Tag Archives: Emerald City Comiccon

My feet ended up being really, really wet

So, day three of Emerald City Comic Con and this time we deliberately slept in and missed the whole queuing up thing. I had pretty much gotten everything I wanted so there seemed little point in getting up early and rushing down to the convention centre.

We actually spent hardly any time at all at the con. It was decided to do the Seattle Underground Tour and get a little local history. For example, I didn’t know that Seattle burnt down in 1889 or that the term “Skid row” has its origins in the American English lexicon in the area (originally it was Skid Road as workers would chop down trees at the top of the cliffs surrounding Seattle and skid them down to the docks). I also didn’t know that the hills originally had a gradient of 49%. Try riding up those suckers!!

However, on the way to the tour it started to pour with rain and we got thoroughly soaked. I discovered that my new sneakers, whilst being quite water resistant, are definitely not waterproof and I had to squish my way through the tour with wet feet. It’s been awhile since I’ve been quite that cold.

This has been my first trip to Seattle where it’s rained so I suppose I should really count myself as fortunate. I do love Seattle though. It’s a wonderful city and I’ve enjoyed all my visits there. Plus this time I discovered the joy of the crepe shop right out of the front of the convention centre (last crepe from them was a lemon and sugar one – om nom nom nom nom nom).

Monday was lost to travel. We got up obscenely early (4am!) to get on a 7am flight to New York. It appears that the majority of direct flights to New York are either red eyes (no!!) or this early in the morning. This means that the Seattle airport is horrendously busy at a time when you would think it would be quiet. The queue to get through security was huge and we ended up getting to our gate at about 6:15am even though we’d been at the airport since 5am. Luckily we’d been warned to be there early.

New York is intimidating. It’s a city on a simply massive scale and it makes all Australian cities look like small country towns in comparison. And my, do New Yorkers love their car horns! That old joke of the smallest measurement of time being the time between the light turning green and someone leaning on their horn? It’s true!

Now my feet really hurt

Day two of Emerald City Comic Con and my day started with queuing up with everyone else. They opened the doors 15 minutes early and I made a beeline for Bruce Timm’s table, determined to get on his list for the day. I had promises to keep! And I met with success. Hooray!

Then it was time for a Nutella crepe but with bananas this time.

Today was spent waiting in line for Barry Kitson. It’s been four years since I last got a sketch from him so I figured it was time for another one. Thus I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Thank god Barry is such a pleasant person to be around and he usually attracts equally nice people who wait for his sketches. Barry started my piece at about 6:10 and the show was closing at 7pm. It was a race to see what would happen first – Barry finishing the piece or the bugle being sounded to indicate the end of the day and then the dimming of the lights. The bugle won. Barry decided he couldn’t finish the piece in the reduced light so I’ll be back in his line tomorrow to see him put the final touches on it. Maybe. I might just sleep in instead. After all, my feet are killing me!

Barry Kitson working on his first Supergirl piece for the day
Barry working his magic with a stunning Supergirl watercolour. Seattle, 31 March.

Storm trooper getting Matt Wagner to sign some comics
This is the comic book creator you’re looking for. Hey, Storm Troopers like comics too! This one has excellent taste as he’s getting stuff signed by Matt Wagner. Seattle, 31 March.

Two girls dressed up as daleks
I’d have serious trouble seeing the daleks as a threat if they all looked like this 😉 Seattle, 31 March.

Mum and baby both dressed up as Catwoman
Cutest. Catwoman. EVER! Seattle, 31 March.

Woman and baby both dressed as Catwoman
All together now: aaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!! Seattle, 31 March.

Man dressed up as Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story
To infinity and beyond!!! Seattle, 31 March.

My feet hurt

Day one of Emerald City Comic Con and my day started with a Nutella crepe 🙂

We couldn’t buy tickets for the show until 12 pm so we wandered around for a bit at Pike Place Market. I always forget how much a warren it is until I’m in there and get lost. But it’s such a cool place to visit. Didn’t see any fish being thrown this time though.

The original Starbucks
It all started here. The original Starbucks. Seattle, 30 March.

Then to the con for the afternoon… Ah, the joys of endlessly lining up. But I did get myself two really cool t-shirts, including a Batgirl one I’ve wanted since I saw it on my first trip in 2008. Very happy about that 🙂 But of course, the best thing was seeing people I haven’t seen for two years. So great to get a hug from Tim. And people actually remembered me!

