Monday, March 16, 2015

Nine Hours On Concrete In Pursuit Of Art Will Play Hell With One's Knees

One of my friends came to visit over the weekend, and on Saturday we went to Planet Comicon in Kansas City. Which was kind of a new experience, as that convention is considerably larger than any of the others I've been to previously. It took us about an hour just to walk the booth's around the perimeter, without even checking out anything in the middle of the floor.

That was kind of a recurring theme for the day, the place being so huge, and there being so many things to see and spend money on. There was too much for me, frankly. When you enter the main floor, there's a nice lady offering these booklets that tell you all about what's going on at the convention, when the panels are and were, costume contests, stuff like that. They also had a map of the floor spread across four pages with all the booths numbered and a corresponding index. I wandered through, circling any booths that had something visible that caught my eye, and wound up with about 2 dozen booths to come back and check out more thoroughly. Which in practical terms meant a lot of booths I wound up not being able to spend money at. Which is frustrating, but that's how it goes. It's just that the other conventions I've attended didn't make me as acutely aware of the problem.

I did cross three more of the New Warriors off my commissioned sketch list. Bartholomew Schmidt had this nice print of Nightcrawler sitting out, so I asked if he could do Night Thrasher for me, and he did. Then he gave me a discount on the Nightcrawler print, which was nice. Emily Rose Romano had a print of Spider-Gwen sitting out that convinced me to ask her for Namorita, and that turned out lovely. Also, Spider-Gwen has really taken off as a request judging by the number of people who had prints of her available. Third, I had Amber Stone draw Rage for me. I'd bought her Amaterasu (from Okami) and Squirrel Girl prints at Project Comic-con back in 2013, so I thought her style would work for Elvin. Despite his name and size, Eldon was really a sweet 13-year old kid, and so it seemed fitting. It worked out better than I could have hoped. She drew him playing with some Spider-Man and Rhino action figures, which I would never have thought to suggest in a million years, but is perfectly the kind of thing I was hoping for. So that worked out very well overall, and Marvel Boy is the last one left. I need to start thinking about the next theme I want.

My friend was more interested in the actors present than I was, and she got her picture taken with Mitch Pileggi, though afterward she felt she had acted terribly geeky around him. I'm fairly confident he's seen people act more geeky than her, though. Anyway, she was very happy about that, so good. She got Dennis Hopeless to sign a couple of issues of Avengers Arena for her, and talk to him about the abrupt end to Avengers Undercover. She bought this nifty print of Storm in her current look from a nice lady named Rori, but then lost the print at some point while roaming the convention. Remarkably, someone found the print, and rather than keep it, returned it to Rori, who was able to return it to my friend when she went to see if she could get another. That's really surprising to me, that they'd notice it and return it to the artist, rather than keep it for themselves or just ignore it. Apparently they took the time to roam the artist's booths until they found her, they didn't automatically know who did it, which is really heartening.

Then Rori did a sketch of Cammi (Avengers Arena/Annihilation's Cammi, not Street Fighter Cammi) that turned out fantastic. She didn't have her color markers with her, but the fellow at the next booth had some neon ones, so she was able to use the neon green for that light that was around the collar of Cammi's space suit, which really played off the pencils and inks nicely. I was very jealous, so maybe Cammi needs to be on that next list of characters I get sketches of.

I saw a lot of cosplayers where I had no idea who they were supposed to be. Not in the sense they had bad costumes, just that I clearly had no idea what they were referencing. Did see at least a couple of Agent Carters, and one very good Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel, among other outfits, which was nice. Good to see those characters getting traction, having fans that come out to represent.

We were there pretty much until it closed. An old coworker showed up about 2, so we hung out until she could get to see things (also some of the sketches took right up until the end). The downside was trying to get out of downtown K.C. right when the Big 12 Basketball Tournament was wrapping up, which meant navigating a bunch of stupidly laid out one-way streets clogged with sad, jaywalking Kansas Jayhawks' fans. Got kind of lost, had to take a roundabout route home, but made it eventually. Which counts as a successful convention trip, I guess.

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