This year, for the first time, Jenn, Cohen and I attended the Emerald City Comic Con, a comic-centric Con in its 9th year, but open to all forms of scifi, fantasy and gaming genres. Our two prime areas of interest Firefly and Fringe. This year, John Noble ("Walter") and Jasika Nicole ("Astrid"/"Asterisk"/"Asteroid"/"Kick Ass-trid") were going to be on a panel and the fan-film "Browncoats Redemption" was going to be shown (Jenn waslooking forward to this).

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Friday Evening

Despite me being sick for most of the day, we went to the friday evening show and caught the tail-end of Wil Wheaton's "Hour of Awesome" and then got to see an hour of Jonathan Frake's panel. On the comic book vendor floor we got to see Brent Spiner walking amongst some of the many comic book artists. I wish I knew more about comics and the artists behind them, but it was quite inspiring to see the variety of artwork they produce. 

We covered a majority of the floor and called it a night. We saw a few costumes Friday night, my favorite being the two Rebel pilots from Star Wars, one of which I heard one call the other: "Porkins", which was apropos. 


Cohen decided that, when we went back on Saturday, he was going in costume. Initially he wanted to wear his Star Wars clone trooper costume, but we convinced him that his Link costome (of Zelda fame) would be more popular especially since it was hand-made.


So we returned Saturday, but because we got a slow start on the morning, I had to miss the zombie panel with Max Brooks, which I later heard was amazing. We had to run to Value Village to find Cohen a pair of matching boots for his Link get up. 

Immediately after arriving at ECCC, people were recognizing him for Link, even in the parking garage! By the time we got into the Convention Center lobby, people were asking to take his photo, a scene which would recur all day long.


The John Noble Panel

This was one of the highlights of our experience at ECCC, getting to see the man behind Walter/Walternate as well as Denethor from the Return of the King. One of the things Jenn wanted to find out was if he knew about people having "fringe parties" where people eat foods that Walter eats in the show. Just about every episode, Walter has a craving for a particular, random food. Jenn thought it would be fun if we ate that food while we watched the show the following week.


While Cohen and Jenn sat watching his panel, I waited in the aisle hoping to get a good spot in line on one of the 3 microphones set up for audience questions. Having seen how slowly they progress through the lines, usually getting to the 3rd person from each line before wrapping up, I had to get in line quick!

As soon as they mentioned it was time to take some questions, I bolted to the mic and found myself first in line! Yes! And moments later, he pointed to me and asked me what my question was! Yikes! 

I had carefully formulated my question in my head, so I asked it, and here's the exchange as best as I can remember:

Me: "Hello, I had a request for you to make to your writers. Each week, when we watch the show, we eat the food that Walter ate during the previous episode, which has made for some pretty intersting food, such as the cough-syrup milkshakes" 



Me: "So, I have a request that you ask the writers to keep the food interesting, but not too interesting, like the cough-syrup milkshakes [more laughter] because we're getting tired of Red Vines."

John: "That's the funniest thing I've ever heard!" 

John: "Did you also smoke the dope, too?" [laughter]


Here's a link to a video of the very end of the my question: here (thank you Christophe Trefois)

I want to give a thank you to twitterer "GoodNightIrene" for finding the videos and news articles about the Fringe Panel and fringe food!

And thanks to "The One True B!X" for this photo, which captures their response to "cough syrup milkshake":


Some of the notable insights:

  • When Jasika was asked the alternate universe nickname was for Astrid, she responded, "Kick-Asstrid"
  • One of John's favorite scenes to film was Denethor's dining scene in RotK.
  • Astrid is an artist
  • Episode 3.19 will be poignant
  • The Alternate Universe conundrum will be resolved sooner than later

The Costumes

In between panels, we would mingle with the crowds to check out the other costumes. Before the con, I told Jenn that I wanted to see at least one "really well done Wonder Woman". I wasn't disappointed, despite the best one being a 6'4" queen who absolutely OWENED the outfit. 

