My first Emerald City Comicon!

This past weekend, my household converged on Emerald City Comicon, along with a houseguest–a friend of mine who’d come all the way from Norway to visit us, and to attend the convention as well! (My poor friend came down with strep throat during his visit, but happily we got him treated beforehand, and liberal doses of antibiotics got him up to speed to be able to attend the convention. Otherwise there would have been SADNESS.)

Since this was my first Comicon of any kind, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m not a huge comics reader and never have been, with the gigantic exception of Elfquest. I don’t do superhero comics for the most part, though I have a history of dabbling in X-Men from way back in middle school. These days, I am actually doing a little bit of digital comics reading, but I’ve been focusing that on the Buffy season 8 and season 9 releases from Dark Horse, as well as their Firefly and Serenity stuff. And, I’ve been amusing myself with a Star Trek run of stories adapting TOS-era plotlines to use in the continuity of the new movies. There ARE a small number of webcomics I follow as well–xkcd, Kevin and Kell, and a lovely little thing called Fox Sister.

Mostly, though… I don’t follow the big storylines from Marvel or DC. Which makes me a bit sad. I love me some superheros, but I’m hugely alienated by the ongoing sexism of the art and the storylines. So I relate a lot better to superheros as they’re depicted in excellent animation like the wonderful years-long continuity that included the Batman, Superman, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. I’ve been consistently entertained by the Marvel movie adaptations, for the most part. And as y’all know, I adored the Avengers.

So when I went through the exhibition floor at the con and saw an endless stream of female characters depicted with enormous breasts and spines twisted in angles that NOBODY WOULD EVER POSE IN EVER, all for the sake of showing off their breasts and their bottoms… all I could think was ‘yeah, mostly? This is not art intended for me‘. I was particularly sad to see one big-breasted depiction of Phoenix from the X-Men, and another of Wonder Woman with a thong so tiny she was practically nude. In both cases, the characters were depicted with dewy-eyed ‘can has sexytimes now pls?’ expressions.

Definitely not art for me.

Happily, though, there were shining exceptions to this. One was, of course, Wendy and Richard Pini’s presence at the con. Elfquest is hands down one of the most formative influence on me as a writer ever. When I had Kiri Moth do the Faerie Blood cover, in fact, I pointed her at images of Leetah and Rayek from Elfquest and told her, “Kendis looks like the child these two characters never had.” But even aside from what my brain always insists elves should look like, the values of tolerance upheld by the lead elf characters all throughout the history of the series peal through my heart. And some of the strongest female characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about have come straight out of the pages of this series.

(If you’re new to Elfquest, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s ALL available to be read for free on GO! Go look at the pretty!)

Wendy and Richard did an excellent panel about the history of the series and what we can expect from it in the future, and I happily leapt on the opportunity to not only let my friend Yngvar buy me an Elfquest shirt at the con, but to also order two more from the site now selling them. I also ordered from the Pinis a special hardback edition of one of Wendy’s non-Elfquest works, her SF adaptation of Masque of the Red Death. This, hands down, was the highlight of the con for me.

Here’s the shirt that Yngvar got me! This is a reworked version of a design I used to have on a pale orange shirt, which had the caption “To Hunt, to Howl, to Live Free”, as I recall. Here it’s been redone to be a Comicon exclusive, and I do admit to a bit of fangirly squee to see that Wolfrider with the Space Needle in the background!

To Hunt, to Howl, to Live Free (in Seattle)
To Hunt, to Howl, to Live Free (in Seattle)

That said, though, I did also find one other set of graphic novels I want to read–a three-part series called Anne Steelyard, authored by the well-respected Barbara Hambly! This thing’s supposed to be set in an Indiana-Jones-esque timeframe, only the lead character is in fact a woman. Looking forward to diving into this, too.

And we bought pretty prints of art inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, and Doctor Who. And we saw lots of awfully nifty costumes–especially my and Dara’s friend Torrey, a master-class costumer now who’s won awards at Worldcon. We found her wandering the con in her Prince Zuko costume, again from Avatar: The Last Airbender. :D

I bought two other shirts as well–both of which were Han-Solo-themed. Just to show that there was merch at this thing Relevant to My Interests. ‘Cause seriously, this shirt? How could I NOT get this shirt?

The Most Scoundrelicious Shirt in the Universe
The Most Scoundrelicious Shirt in the Universe

All in all I think I still found more to relate to at ECCC than I have to date at PAX–and I’d consider doing a one-day jaunt to future cons. People who are more in comics than I am should definitely go.

