We're all for escapism, but as a weekend at Emerald City Comicon proved to us, one can only take so much spandex before it gets to be overwhelming. Everyone's somebody else's father or mother or spouse or child, each new villain is the most powerful being known in the universe until of course they're defeated and then they're just part of the regular rotation of baddies, and the whole mess gets thrown out the window annually for a gritty reboot. Take a breath of fresh air with Li'l Depressed Boy...
By now any thinking person understands that comics, as a form, can reach heights of expression, creativity, and artistry as profound as any other narrative form.
Then there are these.
At the Emerald City Comicon this past weekend, Randall Cleveland and I challenged each other to see who could find the weirdest comics in the many and voluminous 25-cent, 50-cent, and one-dollar bins in the Dealer's Den. We didn't have much time, but we didn't need much. If only we'd known how rich the pickings were, we would have made it an all-day mission. Read on for the most ridiculous covers we picked up at the show. Click to embiggen. WARNING: the following images are not for the artistically squeamish...
While this meeting didn't result in the Crimson Bolt, Wilson's character in Super, joining the Rain City Superhero Movement, it did reveal some key facts about Phoenix Jones. In trading banter with Gunn and Wilson, Jones said he was recently stabbed and does not have an email address. We'll add those tidbits to the next edition of Who's Who In The Rain City Superhero Movement. While he was clearly excited to meet Jones, once the superhero departed Wilson couldn't resist speculating what would happen if Jones was dropped by helicopter into Bushwick, Brooklyn. You can see video of the historic super-encounter on Gunn's site.
The rest of the panel presentation included a showing of the Super trailer (see below) and lots of questions from the audience. In short: Super's budget was "$350 and a bag of weed". Gunn wrote the first draft of the script in one day in 2002. When Wilson first read it, "22 pages in, my hand was trembling, and that's not a masturbation joke." Gunn says Super has nothing in common with Kick-Ass (but then he would say that, wouldn't he?). I was the only person in the room who clapped when Gunn mentioned growing up in St. Louis. And all of the actors in Super, including Liv Tyler, Ellen Page, and Kevin Bacon, worked for scale and the movie was shot in 24 days. Here's that trailer:
Yeah, so Super looks pretty cool, but people really wanted to know who's going to replace Steve Carell's Michael Scott on The Office. Wilson said there won't exactly be a replacement, that an existing character will possibly get promoted, and that the show will be more of an ensemble thing. The throng found this answer unsatisfying. No, but for real, who's going to replace Steve Carell's Michael Scott?
Wilson thought for a second - should I tell them? - then dropped the bombshell that Office fans have been waiting for.
We spent the weekend roaming the halls of the Washington State Convention Center taking in the sights, sounds, and - unfortunately - smells of the Emerald City Comicon. We'll be sprinkling in our coverage throughout the week but let's be honest: you came for the nerds in costumes. Without further adieu, our favorite costumes of Emerald City Comicon:
ULTIMATE CAPTAIN AMERICA
Call us bandwagon jumpers, but we're fans of the slightly-more-realistic-whatever-that-means-in-the-context-of-comics look of Ultimate Cap. The mask, the boots, the shield, the darker blue, it all just works. And it looks slightly less ridiculous than the Kirby version posing alongside the Witch King.
GOLDSTAR, BOOSTER GOLD, AND BLUE BEETLE
We'll forgive Blue Beetle's "I sharpied a spandex bodysuit" paint job for the sake of the great costumes her teammates are representing. Justice League represent.
THE LONELIEST RED SKULL EVER
He may be a Nazi, a war criminal, and one of the most sinister criminal masterminds to ever blemish the globe with his machinations, but after seeing him in this light we feel like the guy just needs a hug.
COMPLETELY BAKED KICK-ASS
It's gotta be tough fighting crime when your mouth is so dry and your eyes are too red to strike fear into any evildoer's hearts. But man, if any Funyuns break the law he's going to whip out that Justin Timberlake poster and things are going to get SERIOUS.
GOLDEN AGE GREEN LANTERN
Spandex be damned! The golden age guys knew how to do a costume.
