My first ever comic convention was definitely a trip. See, I'm not overly knowledgeable about comics. I'm not the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons by any means but I know comic book characters, I know comic book publishers, and I've seen enough science fiction films and television shows that I thought this would be a place where I could fit in a bit. I found that to be both a true and false notion. Of all the conventions to go to, why pick Emerald City Comic Con, in the Washington State Convention Center; why not something a bit closer like Toronto or New York City? Why go all the way to the other side of the country? To be honest, nothing about ECCC stood out that made it better than any other Con, but having wanted to visit Seattle for a while and seeing the celebrity guest list I decided that this year I was going to make it happen. I had looked last year but didn't have a major draw to justify flying all that way. This year I found three: John Barrowman, Karen Allen and Stan Lee... (Hit Read More below to continue)
Why Karen Allen? She is super kick-ass in Indiana Jones and I really liked her in Animal House, plus she seems like a very nice person in interviews. Why Stan Lee? Do I need to give a reason? HE'S STAN LEE! Finally, why John Barrowman? I LOVE Doctor Who and Torchwood and figured it was the closest I would get to meeting David Tennant who I just adore. (That might sound lame but it's honest.)
I saw that the 3-day passes for ECCC were sold out long ago, and since I was planning a trip as well as a Con visit, I chose to buy a Friday pass giving myself the weekend and hoping it wouldn't be too crazy since it was the first day (maybe less people would be there than on Saturday and Sunday when the biggest names were appearing). I made the decision to purchase my pass in February because I was afraid everything was going to sell out but kept checking the website to see if new guests were added. I had hit the jackpot - not only were Karen, John and Stan going to be there all 3 days, but Hayley Atwell was added and was only appearing on Friday! I was SO excited because I love her on Agent Carter and in Captain America. Plus I found out it was her first Con appearance ever which I thought made it a little extra special. On top of it all, they run a cinema series at a place called Cinerama (which was actually directly across the street my hotel), showing a few movies and having a Q&A with a celebrity from the movie. Thursday night was supposed to be Karen Allen and a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Saturday night was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World with a Q&A featuring Brandon Routh (sidenote, I found it interesting they didn't decide to show his Superman movie). I think I snagged the Holy Grail though: Marvel's The Avengers with a Stan Lee Q&A. As soon as I saw this I literally flipped out and bought my ticket (seat K18 haha) - I mean STAN LEE and seeing the Avengers on the big screen? I knew that'd be the best part of my day.
As excited and nervous as I was for ECCC as it approached, I also was severely disappointed and upset. They had some cancellations, Karen Allen being one of them, which really bummed me out. But none as much as finding out the week of the convention that John Barrowman had to cancel for Friday because of filming commitments and would only be there Saturday and Sunday. That means my photo-op which I had prepaid for would be refunded and I wouldn't get to see him at all. He had a private event scheduled for Saturday night that was separate from the convention, but I didn't buy tickets because I didn't want to spend more money and I had thought I'd be seeing him on Friday. I literally was almost in tears. I mean Karen Allen I guess I could live with, but I was REALLY looking forward to seeing John. My whole schedule for Friday then became Hayley Atwell and Stan Lee.
Can I just mention the clusterfuck that is scheduling when going to a Con? Holy crap is it annoying - my initial list of say, 10 people to see was cut down to 3 when I saw the scheduling. I didn't know every day was different, or how much the times would be conflicting with others as much as they did, let alone that panels were only held once during the convention and it changed depending on who the person was. This meant that Stan Lee had ONE autograph session on Friday (5:30pm on top of it) and nothing else - no panel and no photo-ops. And that Hayley Atwell had the most crammed schedule ever: 2pm panel, 3pm photo-op and 4:30pm autograph session. That really screwed me up with wanting to see other people; it seemed like EVERYBODY had an autograph session at 2pm but that was her panel time and damnit it was the only thing that was free at the whole damn thing and I wasn't going to miss it. I decided that since my day at the Con didn't overly start until 2pm I'd go around noon instead of when it opened at 10am.
Before I start on about the actual Con itself, I'd like to just say how fracking expensive this entire endeavor was. I'm not going to name specific celebrities, but someone asked like $99 for a photo-op and $80 for an autograph. I mean, really? The voiceover actors were a LOT lower, and I'm not saying every actor asked for over $60 because they didn't, but it really affected how I scheduled myself and who I wanted to see. My cousin and I debated this last year when I considered going - she is a huge Trekkie and went to conventions and cruises in the early 80s. She also never paid for an autograph but back then they didn't actually charge for them either. I get this is how people make money when not filming, but come ON - $226 for yourself and 3 other celebrities is insane. That was practically one of my plane tickets! I quickly learned from this experience what I was and was not willing to pay for...
About the Author
I'm Sarah, an aglophile at heart with a sever wanderlunst and a talent for making chocolates.
Still waiting for my prince in a blue police box...