Don't wait to get your ECCC Saturday ticket because...

4 OCTOBER 2015

....the ECCC team said "they will most likely sell out soon, as Saturday is our busiest day at the Con."

This isn't the same type of warning bell they ring when a ticket type is perilously close to selling out - but it is a reminder to snap out of your complacency and buy your single day tickets now. It'll be two weeks Wednesday since we plunged down the Emerald City ticket sale rabbit hole. All of you "but I have to wait for my next paycheck" people should have had time to get paid, borrow a credit card or make some other arrangement.

Sorry if that sounds mean. But I can assure you that NYCC or SDCC attendees would sell their grandmothers for an online registration sale this accessible. Be appreciative, then be pragmatic and get on it. A Saturday ticket is only $45.

Do you want to work for CCI?

1 OCTOBER 2015

Admit it, you know you do. You want to infiltrate their shadowy organization and learn all their secrets and slowly, stealthily, hijack their infrastructure until the SDCC badge sales favor you and all your friends.

You probably won't be able to pull off any of that as a Senior Accountant, but that's what they want to hire right now - a FT employee who can "tackle the ever-increasing complexities and special financial reporting requirements of our non-profit organization." That's just today, though. They've created a whole new Jobs page just like a real company, albeit without a stock photo of two people laughing and drinking coffee over an office desk. They're even on Career Builder. Keep checking back!

I'd be remiss if I didn't note that October started today, and that's only 1 month away from the (probable) month of SDCC Pre-registration. (Official word: "Attendee Preregistration will launch sometime after October 31, 2015." So November is a safe guess.) That makes this next month kind of like Schrodinger's Badge - maybe you're going to Comic-Con 2016, maybe not, but you won't have to face the reality of a failure for a few more weeks, until the 1st guillotine of a badge sale falls on your neck. Feel confident about your imminent Preview Night badge while you can.

The SDCC Volunteer Interest List is now open


Have your thoughts been lingering on San Diego Comic-Con lately? Wondering when Pre-registration will be exactly and if the lottery gods will pick you this time or if you'll be staying home next summer? It's okay if you have; those are perfectly normal thoughts to have after the bloodbath that was Open Reg for SDCC 2015.

Either way, you'll be happy to hear that the Volunteer Interest List is now open. This only applies to those of you who didn't volunteer this past summer; if you did - even for one shift - you're eligible for Priority Volunteer Registration and already set.

But everyone else can log into their Member ID account, go to the Volunteer tab and sign up for the Interest List. Do that and you'll get an email notifying you of online volunteer registration in 2016. You won't get first dibs on volunteer spots - those go to Priority Volunteers - but you can try to fill in any remaining spots after those people have had their shot. Volunteers get in for free the day of their shift, so obviously it's a popular option.

I've never volunteered so I can't speak to the actual experience but everyone I know that's done it has been happy. In other words: it's worth signing up.

ETA: You can still do this if you've never been to San Diego Comic-Con before. As long as you have a Member ID account, you can sign up. This is absolutely an option for first-timers and you have nothing to lose by doing so. Even if you change your mind later, you can just skip volunteer registration. There's no commitment at this stage.

Q&A on Emerald City Comicon


I know. I can't stop talking about Emerald City and you're so sick of hearing about it. But the last week has unleashed enough weirdness that I've been getting questions and comments from all quarters on random aspects of ECCC. (And a few conspiracies, which are always fun.)

I don't know everything about Emerald City Comicon but I will clear up what I can.

Tickets, Identification and Scalpers

Will my ticket have my name on it? If I bought for my 5 friends and ECCC didn't ask for their names when I bought them, I can just resell them and that means so can scalpers, right?

I bought 4 tickets and I don't know exactly which of my friends can go yet. What happens?

I have no idea what the ECCC 2016 badge will look like. But here's what the ECCC 2015 badge looked like and what the current NYCC badges look like: no names.

I don't know for sure that ReedPOP will put RFID tech into ECCC 2016 badges as they do with NYCC. With NYCC, you are required to register your badge online. (And linking to your social accounts is encouraged.) ECCC's statement on Facebook: "We are shipping badges but there still will be a barcode scan and ID check for some of our passes." So that suggests a similar process.