Bat cave made from Lego
Lego!! Very cool BatCave build out of Lego. The car which was tucked into the back of the cave actually spun around. Seattle, 30 March.

Captain America and Green Lantern made from Lego
“In brightest day…” Lego Captain America and Green Lantern. Seattle 30 March.

Tm Sale working on a sketch
Tim Sale working on a sketch for a fan. Seattle, 30 March.

Tim with a handmade cushion featuring one of his covers
Tim with an absolutely brilliant knitted cushion made by a fan. Seattle 30 March.

Jesus and Captain America
And then there was Jesus with Captain America. Seattle, 30 March.

Back again tomorrow to see if I can get on Bruce Timm’s list and then once again get back in line for Mr Kitson. And I still haven’t found either Phil Noto or Phil Hester.

I think that gull is giving me the evil eye

Not much to report today. It was “travel to Seattle” day so a good chunk of it was spent at airports. Not sure how I feel about the whole body scanners at LAX…

Let me just say that it’s really, really cold in Seattle at the moment. But at least it’s stopped raining. It was bucketing down when we arrived.

gull at santa monica pier
See what I mean? It really does seem to be giving me the evil eye. Santa Monica pier, 28 March.

Wing of Virgin America A330
Finally got to use the airplane setting on my phone! The wing of the Virgin America A330 that we were on. Somewhere between LA and Seattle, 29 March.

Pike Place Market sign
Pike Place Market at night. Seattle, 29 March.

At it again!

Yup, this could be titled dumb things I have done – part two. Doing things that I shouldn’t be doing because I can’t hack it physically.

This time it was the Scody High Country Challenge. Signed up for it ages ago and was feeling pretty positive about it all. The challenge of Mt Buller seemed appropriate after conquering both Mt Buffalo and Mt Donna Buang. But then it happened.

Six weeks ago, I dislocated my right thumb.

This meant two weeks with no bike riding at all. I couldn’t even tie my own shoe laces, let alone get on a bike. It was over two weeks before I started riding again. But I could only do short distances before the pain in my hand got too bad – damn bumpy road surfaces! I knew there was no way I’d be anywhere near prepared enough for the weekend. But I did it anyway, with about 10 hours proper riding time. My longest ride was an 80km pootle around the Bellarine Peninsula the weekend before. (I do ride to work but that doesn’t really count when it’s only 10kms in the morning and 10kms in the evening.)

Not prepared at all!

Still, I lined up with everyone else on what was a very foggy Saturday morning, wondering if the new battery in my garmin’s speed/cadence sensor would stop the auto-pausing problem I’d been having (answer: yes and no – no because it still happened but yes because it didn’t get stuck paused like it had been). And then it began. We left Mansfield behind and made our way to the base of Mt Buller. At first it was okay. Actually, it was okay for about the first ten kms of the climb. I definitely wasn’t going to set any records for a blistering time but I was still turning the cranks over and I didn’t feeling like I was pedaling squares.

Then the nausea began. My stomach was churning and it got worse the further up the climb I got. In the last four or five kms of the climb, I stopped four times. At one point, I simply stopped. My heart was hammering in my chest and I just couldn’t turn the cranks over any more. I had to stop, I just had to. I forced down a bit of an Clif bar and contemplated the fact that I wasn’t even at the hard bit yet. That moment was a tiny bit soul destroying and I contemplated just turning my bike upside down and waiting for the sag wagon. Yet I didn’t. I clipped back in and suffered my way to the top. And my, did I suffer. My partner stayed with me for the final two kms and as we came around the very last corner, he heard a very little voice behind him squeak “Is that it?” in sheer desperation that it be the truth.

I got the blue “You are here!” sign and promptly got off my bike, fighting the desire to puke up my guts up all over the sign that two seconds ago had been a blessed thing to see. I walked for a bit but hopped back on my bike so I could ride across the finish line. Couldn’t be seen walking across the line!! Then we sat in the town square on top of Mt Buller in glorious sunshine as I chugged down a can of coke (rides are the only time I’ll drink it) and burped my head off. Slowly I started to feel better, my stomach unknotted and I relaxed. I acknowledged that fact that I was totally underdone for the climb. I had no clue just how hard it would be and my lack of knowledge of the climb made it even more difficult because I had no clue how far it was to go.

