Every person attending a con goes with the hopes of gaining something. Maybe it's some classic comics, autographs, or maybe just information. As a person in the media, I'm always wary of asking for free stuff, wanting instead to use my own cash. Sometimes it is unavoidable as a creator will just throw a comic at me and force me to take it. It isn't easy, but someone has to do it. Here is a list of the top things I came away with from the 2008 Emerald City Comic Con.
1. Jeffrey Brown Trading Card #17
Top Shelf Comix had artists Andy Runton and Jeffrey Brown at the con this year, and Jeffrey was doing these absolutely cool trading cards. Basically he drew whatever you wanted on the cover and put the details on the back. I had seen him do a sketch of a person before me in line and asked if he would do the same. I thought the finished product was so completely cool and unique that it was a highlight of the show for me. To top it off, it was only $5. (I think he could have charged more.) I also picked up his graphic novel, The Incredible Change Bots.
2. Captain America Jack in the Box
This one was all me. No agenda, no review, just getting drafted in by the display on the shelf. The Kirby art drew me in at first naturally, and then I saw the handle on the side. I had to turn it, I just had to! What I heard was the wonderful sound of the Captain America theme song. Shortly later - POP - out came Cap. I had to have it. Luckily, it was only twenty bucks. I showed it to Brett Warnock of Top Shelf Comix and he asked if I had any kids at home. My answer...that would be me. Okay, maybe I'll let my daughter turn the handle, under my watchful eye of course. I picked this up from the Golden State Sports Card Company booth.
3. John Beatty - Captain America Sketch
I was perusing the CBLDF table and saw they had some cool sketches. Naturally I was drawn to a Captain America sketch (my personal favorite). The artist was John Beatty and I really liked the strong portrayal of my favorite hero. I love the concept that both the CBLDF and The Hero Initiative employ where they don't just ask for a donation, they try to have things you can purchase that have been donated or they have created so you both receive something. It's very similar to what PBS does for their donation drives. Anyway, I was glad to give some money for such a cool sketch that will go to my collection of comic art.
4. Elephantmen - War Toys
I got to meet Richard Starkings, the brain behind Comicraft and the Hip Flask line of comics. I love the art, concept, and stories in the Hip Flask series so Richard grabbed the latest mini-series of the Elephantmen and handed them my way. I'm excited to read through them and will let you know what I find.
5. Owly #4
Owly is a great all ages comic and Andy Runton is a very nice fellow. His comics are well drawn and have a timeless feeling to them. Andy actually knew who I was, which was a treat, and slapped the latest copy of Owly into my hands. The latest intstallment of Owly is due to be out this summer. I look forward to reading through this one and future issues as well.
6. Scott Pilgrim #1
Okay, I have a confession to make. I haven't yet read any Scott Pilgrim books. Wait! Put down those rocks! I found out Brian O'Malley was at the con and purposefully sought him out to pick up the first comic. From what I've read so far, I can see why people like it. The story and art are both very fun and have a playful style to it. I'm sure a full write up will be coming soon.
7. Incredible Change-Bots
I met Jeffrey Brown at the Top Shelf Comix table and picked up one of his latest works, The Incredible Change-Bots. I talked to Jeffrey about the book a bit and found out about his coloring on the work, something a little new for him, and the way he approached the book. He really went for a playful childlike style and story, and I totally felt like I was back in the day, playing with my Transformers in my room or out in the yard.
8. Concrete - Strange Armor
I really like the Concrete series by artist and writer Paul Chadwick, having read it awhile ago. I was looking for something for my neighbors who were watching my black lab for the week and thought they would really enjoy the origin story of the Concrete story. I met Paul, and he was glad to point me out in the right direction. The series I had read was an oversized edition, but the new releases are in themes. I grabbed the origin story, Strange Armor.
9. The Society of the Dragons Breath
I picked this up from artist Rich Ellis who is part of the Periscope Studio located in Portland, Oregon. His story was basically a tale of a party of gamers and the tale of their counterparts in a D&D game. It's obvious Rich is a gamer himself and gets the whole fantasy gaming concept. I think the thing that drew my attention in the first place was the cover. Rich did a really good job on it and the interior artwork fit the story as well.
10. Sea Freak
I had met Jonathan Case before this when I visited the Periscope Studio here in Portland. I had read some of the first chapter of his Sea Freak story at his website. He had a very appealing set up of the first three chapters of the story for just six bucks. The pages were in a large eight and a half by eleven size and the print job was very nice. It really helped to show off the great art inside.
11. Gearhead and Gunplay
I had actually first been introduced to Gearhead at last years ECCC, and really liked what I saw. It was pretty different, the art was good, and the story was unique. I had been meaning to pick up the trade to get the whole story, and was glad I got the last one left from the Arcana booth. I also got to meet Jorge Vega, the winner of the latest Platinum Studios Comic Book Challenge, and they threw a book my way. I'm interested in reading this supernatural western about a man who must kill once a day. Who dies today? Jorge says not me! Thanks Jorge.