Friday, March 10, 2017

Emerald City Comicon 2017: Part 3, The Cosplayers

(Dr. Jones, I presume?)
I use to dress like Indiana Jones.  I still have my outfit, similar to the cosplayer pictured above.  We both agreed the "Indy look" is better with the leather jacket.  More often than not though, it's way too hot to wear, unless it's some con-at-the park in late fall.

Plus I'm often lugging a non-vintage backpack stuffed with "con survival gear."

I still have my basic Indiana Jones outfit.  I'll probably wear it again, maybe in time for the upcoming fifth film, once I acquire some vintage-looking accessories that don't disrupt the look of the costume.

But, until Indy-5 hits the theaters, I'll continue attending cons in my "lazy man's Punisher" outfit.

(Image:  Me at the CBC4C booth during last year's JCCS)
One group of cosplayers dressed as DC Comics heroes and villains asked me to pose with them.  Since I was sort-of dressed as a Marvel Comics, you could say we formed our own crossover photo.

Otherwise, because of the time-crunch I've mentioned in the previous ECCC posts, I felt camera shy and didn't take any selfies with cosplayers or artists.

Maybe it was my own imagination, but I got the impression some (many?/all?) of my fellow attendees felt as rushed as I did and weren't in the mood to be waylaid by a pesky amateur photographer.

Whether this is true or not, I only took a handful of photos during my fly-by.

Here's my Cast of Cosplayers (most with character links below the images):

(Image:  Rorschach)
I actually saw two Rorschach's.  One was taller and thinner than the one I took a picture of.

(Image:  Rocketeer)
(Image:  Spider-Man (Miles_Morales))
(Image:  Captain Jack Sparrow)
There were even some non-human cosplayers...

(Image:  An approaching Dalek--"EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!")
(Image:  Ghostbusters answering the call)
(Image:  CatwomanBatgirl, and Black Cat)
(Image:  Ladybug minus her Cat Noir friend)
Before I come to the last cosplayer I accosted snapped a photo of, I want to point out something I noticed during my short stay at this year's ECCC.

This was the first time I noticed couples consisting of a cosplay gal with a non-cosplaying guy.  I'm under the possibly false impression this usually isn't the case.  Prior to this con I've seen couples where both or neither are cosplayers; or the guy's in costume while the gal isn't.

Now I'm not saying this is a sudden phenomena, just the first time I truly noticed it.  And I'm sure there's all sorts of logical explanations for this, including my imagination.

I wanted to take pictures of some of these coupled, cosplaying women but felt reluctant to do so.

It seemed as if these guys were with were either:

a). Stoically supporting their sweetheart's hobby, or

b). Felt like they were being dragged through every women's apparel shop in the Mall of America, while the Big Game was being televised.

Since I couldn't tell, I didn't want to disrupt any delicate dynamic--even if I was imagining the whole thing.

I did make one exception though.

As I rounded a remote corner of Artist Alley, I nearly collided with Lady Punisher and her non-cosplaying boyfriend (husband?).  Since we were dressed alike, it was easy for me to break the ice and ask if she wouldn't mind posing for me.

I was tempted to overcome my camera shyness and get a picture of he both of us, but I didn't want to "overstay my welcome."

So that's it folks, a short & sweet synopsis of my partial day at the 15th Anniversary of the Emerald City Comicon.

Thank you to all the cosplayers for your patience while allowing me to photograph you.  Best wishes to you in all your cosplay activities and convention ventures.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Emerald City Comicon 2017: Part 2, Artists and Wares

(Image:  The ECCC's 15th Anniversary Program Guide)
Even though my one-day venture during the Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) was more of a supersonic fly-by, I managed to take a few pictures of the artists and vendors that caught my attention.

Weta Workshop had one of the largest displays at the con.

(Image:  In front of Weta's checkout counter)
(Image:  One of Weta's life-size banner ads)
(Image: A figurine of one of my favorite literary heroines--Eowyn
(Image:  A figurine of another favorite heroine--Galadriel)
(Image:  Diorama of Dol Guldur and figurine of Radagast and his sleigh)
(Image:  A larger-than-life size statue of Lurtz)
(Image:  Weta's on-site professional makeup service)

I came across two ECCC Merchandise stands during my walkabout.  This one in front of the Main Showroom, didn't have too long of a line...

