Emerald City Comicon Day 3

So we come to the last day.  We didn’t get quite as much done on Sunday, but what we did do was pretty great.  I’d have liked to get some more time down in the gaming area, maybe try out D&D Next, but you can’t do everything!

We started out the day in the showroom floor.  I know, it seems like we spent a lot of time there, but there really is so much stuff out there that no way will you be able to see everything no matter how long you stay and how hard you try.  In any case, we came by one display for a small outfit called Skullastic.  There owner operator was at the booth.  He produces rather unique school supplies, most with a geek theme.  One interesting thing they had was a “decomposition” notebook, which had a slightly zombie theme to the cover, and none of the line on the inside ran parallel, but rather went this way that!  He also produced custom notebooks at his booth, where you picked a cover from several options, picked what kind of paper you wanted (lined, framed, graph, comic book, blank, etc.), picked what color spirals you wanted, and finally picked which side to get the spirals bound on (so you could have a right or left handed notebook).  I bought one of these, and will post a picture in my next blog.  He gives a portion of his proceeds to schools, so everyone check out his website!   http://www.skullastic.com/

I also ended up caving and buying one of the Castle Grayskull dungeon kits I saw the other day.  I talked with the owner of working class villains a little bit more about what he does, and the different projects he’s working on.

Then we hustled our butts up to the main hall to see the Geek and Sundry Panel of Awesome.  It was really just an hour long question and answer session with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton interspersed with amusing anecdotes and banter.  The play off each other very well exuding a kind of sibling-esque vibe, and it was a lot of fun.  The highlight was when one fan asked Felicia something rather inappropriate, and Wil, who was drinking from a water bottle spit his water out in shock, spraying Felicia!  Naturally, they talked a lot about Felicia’s youtube channel, Geek and Sundry, and about Wil’s show on the channel, Tabletop.  And of course they brought up Tabletop Day.  Wil also talked about some games he’d be playing on the next season of Tabletop (Star Trek Cattan, Once Upon a Time, and I THINK he said King of Tokyo?)

Next up, was Mr. Dirk Benedict, who played Starbuck in the original BSG, and Faceman in The A-Team.  They brought him onstage with a band playing the original A-Team theme!  His panel was very interesting.  He is certainly not your typical Hollywood figure, being very opinionated, and much more on the right side of the spectrum then the left.  Coming to Seattle of all places in that mindset is kinda ballsy if I do say so myself.  His moderators kept trying to interrupt him to ask him this or that, but he had so much to say they really should have just let him go.  (note to ECCC… Get some DECENT moderators next year, the ones this year either were just terrible at doing interviews, or wanted to make the interview more about them then the person they were interviewing!)  The audience had a very mixed reaction to him.  He was very entertaining, and everything he had to say really came from his heart, but some people around here have a hard time listening to opinions that differ from his own.  So a lot of the audience was really digging the funny and personal insight Mr. Benedict gave us, but others completely wrote him off, and I even heard some people not to far from us talking about what a jacka$$ Mr. Benedict was (personally I think it’s kindof jacka$$y to be openly having a conversation during his panel about how low your opinion of him is, but hey, that’s just me)

Finally we came to what many probably considered the crown jewel of the show, the Patrick Stewart panel!  He has not aged a SINGLE day!  Captain friggin Picard!  And he really plays to an audience well (I suppose years of Shakespearean performance will do that to you).  A few highlights, his favorite episode of TNG was The Inner Light, and in the episode his son was played by Stewart’s real life son.  When he auditioned he wore a toupee, that Paramount had emergency lifted to the US from London just for the audition.  When he was cast, his agent spent several hours making phone calls to different people in the US trying to give him the news.  Dune was “an accident that never should have happened” (though he did clarify he didn’t mean the movie was bad, but rather David Lynch had thought he was casting someone else), when he met Sting he didn’t know who he was, and in 6 months he starts filming on the new X-Men movie!  I wanted to ask a question, but so did everyone else in the auditorium, and I never got my chance.  It was still worth it though, and a very memorable way to end the con!

So that was my con experience this year.  Tomorrow I’ll put up some final thoughts and pictures.  Hopefully my recap has entertained you as much as the con entertained me, and here’s looking forward to next year’s con!

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Emerald City Comicon Day 2

On Saturday, we got up early in the morning because our friend Anna was going to meet us at our place before we left for the con.  Anna only got tickets for Saturday, but this was her first con, and she didn’t really know what to expect.  Comic conventions are awesome and crazy wonderful, but they can also be chaotic, crowded, and overwhelming, so I have to give props to anyone willing to brave it for the first time!

