Emerald City ComiCon 2012 – Revenge of the Nerd
I’ve only been to Seattle’s Emerald City ComiCon (ECCC) a few times, but from my point of view, this was clearly the biggest that I’ve seen so far. A convention that celebrates comic books, video games, sci-fi film and television, and just about everything within geek culture, the sheer number of people that come each year has grown exponentially from when I first went. Just to give a bit of insight: I went to this year’s convention with my cousin (who was there for the first time). Around noon we went out of the convention center to grab some lunch. As we made our way down the escalators to the ground lobby, the entire area was completely filled with people. Apparently, ECCC sold out this year, and a whole crowd stood around asking people passing if they could buy their badge for the day. I held on to mine as if it were a golden ticket.
Yes, it was that crowded this year. From my own personal experiences, each time I’ve been to ECCC there have been a lot of people, but with enough space to make your way around relatively easily. Things were a bit more hectic this time around. From hallways to rooms to the main floor, each area felt pretty jam-packed with people. If you were to stand in any one place for any certain amount of time, someone (or something) was bound to run into you, or one of the workers would kindly ask you to step to the side. But that lack of personal space was just a minor sacrifice to witness the awesomeness that is a ComiCon. Booths filled with comics, artwork, t-shirts, memorabilia, gadgets—just about anything you can think of was displayed somewhere on the main floor. You could look to your right and see a mammoth display of dozens of superhero wardrobes (I particularly liked the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters bathrobe), and then turn to your immediate left and see a group of kids getting makeup put on to look like fresh zombies. It’s geek overload, in the best way possible.
And of course, you can’t have a convention such as this without your usual cosplayers. You’ve got to give it up for people who put so much time, effort, and money into creating such elaborate outfits. We get to see their passion and enthusiasm for what they love on clear display, which is all sorts of awesome, and it makes for some very interesting photo ops. Let’s see, at this con alone I saw: Beeker dressed up as a Storm Trooper, Cobra Commander taking pictures with Quail Man, Captain America asking for an autograph from Chewbacca, and what appeared to be twins under the age of about ten both dressed up as the Predator. As my cousin and I waited in line to see a panel, we had Indiana Jones behind us sipping on some Jamba Juice and Simon Pegg’s character from Shaun of the Dead in front of us asking when the panel will start. I think the highlight for me was walking out on the street past Blue C Sushi and catching a glimpse of Dark Phoenix inside, chomping on some California Rolls. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday!
The one panel I did get to see this year was The Walking Dead one, featuring actors Jon Bernthal (who played Shane) and Laurie Holden (who plays Andrea). You can say what you want about the show; I’ve heard reasons why people hate it or why people love it. For me, I follow it knowing full well that it has a number of glaringly noticeable issues (if there’s a better mainstream television series that features zombies, please let me know). Obviously, one of the big points of conversation dealt with the events that happened during the last couple of episodes and finale of the second season…
***SPOILER ALERT! Skip the next two paragraphs if you don’t want to know what happens***
I think the most interesting thing that came out of the panel regarded what Jon Bernthal thought about the death of Shane at the hands of Rick. Letting the crowd in on some inside information, Bernthal let it be known that an idea he had for how Shane would die involved his gun being surprisingly unloaded during their final standoff. I don’t want to get too deep into detail, but his idea pretty much played out the same way it did in the episode, except the unloaded gun changes everything involving Shane’s motivation to bring Rick on that field. In case you didn’t know, Shane was a borderline psycho on the show, and if his idea were to be played out, it would have given a deeper insight into how Shane saw himself. Unfortunately, that idea was scrapped.
For Holden, most of her questions (I’d say 90%) involved where her character ended up in the final moments of the season finale, being saved at the last moment by a hooded character wielding a sword. It’s no secret that this character is Michonne, one of the more popular names of the graphic novel and a character that many fans have been asking for since the beginning of the show’s run. Hopefully her arrival will bring a much-needed turn for the better to the show. One of the biggest criticisms has been its lack of well-developed, alpha females. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Michonne will switch things up as the group heads to the prison in the third season.
***END OF SPOILERS***
Beneath the main floor that housed the exhibitor booths were two floors that had even more stuff for people to check out. Directly below was where one could take photos and autographs from the media guests who were there, including names such as George Takei, Summer Glau, Lea Thompson, and Edward James Olmos, just to name of few. My cousin and I decided to skip all the hoopla there and move down a level further to the gaming area. From board games to video games, there was a little bit of everything. You could play Xbox Kinect Star Wars on one side of the room, and then walk over to the other and play some Dungeons and Dragons. The MacGuffin and Backroom Podcasts were represented with their own booth, where you could get a free terribly-made sketch of whatever you wanted (I’m kind of kicking myself for not getting one). Right next to that was a stand that had a number of retro and vintage games and consoles, and I found myself experiencing a quiet moment of nostalgia examining a wall filled to the brim with classic NES game cartridges. I couldn’t help myself from buying a sweet looking wallet made to look like an NES controller. You better believe I was doing the Konami Code a few times on that thing.
Whether you’re a veteran or novice, or if you’re just curious to see what the big deal is all about, Emerald City ComiCon is one of those conventions that has a lot to offer to everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience there, and my cousin had a fun time as well for his first visit, even grabbing a t-shirt and some nice art pieces. A fun little thought to close out on: when my cousin and I finally decided to leave the convention, we stopped by a local bar to grab a drink and look over some of the pictures we had taken from the day. As we waited for our order, I looked around and noticed that everybody, and I mean everybody, in the bar was doing the exact same thing we were: looking at their pictures and rummaging through all the nifty swag they got. There were old people, young people, and everyone in between. That only goes to show how big things have gotten, and how big things can possibly be.