They're obviously not going to ID everyone and I'm sure we'll still see scalpers slinking around. But overall it's a little more formal and monitored than previous years.

Did they deliberately reduce the number of 4-day and 3-day badges to force people to pay more for single day badges? I think they did.

This seems to be a popular theory, probably because angry people want someone to blame and ReedPOP seems a good candidate for the role of the greedy corporation. We've all noticed the obnoxious ads on the ECCC site. But Emerald City said, "We did not sell less 3-day passes than last year." And they sold 4-day passes this year as well.

Now that only single day tickets are left, I can't afford to go. It's so unfair.

Really? The price difference between all 4 single day badges and a 4-day badge is $40. The price difference between 3-day badges and 3 single day badges is $30. (And Thursday is only half-day - 2 to 7 pm - and focused mainly on comic books, so that should help many of you decide to skip it.)

I do understand that's still inconvenient for people on a budget. (The price difference almost doubled for NYCC tickets when their full tickets sold out, which I got caught in by a nanosecond. So I get it.) And I know what it's like to be cash-strapped at Comic Cons - I was a broke young scrapper when I started going to SDCC.

But I have a hard time believing that $40 is an insurmountable difference for someone attending Comicon when you think of what people spend on meals, their cosplay, the show floor, etc. Maybe that's not you; maybe you're visiting ECCC on a day pass from a Charles Dickens-level orphanage and merely walking around the Con is all you hoped to do on your meager funds. But again, this event didn't rise up out of oblivion. Everyone has had months to save up.

When will single day badges sell out?

"Soon." How's that for vague? What I do know is that you should go ahead and get yours if you want to go. There's no room for dithering in Comicon.

The ECCC Culture

I think one thing you might want to mention to folks is the "Seattle Freeze" issue with Seattle locals. I think a lot of people will be surprised by how reserved/clique-ish/snobbish they can be. I'm not sure if you felt it when you were there, but it's definitely not like SD.

It hadn't occurred to me to mention this because 1) I grew up in a reserved region 2) I tend to socialize mostly with pros and vendors rather than attendees 3) I assume whatever side-eye and frostiness I get at ECCC is based on my being an SDCC blogger. (A not unfounded assumption.)

So yes, I'll say that the ECCC attendee base is not as friendly and laidback as San Diego's, where everyone just naturally chats up everyone and a general spirit of helpfulness prevails. I wouldn't say Emerald City's culture is cold, necessarily, but the people don't seem to connect as easily. At SD, waiting in line can lead to a new best friend, hearing about 2 parties and finding out about a booth giving out secret swag. At ECCC, people seem to ignore each other in line. (Though maybe that's because the lines don't last long enough for our social barriers to break down.) I've never had an ECCC attendee randomly invite me somewhere, though that happens to me at SD all the time. Last year some women invited me to a private party during ECCCC and I had to be vouched for.

On the whole, it's not something that bothers me but a few SDCC veterans might notice the difference. Although with the influx of SDCC and other attendees that seems to be happening, perhaps this will change? At any rate, I might organize an ECCC event for SDCC attendees who don't know many people there or just want to connect with the community, so don't think you'll be alone if this is your first ECCC. You'll be among friends.

How different is it going to be now that it's controlled by NYCC?

ReedPOP actually runs Comic Cons all over the world, and I have to imagine those events aren't clones of each other. Plus they said they want ECCC to keep its cultural feel. Obviously the infrastructure is different; how palpable the new ownership will be on the show floor and panels and events is unknown. I expect past attendees will still feel at home while appreciating the expanded offerings.

Speaking of which....

The ECCC Offerings

So is it worth my going or not? My son likes comic books but I don't and you say that's all there is there.

Okay, I'm going to walk this back a bit. I've banged the ECCC drum hard for a few years now and I have repeatedly stressed how great it is for comics fans. Which is still true, entirely. In fact, I expect an even higher level of comic book talent this year - and it was already rather incredible in the past.

But I also expect a higher level of Hollywood talent in 2016. Maybe I'm wrong but I think ReedPOP is going to make a point of bringing in big names and making this Con a don't-miss for the general Con community and not just the comic book nerds. They wouldn't have bought ECCC just to keep it at the same size and profit margin; clearly they saw a business advantage in the sale. (Look at its location compared to SDCC and NYCC. Just saying.) So I would predict 2016 is going to have more Hollywood flash.

