Attended the Bridge City Comics Stumptown Hard Cover Signing on Friday March 25th with a couple friends. We arrived there a bit later than expected due to some family issues on my part.
This was my first experience with Bridge City Comics and I’ll have to say it looks like a great store to service the North Portland area. The shop is a bit small and crammed, but it’s well lit and clean. Not at all like the dingy, spooky local shops of our imagination. All the staff seemed friendly enough – there were some ladies sprinkled in amongst the mens and even some parents with their kids.
Because it’s completely out of my territory, I probably won’t do a lot of repeat business at Bridge City unless there’s an event there. But I always make a habit of buying a book when I attend a free event. Baby’s gotta eat, ya know. BTW – we also bought two X-Factor trades, which I’m looking forward to reading in the next week.
It’s funny, I was chatting with a nerd friend yesterday about how comics is a struggling industry, and sometimes that’s such a difficult concept for me to grasp from this vantage point.
Portland is a city that is a complete outlier when it comes to comics. Instead of shops closing down left and right, we have new ones opening. Portland really does love comics, and that’s why it’s so strange to imagine that the industry could be struggling nationwide…because it seems to be growing in our city and the Pacific Northwest in general.
Especially the convention aspect. Stumptown Comics Fest is upgrading to a larger venue, Emerald City Comic Con has grown every year and it’s not even been around for a decade, and a new GeekGirlCon in Seattle is rising up this year to join the ranks. Conventions have almost become the hub on which most pop culture runs – sucking in the television, movie and even sometimes book publishing industries.
But comics, as an art form, may be dying. It’s tough for me to chat with folks who’ve been collecting longer than I have and hear them reminisce about the days when conventions were only for stocking their long boxes. We have something like that here in Portland – the Comic Book Show. We can purchase back issues, graphic novels and trade paperbacks tax free without having to drive three hours away. I like that it’s low-key. And honestly – it’s where I do most of my shopping.
This has kind of turned into rambling about the Portland scene in general, but I do feel like it’s hard to see where some of the comic book sages are coming from. The medium has been transformed in the last ten years and sometimes it feels like the publishers aren’t really completely on board with what is happening. Some people have stopped collecting floppies. Lots of folks are welcoming a digital comics revolution and/or reading webcomics. There are Kindles, Nooks and iPads roaming the streets consuming paper print media in their wake.
The comics industry IS struggling because of those things, but it need not be the end of the medium as we know it.
PICTURES AND VIDEO BELOW THE RANT
Everyone knows the best part of a fan convention is the opportunity to cosplay your favorite franchise in the safe company of fellow nerds who will love you for it. Even a crappy costume gets love at a comic con. And for those not crazy enough to dress up, there is always the opportunity to snap a photo with those who are.
As promised, here are some of the best costumes from March 4th-March 6th. Included a few of the costumes from the Masquerade which have already been seen, but these pics are better. My apologies for so much…me…in this slideshow. 😛
SADLY, this is the last ECCC related blog entry until 2012. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be anymore content on this here blog!
NEXT WEEK: Battle: Los Angeles Review, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena Recap and The Hunger Games Link-Bombs + My Attempt at Casting.
LATER THIS MONTH: Sucker Punch Review, Book Club Recap, Bridge City Comics Signing Recap
AND MORE: I’ll also be meeting with a friend here in the PDX area who is interested in collaboration. Excited about mixing things up a bit and seeing what kind of response we get. I’ll post more details soon!
DAY TWO RECAP: L4D COSPLAY, THE GUILD PANEL, MASQUERADE
The morning got off to a rocky start with a late breakfast at the hotel restaurant and getting my parents settled in to the room. We’d all (except for Erin) decided to do a little Cosplay for Saturday – my parents dressed in Star Trek uniforms for their picture with William Shatner, my dad once again sporting some stylized facial hair.
Dan and I were sporting our Left 4 Dead costumes – Dan dressed as Bill and I went as Zoey. It took us about two months to put the costumes together. Most of the pieces were purchased outright or items we already owned, but some were customized.
Clothing items we already owned: Dan’s pants, white undershirt. My jeans and white undershirt.
Clothing items we purchased: Green beret, pink track jacket, black hi-top cons, black army boots
Bill’s green beret was customized with a yellow patch which Dan ACTUALLY sewed on. Very proud of him for that. Zoey’s jacket we purchased online at Wal-Mart. It was the closest match I could find and also the cheapest. They’re on clearance right now, if you want to pick one up before they’re gone. I had to do a bit of alteration – cutting, gluing and sewing white fabric on – Thank God this jacket comes equipped with black fabric as an outline for all the places you need to add material. Also had to cut the black fabric off the collar, as well as remove the tacky glued on bits underneath. THAT took awhile. Way too damn long but aided with the help of one of those de-fuzz-baller-things.
