ReedPOP > C2E2, ECCC, and All Other ReedPOP Events

ECCC 2022: August 18-21, 2022

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I won't be in until Thursday so you will have to eat without me,  I'll be at home frantically packing lol

My review of ECCC 2022:

I took a different approach this year and that was drastically lowering my expectations of the con and primarily treating this trip as my summer vacation and ECCC as just something going on during my vacation. In that regard, I enjoyed myself quite a bit. I stayed at the Hyatt Olive 8, which had a spa that had some parts that were free for guests, and Tidal, their onsite restaurant, had a great happy hour with $2 oysters. I went to see The Killers and Pat Benatar. I also really loved being in Seattle when it was in the 80s and sunny rather than the 40s-50s and drizzly and a part of me wishes it would stay in August every year.

The con itself was definitely better than 2021 though that’s not saying much. At least they had panels with featured guests. However, a major concern is that there were still multiple guests that didn’t have panels. Not just ones that charge $100+ per autograph but run of the mill guests too. Neither of the Smallville guests or Elvira had a panel which I found extremely disappointing. Felicia Day and Billie Piper didn’t either. I had really hoped that 2021 was an anomaly in that regard but it seems like this is going to be the case going forward. As I mentioned last year, I can’t get excited about guest announcements if I can’t trust them to have panels. On the upside, I will give them props for getting Brendan Fraser and having a panel w/ him and Oded Fehr. Other panel highlights were the TMNT Reunion and Twisted Toonz doing the Breakfast Club. Smaller panels were a wash. How Not To Break Into Comics was clever and amusing. But the Microsoft designers one, despite having a slick slideshow, bored me to tears.

The exhibit hall was about half the normal size and the lack of Funko was definitely felt. It took less than an hour to walk through the entire thing. When I first walked in I was impressed by how big Bait and Tokidoki’s displays were but I quickly realized that they were just displays, and they had no more product than usual. No Hallmark/Popminded either. I did make a new discovery, Handmade by Robots, which was cool. But overall the exhibit hall was much weaker than even 2021, however my guess is that this will probably be back to full strength in the next few years.

The Artist’s Alley was very strong, as usual. Also, there was one very pleasant surprise that happened and that was when I was leaving the con at 4:15 PM on Sunday, a band called King Youngblood was playing a concert on a truck parked right in front of the convention center entrance. (They had a panel about a story they are doing which was added to the schedule last minute, though I wasn’t able to make it to that since it was at the same time as the Pat Benatar concert.) I wish this truck concert would have been advertised anywhere because I would have gone out my way to see it, though I’m glad I stumbled upon it.

In a way this year’s ECCC was cathartic. It felt like the one we were supposed to get in August 2020 when it was rescheduled the first time. I’m curious to see if the newly expanded convention center will help ECCC be bigger and better next year but IMO, this is no longer the premier con of the Pacific Northwest, it’s just in the premier city of the PNW. Rose City is the better con and honestly probably passed it a few years back. It does ECCC’s biggest strength (independent artists) equally well, and just plain has more and better of guests and all kinds of programming. The only area I can think of where RCCC is behind ECCC is name-brand exclusives.

Transmute Jun:
I had a bit of a different experience, in that I felt that the con was almost back to normal.

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This being said, I did notice holes on the Exhibit floor. I don't think that it was significantly smaller (there were some empty spots at the back of the TCC hall and the big empty space where Skybound should have been). There were a few empty booths when I did my serious walk of the floor on Thursday, but then on Friday many of those holes were filled in... late exhibitors? I was looking for one booth in particular, which was listed online and in the app as being in a certain place, but they weren't there. I emailed them, and it turned out that they had been moved last minute. I'm wondering how many booths got moved last minute.

Additionally, it was noticeable that there were no major exhibitors there. Dark Horse, Funko, Skybound... these are all mainstays whose absence was noticed.

I was pretty happy with the panel schedule. There were some good gaming panels and cosplay panels, along with a decent Main Stage. I agree that it's slimy when guests are advertised and they don't have panels. But this has been happening for years and I don't see it changing anytime soon. I've seen this at other cons too, not just ECCC. The only place I haven't seen it is at Creation (of all places).

I do know in the past there has been the occasional guest that didn't have a panel (for instance, Steven Yuen in 2015 I think?) but I never noticed it to be an overwhelming amount until last year. I think part of it is that the guest lineup in general used to be very strong and when there are like 15-20 solid guests and 1-2 don't have a panel, it isn't a big deal. But last year it was very noticeable when the lineup was the weakest it had ever been and zero of the 3 featured guests had panels. That will probably be the forever low point of ECCC. This year I would consider the guest lineup average, but I don't ever recall there being 5+ omissions in an average year before.

This hasn't been an issue with the other conventions I attend such as Rose City, Salt Lake, and Denver. There may be a guest or two that for whatever reason doesn't have a panel one year, but if a guest is announced, for the most part I can rely on the con to schedule them in a panel. I do remember one year at Salt Lake the guest panel with Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid got canceled at the last moment and the con was apologetic and made it clear that that was not the norm. (They were rather mum on the actual reason for cancellation, although there were rumors.) The only other convention where I can think of where this was as big of a problem was during 2019 SVCC when the two biggest names (Jason Momoa and ARNOLD) didn't have panels, and that definitely contributed to that year being a dumpster fire. This hasn't seemed to be an issue at SVCC/SiliCon before or after, though.


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