From April 7th-10th the Seattle Washington State Convention Center was packed full of cosplayers, geeks, gamers, collectors and more! It was very heart-warming to see all the little Rey cosplayers each day as we made the rounds in Artist Alley. Although no strangers to cons, this was our first time attending Emerald City so we made a whole trip out of it, first visiting Portland before heading to Seattle.
Whisky nerds tend to also be fans of beer, which is an excellent reason to visit Portland as it’s a mecca for craft brewing. But being huge fans of the show Portlandia or a foodie are certainly other very worthwhile reasons. Memorable pub stops include Lucky Labrador (the northwest pizza is amazing), Pope House Bourbon Lounge, Deschutes, Rogue, Green Dragon (kimchi fries!) and Liberty Glass where we had Triscuit nachos because after days of fancy eats you need to bring it down a notch. There was also the chance to meet up with a fellow whisky nerd to exchange samples, stay tuned for a Sample Sips post! Portland isn’t all taste-spotting, we made sure to keep it weird and went to Powell’s Books, the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, where we found some great notebooks for whisky tastings. Also picked up a fabulous sexy Bernie Sanders colouring book from Bridge City Comics. I very much wanted a taxidermied bagpiper mouse from Paxton Gate but opted for a great geology themed poster instead. This store has also been used as a filming location for Portlandia and the owner was kind enough to show us a photo of him with the stars Carrie and Fred and guest star Jeff Goldblum.
Full up on Portland’s famous Voodoo Doughnuts and biscuits and gravy from the travel themed Byways Cafe, it was time to head to Seattle to see some sights before the excitement of comicon. We hit the major tourism highlights: Seattle Aquarium, the market, the oldest Starbucks, Gum Wall, Space Needle and our favourite the Experience Music Project (EMP) museum. The EMP is a treasure trove of all things geek, holding many props from sci-fi and fantasy shows in its collection and also offers fun interactive stations to create your own music.
The day before Emerald City Comicon opened, Image Comics had their Image Expo at the Showbox where they announce their upcoming titles. We were most excited for the announcement of Motor Crush and Afar. The day of announcements and signings was followed by a special advance screening of the Outcast TV pilot episode. For those that don’t read the comic by Walking Dead author Robert Kirkman, Outcast is about demonic possession in a small Virginia town and protagonist Kyle seems to be the only that can fight the evil. The show is creepy as hell, which is what you want from this horror genre, and I’m sure it will be overly compared to The Exorcist. The pilot isn’t as slow to reveal the backstory of the characters as the comics are, so it’ll be interesting to see how the show fills out the story over the first season. Unlike the Walking Dead, which works great in both mediums, Outcast is a better fit for television. Stock up on bourbon to sip with the show and get possessed by Outcast on Cinemax starting June 3rd. After the dark creep fest of the screening, everyone danced their cares away at the Image Spring Fling dance, including a balloon drop and photo booth! The Valkyries were also honoured at the event and collectively crowned Queen of spring fling. The headlining DJs for the night were Wicked + Divine creators Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen.
At last it was time for Emerald City Comicon to open! Where other comicons rely heavily on having TV and film guests from sci-fi and fantasy genres, Emerald City Comicon is a haven for meeting comic book artists and writers. It’s also very busy which can make it difficult to have a decent chat but there are times when the crowds thin out. The last hour or two of the day was often a safe bet, but you run the risk of finding your fave creator in a con induced zombie state from talking to random strangers all day. In addition to those at Image Expo other creators in attendance were the team behind Hellcat Kate Leth and Brittney Williams, Wayward’s Jim Zub and Tamra Bonvillain, Rat Queen’s Kurtis Wiebe who announced his new project Bounty, Kevin Wada, Saga’s Fiona Staples, and many many more. After tweeting that he wasn’t a Canadian whisky fan, we shared some Canadian whisky samples with translator and writer Zack Davisson to hopefully change his mind.
Beyond all the amazing art there were still a good number of entertainment guests to catch panels of. Firefly and Castle star Nathan Fillion is always a big hit and just as hilarious as you’d expect in real life. Rose McIver and David Anders of iZombie and comic writer Chris Roberson had a great panel that answered many of our burning brainsy questions, such as “If you could eat anyone’s brain who would you choose”? It was also reassuring to know that I’m not the only one that wants an iZombie brain cookbook.
Although we had fewer chances to taste the local drinks Seattle has to offer, we did manage to give the official beer of the comicon a try, Fremont Brewing’s Dark Heron IPA which was absolutely delightful. Canon pub is a wonderful stop for fancy cocktails and they offer a Washington whisky flight which is an excellent choice. The flight included Fremont Mischief, Woodinville Whiskey Co. and 2bar Bourbon. Canon bar excellently presents the whisky flight blind on a wooden board with each dram numbered and a small glass of pilsner for a palate cleanser. An accompanying paper is folded over to hide the names of each whisky and has space for tasting notes. I was particularly surprised by the sweet apple cider flavour of the 2bar bourbon and thoroughly enjoyed it. The smooth, warming Woodinville Whiskey was also very enjoyable with a molasses cake nose and nutty caramel flavours.
Overall it was a great comicon for artist interactions and we also came away wanting to see more of the west coast. But for now we need to sleep off the post con blues and return to the real world.