by Transmute Jun
Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) is the premier comic con in the Pacific Northwest. The show was one of the first cancelled due to COVID in 2020, and was postponed multiple times afterward. Fortunately, con organizers ReedPop were able to schedule the show December 2-5, 2021, meaning that fans only had to miss a single year (2020) of the event.
While the show was permitted to happen, there were many safety protocols in place, including increased spacing on the exhibit floor and mask requirements. Attendees also had to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. According to ReedPop, more than 90% of attendees were fully vaccinated. Personnel at the doors (and around the con) were constantly checking for the wristbands that were evidence of passing through the vaccination/testing check, and seemed far more interested in the wristbands than they were in checking for badges.
As far as badges went, the show sold out of 4-Day badges, and Saturday sold out completely (including 1-Day badges). 50,000 badges were sold in total, with the con having a 17,000 person per day limit (which was only reached on Saturday). While the exhibit floor occasionally felt crowded (although nothing like in pre-COVID days when fans were often shoulder-to-shoulder), panel rooms were usually not, and fans were generally able to walk into panels of their choosing.
Part of this may have been due to the decision to start room-clearing between panels this year. Some panels at the Main Stage and most panels in TCC L3-R1/R2 (the second biggest panel room) required everyone to leave the room before letting in attendees for the next panel. ReedPop stated that while this policy was new to ECCC, they felt that it worked well, and room-clearing is expected to take place at future cons.
ECCC is usually held in the spring, but having had to reschedule to December, the show embraced the holiday season. Christmas music was heard around the convention center, and ECCC staff and Minions (volunteers) wore Christmas-themed shirts, while fans sported official ECCC holiday lanyards and Christmas sweaters. The cosplay area even hosted a Krampus photo op for attendees on Sunday afternoon.
On the exhibit floor, the biggest draw was clearly Funko. Their Festival of Fun booth continued the Christmas theme, playing holiday music and providing shows to fans in line to purchase their products. These lucky attendees also received swag as they participated in the ensuing hijinks. Funko was clearly excited to host their first-ever holiday booth.
The panel lineup was the most extensive this writer has seen in 2021, with multiple offerings relating to cosplay, comics, anime and fandom. Entertainment panels/guests were on the lighter side, as has been the case at many post-COVID cons, but there were plenty of other offerings to take up the slack. The highlight for many people over the weekend was the Twisted Toons panel on the Main Stage, where voice actors (including Uncharted’s Nolan North and The Walking Dead’s Ross Marquand) made the most of their talents while reading scenes from the classic film Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
While gaming panels were almost non-existent this year, the bottom floors of the TCC hosted many gaming events, and tables were occupied at all hours of the day and night as fans engaged in tabletop and RPG games. Video gamers had their place on the 6th floor of the WSCC, with both console and PC games available.
Given the restrictions imposed by the COVID environment and regulations, ReedPop did a great job bringing this con back for fans to enjoy. ECCC 2022 is planned for August 18-21 (later in the year so as not to conflict with 2021’s December timing) while ECCC 2023 is currently planned to move back to the spring (March or April) timeline. Even more exciting, the 2023 show is scheduled to take place inside Seattle’s new convention center (currently under construction).
Did you attend ECCC 2021? Join the conversation on the FoCC forums!