Emerald City Comic Con 2016

In the heart of the Subway and coffee capital of the world, sits the Washington State Convention Center; and in that convention center, is the Emerald City Comic Con. A four day pop culture and comic book convention housed in five floors and three, separate buildings in the middle of the Seattle metropolis. This is where our adventure begins.

Teamed up with Points of Interest’s fearless leader, Josh Hawkes, we set out to conquer the Emerald City Comic Con and our trepidation. Something to know about this convention is that the emphasis is on art, and the biggest names in mainstream and indy comic books were in attendance. From Neil Adams and Fiona Staples to the creators of Cyanide and Happiness, it was a bevy of pens and coloring pencils that would make any fan and aspiring artist, happy.

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I learned quickly, on day one, that this convention was gigantic. I wish that was hyperbole, but there were literally floors of panels, vendors, and exhibits to see. The basement housed the 501st Legion, a Star Wars cosplaying group, and a LEGO showcase. There were rooms of LEGO sculptures and Star Wars activities, like blaster-ing a Storm Trooper or getting your picture taken riding in an X-Wing. It was a great place for children of all ages to play and take a break from all the panels and showcases. The show floors themselves consisted of two large rooms, in two buildings interconnected by a sky bridge. Vendors ranged from steampunk, to cosplay, with some 3D printing and geek, prayer candles mixed in. The Sheraton was dedicated to the gaming aspect of the convention, with rooms for table top gaming, and even console and arcade gaming. If you call yourself a gamer, this building could be called heaven. I feel I’ve only scratched the surface, but ECCC was more than happy to try and cater to everyone’s fandom, which is a very good thing.

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Something new to this convention, and something I would like to see pop up at other cons, was the presence of MeetUp.com. MeetUp.com had a couple of rooms dedicated for like minded geeks to commiserate based on their favorite things to nerd out on. Every hour focused on something different like, Harry Potter, Marvel, and Supernatural. With so many different fandoms, they did their best to cover as many of the big ones as they could. It’s an interesting and promising concept that I think any convention could benefit from.

Emerald City Comic Con had an array of panels, and the vast majority of them were focused on the comic book industry. They talked about how to get into the industry, better ways to write and draw, and how to get published. But a particularly fascinating part of the convention was the noticeable presence of the lesbian, gay, transgender, queer community. A variety of comic book creators came out to showcase their LGBTQ comic books, and the fans were ready. Lines of people from all sexualities gathered to get their fill on the funny, the romantic, and the adventurous. Men confidently wore their favorite dress, wig, and high heels, and women happily went as their favorite male counterparts with a mustache, beard, and all. Whether it was for gender swapping, cross dressing, or finally feeling comfortable in their own skin, it was enthralling to see. The venue was so progressive there were even signs for the non gender specific bathrooms.

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With everything going on in the convention, there was still time for some podcasting, as my cohort Josh teamed up with the Mean Geek and the Wombmates for some cross podcast love. It was great to see people who have never met each other, get together and bond over the love of talking geek. Where was I, you may ask? Taking a nap against a wall. Cons are exhausting.
There were artists we talked to, cosplayers we photographed, and vendors we met, making the days not only eventful, but informative. What ECCC lacks in big industry reveals and exclusive trailers, they make up for in creativity, originality, and their emphasis on community, as was evident in their gaming and table top rooms, the MeetUp spots, and the arcade, where strangers got to team up and compete for fun and prizes.
A brief aside, I had the honor of taking over a chaotic crew of super fans in one of the MeetUp.com rooms, who were all about The Arrow and Flash. It was great to lead the group in discussion about these shows and it was really out of my comfort zone. There was no one leading the event, and it weirdly bothered me that a room full of fans were refusing to interact with each other, that I had to do something. I had no intention of turning a meet up group into a “panel”, but needless to say, given the right environment and the right people, this shy, introvert turns into a giant ham.

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The most memorable panel at ECCC was the Super Geeked Up panel. It was an interactive, podcast, game show where the brave would not only have fun, but win prizes. Josh and I had the privilege of meeting the host, Jeff Burns at the end of the Arrow/Flash Meet Up, and his panel did not disappoint. The interaction from the audience was infectious, and the people were more than happy to jump on stage and take on the challenges. A must see for anyone who goes to this convention.
When all three days, of the four day show were said and done, it was proof positive that Emerald City Comic Con is a must visit convention, no matter where you’re from. I met cosplayers, presenters, comic book creators, and more from all parts of the world at this convention, from Detroit Rock City to the Canadian Hinterlands, to Australia’s outback. And it was because of these people, that Josh and I had as great a time as we did. So I want to thank, whole heartedly, the people who took the time to talk with myself and Josh.
A big thank you to Zeuf from Omakase Images. Thank you for talking with us, sharing your story and showing us your great geeky sacrilegious prayer candles.
Gabe Smith from Human Comics. Thank you for an awesome interview and insight into the independent comic book industry. His work is brilliant and you need his book in your life.
Thank you to Mike Kingston, the writer and creator of Headlocked, for nerding out with Josh on all things wrestling and providing an inspiring interview.
Jeff Burns, our podcast bretheren at the Super Geeked Up show, thanks for not only willing to talk shop with us, but inviting us to one of the most entertaining panels at the convention. We look forward to many collaborations to come.
A huge thank you to Andrea Murphy, from MeetUp.com, who was kind enough to let me take over a meet up and totally make a fool out of myself in front of a packed room full Arrow and Flash fans. You, are the real MVP.
Big thanks to Jennie Breeden of “The Devil’s Panties” for the fun and funny interview, for sharing with us your hilarious comic, and for being one of the most entertaining story tellers on the con floor.
As I’ve said before. Going to a comic book convention can be a blast. There are so many amazing folk in and around a convention to meet and mingle with. I was fortunate to truly be a part of that this time around, and do something out of character. So if you’ve got the time and the gumption to make your way out to Emerald City Comic Con, come join me won’t you? Because we’re sure to have a good time.
The Rest of the ECCC & Cosplay Gallery
Francis Fernandez
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