We went to Emerald City Comicon last night (a birthday present from Ellen!), and it was bigger and better then ever! The line up of celebrity guests was just mind blowing. There was no way for us to see everyone we wanted too (bigger shows mean more programing, and it’s to the point that you aren’t able to go to everything you’d like) but I was more then happy with what we did see!
Our first day was Friday, and we got there bright and early to pick up our badges. Unfortunately so did everyone else! I don’t know what the stats are this year, but last year 50,000 people had tickets (to give some idea of how large the event is). We got our badges quickly enough, but the line of people waiting to get in was HUUUGE! Fortunately, our first event was on the top floor, which is somewhat separate from the main floor, and didn’t have the giant line. When 10:00 rolled around, they opened up, and we got great seats. Some people might say the seats don’t matter THAT much, because they have two giant screens in the auditorium to see what’s going on on stage, but it really does. Seeing someone on screen is not the same as seeing them right close up in real life!
So, we had good seats for our first panel, which was Felicia Day. If you don’t know who she is, you can look her up on Wiki easy enough, but for a quick rundown; she is an actress known for a number of works, including Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, The Guild webseries, and Eureka. She also writes and produces The Guild, and in the past year started a You-Tube channel called Geek & Sundry which airs geek centered programming such as The Guild, Tabletop, Dark Horse motion comics, Learning Town, and several others. Felicia always comes across in almost everything she does as real cute and adorable, so I was shocked and amazed to discover that in real life she’s actually… cute and adorable! She talked a lot about what goes into producing both a web series, and running a youtube channel (hint: a LOT of work) as well as talking about some of her experiences both in the acting world, and in the geek community (if you don’t know, she’s very involved in the geek community, being know as an avid video gamer). After that, she took questions from the audience and just shot the shit with us for a while. She also took the opportunity to promote upcoming International Tabletop Day, which celebrates on of the webseries on her channel.
We stayed in our seats for the next panel, Mr. Billy Dee Williams! The man is starting to show his years, but he’s still slick as ever. I feel bad for him, as it seemed like almost every other question he got was Star Wars related (I got the chance to ask a question myself, and asked him about playing Harvey Dent in Batman). Regrettably he had no information for the audience about weather or not he’d be returning to the new Star Wars movies to play Lando again (he said that the script was still being written, and he didn’t know yet what they were doing with it), but he did say the character was very important and he didn’t want anyone else to ever play it. He also told us that IF it was offered, he would certainly take the part! At this point his manager spoke to the audience telling us if we wanted to see him in star wars again, to write Disney, Lucasfilm, and J.J. Abrams and ask for him. He did also get to talk a little about the rest of career, working with people he admired, and even talked about some of his painting work (did YOU know he was a painter?)
After that we tooled around the show floor for a bit, checking out the booths, the merchandise, and the costumes. Some people come in really crazy costumes. Some people come in really…. funky costumes, but it’s all in good fun. We stopped at one booth where I talked to Tom Cook, who worked in Filmation on several classic cartoon shows, including Bravestarr, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Star Trek The animated Series, and The Ghostbusters (often known as the OTHER Ghostbusters, as it had nothing to do with the movie, but rather was based on a TV show from back in the 60’s or 70’s so in some ways pre dates what we think of as “The Real” Ghostbusters).
After that Ellen wanted to see a panel on being geek and feminine. It was entertaining certainly having 4 panelists who are all very interesting personalities (though the only one I was actually familiar with was Bonnie Burton who runs in a number of the same circles as Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day) but I think Ellen was rather disappointed in it. It ended up being more about sexism in geek community and touched on more general elitism in the community (both of which ARE very real problems these days) when Ellen had thought it would be more about resources for geek girls to both explore their femininity and their geekness. In Ellen’s word’s it ended up being more of a giant group hug. I would agree, though I do think Ms. Burton at least made some very insightful comments.
That was our last panel for the day. After that we played some retro games in their retro arcade (well, rather we played the Star Wars pinball machine…. awesome!) and then looked around the gaming area. They expanded the gaming area this year, adding an extra level, and it was really quite impressive. The focus was more on table top games, like boardgames, RPG’s, and card games, then video games. They regrettably didn’t have the paint your own mini table this year which was a blast last year, but you can’t have everything. We went out for dinner, and saw Chris Tulach (the organized play manager for Wizards of the Coast who we used to see at Uncles Games all the time) at another table. That was kindof funny because we ran into him last year at the con too, but we didn’t go up and say hi not wanting to interrupt. We went back into the gaming area to try out some story games (a type of RPG which plays without a GM and is generally more centered on the idea of producing a good story as a group) bt they were closing down, so we decided to call it a night.
And that was just the first day! I’ll have a write up on day two tomorrow, and maybe some pictures (and MAYBE a video!)