Dan spray-painted two guns black to cover the orange tips – one a machine and another a shot-gun – both appear in the video game series. We printed up some hilarious “Pain Reliever” labels for generic aspirin bottles here, attached it to the side of our pants with velcro and safety pins.
We also purchased two red expandable duffle bags from Wal-Mart which we customized with white fabric. We attached them to our backs with safety pins so they would seem to inexplicably hang there.
Finally – we made up “Boomer Bile” bottles which took searching at three or four different stores to find the right container. We went with water bottles purchased at our local Target (not finding them online), augmented with flat toothpicks and spray painted to match the white color of the lids. We added a bit of red tape to the lid, and then printed up a label found here on sticker paper. The boomer bile we modified based on a recipe we found on this Cosplay forum. Highly suggest the forum – it has a ton of great ideas for manufacturing props and putting together accurate costumes.
Boomer Bile Recipe Used: Lime Green Gatorade, Green Food Coloring and a dab of Cornstarch. Just gotta shake it up every once in awhile if the starch settles. It gives off a delicious green glowing color…and you can drink it for full effect.
The results of all this time and effort looked something like this:
DAY ONE RECAP: BSG EXHIBIT, TONY HARRIS CONVO, LGBT PANEL AND BUFFY THE MUSICAL
Day One of Emerald City Comic Con 2011 got off to an early start. We left Portland around 7:30am (after final packing and gassing up the car) and arrived in Seattle around 10:30am. We checked into Sixth Avenue Inn to see if they had a room ready for us, and shockingly it was already prepped.
All the amenities that are important to con-going on a budget were available – free wifi, microwave, and mini-fridge. The only big issues we had were the “flankets” (fake-blankets) and the small ass shower. I had to turn sideways in order to wash my hair or my elbows would have popped out the curtain.
Anywho – we unloaded the car, oriented ourselves and then made the long trek up to the Science Fiction Museum. We took a detour and had a delicious pre-BSG Exhibit Thai lunch at Golden Singha. Highly suggest it if you are in that area.
Finally entered the museum doors and wandered up to the third floor where the exhibit is housed. Upon entering you are greeted by a Cylon frakkin’ Raider complete with rolling red eye. Somewhere there exists a video of me geeking out when I realized that it was…sentient. Well, mock sentient.
Other exciting mysteries include Starbuck’s pilot suit, her for reals dog tags, the infamous Number Six red dress and a gorgeous outfit worn by President Roslin in the opera house scene. The Mark II and Mark IV Vipers were pretty wicked as well…though I would have LOVED to touch and climb into one of them. It wouldn’t hurt for them to make up a fake one that fans could enter and snap a photograph. I would pay EXTRA for that privilege.
I don’t wanna post all the pics here because if you really, really love BSG, you should go and check it out yourself. The exhibit is running through March 4th, 2012. In fact, one of the staff mentioned plans to bring back some cast and crew in the next year to do script readings or signings. I signed up for their mailing list so expect updates.
As we were exiting the exhibit, we met Leyla from Missouri who was super excited to find another female fan. We chatted for quite awhile about Caprica and Blood and Chrome. She definitely inspired me to finish off Caprica and get pumped for Blood and Chrome by referencing how Caprica explains the resurrection ships and ties into the rest of the series. I exchanged info with her and we’re now FB friends – she even picked up a business card from Sarah Hulin for the Starbuck Mandala earrings. You can check out Sarahhoo’s Etsy shop here.
We wandered over to the Museum store and picked up a handsome collection of propaganda posters. We haven’t framed any of them yet, but here’s a sample of them from the store display:
That was just about the end of the BSG exploits, so we trekked back to the hotel and prepped for the con.
EMERALD CITY COMIC CON
We entered the doors, grabbed our badges and toured the floor. It was much more crowded than I remember from 2009 and I was happy to note that the media guests were in a separate section of the convention hall to keep the flow of the show-floor open. We hit up a few booths pretty immediately – Jason Palmer Studios which was a carry-over from SDCC, where Dan purchased this Jayne shirt. They were sporting some gorgeous BSG prints and a new Sereni-Tee design…but we were being cautious about too much spending the first night.
No really. I’m coming back. It’s been a long, long time. I’ve got no real excuses except my incredibly demanding job and life took over and blogging about my passion…hell…engaging in my passion of geek stuff and comic books completely got away from me.
But of course – there’s always something astoundingly awesome that happens in my life to reinvest me in loving comic books, video games, the internets, science fiction and everything related to it once again.
