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ComicsAlliance Guide to Emerald City Comicon 2012

Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon is known throughout the comic book industry not just as a more truly comics/cartoonist-focused event than the multimedia blitz of Comic-Con International in San Diego, but also has a show that’s just more fun in the sense of community and craft. Many of your favorite creators from the Web, indie comics and beyond will be represented on the showroom floor and artist alley, and publishers including Marvel, DC, BOOM! Studios, Image, Dark Horse and Oni will be on hand to discuss their various initiatives in perhaps a more personal way than you see at other conventions.

Given these unique properties of ECCC, exhibitors and creators have prepared an impressive lineup of variously fun and thoughtful presentations that will keep you busy all weekend. The ComicsAlliance editors will be on site in Seattle, and the following is intended as a helpful guide to some of the panels we hope to attend.FRIDAY

The Bad and the Bold: LGBT Characters
Room: 3AB
Time: 4:00 – 5:00

Prism Comics founder Charles “Zan” Christensen moderates this discussion whose other participants aren’t yet listed on the ECCC website, but the description is provocative and sounds fascinating:

Creators face a double-edged sword of either “positive” portrayals of LGBT characters and potentially creating lackluster work, or pushing the envelope and potentially sparking a firestorm and alienating readers. Mild gay innuendo labeled “Adults Only” in “Rawhide Kid”; gay blackmail in “The Boys” (which later won a GLAAD award); a bisexual alien in “Voodoo” spending a lot of time in strip clubs; a new, unabashedly flamboyant gay teen in “Teen Titans”: Some say these succeed as good comics and some disagree. What makes or breaks an “edgy” depiction of a queer character? Is there such a thing as “too far”?

Drawing Inspiration: The Art of the Whedonverse
Room: 4C1-2
Time: 5:00 – 6:00

Dark Horse Public Relations Director Jeremy Atkins moderates a panel featuring Phil Noto, Georges Jeanty, Chris Samnee and Andy Owens, who break down the artistic process behind DH and Joss Whedon’s successful line of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. In addition to the process material and discussion, the panel promises to debut new artwork from upcoming Whedonverse releases.

As we know, such things can be quite interesting.

Wonder Woman in Bondage
Room: 3AB
Time: 5:00 – 6:00

Lecturer Ben Saunders leads a discussion about feminism and sexual politics as expressed by William Moulton Marston in his early Wonder Woman comics. The topic is ripe for exploration, as made plain by writer Grant Morrison’s remarks about a Wonder Woman project he’s working on that is explicitly based around the sexual themes he believes are inherent to the character:

William Marston was a man perhaps particularly suited to create such a powerful female superhero, as Morrison said the psychologist believed “the world would be better if men would just submit to women’s complete instruction.” Along those lines, Marston’s Wonder Woman stories were infused with an undeniable sexuality, particularly with respect to fetishistic themes like bondage and “loving submission.”


ECCC Spotlight Series: Bill Sienkiewicz
Room: 211
Time: 5:00 – 6:00

The innovative artist Bill Sienkiewicz appeared recently at Secret Headquarters here in Los Angeles to promote the new hardcover rerelease of his and Frank Miller’s Elektra: Assassin. I was fortunate to speak with Sienkiewicz for several minutes about storytelling craft on that classic book as well as other things like his contribution to The Sandman: Endless Nights. I found Sienkiewicz’s remarks extremely interesting, and I know that some of the up-and-coming creators in the room left with some valuable insights. This panel promises more of the same, as well as some “amazing stories” from this most innovative comic book maker.

The Not So Late Late Show with Oni Press
Room: 2AB
Time: 7:00 – 8:00

Led by Oni Press’ marketing man Cory Casoni, this panel promises to be more of an entertaining presentation than a litany of new projects from the Portland-based publisher (although I’m sure they’ll work that material in). Panelists include Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, Tiny Kitten Teeth’s Becky and Frank, 12 Reasons Why I Love Her artist Joëlle Jones, and special musical guest Delta!Bravo.

SATURDAY

Twenty Years of Independence: The Image Comics 20th Anniversary Panel
Room: 4C3-4
Time: 12:00 – 1:00

This panel is meant to include several Image Comics founders and key creators, and will likely include some new announcements as well as a fascinating look back at the 20-year history of the storied indie publisher.

Crime Comics
Room: 3AB
Time: 12:00 – 1:00

Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka — between them, the writers behind Criminal, Gotham Central, Stumptown, Scene of the Crime, Sleeper, Detective Comics and Whiteout, among others — sit on stage together and talk about crime comics for an hour, with special emphasis on the genre’s new popularity. Moderated by Ben Saunders, this one cannot be missed.

BOOM! Presents: Adventure Time!
Room: 4C3-4
Time: 1:00 – 2:00

Obviously, we’re big fans of Adventure Time and the comic book incarnation from BOOM! Studios, but this panel is made even more of a no-brainer by the auspicious guests, including Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and writer Ryan North (also of Dinosaur Comics). This is going to be a fun hour.