It's also worth noting that Thursday is only from 2-7 pm and "focused mainly on comics" so you can probably shave that day off if you're not a big comics fan. If you're intrigued by ECCC, don't let my obsessive prattle about comic books stop you from going. You'll have a good time.

And it's possible that as fast as this ticket sale has seemed, next year will be even faster - so you may want to get in while the getting is reasonable. If ReedPOP really does roll out the thunder next April, you can believe that even more attendees will be dogpiling that 2017 ticket sale the second it goes live.

How many more guests are going to be added? I don't know if I want to commit to this since they've only listed 3 names.

Guests will be added all the way up to the Con. I feel safe assuring you they will be guests you want to see. Again, ReedPOP isn't going to have their first Emerald City feature C-listers. They want to come out with a bang.  That's why they name-dropped Fiona Staples and Nathan Fillion the day of the sale - they knew it would excite both comic nerds and Hollywood fans.

The days of waiting for guest announcements before buying tickets are pretty much dunzo, anyhow. At some Cons like Salt Lake and Phoenix you can afford to wait but most popular Cons sell out months before those announcements get made. It's a leap of faith.

Is it too late to apply for a table in Artist's Alley?

According to pro friends, it is almost impossible to get into ECCC - it's such a huge get for artists that it eclipses even bigger Cons in both sales and prestige. They didn't allow applications for the 2016 show, although there is a waiting list. Probably good networking, though.

And that's it for now. I promise to stop the parade of ECC posts soon.

SLCC vs SDCC: is a truce afoot?


If you ever wanted to hear a news anchor say "Comic Con" 7 times in 30 seconds, you should watch this video. No real developments are revealed; all we're told is that our favorite courtroom warriors San Diego Comic-Con and Salt Lake Comic Con met with a judge and "both sides are working on an agreement but nothing is final."

Will SLCC get its longed-for bromance? More like a legal fist to the jaw, probably. But we'll see if these two crazy kids can work it out.

Use this link to buy ECCC tickets


ECCC says its site will be back up "shortly." In the meantime, you can buy tickets here.

Yes, all 4 days are still available. But you know what I'm going to say about that - act soon.

ETA: The site is back up.

The ECCC site is down but don't panic


The Emerald City site has been down for a few hours now. I'm not sure if the Forbes traffic jacked it (doubt it since the article view count is low) or the team is regrouping or what. Probably the latter since their social is quiet as well. But last we knew, all 4 days of single day tickets were available, so hopefully that will be the case when the site comes up again. There's no need to panic.

There's been a fair amount of suspicion online about the speed of the sale, with people assuming scalpers have invaded en masse. I really don't think that's it. While there are no doubt some scalpers in the mix (there always are), I think it's mostly a combination of:

1) previous attendees getting more anxious, given this Con went from selling out full passes in 5 months to 7 weeks in 1 year;

2) a rush of first-time attendees, driven by the combination of the ReedPOP sale boosting ECCC's profile AND the staggering odds against getting into SDCC. I'm so willing to be wrong here. But I've talked to many SDCC attendees headed to ECCC this year, as well as East Coast comic nerds who "want to experience Emerald City now before it turns into San Diego." The SDCC attendees in particular are going to descend on any Con sale like a swarm of locusts, because that's how the brutality of our own badge sales has trained us. We're there the second the sale goes live, ready for battle.

(To put this in perspective, Salt Lake Comic Con - SDCC's arch foe - is happening right now and still has tickets available. The VIP pass is sold out but everything else is still available, both multipasses and single days. Yes, they have a bigger capacity but it still says a lot about the demand in both cases.)

If you've never been to San Diego Comic-Con, it's probably irritating to see me repeatedly linking it to ECCC. But I do see a strong connection. You've got the hundreds of thousands of attendees who try to get a SDCC badge and fail. (Yes, that many. Given that it seemed only 6-10% of people got badges last year, and 125-130K are up for sale, we may well be looking at over a million people who got shut out of San Diego this past summer.)

