Monday, March 4, 2013

Emerald City Comicon 2013 - Day One

The Emerald City Comicon is bigger and better than ever with nearly twice as much floor space for vendors, exhibitors, artists, panels, and celebrity guests. 2013 promises to be the best ever for one of the fastest growing events of its kind and I was definitely looking forward to seeing what they had in store for us this time around. This post is dedicated to my adventures during the first day of the three day Comicon weekend. You will find lots of pictures and some notes on the cool stuff I did and saw over the course of the day.

Of course, no comic book convention would be complete without boxes and boxes of comic books being offered for sale all over the main show floor. The sheer volume and variety of stuff was nearly overwhelming and was a lot to take in while trying to get the lay of the land. It quickly became apparent that I had arrived in nerd heaven seeing banners like the one below and the tone was set for the entire weekend.

One of my favorite parts of attending the ECCC (that's what the cool kids call it) is seeing all the costumed characters decked out in elaborate get ups some of which would be worthy of Hollywood effects departments. I was able to take quite a few pictures and now its time to share a few of those with you here. Click on any of the pictures to see bigger versions of the awesomeness that is on display.

One of the highlights for kids of all ages was the functioning droid models brought in by the "R2 Builders" club. These people are about as hardcore as it gets when it comes to putting together realistic recreations and customizations of the famous astromech droids from that galaxy far, far away. These little guys were so cool!

Speaking of Star Wars, I got to see British actor Ray Park talk about his work bringing to life such iconic movie characters as Darth Maul from Star Wars: Episode I, Toad from X-Men, and the Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow. The best part had to be when an audience member asked him to recite all of his Darth Maul dialog using his natural, cockney-accented voice and he was more than happy to oblige.

Park also jokingly answered a question by saying the worst injury he sustained while playing Darth Maul was being cut in half and the way he came up with Maul's reaction to that lethal blow was by pretending he really had to go "Number Two" and encouraged everyone to watch the scene again with that in mind.

The best part of my day had to be meeting Billy Dee Williams, getting his autograph and then having an opportunity to ask him a question during his main room panel discussion. The actor best known as Lando Calrissian from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi gave some very interesting insight into making those movies as well as the many other things he has done over the life of his incredible career.

I thought it was really interesting when he said the best part of making the Star Wars movies was walking through the effects department buildings and seeing all of the amazing technology they were literally creating to help get the movies made. He also discussed how he stays involved with his most famous role because he does not want anyone else to do it since Lando is defined by "my voice and my quality".

When asked about his experience working with Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues which was the iconic singer's first movie, Williams had a twinkle in his eyes as he simply replied: "I enjoyed kissing her mouth". This had everyone in the audience cheering and laughing and you could tell how, even in his 70's, the man has retained all of the swagger that makes him the coolest man in the galaxy.

As far as my question to Mr. Williams, I asked how much of the Lando we all know and love was already in the script and how much was he allowed to adapt the character to who he wanted the gambler turned hero of the Rebel Alliance to be. After telling me I had asked a very good question (That's how I roll, yo!), he said what defined the character for him was when he read in the script that Lando wears a cape. From that moment, he knew who Lando was meant to be.

For me, it was a real honor to be able to have that moment with Mr. Williams and, paired with getting his autograph later that day, he helped make the whole weekend one I will never forget. In addition to my now prized Billy Dee Williams autograph, I was also able to meet Walter Koenig (Chekov from the original Star Trek series) as well as get his signature on an 8x10 photo which you can see below.

Finally, the night ended with a stop at nearby nightclub The Baltic Room for a Comicon after party that featured artists creating original pieces on stage right in the middle of ther packed dance floor. The group that put this event together did a fantastic job and proceeds from the sale of all of the on-site art pieces was donated to Children's Hospital. This was a really fun end to the day and made for a nice way to let loose after a day of waiting in lines and battling the costumed crowds.

To read my other two Emerald City Comicon blog posts:

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