Thursday, March 7, 2013

Emerald City Comic Con 2013: What I Got

Real talk: Emerald City Comic Con was an amazingly fun show. I feel like every time I go to a show I really love, I end up saying "This was the best show I've been to in ages," but this really was the best show I've been to in ages. I already went on a Twitter rampage talking about all the amazing people I got to catch up with, but I'd also be remiss if I didn't run down all the amazing comics I picked up.

Unlike so many media-focused cons that exist these days on the scene, there were no annoying people hocking mashmallow guns or Ugly Dollz or wrestler's autographs on the floor at ECCC. There were just rows and rows and rows of comic publishers, retailers and artists plying their wares. Since I'm contractually obligated by Uncle Money Bags to spend most of my time in panel rooms typing quotes, I didn't get to spend nearly as much time on the floor buying from people (artist's in particular) as I would have liked, but I did get some primo stuff from retailers that I'm excited to show off.

 The Steranko History of Comics, Vol. 1
With absolutely no embellishment, I can say that I've been looking to buy this book for a decade. Probably more than that. Jim Steranko's self-published history of the medium never got past two issues on its proposed six-issue run, but the volumes he did complete loom large amongst comic history nerds like myself.

I spotted this gem sticking up in a gathering of mid-70s Marvel treasury magazines, and immediately asked the vendor how much he wanted for it. It was a steal at $10, but I almost didn't get away with the book because when I handed duder the money, he stopped for a moment, looked at the cover with mournful eyes and went, "Can I just flip through it one more time?"

The guy proceeded to pour over page-after-page for about ten minutes, pointing out to me which Golden Age splash pages and Jack Kirby pencil recreations he scanned to make t-shirts with when he was younger. I can't laugh at him for this reaction. I'll likely be doing the same with some young turk in 2053.

 Palooka-Ville #s 10, 11 & 12

For years when I was a teenager, Seth's iconic series was one of my perpetual holy grail purchases at any con I attended, and I'd often only find a scattershot issue here or there. I think it took me two years to assemble the entire Kalo saga (he'd probably balk at my calling it that) in one place.

Today, I own all the material in these tree issue as reprinted in the Clyde Fans Vol. 1 collection, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to snap these bad boys up for a quarter a piece!

Helheim #1, Fatherhood #1 & The Sands #1
Considering my job, I should probably come home from cons with a lot more new releases from publishers and creators alike, but as it stands, most of my purchasing of new books happens at Challengers. Still, I was very excited to pick up a copy of Cullen Bunn and Joelle Jones' new Oni series Helheim as I feel both creators have done their strongest work at the publisher. And Fatherhood was an ECCC print debut from writer Ryan K. Lindsay who I've gotten to know online as an infrequent CBR contributor (fun fact: I had no idea he was Australian until I heard him speak!). Thinking picking up books like these will be my #1 goal come WonderCon.

Meanwhile, I'm ashamed to admit that I'm just getting to know Tom Hart's work after picking up the amazing Daddy Lightning last year from Box Brown, so I was very happy to find some of Tom's early work at a steal.

Darkstars #s 4, 7 & 8
All Travis Charest art is worth owning, even early "Jim Lee clone" era Charest work. In fact, I'ma go ahead and call early Charest the greatest Jim Lee clone that ever lived. Thank God he outgrew that, but I still have a soft spot for this series in my heart after seeing its covers in DC house ads when I was young, being blown away by them and then never being able to find the book in my LCS.

Critters #s 2, 4, 6, 7 & 37 and A*K*Q*J #1
I've always been curious about the early funny animal comics put together by Fantagraphics' Kim Thompson (who we just learned has lung cancer. All thoughts and prayers for a strong recover, Kim. We need you), so it was great to find so many issues of Critters and related books in a quarter bin. Not only does the series feature some of Stan Sakai's earliest Usagi Yojimbo material, it also has some dynamite cartooning from the likes of Sam Kieth and people heretofore unknown to me like Mike Kazaleh. But maybe the artist I'm most excited to get to know better is Danish cartoonist Freddy Milton, whose Thompson-translated strips channel Carl Barks without being part of Disney's universe/corporate control. Why in God's name don't more people do stuff like that?

The Flash #347
For the past five years or so, I've been absentmindedly picking up issues of "The Trial" – the epic/lamented/seminal Flash story that brought Barry Allen's original run towards its final days. I can't honestly tell what most people think about the quality of this story overall, but I'm looking forward to chewing on my own opinions of it now that I've got this final chapter in hand. I do know for sure that I LOVE me some later Carmine Infantino work. The thin geometric lines he uses on everything including people's hair just does it for me, man.

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