You've also got a huge number of ex-SDCC attendees who walked away of their own choice when it got more Hollywood, more crowded and less about comic books. Many of these people have been longing for another Comic Con that would replicate the magic of SDCC years ago. And that is the exact branding ECCC has acquired. I can't even count the number of comic book nerds who say to me, "I heard Emerald City is like San Diego used to be."

So that's my theory - I really think this is mostly Comic Con evolution. And I don't think it's that bad, given that all 4 days of single day tickets were still available this morning. If you really wanted to go to ECCC, you had the chance to do so. We all knew the sale was coming.

Okay, I'm done sounding heartless. When the site rises again, we'll see if ECCC has rejiggered the sale of the remaining badges or if everything is the same. My advice is the same as always - be vigilant. 

ETA: The site has been down for almost a full day now. My best guess is they're trying to figure out a way to distribute the remaining tickets fairly and to real attendees, not scalpers. It is odd that they're not communicating this via Tumblr or Facebook, though. Let's hope ReedPOP's influence isn't changing the team's traditional transparency, because that's always been one of the best things about ECCC.

Forbes ponders the ECCC sale


It's official: Emerald City is in the big leagues. Forbes actually wrote about the sale's speed, saying, "But this kind of response, when only a handful of guests and activities have been announced, indicates it has moved into a new echelon of popularity."

Well, "echelon" is one word for it, I guess. Haven't we all known we were moving toward this moment? (Don't answer that - Tumblr and Twitter have already instructed me that no, not everyone knew.)

Here's a term I like better: "manic scramble." The article notes that "Until recently, regional conventions like ECCC, Denver Comic Con, Salt Lake City Comic Con and Toronto’s Fan Expo could count on capacity crowds in the high-five, low-six figures, but not the kind of manic scramble for badges months in advance that was typical of international-scale events like Comic-Con International: San Diego, which reports a paid attendance of 125,000, or New York Comic Con, which reports 135,000."

Hopefully all the coverage doesn't activate dormant scalpers; after all, single day tickets are still available for every day.  Which means that yes, you CAN still get the full Emerald City experience, despite the histrionics I've seen across social about it being entirely sold out. You can still go. You can still book a hotel room. Nothing at this moment is stopping you from being at one of the best Comic Cons in the world next April. So make your move now or forever hold your peace.

Updated: 3-day ECCC tickets are sold out


Remember, you can still attend all 4 days of Emerald City - just buy a 3-day badge and a Thursday and you're set. (Or you can buy all single days.) But ECCC just warned that the 3-days are about to sell out so move fast - like now - if you were thinking of getting a ticket.

I've had a flurry of conversations last night and this morning with SDCC attendees who are either going to ECCC for the first time or thinking about it. They saw yesterday's ticket mania and realized that Emerald City is hot for a reason. So here's my advice: if you can afford to go to Emerald City (and the tickets and hotels are reasonably priced, in my opinion), hop off the fence and go. You won't regret it.

I saw a lot of people on Twitter saying they couldn't buy a ticket until next week or their next paycheck. That's just not an option. Borrow the $85 from your mom, panhandle by your nearest overpass, do whatever you need to do, and buy that ticket today.

ETA: And they're gone. But fear not - all single day tickets are still available. Saturday will be the next to go so I'd get on that action if I were you.

What we learned today about Emerald City


Today was quite a day, wasn't it? Let's review.

- We got our first meaningful taste of ReedPOP's influence on ECCC: the Showclix virtual queue, the new rules against resales and refunds, the opacity regarding the number of tickets per category, etc. Are veteran attendees resenting it? I saw a few bitter comments on Twitter but overall it's too soon to tell.

- We had our first nerve-wracking Emerald City sale. At least, it was nerve-wracking for me. I got a weird message twice between the "Buy Your Tickets Now" button and the queue, and I thought, Oh no, it's started: all the chaos and meltdowns of an SDCC-level sale. But then I got in and found myself in the queue, which I was used to from NYCC sales. I felt fairly confident but was still relieved to process through in about 5 minutes.

