-iTunes show. That’s with Phil Morris and Thaao Penghlis. It’s sort of a sci-fi thriller and should be really, really interesting. (pause) I play a cop in that too. (laughs) I can’t get away from being a cop.

PCZ: Cool. Well, that’s all I have for you. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

AD: Not at all, it was nice to meet you. Thank you.

ECCC 09: ‘Pint O’ C. B.’

For proof that the Emerald City Comicon is the coolest and laidback convention around, one need look any further than Saturday’s “Pint O’ C.B.” panel.

A spin-off of Joe Quesada’s “Cup O’ Joe” panels – where the audience is given free reign of questions – editor C.B. Cebulski was joined by current Marvel Universe architects Brian Michael Bendis (New and Dark Avengers), Ed Brubaker (Captain America and Daredevil) and Matt Fraction (Iron Man and Uncanny X-Men).

Cebulski told the crowd he lost a list of announcements he was planning to make, and that the audience was free to start asking questions. The dialogue between creators and fans was light, making the hour fly by.

While no news was pimped, the informal Q-and-A covered everything from what books the creators were digging to reflections on the old Marvel Fanfare book, Rom: Space Knight and the death of Ultimate Daredevil.

The gauntlet for good questions was dropped when Bendis announced that he had brought along a few advanced copies of his Free Comic Book Day New Avengers issue, drawn by Jim Cheung, and would reward only “great” questions.

“And by great, I mean really kiss my ass.”

The panel began with clearing up some rumors surrounding the potential of a “Dark X-Men” book, which Fraction said, “at this point in this in time, there is no Dark X-Men book.”

One of the first questions was if Wolverine could be a candidate for Sorcerer Supreme, referring to Bendis’ current arc on New Avengers.

The writers then threw out some suggested ideas for what a more magical version of the hairy Canadian might look like, including Fraction’s revelation that Logan is already dressing like Zatanna, with fishnets and a top hat.

Bendis offered proof that the feral mutant might already be displaying new magic-based powers:

“He made his movie magically appear on the Internet,” which drew some laughs from the crowd.

Next, Brubaker talked about his decision to leave Daredevil.

“I figured out the plotline all the way to #500…and I realized if I left right there I would be screwing over the person who followed me in the exact same way [Bendis] screwed me over.”

He also said that’s he been continuously taunting Andy Diggle, his successor on the book.

The conversation turned to the writers discussing comics they’re currently enjoying, and Bendis gave away the first free comic of the panel.

Fraction said Scalped, Ivan Brandon’s upcoming Viking and Fear Agent.
Brubaker cited Ted Naifeh, creator of Courtney Crumrin, Locke & Key, Northlanders and the Buffy comic. He then asked his fellow writers if he “should recommend a book that outsells all of ours?”

Props were given by Bendis to Fraction’s Casanova and Brubaker’s Sleeper, and also Jonathan Hickman’s Transhuman and Nightly News. Cebulski gave praise to Joe Kelly’s I Kill Giants and to manga creator Noaki Ursawa (Monster and Pluto), which Fraction also agreed with.

Some of the geekier discussion revolved around praise for Marvel Fanfare (which might be reprinted!) and Bendis’ love for Rom: Space Knight, which ended with him stating he could die happy if he ever got to write a nerd-porn crossover with ROM, Buckaroo Banzai and the Micronauts.

Discussion also turned to the going-ons of Norman Osborn and it was agreed that the initials of H.A.M.M.E.R. would probably never be revealed because it’s more fun guessing, similar to how the initials in W.A.S.T.E. [Fraction’s organization in Casanova] never stay the same from issue to issue.

One fan asked Bendis why Ultimate Daredevil had to die in the tidal wave that destroyed much of Ultimate New York, to which Bendis revealed that aside from helping Peter man up, it also boiled down to science. (The buildings in Hell’s Kitchen are lower?)

But a highlight was Fraction’s re-enactment of Ultimate Daredevil’s final moments.

“No, seriously, guys – I hear what sounds like running water. Does no one else hear that? It’s so weird.”

One convention-goer asked the writers if there was anything that Marvel had rejected of theirs.

“I can’t get the word “taintpunch” into Ultimate Spider-Man. I’ve written 133 issues – that means I’ve tried 133 times.”