Other costumes of interest:

  • At leat 15 Mandelorians (Boba Fett is Mandelorian) of all colors, shapes and sizes.
  • An astonishingly well-made Witch-Kind of Angmar.
  • A well-done Predator alien
  • A bloody "Claire" Wildcats cheerleader, who followed my "Save the cheerleader..." with " the world" as we passed.
  • Mulder and Scully.
  • Pedobear. Is it wrong to laugh and take a photo? Color me wrong.

While we mingled and took in the other costumes, countless people asked to take Cohen's photo in his Link costume, which was a lot of fun.

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More Panels

We sat through another panel with Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner, which was enjoyable aside from the pathetic MC'ing by KISW's B.J. Shae (this year the ECCC folks experimented with letting local media people MC the panels). BJ was an epic fail on this panel, especially when be diverged into talking about colonoscopies. The audience clearly did not find this conversation interesting and they relented and went to the audience questions. 


Frakes was entertaining, and Spiner has a dead-pan Patrick Stewart impersonation, however you get the impression that they are getting a little burnt on the con circuit, Spiner in particular. However, this is entirely understandable; how many times can you answer, "what is your favorite episode?". Regardless, it is fun to watch them interact, and a fan stumped Spiner on the lyrics of the "tiny little lifeforms" song (which I hear he did sing on Sunday).

We skipped the Shatner panel and went to find some late lunch instead. We just weren't nearly as interested in the top-billed guest as the other folks we already saw. I do regret not sitting in on more Wil Wheaton panels. He's just so genuine, funny and intellgent. His references and shout-outs are all excquisite. 

We also checked out the photo area, where people pay and queue up to get an autograph with the various media guests. We saw that Shatner was charging $75 for a photo and autograph. Damn. While it seems silly that a celebrity should have the gall to charge his fans that kind of money for a photo-op, imagine the chaos that would ensue if they didn't? I just wish they'd give their money to a charity. 

We took a look at the tables and can't imagine the disappointment someone paying $75 for a Shatner photo might feel. He just sort of sits there, totally detached from the fan. Might as well have photoshopped them in. However, the polar opposite of that is James Marsters, who totally, and literally, embraces his fans in his photos. I can see why he is so very popular at these events. Kudos to Mr. Marsters.

Browncoats Redemption

Jenn, a huge Firefly/Serenity fan, was looking forward to the screening of the fan film Browncoats Redemption. This was a film made on a $40,000 budget with all DVD proceeds going to charity. The movie is cannon and was blessed by Joss Whedon and contains a few cameos by actors from Firefly! 

The film, while rough, was a pretty well made movie considering the people that made it were not actors, directors or editors. There's even some CGI. When I say rough, I mean the sound editing was atrocious, though I heard that the sound editor bailed very early into the production. The video editing was ok, but the cinematography left a lot to be desired.

The director stated they filmed the movie using the all-digital Red One camera system (which is being used to film the Hobbit as well), however it was not used to nearly its potential. But again, these were amateurs with limited resources. Over all, it was a good movie, though it could probably been edited down to an hour from the hour and a half run.

Cameos included Adam Baldwin ("Jayne Cobb") as a communications officer, and Michael Fairman ("Niska") as Niska. I figure SAG issues prevented them from taking on larger roles.

Overall I'd give the film 2 and half stars.

The Masqerade

Having never been to a con, we didn't really know what to expect at the Masqruade event. We encourage Cohen to participate, and he actually entered, however as soon as he heard that it meant standing on a stage in front of a thousand people presenting his costume, he withdrew. That's a lot of pressure for a little guy. Maybe next year, now that we know what to expect.

The costumes ranged from the amazing to the obscure, with everything in between. Though we didn't stay to see the winners, we presume the crowd favorite, the "Walking Dead Girl" won. It was spectacular and timely.

My favorites:

  • Wonder Woman
  • The "V" Shock Trooper (original series)
  • Dr. Who Tardis and Dalek-stylized dresses
  • The dude with the amazing, articulated Steampunk arm
  • Plastic Man
  • The tiny Super Girl in the pink rubber boots

 Over all it was a great time. Despite buying 3-day passes, we opted out of Sunday, as we figured we had seen everything we set out to see. I would have liked to have seen more of the costumes, but it wasn't worth paying for parking again.

I look forward to the next interesting con that comes our way.