- The hotel situation was odd. I disliked the way ECCC was having the hotels and tickets go live at the same time, so I poked around a bit early. Sure enough, hotels went live ahead of time, letting me book the Sheraton before the ticket sale launched. However, in just minutes of getting my ticket, I could see the Sheraton and other big hotels were already sold out on Wednesday night - which was a bitter pill for those attendees who had just completed their ticket sale and now needed a hotel for 4 nights. Thursday nights started selling out after that. What happened there? I'm guessing the team booked more weekend nights than Weds and Thursday. At any rate, more nights seemed to be added but we still have several completely sold-out hotels.

- 4-day tickets went immediately, then Celebrity a few hours later, then Special Access. That's reverse order of how it went last year. Maybe Special Access (200 this year, 150 dollars last year) was priced too high for what it offered? It's also possible ECCC didn't offer as many 4-day tickets as 3-day. But I'm guessing 3-day will go pretty quick too.

- I said a few posts ago that I thought 4-days would go fast, but "not in 5 minutes." Well, I was technically correct but only by the thinnest of margins; they sold out in 50. That's looking very close to a NYCC or SDCC sale. That's looking like an ugly 2017 sale.

- A lot of ECCC attendees are clearly still operating in "local Con" mode and not competitively monitoring the news and updates. I say that because a number only knew the hotels and badges went live after ECCC sent out an email - which I like many others received in my spam folder 19 minutes after the sale started. A lot of those people came up short. So here's the unwelcome reality for Seattle attendees: the world has found your community Con and its bureaucracy will be never be relaxed or easy again. Superfans are too aggressive. ECCC is too popular.

-  All of the guest announcements got everyone excited today, but the timing was curious. Why did so many things have to roll out today? Normally I'd sense a press trigger or controlled spike, but I don't see what the point would be here. At any rate, we found out Nathan Fillion, Fiona Staples, Faith Erin Hicks, Sean Gordon Murphy and others shall grace ECCC next April. I think it's clear that the 2016 guests - both comic and Hollywood - are going to be legendary this year.

- The rapid consumption of 4 day and VIP tickets could suggest simply that people were anxious; but I'm guessing that there's a much greater number of outsiders this year. Between ReedPOP buying ECCC, its growing reputation as a top Con, and the horrorshow that was this year's San Diego Comic-Con badge sale, I think a lot of first-timers are flocking to Emerald City for 2016.

So here's where we are right now, the night of 23 September:

Tickets: Only 3-day and single day badges are left. Last year ECCC let us know when particular types were close to selling out but I don't know if they'll do that this year. Things feel a little less transparent.

Hotels: The Grand Hyatt, Paramount and Homewood Suites are entirely sold out. The Westin and W still have Wednesday night, but most other hotels have only weekend availability or Thursday and weekend. This is actually more dire than the ticket sale in my opinion, because right now anyone can still buy all 4 days of the Con - they just might not have a place to sleep the night before.

Hope you all got the badges and rooms you wanted.

ETA: The Sheraton had more Wednesday nights added - so go back in and book if you couldn't get a Wednesday room yesterday. If you're new to ECCC, this hotel is right next to the convention center and worth paying an extra 30 a night or whatever compared to the cheaper hotels.

Yes, you need to get your tickets & hotel room now


Emerald City 4 day tickets are gone. VIP packages are still available as of 1:17 pm PST and so are single day and 3 day tickets. Note that ECCC announced Nathan Fillion as a special guest (for both Saturday and Sunday), which might persuade more people to snap up a VIP pass.

Most hotels have availability, but Wednesday night sold out fast at Sheraton, Hilton & Hyatt and Thursday night is already gone at some as well.  Please don't wait any longer; get your tickets and hotel room today.

Again for historical context:

ECCC 2014: full passes sold out in 5 months.
ECCC 2015: full passes sold out in 7 weeks.
ECCC 2016: full passes sold out in 50 minutes.

That's Comic Con life right there.

However, it's important to note that anyone can still get in and get a ticket right now. There's no queue; this isn't like SDCC where thousands of people are turned away. Even if you wanted a 4 day ticket, you can still buy single day badges or VIP and get the full experience.

ETA: Celebrity Fast Pass packages have sold out. I'm guessing Special Access will go next. Don't wait any longer.

ETA: Now Special Access is sold out too. 3 day and single day are still available.

