The Chicago Comicon Extravaganza

Watch out…a really long post coming up!

I was so totally wiped out after going to the Wizard World Comic Book Convention a couple weeks ago. I’m just not used to waking up at 7am on my weekends and walking around all day. But I’m happy, last year I didn’t get to go to all three days of the convention because we were moving into my new house. I wanted to go, but Dave had reminded me about this stupid thing called ‘priorities’ so I just ended up going on one day.

This year was pretty great. I was excited to see some people I’ve seen at previous conventions, and also to see people I hadn’t met yet. I’ve joined a message board here and there (I truly wouldn’t be an internet whore if I didn’t) and was curious to see if these people lived up to their personalities on the message board. So, since it’s hard for me to tell it all in a regular format, I’ll give you my highlights of the weekend….which will be pretty much ALL of my weekend since everything was a highlight. That, and I talk too much.

- First of all, thanks to my comic book life-partner, Fatima. We’ve been going to this thing for about 8 years now, and it’s always been at least the two of us. It’s a bit like our quality time together. Three days of geeky fun. We work well together, maneuvering around the convention floor, asking for sketches, talking to creators and fans…Fatima is always there with me. She is the one of the best two sisters ever!

- Pat Loika is the coolest. All the talk about him being the nicest, most generous, coolest cat around isn’t just hype. I’ve known Pat for several years now - I think we ran across each other blogs a while ago, and I was excited to see someone talk about comics on their blog. We’ve been in touch and were even at the same panel at the Long Beach convention last year, but we never met. I’m so happy that I finally got to meet him and that he ended up being everything that everyone said he would be. I know he didn’t have the best weekend, since there was a lot of external crap going on, but nonetheless, I’m happy he went to the con and I appreciate everything he did for so many people while he was there. He truly is one of the best people I know. Get out there and purchase “Path to Armageddon”!

- Jim Lee, my comic book god, was there. I caught a glimpse of him at the very end of the convention. I could have waited in line for him, but I’ve already met him and had my picture taken with him, so I wanted to share the wealth. I also heard he wasn’t doing sketches, so I didn’t want to bother getting my books signed or anything. I’m still on the quest of my Holy Grail of convention sketches, which would be a Psylocke sketch my Jim Lee (are you out there Jim? Do you hear me?!?!?). Ohh, it just gives me the shivers just thinking about it! *shivers*

- The convention seemed less packed that recent years. I don’t know if it was because of the dates, or because there were4 days of the convention this year (I didn’t go to the first) or just because it was a slow year for comics. Wizard still said it was their most successful show ever, so I’ll believe whatever lies they tell me and hope that next year there will be more people. I’m not totally complaining, though, because less people means less lines for me to wait in.

- I saw Jason Mewes again this year (Jay from Mallrats and Dogma). On Saturday, I passed by him as he was walking into a panel that Kevin Smith was hosting, and I asked him for a picture. Marian came with us on Sunday, and I told her that he and Kevin Smith were signing autographs, and she wanted to go and take a picture. (the line was closed to people who had signed up in the morning) We went over there to take a picture and she stood on the side, waiting for the right moment. He made eye contact with her and made a weird face for her camera. She took the picture, and then he pointed to me and Fatima and said, “You’re the girls from yesterday, aren’t you?” Fatima and I nodded, and he gave us a wink and a smile. I walked away feeling like a stalker. However, Marian complained that he made a weird face for her picture and she wanted one of him smiling, so we went back. I stood off to the side as she went back and waited for a moment to catch his attention. When he did, he was like, “Back again?” and Marian said, “I want a picture of you smiling!”. She held up her camera and took a picture right as he was giving her the finger. It was awesome.

- Late last year I fixed up some graphics for my friend Goddard, and his thanks was a promise to do anything I wanted him to do for five minutes at the Chicago Con. I took him up on it and had him dress up as Tigger, from Winnie the Pooh. Now, there are a lot of people who dress up for the convention, but normally these people dress up as Storm Troopers, X-Men, Ghostbusters or anime characters. Tigger just doesn’t have a big representation in the comic book world. So I had Goddard dress up on my old Tigger costume, which was a size too small for him, itchy, and very warm. But as soon as he put it on, it was like giving him some sort of superhero potion. He started to walk with a strut, he was handing out high fives, and he became a total rock star - he couldn’t get 10 feet without people taking a picture with him. What made it even better was that Wendy was with us, who was dressed up as Red Sonja, chainmail and all, and so the pictures with the two of them are hilarious. We also made sure to take a picture of Tigger checking out porn in one of the booths.