But I am proud of myself for not packing it in. I might’ve been in last group of people who completed the ascent but I bloody well did it!! I wanted to quit, I thought I should but I didn’t.

The descent was quite fun. I really didn’t like the first bit which is incredibly steep with a hair-pin turn. I was working the brakes the whole way down that bit, probably holding some people up but I didn’t care. I’d already seen what could happen if you crashed and I had no desire to put myself in hospital (one guy did – last I heard he has broken ribs and he cracked a vertebra). It was a much quicker trip back to Mansfield than it was going out. Simple fact is that there’s a lot more down than up on the way back!

Unlike when I climbed Mt Buffalo (with a cold no less!), I had a real feeling of achievement when I crossed the finish line in Mansfield. I had suffered but I had prevailed. I conquered Mt Buller on my first go.

Sunday was meant to be the 125km ride to Whitfield but my dislocated thumb put paid to that idea. It would be a 55km jaunt to Tolmie instead (the first water station and turnaround point). And my, what a tricksy little ride that turned out to be! What I didn’t know at the time was that you essentially start climbing as soon as you get out of Mansfield. Sure, it’s nowhere near as steep but it’s just as long as riding up Mt Buffalo! The “Welcome to Tolmie” sign appeared about 2.5kms before the damn water station!! It seemed to go on forever!

As we stood around the water station, I was eternally grateful that we would be turning around and heading back to Mansfield. And it was one of the funnest descents I’ve done it quite awhile. No real need to brake at all, just lots of big sweepers for corners and the feeling that you’re really in control because it’s not that steep. It was a lot of fun.

Will I do it again next year? Yes. I know it sounds like I had a terrible time but I really didn’t. I got to spend a long weekend in a gorgeous part of Victoria with my partner, doing what we love doing – which is riding our bikes.

But next year, I intend on being waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better prepared.

In other news, I’m heading off overseas next week for a grand jaunt. It goes something like this:

Depart Melbourne 12pm 27 March > arrive LAX 8:30am 27 March (love that whole arriving before you left thing) > Santa Monica 27 – 29 March > fly to Seattle 29 March > Seattle 29 March – 2 April > fly to New York (yay!!!) 2 April > New York 2 – 5 April > fly to Paris 5 April (very late at night too) > Paris from 6 – 12 April > fly to Hong Kong 12 April > Hong Kong 13 – 15 April > fly home to Melbourne 15 April. Arrive home 6am (!!) 16 April.

What’s missing for that is a day being bussed around for this year’s Paris-Roubaix. I think there are three stops along the way and then the tour company we’re going with will take us to the Roubaix Velodrome for the finish. It’s going to be very exciting.

Paris! I’m going to Paris! Mmmm… macaroons.

There’s a plan…

A plan forming in my head for next year’s overseas jaunt that will turn the trip from memorable (because all my trips so far have been pretty memorable) into something of epic proportions.

It goes something like this…

Melbourne > Los Angeles > Seattle > New York > whatever European city fits with travel dates > Paris > Roubaix Velodrome.

I attempted to stay awake during this year’s Paris-Roubaix but repeatedly dozed off. However, during one of my awake periods, I decided that I had to be in the velodrome on the day of the race at least once in my lifetime.

The dates for Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle next year are March 30 – April 1 and Paris-Roubaix is traditionally run in early April so why not put the two together for what would be an awesome holiday? It’s amazing that I hadn’t even thought to check dates until it was suggested to me. And when it was, it just seemed so… obvious. So now the research will begin on how to actually make it happen.

I like this plan, I like it plenty.

Saturday – ECCC

This will be quick as I’m absolutely exhausted and should be curled up in bed. I took exactly one photo. There was a bunch of people dressed up as jedi knights and they looked incredible. So I managed to take a photo of them and that was it. The camera stayed in my bag for the rest of the day.

I had productive day art-wise. Got pieces from the artists that I really wanted and I picked up something extra from Chris Moreno. I even managed to get on Alex Maleev’s list for tomorrow so I’m getting a Daredevil from him, something I’ve always wanted. I think I’m getting my page from Tim tomorrow so that’s exciting. It’ll be something to anticipate as I haven’t seen it yet.