Emerald City hotels are already selling out


So go in now and book a hotel if you haven't already. Certain nights are already gone. Don't wait.

ECCC sale is happening


1:07 pm

Sorry I disappeared. 4-day tickets are gone; VIP packages are still available.

I'd advise getting in and booking your tickets and hotel room now.

12:06 pm

I got into the queue at 11:59 and was processed at 12:04.  Everything was available.

So the question is - was the queue just ReedPOP's orderly influence or are they anticipating a major super fast sell out?

12:02 pm PST

Yeah, definitely don't wait. Buy your tickets now.

12:00 pm PST

The sale is live - and there's a virtual queue. Hello, ReedPOP.

Emerald City hotels are live


You can get started here.

As for when you need to book, I wouldn't wait terribly long. Yes, this is a very local Con but more and more attendees are flying in for ECCC. And of course, lots of Seattle attendees will book rooms so they can immerse themselves in the action for 4 days. The Sheraton - considered by many to be the best ECCC hotel - sold out in just a few days last year.

That said, this is Seattle and you're going to have your pick of nearby hotels if you act reasonably fast. I also wouldn't worry about which hotel has which restaurant in it, since there are so many places to eat everywhere you turn. One of the best things about Emerald City is that it's pretty easy to slip out of the Con for a good meal and come right back, unlike SDCC where just having lunch in the Gaslamp can be a major expedition.

 Won't it feel amazing to have your tickets and hotel all wrapped up in 1 day?

ECCC Pro Registration info goes live at noon too


Just a note for you pros who thought today didn't involve you. According to ECCC's Twitter, there will be a "full rundown of Pro Registration" at noon as well under the Tickets tab.

Hotels, tickets, Pro Reg - noon PST is truly the Emerald City witching hour today.

Emerald City sale goes live at Noon PST


Are you ready?

The Emerald City Comicon ticket sale will go live at noon PST / 3 pm EST today. Nothing too complicated here; you'll go to their site and pick your badges of choice and be done with it.

One thing that's different this year: no refunds. Last year you could get a refund up through New Year's Eve; now any ticket you get is yours forever. So factor that into your buying decision if you were counting on the power to change your mind.

As far as selling your ticket, previously ECCC didn't care; with ReedPOP at the helm, that seems to have changed as well. The site states, "ECCC Tickets are Non-Refundable, Non-Transferable, Non-Upgradeable and Non-Resellable." I'm not entirely sure how they'll enforce that, but again, it's something to keep in mind.

Let's talk about timing. I feel I've belabored this over the last few weeks, but I want people to be informed.

For 2014 ECCC:

3-day passes went live in September and sold out in January.
Saturday passes also sold out in January.
Sunday badges sold out in mid-February.
Friday badges sold out in early March.

For 2015 ECCC:

The sale went live on 1 September. The Deluxe passes (equivalent of this year's Special Access ticket) sold out in 3 minutes.
More than half the 3-day passes were gone by 4 September; they were more than 2/3 sold out by 15 September and 90% sold out by 25 September; then they kind of lingered until late October, when they sold out completely.
The Celebrity Fast Pass sold out by mid September.
Saturday passes sold out by 6 January.
The last single day passes sold out by 6 March.

In other words, the single day passes stayed available for months for both 2014 and 2015 - but there was a highly accelerated demand last year for full and VIP passes. Given that ReedPOP's purchase of ECCC (which happened this past January, after the 2015 sale) has boosted Emerald City's profile, it wouldn't surprise me if demand spiked for 2016.

I'm frequently accused of inciting panic when I urge people to line up early or pounce on a badge sale, but really I'm just trying to save them from the disappointment of being too late. I'm not a Comicon seer; I don't know how fast ECCC tickets will go today and over the coming weeks. But the trending numbers say that they'll go faster than last year and for that reason, I would suggest you get your ticket very soon - today if you have your heart set on a VIP package. Your hotel too, while you've got your credit card out. Why wait? Just get it done and then you won't have to keep monitoring ECCC's updates and worrying about ticket types selling out.

Talk to you in a few hours when I live-blog the sale.

Are you ready for the ECCC sale?


