Going into this assignment, I was excited (obviously!), but also a tiny bit nervous. I’ve never been to a con before and–although I felt I knew something of what to expect thanks to all the reports I’ve heard and read for other con goers (especially the Comic Geek Speak podcast), I still wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Just how crowded would it be? Was there any chance of actually getting a seat for the panels I wanted?

Some of these questions and concerns remain unanswered after today, but quite a few were laid to rest as well. While it’s my understanding that Saturday will probably be much more crowded, Friday was actually a lot more sparse than I was expecting. Definitely not in a nobody’s-here kind of way, just in an I-wasn’t-expecting to-get-through-the-aisles-easily kind of way. It was just the right amount of people, actually, and it wasn’t nearly as stressful as I had feared.

Since ECCC didn’t start until 2pm today, I had the morning to do some sightseeing around the con’s lovely host city. This included a trip to the Space Needle (of course), and the Sci-Fi Museum/Experience Music Project. An odd combo to be sure, and the Sci-Fi museum was under renovation except for a small Battlestar Galactica exhibit, but it was a good time all the same. They also have the single best sign for any museum I’ve ever seen:

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Then, finally, it was time for the con itself. In spite of printing out the wrong part of the confirmation email, and thus having to run 10 blocks back to my hotel to print out the attached PDF file I was supposed to have, I did finally get my badge and get in the queue to enter. Immediately, I made a beeline for the booth of one of my heroes, Greg Rucka. While beaming in what must have been an incredibly foolish manner, I got him to sign my Batwoman trade, along with a copy of his latest novel, The Last Run (spoiler: it’s really, really good.)

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Fangirl needs assuaged, it was time to explore the rest of the con floor…and be completely and utterly overwhelmed by the size. Rookie that I am, I made the mistake of not having a plan. I knew, generally speaking, who it was and what it was I wanted to see…but no route in mind, and no clue where they were in relation to each other. The solution? Wander aimlessly!

Lucky for me, I wandered directly into Matt Fraction! And wouldn’t you know it, my tpb of his Eisner winning Invincible Iron Man is in my backpack. Autograph please!

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There is less cosplaying going on than I imagined. I live in San Diego, so when I think “con,” I have visions of the entire Gaslamp and Harbor districts being overwhelmed by Stormtroopers and Jedi. Speaking of whom:

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It’s the 501st Legion! Immortalized forever in Star Wars lore (thanks to their pivotal role in the plot of the Star Wars Battlefront II game), this superfan club attends cons in very detailed, very beautiful costumes. In the celebrity-oriented part of the con floor, they accept donations for charity in return for allowing fans to have their pictures taken with them. (I wasn’t allowed to get pictures in that area–chairty photos only–but I saw a couple of very nice Jedi costumes, and an uncannily good Boba Fett.)

They weren’t the only ones dressed up, though:

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And my personal favorite (just because Sandman is and will forever be my favorite book of all time):

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But! Enough sightseeing and autograph hounding for one afternoon. It’s time for the only panel I have scheduled for today: DC Nation!

…which is completely full by the time I get there (half an hour early!), so it’s time for plan B. And a fine plan B it is, because it involves Mr. Wil Wheaton!

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Although I’m bummed about not being able to hear a panel by one of the big two (I WILL be attending their main panel on Saturday, at least), Wheaton put on a fantastic hour of entertainment. Three short stories were read, questions were answered, many laughs were had. He also announced, much to the delight of fans, that new episodes of EUReKA should be released in June, and that he will be coming back for the fifth season.

Okay. Panel over. Getting hungry. Saw a cafeteria at the back of the con floor and…wait, what? You want HOW much for a slice of pizza?! I’ll pay $50 for a media guest autograph before I drop that kind of money on some baked dough an peperoni!

It’s just as well though, really, because with the time I save by not eating, I’m able to hightail it over to meet Ed Brubaker, and get him to sign my Winter Soldier trade:

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I’d like to find Brian Michael Bendis, so he can scribble on my Daredevil trade, but that will have to wait til tomorrow since he’s out and about and not at the table.

Con’s starting to wind down for the evening, so I do a little more shopping, then start to head out. On the way to the exit, I’m stopped dead in my tracks by this guy:

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His name is John Gaing of Orbital Harvest, and his artwork is absolutely amazing. People were drawn to his booth the moment they caught sight of one of his pieces. His work was uniformly fantastic, but my personal favorites are his portraits of Snake Eyes and Stormshadow. Great, great stuff.

So! That’s it for coverage of Day 1. Tomorrow is going to be a lot more news-oriented…I have a LOT of panels scheduled. Some are back to back in separate rooms so I may end up shut out, but I’ll hope for the best. Make sure to keep following the live updates on our Twitter and Facebook pages too–tomorrow night’s wrap up post will be particularly late, because after the con closes I’m heading to the Seattle Hard Rock Cafe for Kracklefest with Kirby Krackle! (And yes, I’ll be updating from there too!)

Grade

Conclusion