That thing – this last weekend, was Emerald City Comic Con 2011. I’d purchased the tickets and booked the hotel room back in a much simpler time period. When I thought I had the potential for a stable position with my current employer, when my husband was employed and when I was pretty much on track to apply and enroll to get an MLS.
All that has changed now. Coping with a lot of big changes in life – a new job, going back to school, a new job for my husband, he is finishing up school (and working at an internship right now), so blogging might only end up being a once a week deal…but I DO NOT want it to get away from me again. Having an outlet for writing and engaging about my nerdy affairs is too important.
FOR THE MOMENT:
I’ve still been involved in our Book to Film Adapation club and would like to transfer some of that to this blog…if not just my ruminations following our discussions.
The long and short of it is – I hope you will consider sticking around, or reinvesting in this blog because I will be. Starting today.
I will be posting wrap-ups and pictures of each day of Emerald City Comic Con 2011 this week: Tuesday-Thursday. Next week you can expect a review of Battle: Los Angeles and we might be joining the PDX Browncoats for a shin-dig on Saturday.
After that – it’s into the great wide open. I picked up a few new books to review and there are a steady stream of compelling movies and television shows out there for consumption, including reviews of Sucker Punch, Being Human, Face Off and more!
While you wait – here is a batch of photos to catch you up on some of the exploits of the last few months until just last week. Enjoy!
YES: I realize I’ve been a terrible blogger lately. Can I just blame it all on my new job? Basically I’ve gained the much coveted (in my world anyway) mantle of AmeriCorps Program Coordinator but it comes at the cost of tackling two programs. Which used to be staffed and supported by like 5 people. So here’s me…on the raggedy edge for the next 12 months.
So please, bear with me. I promise that I’ll post content very soon, but it’ll probably be sporadic the next month due to hosting multiple day orientations in the next three weeks. And settling into another office. And trying not to go stark raving mad.
BUT: I can promise you more content regarding the Phoenix tattoo (another appointment on the 11th!) AND the aforementioned post comparing the Lizbeths of the World (going to see Eat, Pray, Love this weekend). Probably some True Blood Season 3 wrap-up in there somewhere. Not to mention gurglings about some of my favorite TV shows right now…
October will feature a Wordstock wrap-up and lots of posts regarding the extravaganza known as Halloween (The Walking Dead TV series!).
November is the Portland Comic Book Show, Harry Potter and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.
ALSO: I’m applying for a MLIS program this year, which will hopefully start up in August. For those not in the know, an MLIS is a Master’s in Library and Information Science. I’ll probably update snippets here and there on ye old blog regarding that process.
ALSO: Expect to see a few knitting posts cropping up. I promise only appropriately themed nerd projects (Jayne Hats and HP scarves in the future).
RIGHT NOW: Emerald City Comic Con 2011 tix are on-sale today. I’m reserving mine immediately. I’m also clearing out my calendar. No, seriously. And there’s a kick-ass hotel 6 blocks from the convention center with free parking and wireless. It’s $59 a night, which is pretty comparable to what we ended up paying at a crappy Motel 6 two years ago. The hotel looks kinda skeevy, but oh well. I don’t plan on spending much time there!
Stumptown Comics Fest posted their dates already. April 16 and 17. They’ve also decided to wear big boy pants and move to the Convention Center. Read all about it here.
I feel like such a proud nerd right now – seeing my Pacific NW comic book scene pull its shit together so early. It is keeping me from going balls-out-crazy with work stress.
Please, have patience with my slothenly ways. I’ll come back in full force pretty soon. Just need some space to catch my breath!
Dan and I hit the road around noon yesterday, on our way up to the Seattle Comic Con – otherwise known as Emerald City Comic Con. We had tentatively planned this trip a few months ago, dependent upon funds and time and the aligning of the fates.
Well, at some point last week, on the verge of deciding not to go, I checked their site to see what exciting guests might peak my interest and swing the vote. Turns out – a few, including:
Pretty kick ass line up. Then I spotted in the artist/writer’s tables Mike Mignola and Greg Rucka, and was sold even further. So – Dan and I debated up until Friday evening about whether or not we would attend. Saturday morning, we decided yes.
We didn’t arrive in Seattle until around 2:30pm, and felt discouraged about attending the Con with only a few short hours on the docket. Also we were fairly sure we’d missed an opportunity to take pics with Tahmoh (my goal for the event). Instead, we secured some wireless internet – located lodging close by (a stunning Motel 6 in SeaTac) and tucked in for the night.
After a fitful night of sleep, we checked out of our motel, hit up a Denny’s and arrived at the con a mere 1.5 hours later than we had intended. Oh – not to mention that whole day we missed too. 🙂 More madness behind the link…