(Image:  ECCC Merchandize booth in front of the Mainshowroom Entrance)
...but the smaller one in Artist Alley had less than half a dozen people waiting to be served.  I certainly didn't want to pass-up the opportunity a short merchandise line presented, and I was able to place my order as soon as I weaved my way to the cashier.

I picked up a new Punisher t-shirt...

...and an ECCC exclusive Punisher comic book.

The cashier asked me if I was excited about the The Punisher TV series.  To my chigrin, I told her this was the first I've heard of it.

I guess I should do some homework before venturing out to conventions in order to maintain my "geek cred."

Anyway, once I got the ECCC merchandise I wanted, I set off to annoy chat with some of the artists I know--and maybe even buy something from them.  (Note:  In my case, "know" means I've met an artist once, or twice).

I've run into Rebecca Hicks, author of Little Vampires, at just about every con I've managed to attend.  So I always make it a point to stop by her booth and say hi.

(Image:  Rebecca Hicks, her husband and her Little Vampires booth)
Her and her husband were nice enough to pose for a picture, even though I couldn't find anything this year to buy from them.

Brad Guigar has a few projects going on and several products available, but he always takes the time to talk to fans.

He maintains a "how-to" site about making and maintaining webcomics

His current long-form comic is Evil Inc., about a super-villain corporation.  He's working through Patreon to fund his Evil Inc. venture, along with commission work ranging from family-friendly to NSFW. 

Brad is also directly associated with ECCC through his collaboration with Tales from the Con.  If you attend comic book conventions regularly, you may end up living-out a scene described in Tales of the Con, which was available in book-form from the ECCC Merchandise Booth.

I was in such a rush trying to get to the con on time, that I forgot to peruse through my collection to ensure I don't by any duplicates.  Lately, I've been buying duplicate gaming items, which require a second trip back to the store to return them.

With Brad's help, I was able to figure out how many Evil Inc. volumes I already had, and which I could safely buy.

(Image:  My latest books signed by Brad Guigar)

Ron Randall is another artist I like to pester talk to.  He's enjoys meeting with fans, even ones like me already suffering from "con-fatigue."  (See my supersonic fly-by post about my mental state).

(Image:  Ron Randall)
While he was autographing the latest two Trekker books, I noticed Ron was a collaborator for Future Quest.  So we ended up talking about our mutual love of the best animated series ever--Jonny Quest.

Since I bought two of his Trekker books, Ron threw in his artist sketch book for free.

When I go on a shopping spree at events like ECCC, I try to keep an eye out for items friends or family members may like. 

Last year, a coworker lent me Watchmen to read, in order to compare to novel to the film.  While my knowledge of both Watchmen mediums is still limited, this crappy copy caught my eye.

(Image:  Nicole Goux with one of her collaborators, whose name I didn't get)
I asked Nicole Goux, one of the collaborators, about their version.  She said it was their homage to the original source material and attempt to analyze the artistic style of the book using their own drawings.

Despite the title, my coworker appreciated getting a nicely autographed copy of Shitty Watchmen.

I saw the following artists in-passing, but didn't get a chance to loiter around swing by their booths:

--Phil Foglio, currently writing his steampunk saga Girl Genius,

--Jeph Jacques, creator of Questionable Content, a slice-of-life comic--with robots, and

--Scott Kurtz, proprietor of Player vs. Player.

I wasn't planning on buying as many graphic novels as I did.  My original plan was to focus on getting game material.

(A life-size banner add for Flying Frog's cliffhanger game)
There were several gaming areas at this year's ECCC, but I didn't have time to sit down and play any of them, even the ones who were offering prizes if you win.

I browsed through a few of the vendor stands, but only bought a few supplement card packs from the Flying Frog Productions booth.  The staff were very friendly and helpful, especially in helping me figure out what I may have already purchased.

When I finally got around to going through my books and games, I was relieved to discover I didn't buy any duplicates of anything.

Next time I attend, I'll try to remember to write a list of already-owned material.

The final chapter in my ECCC-2017 Trilogy will be on the cosplayers.

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Emerald City Comicon 2017: Part 1, The Supersonic Fly-By

(Image:  The entrances to the Main Showroom)
Luck was with me this year as I was able to have two days off during the Emerald City Comicon (ECCC), and get a pass for the first day, Thursday, 2 March.  The doors didn't open until 2 PM, so I had time to prepare and even take a power nap before driving up to the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC).

I should have skipped the nap.