Once we got there, we quickly picked up Anna’s badge, and then went up to the main hall by escalator again skipping the packed line to get into the showroom.  This time there was also a line to get on the elevator, though not nearly as bad.  What WAS bad were the convention center representatives, who I guess hadn’t really talked to the people running the con or something?  They didn’t seem to know how the line was supposed to be organized, or didn’t know how to handle the crowd, but they were just randomly screaming at people to go here, then go there, then you can’t be hear, contradicting each thing they wanted us to do with the next, and being very unpleasant about it at the same time.  So naturally, the crowd completely ignored them, which just made them more angry.  But then they started letting people into the top floor, and the line moved away from the convention center reps anyway.

For day two, we started by going to the “Wil Wheaton Vs. Paul and Storm” panel, which I guess is actually a show that they tour.  Paul and Storm are a musical/comedy duo I was not very familiar with, but Ellen was.  I was just figuring on going to see Wil Wheaton’s panel on Sunday, but Ellen really wanted to see this one too, and it was very much the right choice.  Their show was quirky and histerical.  I’ve always known Wil Wheaton was good public speaker, but he does stand up (I guess the show could be considered stand up?) very well, and played off Paul and Storm nicely.  Plus, I got to see the greatest 36 seconds on the internet (just google “kitty sail” and laugh…. and be sure to watch WITH music).

After that the three of us tooled around the show room a little bit, got a quick bite, and made our way down to the gaming area for a panel on Wil Wheaton’s web show, Tabletop.  Wil wasn’t their, just the producer of the show, but he was very informative and gave us a lot of background and behind the scenes info on the show.  He also gave us lots of suggestions on running our own game nights, and talked about what kinds of game were good for different situations, and what kinds worked well for episodes of the show (as well as what kinds didn’t).  While he couldn’t out right say it, he STRONGLY suggested the first season will be coming out on DVD in the not too distant future.  Then of course he took the opportunity to plug International Tabletop Day.  He told us all about what the day was supposed to accomplish, how to participate, suggested using the #tabletopday hashtag on twitter as much as possible, and the like.  Being a fan of the show, it was pretty cool!

After eating a real meal, we headed back to the show floor to check out the artists and booths.  One of the things that’s awesome about Comicon is just seeing all the artists there, signing autographs, talking to people about there work, and often drawing sketches for people (usually for a price, but what do you expect?).  We’d looked around the show floor before but this was really the first extended amount of time we’d spent there.  Then, I bumped into my old DM, Seth!  This is the second ECCC I’ve run into him, and it was great to catch up.  I have been too busy to play in his campaign for a while now, so this was fun!  At one point when we were on the show floor I found the booth for Working Class Villains.  They are a group of independent artists that produce action figure inspired works of art.  They had an incredible 3D representation of the dungeon of Castle Grayskull on display that you can actually look up online (they have it for sale on their website).

Our last panel of the day was Gillian Anderson.  I used to be a big X-File fan back in high school, and Ellen has recently become a fan herself, so we were kindof excited.  Well…. she’s certainly aged well.  She’s not really red headed anymore, but as beautiful (if not more so) than she was during the show.  But that’s really all I can say in favor of the panel.  She was a pretty terrible public speaker.  Nervous, flighty, talking a lot without really saying anything.  I guess she did have some bizarre questions to deal with (one young lady told her that Skully was her role model, and was Ms. Anderson familiar with Skully and Mulder slash fiction?…. yuck)  Her best moment was the last question where the guy just rambled on for 10 minutes until she pantomimed handing him a joint.

After this, I we went down to the bottom floor of the gaming area to try a few games.  We started with a few games of Tsuro, which is one that was featured on Tabletop.  It’s very light weight, and quick (you can play a game in 10-15 minutes) and will definitely be featured at our Tabletop Day game night.  We followed this up with a strange little game called Dungeon World.  At this point we were trying games brought by the Seattle Story Games group.  Story games are RPG’s that are more narrative based then character based, and often are played without a Game Master.  Dungeon World seems as though it tries to split the difference between more mainstream RPG’s (sharing a large amount of DNA with D&D specifically) and the more indie type story games.  While it does have a GM, it has a number of mechanics meant to help drive story, and give a greater amount of narrative control to the players.  I am not sure what I think of it.  Conceptually I like the idea, but one play through, though enjoyable, was not enough for me to decide how successfully it hit its goals.  After that, we played a lovely little game called Zombie Cinema.  This one was a full fledged story game, proudly showing it’s indie roots.  It’s a GMless RPG where the players ultimately build a Zombie movie from the ground up.  Intriguingly, and unlike just about every other Zombie themed game I have ever heard of, the point is not to get your player to survive, but to build the best zombie movie possible.  As such, getting killed in the game can actually be viewed as a GOOD thing!  I still need to play it a few more times to get a real feel for it, but I think I just might be in love with this game.  And it comes in an old fashioned video cassette box, how awesome is that??  (I’ve already ordered a copy, and will post a full review ASAP!!!)

Well, that about wraps it up for day 2!  I can’t believe how much we did over the weekend.  Up next, Day 3!