PASTEL JOKER AND HARLEY QUINN
We like this direction: let the chaotic, murderous rampages do all the talking and go with a more subdued shade of purple.
POWER GIRL AND SILK SPECTRE II
Catching criminals must be pretty easy when they stop in their tracks and stare at you like a deer in the headlights.
Is there ANYTHING duct tape won't do?
He told us to call him Pagliacci.
WEIRD FUTURISTIC SOLDIERS WE COULDN'T IDENTIFY
No one else could place these guys, either, but their costumes were legit.
NOW ON STAGE 3, MAKE SOME NOISE FOR WHITE QUEEN
Even X-Men have daddy issues forcing them to make horrible decisions. And come on, those are just UNDERWEAR. How's that a costume?
Maybe it's the slight beer gut or the relaxed pose, but we can't help but think this guy's ripping off our Hellboy/Al Bundy crossover special.
Hadouken you doin'?
VENOM AND ANTIVENOM
When you enter the world of cosplay, the trick is to pick a real classic character, someone timeless who's instantly recognizable. "Venom after he fell into a vat of White-Out" probably fits that bill.
THE SILVER SURFBRO
The other side of his surfboard is actually a Coors Light ad.
THE PUNISHER AND BUSINESS CASUAL TONY STARK
Come on, Tony. A wife beater and a sticky light on your hand? Give us light-up chest repulsor at least.
HUGE SPACE-TAKING BLACK ANGEL WING GUY
You might think it's an inconsiderately-large costume to wear in an extremely crowded venue, but this guy had the best idea: working wings that sweep away all sweaty geeks.
THE REQUISITE JEDI
What con would be complete without them?
It's not that they wore those things to the con, it's more about what we're worried they did in them before they got here.
You can literally SMELL the honor wafting off these guys.
Finally! A 100% accurate costume indistinguishable from the actual character it's based on!
We don't know who this guy is, but we couldn't help but think he was going to be a problem.
I've got a true geek confession to make: I've never been to a comic convention. Oh, I've been into comics off and on for 25 years now, occasionally drifting away when I was distracted by frivolous pursuits like punk rock or raising children. But I've never gathered together with my fellow nerds in Green Lantern's name.
But today I wipe that stain off my geek card when I hit the Emerald City Comicon. Randall Cleveland and I will be covering it this weekend for the Woot blog - look for that here on Monday - but I fear my mission will be compromised by conspicuous displays of n00bocity.
So help a brother out, con vets. What should I expect, inspect, respect, neglect, and disinfect? How can I hack my way through the crowds of Scarecrow & Mrs. King fanboys to reach special guest Bruce Boxleitner? What dark secret must I never, ever mention in earshot of Sergio Aragones? And how do you buff the tarnish out of a Rom: Spaceknight costume? Lay your comicon advice on me below, fellow four-color fiends!
It wasn't even ten yet, but Marine One was off on the campaign trail. We didn't need Obama anyway. The rally was in charge of the city today! The crowd had crossed the street and made it to the third row of televisions, and they were STILL COMING.
After the jump, you'll see more, and find out what made me change my mind about the whole thing… again and again.
The Washington Post called it "Millennial Woodstock". The Christian Science Monitor predicted repercussions on a local scale. NPR was afraid to walk a few blocks to check it out and Fox News was actually quite polite! But none of the journalists ever once considered the absolute worst part of blogging behind a team of Emmy award-winning comedy writers: they use every single freaking joke. Seriously! Before I left to Saturday's Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear, I made a list of all the ways I could approach the event, hoping to get a head start on my blog posts. And what did those jerkfaces do? They beat me to them all. My whole list! What the heck, guys? Couldn't you even leave me the black helicopter joke?
But maybe that's just a hazard of the trade. So instead of a funny article about FEMA camps and chemtrails, you'll have to settle for some pictures of funny signs (check back later in the day for that one) and my honest opinions of the event. After the jump, you'll get to read about what I saw and what I thought about my day on the D.C. Mall. You're free to disagree with me in the comments, of course, about anything. We understand any big event has to allow for many different opinions on what happened, and we really would like to know yours. I just ask that you read both posts first.