I was quite shocked when I got to Phil Hester to discover no one there except for a guy who was thinking about buying a page. I thought he would’ve had a bunch of people around him but nope. He was kinda hard to find as he was all the way down the back. So he started on a Green Arrow for me, only to be hustled away by someone from Hero Initiative. I went back to pick it up and he’d lost it! So he promised to start it again. Then when I went back later, turned out he’d given it to a guy who was only there today. He looked so guilty and has promised to do it tonight. I’m also getting a Nightwing from him as well. I have no idea when I’ll be at a con that he’s attending again so I figure I might as well.

Must get into bed now. So very, very tired.

Emerald City ComicCon – Sunday

I got a Tim Sale fast pass! Woot! I made it to Tim’s table just in time and I think I may have actually cut in front of a guy but we kinda arrived at the line together. Sorry stripy shirt dude! He did get one too though. However getting one meant everyone gave me a hard time as I’d been whinging the night before, saying I was sure I’d never get one.

I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the everyone being packed together and waiting for the doors to open. I get a little edgy in big crowds, especially when they’re all pushing towards a door. But really, I was okay because I had Jared and Rich behind me to protect me during the initial push. I should also remember I’m much fitter than the majority of nerds and can easily out-run them. (I discovered this at an Imax screening of The Dark Knight when I raced past two boy nerds to secure the best possible seats.) Hoorah! My first ever fast pass.

After getting my card with my fast pass time on it, the morning was spent standing in Barry’s line to get Steve’s Gwen watercolour. It’s a strange thing, queuing is probably one of my least favourite activities but it’s all you do at comic cons. The really weird thing is that I wasn’t even waiting around to get something for myself, I was doing it for someone else. I’m strange like that. After much standing around, it was finally my turn. Barry asked me what I thought Gwen should be wearing and what colours I thought her outfit would be. That stumped me as I don’t actually read any Spider-man comics except Ultimate Spider-man and that version of Gwen dresses quite differently from the mainstream Gwen. But we got there in the end and Gwen is fashionably attired.

Jared, Rich and I went off for lunch after this and had some very unsatisfactory pizza. Expensive, not very warm and the bases were crunchy. I like a crisp base but this was just ick. Very disappointing as I’d had a slice from the same place the day before and it had been really nice. (Hhmm… now I’m blogging about pizza.)

I picked up a few things after lunch including an adorable Scott Morse painting and went back to Tim’s table to wait for my fast pass. I even managed to sell a book while I was there. But finally my time came and I watched Tim as he worked on my Green Arrow ink wash. I’m always fascinated when watching artists work. It amazes me how they can see what the finished thing is going to look like. I never can and perhaps that I why I was never a very good artist (I used to be able to draw reasonably well). Tim has a sense of self-assurance about himself and his abilities that I’m sorely lacking in. He innately knows he can do it while I always fret about my photos, wondering if my composition is right, if I’ve got it what I want in focus. I’m in awe of his talent but also a little jealous at the same time.

(And speaking of photography, let the photos appear!)

After the show had finished (and I’d picked up another Scott Morse piece five minutes before the show ended), a group of us ambled down to the Hyatt to meet Tim for drinks and dinner. Drinks were consumed at the bar in the Hyatt and photos were taken.

Tim giving me the death stare.

Jen and I cozy up to Tim

After much discussion, we made our way around to the Taphouse for dinner where they have 160 beers available. That’s a lot of beer. Jen and I ordered a cocktail with the rather fun name of “yellow submarine” which turned out to be extremely tasty and contained absolutely no banana. There was much talk and food was consumed. Yet again, photos were taken.

Jared, Bill and Tim

A photo I ruined by covering up the flash and being incapable of operating my camera when it was held out in front of me.

Colin and Jared.

Bill looking pleased with himself.

After dinner, we split up and all said goodbye to Tim who was heading to his parents’ place. Kinda sad to say goodbye as I knew he was flying home the next day. Sigh. Sunday night was filled with loads of goodbyes as people were flying home at different times.

Anyhoo.. during dinner I’d gotten a call from Barry to tell me which bar he was at and an invitation to come join him, Chad and Mickey for a drink. After getting directions from Tim, we made our way to the bar to find the lads enjoying a bevy or two. We were joined by Kelly and Trina just before the band started. Jen and I both thought the band was going to be too loud so we opted to go with Kelly and Trina who were heading to Von’s to meet up with the Proof crew.

Jen, Kelly and Bill at Von’s.

