by Transmute Jun
Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) is an ever-changing experience. Many comic cons are stagnant, offering the same things every year, becoming more and more predictable with each annual event. Yet ECCC seems to change things up every year, making adjustments, rolling out new offerings, and expanding on popular aspects of the con. This was my fifth year attending ECCC (held March 1-4, 2018) and while it has become a comfortable con to attend for its familiar aspects, I was also excited to see what was new.
The biggest change at the con this year was the significantly increased presence of Funko. Funko has its headquarters in Everett, WA (about 30 minutes north of Seattle), which means that ECCC is Funko’s ‘hometown con’. A couple of years ago, Funko began hosting a booth on the ECCC exhibit floor, (and later offered con exclusives) while Fugitive Toys would host a Funko party one evening during the con. This year, Funko activities exploded, and so did the number of dedicated Funko fans (known as Funatics) attending the con. Funko Fanatics were clearly visible throughout ECCC, decked out in their gear and obviously having a great time. In addition to getting the Funko exclusives and attending the Fugitive Toys party, Funatics made the pilgrimage to the Funko HQ Store in Everett, attended a Funko Funkast (podcast) party, and were able to participate in a live Funkast. For more details about the Funko experience this year at ECCC, be sure to check out NCDS’ article here on the FoCC Blog.
Similar to Funko’s expanded presence (although not necessarily as prevalent) was the number of companies hosting special events, such as a nighttime party at the nearby Museum of Pop Culture and a gathering for Skybound fans at the ACT Theater (attached to the convention center). ECCC additionally expanded its offerings by hosting MusicAlley, a venue for live concerts by local bands. 2018 was also the debut of professional panels at the Seattle Public Library (all day on Thursday, March 1) for educators and librarians, which focused on bringing comics into schools and using them as a gateway for learning. Another notable change this year was that Thursday was a full day, with a proper slate of panels, activities, photo ops and autographing available to attendees. It is great to see this continued expansion of the con.
Gaming venues felt expanded this year, with many more rooms available for open, drop-in play. It also seemed that there were more ‘fandom discussion’ panels for 2018, such as Trek Talk, Marvel for Everyone and Doctor Who Celebration. As in prior years, there were official fan meetups, Artists’ Alley was expansive, and there were numerous panels on comics, creators, cosplay, and gaming, as well as a significant writing/author presence in the Writers’ Block. One of the highlights of the show was the Western Championships of Cosplay masquerade held on Saturday evening of the con.
While ECCC is a large convention (over 60,000 attendees) that offers a wide variety of panels in all things geeky, it is held back from going to the next level by its lack of studio panels. The major studios do not attend ECCC as they do San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, or WonderCon. Even so, this year had a great deal of entertainment talent on the Main Stage, such as David Tennant and Billie Piper, Christopher Lloyd, Mark Sheppard, and Karl Urban. It was easy for fans to move from activity to activity, satisfying a variety of nerdy interests each and every day. ECCC (with a few exceptions) is not a ‘line con’, and it is much easier to manage time and plan a schedule than at larger, more frenetic cons.
Fans at ECCC are open and friendly. My favorite activity this year turned out to be wearing a new cosplay that generated a lot of discussion amongst people I saw around me, with numerous attendees spontaneously starting conversations with me about that fandom and their own enjoyment of it. There is definitely a very social aspect to ECCC, and people seem a little more open and approachable than I have noted at other large cons.
With all of the great developments this year at ECCC, I can hardly wait to see where this con goes next year! I plan to be back in Seattle March 14-17 for ECCC 2019.
Did you attend ECCC? Join the conversation on FoCC!
— Emerald City Comic Con (@emeraldcitycon) March 3, 2018