ECCC: A Fan's Perspective In Seattle
Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) was the first west coast comic con my colleagues and I would attend as reporters for Region 99. As we made the trip to Seattle, Washington where the Con was taking place, I personally was hoping for an experience different from the ones I’d had at New York Comic Con (NYCC). Part of Region 99’s mission, ‘creativity through diversity’, includes attending various Comic Con’s in various regions of the world and reporting on how each con functions and how they conduct themselves. Regardless of location, I always expect a fun and memorable experience.
While Emerald City Comic Con’s (ECCC) security functioned similarly like New York Comic Con (NYCC) I will say that ECCC’s security was much more professional and better when directing traffic in and out of the con. Once my colleagues and I reached ECCC, security was tight as they guided everyone to the proper entrances and through the metal detectors. All that was left was to show them our badges and we were in with no trouble. Speaking of the badges; ECCC’s badges are slightly larger than NYCC’s badges and while NYCC badges usually display a front picture with a pop culture character on it, ECCC’s front picture had a more artsy design.
Furthermore, the back of the ECCC’s badges are more organized in the showing of the show floor and panels, show times, mobile app promos and social media access. The guards, while thorough in their searching, were also friendly and helpful when I needed assistance during my time at ECCC. I never felt a more intimate vibe than I did at this con. The guards were very cordial and they answered all of my questions with the best of their ability. Whenever I needed to find a certain room or event, any guard I asked took the time to actually help me find the place I wanted to go. Lastly, food and drink access was also surprisingly low-priced and easily available. Unlike NYCC where there’s only a Starbucks, a series of food trucks, etc., ECCC had a number of eateries on each floor so attendees had options. Additionally, they also had a lot of health base options which included smoothies, gyros and salads among others. I can always appreciate any event that supports a healthy lifestyle and choices and ECCC did just that.
When comparing the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) in Seattle to The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, there’s a clear difference. For starters, the WSCC has a total of six levels and a sky bridge compared to the Javits Center’s three levels. All six levels had a floor committed to something different. In addition, ECCC had an additional building known as the Hyatt Regency Hotel not far from the center so if a person wanted to get away from the crowds and observe the main showcases; the Hyatt Regency was definitely the place. Below is also what each floor or building had while I attended ECCC.
The first level was the entrance to the con as well as the gaming area. There, attendees could play video games and tabletop games to their heart’s content. The second level was the hive and it’s called that because it was there fans could participate in hands-on activities like yoga, samurai sword training sections, live artist drawing classes and Jedi Training just to name a few. The third level was strictly for cosplay where attendees could engage in a number of activities while dressing up as their favorite pop culture character. This also included photos-ops and interviews. The fourth level was the Showroom Floor where the exhibitors and vendors were placed. It was on this level that I personally spent most of my time at ECCC and where I was able to get my hands on all my ECCC swag and souvenirs. Level five was Artist Alley and it was there fans got to meet their favorite creative artist and even buy artwork from them. Level six was where the magic happened as all the panels and screenings led to learning valuable skills and tips about how to further their passion from professionals already in the industries of writing, drawing, gaming and cosplay.
At the Hyatt Regency, all celebrities were there to take autographs and photos with their fans. With ECCC growing, the Hyatt became the new location for Celebrity Photo Ops and Autographs. This was kind of a shock to me as I wasn’t expecting so many floors, but while I did go up the multiple flights, I started to appreciate how everything was balanced and that all the panels, screenings, fan meetups, literature, gaming, and professional events were well structured and placed in similar areas rather than sprinkled throughout the entire complex. I consider this a plus for it made planning my activities during my time at ECCC a lot easier.
The World Inside
As always, amazing cosplay from multiple TV shows, movies, comics, video games, anime and manga blessed the showroom floor. I then went to a packed My Hero Academia fan meet up and saw even more ‘My Hero’ Cosplay. It’s safe to say that My Hero Academia is just as popular in the west coast as it is in the east. I next took part in a Samurai Sword Sparring section where I learned basic offense and defense moves with a wooden sword including the upper left strike, the upper right strike, the left and right side strike, upper right and left block, and the right and left block.
If I can give anyone a reason to go to any convention it would be for all the awesome art, toys, souvenirs and swag that you can’t find anywhere else or at least available to you so easily. I honestly believe no one can go to a comic con without buying something. Whether it’s a piece of clothing, some artwork, or even a collectible; ECCC had something for everyone. I thought I was only going to buy a couple of small souvenirs but I was surely mistaken. I brought hats, art work and I even started a Funko collection. Proud of myself, I brought a number of Funko figures from He-Man, Dragonball Z, DC, Marvel and various movies types. Just to name a few: Miles Morales, Superman, Alfred Hitchcock, Ultra Instinct Goku, Trap Jaw, The Penguin Imposter, Two-Face Imposter, and Poison Ivy Imposter. Overall, I ended up buying eight Pops and only ended up paying 5-15 dollars for each one. They were really inexpensive compared to NYCC prices.
Pokemon Fashion Finds
I bought hats featuring the three teams from the Pokemon Go mobile game. I bought a hat representing Team Valor, Mystic and Instinct. Each hat was made using their signature team color to provide different fashion choices for myself.
Mighty Morphin Prints
I bought prints of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from a gentleman named Aaron Lambert and learned a little about him. Aaron is a professional comic book artist and this was his second time attending ECCC. Aaron mentioned that he has been to many cons in many states; especially New York City. He considers New York City the biggest con he has done, but he did want to make a point that ‘no matter how big or small a con may be, people attend these events to share their same interests with each other and to promote themselves as artists’. Regarding his personal work, Aaron loves it when people interact with his art. Because his work has his own style, when people see it, they appreciate it. I wish him all the best in where his work takes him. Aaron, like many artists, is hoping that his work will be seen everywhere; on billboards, clothing and concerts.
Panels - Learning From Experience
Looking pass the massive consumerism and cosplay; Comic Cons are an industry where artist, writers, designers and other professionals can learn how to break into their perspective industry. I personally like to take time during my days at any con to network or learn any valuable skill that will improve my craft. One panel I went to during my time at ECCC was called Story Unlimited. The purpose of this panel was for artists wanting to get into particular industries be it drawing, writing, cosplay, etc. It was in this panel that I met Adron Buske the host of the panel and special guests: David Accampo, Gwenda Bond, Brian McClellan and Rob Hart.
I gained a lot of tips about breaking into the creative industry, including knowing what’s available at the time and knowing what kind of audience and platform you want to attract. I also learned that when you work with people who have differing views, it’s important to know everyone’s goal and come to an understanding. I also learned from Rob Hart that the Internet is only one avenue for someone to be known and that ‘great solid work’ should always come first. The entire panel agreed that once an individual gets good and their work becomes concrete, everything else should follow suit. I also learned from Mrs. Bond that it’s important to have a presence and when working with anyone, make sure that you are around people that like to work with you. Remember to focus on what you enjoy and what you are good at and you will attract the kind of people you want to associate yourself with.
Like any big event, ECCC went out with a bang by throwing a huge after party. The 4th Annual Emerald City Comic Con Afterparty presented by Sonic Boom Box had food, drinks, music, cosplay and games including Jenga, Connect Four and their signature classic, Ping-Pong. This party was the perfect ending to ECCC.
Emerald City Comic Con was a wonderful experience. I’m happy to say I’ve been to a Comic Con on the opposite side of the country. This experience has now made me want to go to Comic Cons all over the world. Lastly, for anyone that only knows the East Coast Cons, I would highly recommend going over to Emerald City Comic Con for a totally different experience because I guarantee you, will not be disappointed.