It was at Von’s that I discovered Jewel Strait. She was at the bar with friends and I did the thing I thought I’d never do and asked if I could have a photo taken with her. I don’t like bailing people up like that. I know it’s all part of being a celebrity but I remember what it was like when I’d have lunch with a friend who is pretty well known. It’s the biggest pain in the arse to be in the middle of a conversation and some random person walks up to start a conversation with them. All Jewel probably wanted was a quiet night out with friends and she got some random, weird, nervous Australian chick asking if it was okay to have a photo taken with her. But she was very nice to me. I kept apologising, saying I usually never do that sort of thing and she kept saying it was okay. And she’s gorgeous, really gorgeous. Huge brown eyes with amazing lashes. (I know, I’m weird for noticing that.) She’s also a lot taller than I thought she was or she was wearing really high heels because she was taller than me. Total fan-girl moment and I was so nervous about saying hello to her. I mean really nervous.

Actually, I nearly didn’t get to have my fan-girl moment because the waiter at Von’s wasn’t going to accept my driver’s license as a form of ID. He was going to kick me out. Apparently my incredibly difficult to alter, state issued driver’s license which contains all the same information as my passport including a photo and was happily accepted at another bar wasn’t good enough for him. I didn’t know this but if you don’t have an acceptable ID, you can’t stay in a licensed venue in the state of Washington. At first I thought it meant I couldn’t have a drink and I was fine with that but then he said I’d have to leave. I was so surprised and, to be honest, pissed off because the majority of the other people at the table were Canadian and obviously didn’t have American driver’s licenses. He finally relented after I refused to walk all the way back to the hotel to get my passport.

We hung around for a bit but in the end decided we had to head back to the hotel. Jen and Bill had to be at the airport by 6am to get on an 8am flight. It was strange to say goodbye to them in the lift, knowing it’ll be at least a year before I get to see them again. I suppose this is what I have to deal with when I have friends in another country.

Some photos from Saturday

The splash page from Superman/Batman that I bought. The print you can see on the left is the one I got.

Dustin Nguyen working on my Batman head sketch

Tim working on the first Claire ink wash of the day.

Riley Rossmo doing his thing.

A very intensely focused Adam Hughes. The piece was a character I didn’t recognise.

A shot of Barry Kitson taken when I was sitting on the floor.

Adam Hughes with Jared’s “The Dude” commission.

And finally…

The Bat Family. I’m assuming it’s Batwoman and not Batgirl because Barb Gordon had a cowl head piece like Batman’s (which always made me wonder exactly how you could see her hair) and Cassandra Cain wears a mask that covers her whole face. But I could be wrong. Maybe it’s a TV version of Batgirl (because we don’t speak of that movie).

A list of what I got at ECCC

Derek Fridolfs/Dustin Nguyen – splash page from Superman/Batman, issue 40.
Riley Rossmo – beautifully designed nine panel page from Proof issue 12.
Kelly Tindall – page from the soon-to-be release Squeak.
Derek Fridolfs/Dustin Nguyen – page 20 of Detective Comics, issue 842.

Tim Sale – Iron Man, print #19.
Derek Fridolfs/Dustin Nguyen – Batman, Hellboy and Daredevil

Mike Kunkel – Herobear and the kid pencil sketch
Tim Sale – Commissioner Gordon ink wash
Kelly Tindall – Archie Snow watercolour
Dustin Nguyen – Batman pencil head sketch
Richard Starkings – Hip Flask head sketch
Kelly Tindall – Doctor Who ink sketch
David Mack – Echo ink sketch
Scott Morse – Tiger painting
Moritat – Batman pen sketch
Dustin Nguyen – Catwoman pencil head sketch
Stan Sakai – Usagi Yojimbo pen sketch
Frank Cho – Liberty Meadows pen sketch
Stephen Silver – Silent Bob pen sketch
Bruce Timm – Batgirl pen sketch
Riley Rossmo – Doctor Who ink/pen sketch
Tim Sale – Green Arrow ink wash
Moritat – Rorschach pen sketch
Scott Morse – Elephant painting

It’s a long list – 24 pieces . But I only paid for ten things. I just worked out it’s actually two more than what I got in Baltimore (22 pieces) and I had more money for that trip! So there you go, I did better with less money. I’m going to have to buy a bigger Itoya folio when I get home for the pages.