ETA: Oh, right, duh, I totally forgot to mention the other actual panel I attended–the Q&A with Jhonen Vasquez, best known for being the mind behind Invader Zim, another longstanding favorite of my household. Vasquez turned out to be younger than I expected, but also hysterical–a bit of an asshole, but in a funny kind of way. He winged it through most of his panel, given that a lot of what he wanted to talk about he could not in fact do so until a later panel that should have come first, due to scheduling mixups.

Vasquez is apparently a bit weary of mostly everybody knowing him for Zim and nothing else, and isn’t shy about letting people know that. It was, however, fun to hear him talk passionately about the console games he likes, as well as discussing some of his other work.

Several awesome things make a post

I’ve been total Scattershot Girl when it comes to blogging for some time–like many, I’ve found most of my day to day online communication shunted over to Twitter and Facebook. But that said, I’ve had several recent lovely things happen that are worth sharing with you all in longer, blog-based form. So! In no particular order:

  • Finally saw The King’s Speech, since userinfospazzkat got it via Netflix. That was a very satisfying film, and I’m not at all surprised that it’s spawned so much fanfic across my various Friends lists and such. Everyone in that film did an amazing job, and I have much increased respect for Mr. Colin Firth now. Also, mad love for the scene where the speech therapist’s wife comes home and discovers the King and Queen in her dining room. :D

  • Also, as of today, finally saw Source Code with userinfosolarbird. Mad, mad props to userinfomamishka for recommending that! It’s a nice, tight little SF flick, and if you like alternate-reality type plots, try to catch this before it vanishes entirely. If you’re local to Seattle, it’s still playing at the Meridian 16 downtown, and it’s running at the Crest as well.

  • I have finally found a way I might actually read more comic books: the Dark Horse comics app for the iPad. I installed this on the grounds that a couple weekends back, Dark Horse had a sale of all its digital versions of Serenity and Firefly comics. Since I didn’t have Shepherd’s Tale yet, I thought what the hey, I’d buy ’em all. The iPad is definitely more suited to digital comics reading than the iPhone, that’s for sure, although the iPhone does actually talk to this app as well.

    Also on the iPad, I have a shiny new app called TunePal, recommended to me by Marilyn, one of the fiddle players who attends the weekly session userinfosolarbird and I have been going to. Those of you who know the Shazam app will find the way this works familiar; it basically identifies songs. But in this case, it identifies traditional Irish tunes! You can play them at the app on an actual instrument, or, it’ll identify ’em if you’re playing them in iTunes as well. Then it goes out and hits up a big ol’ database and yoinks back several guesses as to what it thinks you just played it. It’ll show you sheet music for its guesses, and it’ll play the sheet music for you as well. And, you can add tunes out of the database manually by searching for them as well. You can’t import your own tunes, which is my only complaint about the app, but it’s otherwise very, very cool. Any of my fellow music geeks out there who are interested in trad tunes, you should be checking this out.

  • Speaking of the iPhone, my coworker Joe pointed me at my new favorite iPhone game: Tiny Wings. You play a birdie with, of course, tiny tiny wings, and the object of the game is to get the birdie to fly as far as possible by tapping. It’s super-cute and only 99 cents, so check it out.

  • FOLKLIFE! Well, that deserves a whole separate post, but I’m noting it here anyway.

  • And while I am still technically on book buying hiatus, I’ve picked up a few freebies. And I will unrepentantly, UNREPENTANTLY I TELL YOU, break hiatus wide open to buy userinfoseanan_mcguire/Mira Grant’s Deadline this week. Because GIMME. Seriously.

  • My friend userinforavyngyngvar is sending me a Blu-Ray of a-ha’s last concert in Oslo! Thank you, Yngvar!

  • I am sorely behind on Doctor Who posts, and will shortly be doing a catchup post. It’s an indicator of how much I’ve not been paying attention to the net lately that I totally missed that BBC America did NOT air the second half of the two-parter on Saturday, to wit, bah. I did not however give enough of a damn about this to actually try to find and download the episode; it’ll air next week as far as I know, and I can wait that long. Especially given that we’re about to have the mid-season hiatus anyway. Just nobody spoil me, mmkay, those of you who’ve already caved and downloaded the ep anyway?

  • And because it’s always worth saying, mmmmm blackberries of my marketboys mmmmmm.