Vertigo: New Blood
Room: 3AB
Time: 1:00 – 2:00

The listed panelists for this Vertigo spotlight include Fables creator Bill Willingham, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love writer Chris Roberson and Fables line editor Shelly Bond, which sort of makes this a defacto Fables panel — and that is a good thing. Willingham panels are always pretty hilarious, and with iZombie artist extraordinaire Mike Allred joining in the fun, we expect this Vertigo presentation to be more than worth your time.

Marvel: Pint O’ C.B.
Room: 4C1-2
Time: 2:00 – 3:00

C.B. Cebulski is Senior Vice President, Creator & Content Development for Marvel, and if his frequently provocative and often insightful Twitter feed is anything to go by, you can expect some very candid remarks at this “anything goes” panel. Odds of highly retweetable jokes and perhaps even some unexpected announcements go up when you factor in guests Matt Fraction (Mighty Thor), Ed Brubaker (Captain America), Dan Slott (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force), all of whom will answer your questions about all things Marvel.

Celebrating 20 Years of Batman: The Animated Series
Room: 4C3-4
Time: 2:00 – 3:00

Voice actors Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Tara Strong (Batgirl) join producers Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett to celebrate 20 years of the best adaptation of any comic book-related thing of all time, and perhaps even the best expression of Batman of all time, Batman: The Animated Series. With Warner Bros. Animation just releasing some new information about its next show, Beware the Batman, it’s a safe bet that the panel will address that series as well.

Dark Horse Comics: Powered By Creators
Room: 4C1-2
Time: 4:00 – 5:00

Numerous Dark Horse creators including Steve Niles (Criminal Macabre), Steve Lieber (Alabaster), Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle), Sanford Greene (Rotten Apple), Ethan Nicolle (Axe Cop), Adam Warren (Empowered), Paul Tobin (Falling Skies), and Brian Wood (The Massive) gather for this panel led by Dark Horse’s Jeremy Atikins, who will discuss the veteran indie publisher’s slate for 2012.

Comics Influencing Comics
Room: 3AB
Time: 4:00 – 5:00

Bullet points: Brandon Graham, Moritat, Nate Powell, Mike Allred. Here are the details:

A look at how comics affect a cartoonists creative process. This panel will explore the idea of a personal pantheon of influence was some of the more unique voices in comics. The work of panelists Brandon Graham, Justin “Moritat” Norman, Nate Powell, Michael Allred all come from different directions and will have lots of points of discussion.

Jhonen Vasquez: I Feel Sick And I Want To Share It With You
Room: 3AB
Time: 5:00 – 6:00

The creator of such enduringly popular comics and cartoons like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Invader Zim, Jhonen Vasquez will be on hand in Seattle to talk about whatever simultaneously cute and horrible things happen to be on his mind and answer your questions about his most excellent work.

ECCC Charity Art Auction – Benefiting Seattle Children’s Hospital
Room: 2AB
Time: 8:00 – 11:00

Remember when we told you about Monsters & Dames, a limited edition hardcover book compiling original illustrations from some of comics’ best artists including Bill Sienkiewicz, Camilla D’Erricco, Kevin Nowlan, Tony Moore, Bruce Timm, Katie Cook, Francis Manapul & Agnes Garbowska, Mikeatron!, Scott Morse, Phil Noto, Mike Allred, Paul Guinan, Brandon Graham, David Petersen, Moritat, Dustin Nguyen, Nat Jones and many more? Proceeds from the sale of that ECCC art book go to the Seattle Children’s hospital, as do sales from the auction on Saturday night. You can see some of the pieces here.

SUNDAY

ECCC Spotlight Series: Brandon Graham and Adam Warren (and Bryan Lee O’Malley) in Conversation
Room: 211
Time: 1:00 – 2:00

Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley tweeted that he’ll be crashing this already auspicious panel, featuring King City cartoonist Brandon Graham and Empowered’s Adam Warren as they talk about the influence of manga on their work. We expect this one to be among the standout panels of the entire convention.

Super Addicted: Dealing With Addiction In A Four Color World
Room: 3AB
Time: 2:00 – 3:00

Another intriguing panel led by Ben Saunders, this discussion about the representation of drug and alcohol abuse in comics also features Invincible Iron Man writer Matt Fraction. From the official description:

The discussion will include a survey of some historical “high points” (so to speak) in superhero comic-book history, including the 1960s Amazing Spider-Man comics in which Harry Osborn has a bad trip on LSD (famously denied approval by the Comics Code Authority); Speedy’s junkie phase in Green Lantern/Green Arrow; the “hallucinogenic” sequences in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing; and of course, Iron Man’s various struggles with alcoholism.

Obviously there’s loads more than what we’ve included here, so be sure to check out the full programming guide in case there’s anything you’re into that we may have left out, like all the gaming panels as well as numerous animation spotlights.

The Alex Ross art above is an exclusive print available only at ECCC. You can find more information on that and other exclusive artwork at this link.

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