Bendis also said he’ll never be able to get another humor book printed after Wha…Huh?.

Fraction described his pitch for a Sabretooth story that involved the mutant teaming up with a P.R. manager and killing a busload of children. Despite it being rejected, the crowd seemed into it.

Fraction also talked about one of things he was most proud to see appear in his and Brubaker’s Iron Fist: Artist David Aja’s sound effects, which included a neck being broken to “ka-neck” and a shirt slashed with a sword to “shrrt.”

The panel quickly ended with a fan calling for the return of Graviton – which he was denied – along with the last free comic.

However, the highlight of the panel was unquestionably a verbal throw-down between two fans, ending with one getting a free comic for a quick and snarky comeback to a heckler in the audience regarding Thor’s odds of joining the Avengers.

ECCC 09: DC Nation

On Saturday afternoon the DC Nation panel hit Seattle with its usual mix of irreverence and information. The DC Nation panels are also very fun and if you’ve never attended one, I highly recommend you do. You will be entertained. The panel was moderated by DC’s Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, as Executive Editor Dan DiDio was previous not scheduled to be at the con (more on that in a moment). Sattler started things off by mentioning the recent launch of DC Comics’ new blog, The Source. Then he introduced the panel participants and they and he highlighted what each is currently working on.

First up was Greg Rucka, who cited the art by JH Williams on their upcoming Detective Comics as the best aspect of the book. Rucka said that even if you hate him and hate the idea of Batwoman headlining the book, you need to pick it up for the art alone. Although he did say he feels it’s the best thing he’s been involved in through the whole of his career. Rucka then teased the next issue of Action Comics (#876) as twenty-two pages of Ursa doing really bad things to people. Finally, he mentioned the book he co-writes with James Robinson, World of New Krypton as featuring members of the Green Lantern Corps. visiting New Krypton in issue four.

Next, Jimmy Palmiotti hyped Jonah Hex‘s upcoming six-part storyline with Hex going up against his first nemesis, Quentin Turnbull. Before that Paul Gulacy will be illustrating an issue. Palmiotti is also writing the upcoming series Power Girl, which is illustrated by his long-time girlfriend and veteran artist, Amanda Conner. Palmiotti describes the book as perfect for Conner’s style and as a big super-hero comic. The pair will also be contributing a Supergirl story to this summer’s Wednesday’s Comics and he revealed that it will also feature some super-pets with a superdog and supercat specifically mentioned.

Gail Simone talked about how sick and twisted her Secret Six series is and also praised her art team, Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood. She showed off a tease for the upcoming issue #8 and the “tiny sixers.” The title will tie in with Battle For the Cowl as Catman and Bane vie against each other for the Batman identity. Mention was made of Simone writing Wonder Woman, but that was it as far as that book.

Philip Tan was introduced and there was guarded talk of his upcoming stint doing the art for the “Agent Orange” storyline in Green Lantern beginning with issue #39.

Kurt Busiek proudly announced that they were still on target to deliver the rest of Trinity on schedule and that the entire fifty-two issue weekly series has and will be done by the same creative team with no fill-ins or breaks. The remaining issues of the title were teased by Busiek claiming he blows up the world in issue #49 and lamenting that pages keep getting added to the final issue by the higher-ups.

Eric Trautman was the last creator to talk about his upcoming project. JSA vs. Kobra, with art by Don Kramer and covers by Gene Ha, features Mr. Terrific, lots of action and some pretty twisted story points.

Things were then turned over to the audience for questions. The first fan wondered, since DC has books printed in a variety of different countries, when they would have their books printed in the US. He was jokingly told to stop reading the indicia before Sattler said that was beyond the control of those on the panel.

The next few questions were about New Krypton. Essentially, the Guardians on Oa send Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Sodam Yat to New Krypton to see what the Kryptonians’ intentions are. Once there, they are confronted by General Zod. It was revealed that Superman will be back on Earth in August. One fan persisted in wanting to know if Superman would have a new love interest at his new home with Rucka repeating that “he’s Superman and he’s married.” So, no, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be pursued. Rucka also emphatically stated no when asked if any Kryptonians would wield a power ring, with Busiek quipping there went his idea for “Hal-El.”

