I’ve recently spent three days in Seattle, rubbing shoulders with 80-90 thousand other comics and pop-culture-loving weirdos and lived to tell the tale! Unfortunately, my memories of the event are rather patchy, primarily due to exhaustion, so I would like to welcome a good friend of mine who will help me with this report: THE LIST FORMAT!
- Foreword: EVERYONE WAS SO NICE. Everyone I encountered during those three days was great and wonderful and cute and JUST SO NICE.
- Notable cosplays: SO MANY REYS, quite a few Kylo Rens, several BB-8 sightings, at least one man in a Slave Leia costume, whom I shyly complimented while walking by, a group of 4 people with what appeared to be paper-mache models of buildings from Spongebob on their heads. There were also 4 very animated older people dressed as minions. Yes, you read that correctly.
- My first purchase of the con was a Lumberjanes print from Kate Leth, the writer of Marvel’s Hellcat, several original Adventure Time graphic novels and many more young adult-friendly comics. I’m a big fan of Kate’s and you should check out some of her books here.
- Picked up the first issue of Hope Larson and Brittney Williams’s new miniseries Goldie Vance. It’s a wonderfully drawn lighthearted detective story set in a Florida resort and you should go buy it! Hope’s webcomic Solo is also a must-read. Solo is definitely an adult story, so don’t give it to any kids, but feel free to dive into it yourself. It doesn’t have a regular update schedule, at least for now, so it’s easy to catch up.
- Bought a paperback of Abby Howard’s Junior Scientist Power Hour. You might not have heard of the title, but I can guarantee that you’ve seen her work circulating on tumblr or twitter. I told Abby that my short horror comic is being published in the same anthology as hers later this year, we talked for a bit, and, at the very end of our conversation, she asked me whether I had a business card. To say that I felt very important at that moment would be a horrible understatement. Abby is also great! Go read her comics!
- However, the winner of this year’s Yuriy Award for Absolute Niceness in Comics™ is Steve Orlando! Steve is known for writing such (adult) titles as Undertow and Virgil for Image Comics as well as (not as adult, but still violent) Midnighter for DC. DC has also recently announced that Steve will be the new writer of Supergirl, which means that reading Steve’s comics will soon become a wholesome family pastime. Steve was a pleasure to talk to and I look forward to reading more of his work.
- I attended a panel on diversity in comics, where a writer who works for a major publisher stated that said publisher had previously done research indicating that women make up ~55% of comics readers, while white men are only a quarter of the comic reading audience. I obviously don’t have anything to back this statement up, but I thought it was an interesting tidbit of information to share.
- I still don’t know how Raina Telgemeier looks in real life because her table was lined with several rows of people at all times.
- Have I mentioned that I witnessed 4 older people dressed as minions?
- A woman asked a panel of Image Comics creators how to trim down her writing. Alex de Campi, the writer of No Mercy, a comic about teens surviving in wilderness after a bus crash, was the first one to respond. I don’t remember the exact quote but it went something like this: “You put on your big girl pants, sit down, and trim it. Because deadlines exist and you have to meet them in order to eat.” That wasn’t the most eloquent writing advice I’ve ever heard, but it was a nice kick up my butt. I went to de Campi’s table right after and bought her No Mercy, so, at the very least, her advice got her my $10.
- Liz Prince’s graphic memoir Tomboy is such a great read! I absolutely recommend it if you’re in the mood for some non-fiction comics.
- The last panel of the con that I managed to attend was about queer comics for kids and young adults. I remember it being great but don’t remember any details, as my body was on the verge of shutting off at that point. Here’s the list of people who were on the panel: Taneka Stotts (editor of the Beyond anthology), Shannon Watters (co-creator of Lumberjanes and the head of Boom!Box comics), Blue Delliquanti, Mildred Louis, Dylan Edwards. All of these people seem to be doing wonderful things in comics, so feel free to visit their respective pages and see what they are up to.
- Carrying 10 paperbacks + 1 litre bottle of water + action figure in your backpack at the same time is ill-advised.
- They were dressed as minions, you guys. MINIONS!!
All in all, I had an absolute blast at this year’s Emerald City. My wallet did take quite a hit, but all the wonderful people and great comics have more than made up for it. I can’t recommend going to a convention enough, even if you’re not that huge of a comics fan. I have yet to feel that sense of geeky camaraderie anywhere else. You don’t have to go to a major con either, a small one is more than enough to get a convention bug. A good bug, not the con crud everyone keeps talking about.
Next on my schedule is Vancouver’s small (and free!) con VanCAF at the end of May. Hope to see some of you (Yash) there!