- There are so many cool people I had met, that it’s hard for me to name them all, but I’ll try…Andria (who had a kickass Soulfire costume - wings and all), Ryan (all of them), Aaron (who gave me free Hobbit Feet because I was talking about how awesome they were), John, Peter, Brian, Wayne, Nathan, Kent (who did an awesome Psylocke sketch for me), Kari, Christian, Adam, Alysha, Colin, Shannon, Tessana, Shane (Cardinals suck!), Nick, MoMa, Jester, Cbei, Madmonkey, Thudpucker (dammit, I forgot your real names), David Thornton, Saul (we never got a picture of you and the Asian Girl Gang! Next year!), and lots more, but I can’t recall the names.

- Also, it was great to see some old faces, including Antonio, Noble, Mystique and her husband, Dave (who let me keep the tigger costume under the table), Goodman, Chris, Kristin (who was Jason Mewes’ special guest for a day, that lucky bitch), Alysha, Colin, Ryan “Odie” (I had no idea who Cheeks was talking about when he was saying “Odie”, then I realized it was Ryan), “cheeks”, David Mack, Rafael and Mike “the Chief”.

- 19. What’s nineteen? The number of people who passed by us and smelled like ass crack. Next year, Irish Spring should come by and hand out samples on the first day of the con.

- Raven Gregory rocks. Go out and buy his comic, “The Gift”, it’s like the Twilight Zone on crack! From the moment I met him, he was warm and funny and I immediately felt comfortable enough to joke around with him. Probably my Raven highlight was Friday night when I was threatening to tell Fata incriminating stories about him, and he kept on saying “Nooooooo, c’mon, please? Don’t! Nooooooooooooooo. Don’t tell Li’l Yano! She doesn’t need to know. Nooooooo!” We were laughing so hard at that! Eventually, due to the amount of alcohol in his system and our super Yano sister persuasive powers, he gave in and told Fatima the goods. And it was good…

- I’ve got a ton of pictures from the convention. Mostly of the statues (I love the statues, but just don’t have the cash flow to buy them, so I take pictures of them) but I also tried to take pictures with everyone I met.

- I didn’t get too many sketches this year. I’ve been a little low on the funds, and for some reason, I had no time. What else was I doing? I have no idea! The three days seemed to have just disappeared. But I did get some pretty good ones from a wide assortment of people.

- Keep your eye out for a book called “starting Over”, written by Craig Maloof and pencilled by Michelle Walters. I’ve read the first couple scripts and it sounds like a great book. Want another reason to get it? It stars ME! Yes, ME! Well, the character looks nothing like me, but she IS named Christine Estacio. She’s a tough detective who is rough around the edges and acts before she thinks. Not really like me, but a little bit. My partner is some guy named Pat Loika. The name sounds familiar but I can’t place it.

- A big thank you goes to Kat Amano, who brought me some books that she had been wanting to give away. She is such a sweetheart, and is even prettier in person than in pictures. She was so awesome to lug around that pile of books in her luggage to bring to the convention for me! I also talked to her father, Jeff Amano, who was really cool and thought that we were from Hawaii because Fatima was wearing a shirt that said Hawaii on it. I like it when people think we’re from Hawaii. I don’t know why. Maybe because people from Hawaii seem better looking. Anyway, Jeff Amano has some pretty great genes, because his daughters Mandy and Kat are gorgeous! What a great looking family!

- Jeffery and Tonia are the cutest couple. Jeffery is a total charmer and the biggest sweetheart, and Tonia is the sexiest bitch you ever did see. On Friday night, Jeffery got up in front of all the people who were in the lobby of the Hyatt (and there were a lot, let me tell you!) and re-proposed to his wife, down on one knee and with a ring. It was the sweetest thing!