A fan of Final Crisis, who found the mini-series a fun challenge to read, asked about the new co-features and how they would be judged. Sattler replied that each co-feature would be looked at on a case by case basis.

The topic changed to Green Lantern for the next couple of questions. When asked when we’ll see the Indigo Lanterns, Sattler replied at some point and some when, perhaps June or July. On the topic of a Green Lantern weekly comic, Sattler cryptically said we should wait and see how things are following Blackest Night.

A few random questions followed, starting with a query as to the whereabouts of the characters Misfit and Black Alice. The answer was “some place.” No comment was the answer to a question as to the whereabouts of Bruce Wayne’s body. The next person asked when the second half of “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” would be released and, after some boos from the audience and groans from the panel, Palmiotti quipped that you could see it at the end of the leaked Wolverine workprint.

The question of Firestorm being in a co-feature was brought up with Sattler saying that any character could be in a co-feature, but they would have to see what shape Firestorm was in after this summer before he was considered.

Ambush Bug: Year None #6 will be out soon and, as far as other humor titles coming out from DC, it all depends on what the individual reader finds funny.

The next person up at the mic was none other than Dan DiDio (See? Told you we’d get back to him), whose attendance at the con was a poorly kept secret. He first jokingly asked why Sattler told him the wrong time for the panel. Then, he mentioned that at last year’s Emerald City ComiCon the DC creators had a dinner where they had a lengthy conversation concerning Aquaman (as he mentioned to me in our interview at the same con) and demanded to know what the plans were for the character. Sattler answered that, as teased at The Source, Aquaman would be a Black Lantern in Blackest Night, but wouldn’t reveal details past that other than to say that there were plans of some sort. Concerning that mini-series, DiDio wanted some spoilers for it. After some badgering from his boss, Sattler finally confirmed four of the Black Lanterns (Earth-2 Superman, Aquaman, Ronnie Raymond and Martian Manhunter) and some upcoming tie-in mini-series. August sees the debut of Blackest Night: Superman, Blackest Night: Batman and Blackest Night: Titans, each three issues. Those are followed in October by Blackest Night: JSA, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman and Blackest Night: Flash, all also three issues. DiDio was then shooed away from the mic and went to the back of the room.

A recent controversy was touched upon when the next person asked why Superman was not given to Mark Waid. Rucka stepped in and said that, though Waid was a friend of his, the bottom line was that Waid was offered the book, but that he chose not to take the job. The questioner revealed that Waid himself requested the question be asked. That revelation made for an uncomfortable few minutes.

Returning to the lead-up to Blackest Night the next fan wondered if Hal Jordan would eventually acquire one ring from each of the Corps. Sattler answered “yes, probably next month”, but not very convincingly.

The audience was told to watch the Superman universe of books for further developments concerning the Legion of Super-Heroes with a strong indication that there would be a Superboy book in the future.

Characters will be considered on a case by case basis for co-features in regard to whether they lent themselves to a compelling story.

The final question was if we would see the ’90s character Triumph in Blackest Night with the answer, after clarifying the question wasn’t about Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, being “who?”

Emerald City ComiCon 2009 – UPDATED

The annual Emerald City ComiCon has descended upon Seattle and Pop Culture Zoo is in the middle of it all. Look for updates over the next several days. This is the seventh annual Emerald City ComiCon and looks to be the biggest show yet! There are many, many guests and lots of panels and activities scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday. Below is a handy resource guide as well as links to all our stories (as they get posted). Keep checking back often as this page will be constantly updated.

POP CULTURE ZOO ECCC 2009 ARTICLES

“ECCC 09: Catching Up With Dan DiDio And Ian Sattler”

“ECCC 09: A Conversation With Aaron Douglas”

“ECCC 09: Wacky Hi-Jinks With Brandon Jerwa And Eric Trautmann – With Exclusive Art!”

“ECCC 09: ‘Pint O’ C. B.'”

“ECCC 09: DC Nation”

“ECCC 09: Emerald City ComiCon Is Fast Approaching”


POP CULTURE ZOO ECCC 2009 PHOTO GALLERY

Check out Ryan’s ECCC 09 Photos!


ECCC 2009 RESOURCES

Convention Guests

Media Guests

Full Program Schedule

Exclusives

Costume Contest

Gaming Schedule