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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dispatches from From the Emerald City Comicon: Day One

Posted by Joe Streckert on Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Unlike that thing in San Diego, the Emerald City Comicon is actually about, you know, comics. You know- sequential art and all that. The show is not about movie or TV studios promoting their next giant project or making huge, Hollywood-level announcements. It’s more of a giant nerd party that actually cares about the book, and, being in the Northwest, has more than a few Portland creators.

The exhibition hall was initially overwhelming, as it was full of people (some of whom were dressed as Batman) shiny things, noise, etc. Walking about, the photographer (the immensely talented Sarah Giffrow) and I eventually got our bearings waded into the undulating sea of fanboys and fangirls. Wading through it all, we did find a few Portland folks like Natalie Nourigat (who's working on two new books), Ron Chan and Sean Kelley (two local web cartoonists who just put out a printed collection of their comics), and Ron Randall, who's putting out a new issue of his labor-of-love Trekker comic after some fourteen years.

More on the con, and lots of photos from Sarah, after the jump.

I'm a big local history buff, and one comic that I've particularly enjoyed recently is The Secret History of D.B. Cooper by Brian Churillia, in which one of Portland's greatest historical badasses fights demon-things and communists. "I think it's time the truth be known," said Churilla, when I asked him about his comic, "D.B. Cooper was not something as pedestrian as a hijacker. He was in fact, a Cold War era dimension-hopping assassin working for the CIA." Good to know.

I only made it to two panels on Friday- the first was all about LGBT characters in comics, featuring Colleen Coover and Donna Barr, moderated by Charles Christensen of Prism Comics. The panel was good, and listening to the creators talk about their own work was nice, but they didn't get much into bigger political issues in the industry. There was also something called "Adult Origami" happening, but I decided to give that a miss.

In the evening, Portland’s Oni Press decided to mix things up with their panel. Instead of putting on a standard Q&A panel, Oni put their marketing guy, Cory Casoni, in the role of a late-night talk show host. Casoni opened with a monologue, cracked a few nerd jokes, and interviewed (talk-show style) Scott Pilgrim Creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, Tiny Kitten Teeth creators Becky and Frank, and Joelle Jones who led a pseudo-cooking show about fake baking- i.e., creating cakes and the like out of foam and paint. Delta! Bravo was on hand to play the role of house band. The format was a bit awkward, and the stage-show style presentation clashed a bit with the utilitarian layout of the convention hall, but it worked. Oni and O'Malley annouced that they're putting out Scott Pilgrim in larger, color editions starting August 8th.

"Are you tired of talking about Scott Pilgrim," Casoni asked O'Malley, who is also working on a new project with a different publisher. "I'm not weirdly," said O'Malley. "I'm not."

Photos by Sarah Giffrow are below!

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