- I knew that the Brian Michael Bendis panel would be packed, so I decided to get to the room about 20 minutes early to get myself a good seat. Imagine my surprise when I get there and see that the Wizard people are turning people away from the door, because there’s no more room - not even standing room in the back. I was so disappointed! I asked security if I could maybe just squeeze in, and he said no. Next to him, I saw Brian Michael Bendis come by the door, see me and motion to security to let me and a couple of the people behind me in. As I squeezed in, I came up to him and introduced myself to him. “Hi, I’m Yano!” I said (which of course is the name I use online because I’m a ninja like that). His eyes lit up with recognition as he shook my hand, “Hey! How are you? There’s some space in the front if you just want to sit on the floor or something.” I went up to the front of the room, extremely aware that everyone could see me. Then I started hearing whispers of ‘Yano! Yano!’ come from several places near the front rows. Turns out I knew some of the people who were in the front rows, and Jeffery, wonderful Jeffery, offered me his seat in the front row. The panel was pretty cool. Bendis is such an awesome guy, he acknowledged all his fans and his message board members, staying later to take pictures and talk with people.

- Redpac and Tall Steve came with us on Friday. I gave Dan one of the extra sketchbooks we brought, and he went around asking for free sketches. He’s got a pretty impressive collection now, all involving a character and ‘pie’. Sometimes we lost Redpac and TallSteve, but were always able to find them again by looking ebove the rest of the heads at the con and finding TallSteve. We’re not kidding. He’s tall.

- Some of you may remember that I won a contest to get myself made into a character in a comic book. I stopped by the NYC Mech table and got to see Andy MacDonald’s work for their upcoming issue, and it looks incredible! Fata and I were amazed by how much it actually looks like me. I can’t wait to scan it and show you guys the art once the book comes out. A big thanks to writer Ivan Brandon for starting up the contest. These guys were awesome!

- I had a moment of fangirl giddiness when I went up to Ale Garza’s table in the artist alley to check out his stuff. He’s finishing up his run on Batgirl, which is one of my favorite comics. When he saw me he said that he recognized me, and I told him that several years ago he did a sketch for me. He then said it wasn’t that, he remembered me from when I posted on his website. Which I did twice. I was surprised he even remembered me! It made me happy. I should have asked for a picture or a sketch, but I was in a daze.

- Taki Soma is as cool, witty and pretty as I thought she would be, if not more. She definitely kicks ass! Her art is amazing, and I wish her only the best - we need more women behind the scenes in comics, and Taki is perfect for it.

- Of course we hung out at the Aspen booth again this year. I love seeing these guys every year. We also got a bonus, because Liz was back! She told us that she was moving away last year, so we took bunches of pictures and got all teary eyed, but she’s moved back and the world is all right again. Peter, of course, was as silly as ever. However, I’d have to say that Koi is now my favorite Aspen person just because of how much fun Fatima and I had hanging with him and Mark Morales in the Hyatt. Mark is hilarious, I feel bad that Koi was the subject of our teasing, but he was a good sport!

- The artist alley was PACKED this year. It should be called ‘The Artist Neighborhood’ because there were actually 3 different areas for artists this year. It’s great that there are so many people out there that are doing comics, I only wish there were more people out there *buying* them. There was a huge assortment of artists there, from big names like Greg Horn, Josh Middleton and David Mack to people who were just starting out, trying to find their big break. Unfortunately, my cash flow is low so I didn’t get as many books as I wanted to, or I would have gotten TONS because there was some really great stuff there.

Hmm..that’s about all I remember. I’m sure that there’s more, but in Yano time, it was YEARS ago. I had a great time, and I can’t wait til next year!

You can check out my picture gallery here:

Wizard World Chicago 2005 Gallery

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2005-08-24 15:42:49

fata says

i’d like to clarify something about the Jason Mewes story. for Marian, he was SMILING as he gave her the finger. see? he smiled. HAHAHAHA ;) and thanks for the props seestar!

2005-08-24 19:48:04

Noel Tuazon says

Enjoyed looking through your con photos. Thanks for sharing them.

2005-08-25 01:26:12

Pat says

That Pat Loika guy…he ain’t worth the hype. :-p

I enjoyed meeting you and I’m even more proud to call you a friend. Can’t wait for next year’s con…

2005-08-25 12:13:14

Melinda says

Glad you had a good time. Now maybe I should get my story and pics up from my Comic Con experience.

2005-08-28 13:25:05

Shannon says

I cant see any of the pictures from the convention

2005-09-08 11:16:19

Wendy says

YANO! it was great hanging out with you. glad you approve of the chainmail.


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