Traffic wasn't bad, but my luck ran out when I tried to find a place to park.  The WSCC's main garage was full, and so was the center's overflow lot--which I found out after driving around each of the levels--twice.

By the time I parked at the Washington Athletic Club, walked the two blocks to the WCCC and picked up my day pass at the Will Call Window, over an hour had gone by.

And the doors closed at 7 PM.  (Note:  This year, the ECCC expanded to four days, but for this first day, the con started four hours later than it normally does).

But I was hungry and needed something to eat.  So rather than spend any additional time standing in a line at a concession stand, or restaurant; I delved into the rations I stowed in my backpack.  While gnawing on a nutrition bar with the consistency of hardtack along with a few handfuls of trailmix, I skimmed through the program guide to figure out how I wanted to spend the 3.5 hours I had left.

Now I don't want to make this post sound like a rant about Seattle's traffic and parking problems, along with my poor time-management skills.  (By the way, it took me over an hour--just to get out of the Seattle city limits when I left the convention).

I'm merely posting this prelude so you can understand my frame of mind during my "supersonic fly-by" of this year's ECCC.

I was frantic.

So I decided to merely conduct a walkabout/shopping expedition, wearing my "lazy man's" Punisher outfit and a Thousand-Yard Stare on my face.

I think I managed to sound coherent when I talked to the few artists and fellow attendees I met.

Anyway, I spent most of my time on the Main Showroom and Artist Alley, along with a quick walk-through of the gaming area.

Here's a few more scenery photos I managed to take:

(Image:  Looking down at the Atrium from the Artist Alley level)
(Image:  Inside the Main Showroom)

(Image:  Another view of the Main Showroom)

(Image:  Entering Artist Alley)
My next ECCC post will be about the artists I met and the items I bought.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Preview: Monday on "Strange Inheritance"--Toy Soldier Story 2

I'm currently working on the pictures I took during my one-day visit to the Emerald City Comicon.

While trolling the internet, I stumbled across this trailer for tomorrow's episode of Strange Inheritance.

Although as a tabletop gamer, I don't find this particular inheritance strange at all.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Writing Some E Cards

Or reading Stern Rake Studio.

Then again, maybe not.

Anyway, no matter what you've been reading, I've been trolling Some E Cards for inspiration.

When I come down with writer's block, I'll write one or two using the Create Your Own Cards program.

My first one referenced Star Trek, and I filed it under the Workplace Category.

Then after seeing the little-used military-style images, I concocted several more referencing Murphy's Laws of Combat.

I'm not able to combine each "law" with an image because the sentence length is too long to fit into the picture.  So I've been skipping around a bit when I find an image that interests me.  Since there's no military category, I filed these under the Veteran's Day November Holiday Category.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

If I think of any more I'll post them here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

On My Way to ECCC!

As luck would have it I have some time off this week--enough to attend the 15th Emerald City Comicon.

However, when I got around to actually buying tickets, only one day was left.

I hope to make the most of it.

Afterwards, I'll post whatever pictures I manage to take and comment on any (mis)adventures I have.

So stay tuned!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Book Review: Zulu Dawn

After writing my double feature movie reviews last month, I decided to finally read the old copy of Zulu Dawn that's been occupying space in my library for, oh, I don't know for how long.

Zulu Dawn was written by Cy Endfield, who co-wrote the screenplay of the same name.

The book provides in-depth character backstories and introspection, as well as a more detailed narrative about the chain of events...

...that led up to the Battle of Isandlwana...

...along with its immediate aftermath.

Many of the scenes play out differently in the book than in the movie, but end with similar, if not identical results.

The Zulus themselves have a greater role in the book.  This part of the story focuses on the young warrior Bayele, who is selected for one of many scouting missions.  When he returns with news about the British invasion, he's chosen to lead a deception operation by allowing himself, along with two others, to be captured.  Only after getting thoroughly roughed-up, he and his comrades try to mislead the British about the location of the main Zulu army.

Bayele gains his revenge by killing Colonel Henry Pulleine...

...and Lieutenant Vereker...

...who's fate in the movie was never clarified.

Since I like the movie, I liked the book, even though it doesn't even show up on a Google search for the best books about the Battle of Isandlwana.

While Zulu Dawn may not be the most scholarly work, Enfield's narrative is very readable, especially when describing the chaos of battle.  Plus, after watching the movie so many times, it was easy for me to visualize the story.

Zulu Dawn gets a sunny 4-star rating.