Happy Autumn Equinox! It's almost time for the Emerald City Comicon ticket sale, which happens Wednesday, 23 September, at Noon PST / 3 pm EST.

I've already waxed lyrical over my love for this Con, so I'll spare you any further rhapsodizing. This will be a utilitarian post. Mostly.

How to participate in the sale

Go to their site Wednesday at noon with your favorite credit card and wait for the sale to go live. There's no hotline you can call; this is online only.

Should you panic?

Nah. I think the Special Access tickets will go quickly because the Deluxe passes went lightning fast (3 minutes) last year. But you can and will get a full badge if you want one and act promptly. I don't think the 4-days will sell out in 5 minutes or anything. But it's worth noting that tickets have gone faster and faster every year. For context, 2014 full passes took 5 months to sell out; 2015 full passes sold out in 7 weeks. So if attending is important to you, scrape together $100 and buy your ticket soon.

If you're an SDCC-only attendee who's taking their first trembling steps into another Comicon, you might be expecting a digital maelstrom of a badge sale, with servers melting down and nerd screams echoing across the land. That won't happen. This will probably go quite smoothly. You'll also be able to book an excellent hotel room without any fanfare but I'll post more on that later.

What you can buy and how much you'll pay

Limit 4 tickets per type:

  • Single day ($20 for Thursday, $35 for Friday and Sunday, $45 for Saturday)
  • 3-day ($85 for Friday-Sunday)
  • 4-day ($95 for Thursday-Sunday)
  • Child ($15 for ages 6-12; Friday-Sunday only)
Limit 2 tickets per type:
  • Special Access: $200. First access to the Exhibit Hall, free t-shirt, exclusive variant comic, 15% discount at the merch store and 2 private autograph signings with comic guests.
  • Celebrity Fast Pass Package: $295. Same as above (mostly) but also priority line access to photo ops and celebrity and voice talent autographs.
Limit is 10 tickets per order. No shenanigans with different email addresses and fake names to get extra tickets; no scalping schemes; anyone caught doing anything so shameful will have their tickets voided.

Should you go?

Yes. I mean, you're only reading this because you're at least thinking about it, right? Wondering why ECCC gets so much love and praise, and if you'd be happy there, and just what the hell is so special about it anyhow? Again, read my last paean to this Con to see if it sounds like a fit - but if you are looking for a fun Comicon that is comic-focused, with great cosplay and an environment that manages to be exciting and emotional without being stressful, this is your destiny. And Wednesday is your badge sale.

I'll live-blog the sale, but I doubt there will be any serious developments to note. See you then.

ETA: Apparently Emerald City veterans think I've undersold the Hollywood talent that goes to ECCC and focused too much on comic talent. So I'll say that while this Con is NOT going to offer the same quantity of starpower you get at SDCC, it will offer up similar quality. Is that better?

You can check out last year's guests if you want an idea of what to expect. Overall, there were cast members from Firefly, The Walking Dead, Buffy, Agents of SHIELD, Game of Thrones, Agent Carter - you get the idea. So if this plays into your ticket buying decision, I'd go ahead and buy on the safe assumption that ECCC will bring you satisfying Hollywood guests. And they'll often be more accessible for photo ops and autographs than they would be at San Diego. You might even run into one of them chilling outside the convention center and talking to attendees some night, like Scott Walker last year.

Finally, be aware that you can request the guests you want to see. ECCC tries to rotate guests instead of having the same ones in all the time, so go ahead and ask for your wishlist. So far I've seen multiple requests for the casts of iZombie, Penny Dreadful, Once Upon a Time, X-Files, Star Trek, Twin Peaks, In The Flesh and Sense8. One thing the Emerald City team does well is listen to their attendees, so don't be shy - tell them who and what you want to see and just maybe you'll get it.

You can still go to New York Comic Con if you want


New York Comic Con: it's only a few weeks away. Anyone who watched the ticket sale go down knows that 4-day tickets sold out pretty fast, but that's not a permanent situation like it is with San Diego Comic-Con. StubHub has plenty of tickets available. So if you're burning with the desire to walk into the Javits Center in October, know it's not a lost cause.

(One warning: NYCC badges use RFID technology, so any counterfeit badges will be sniffed out immediately. Caveat emptor.)

A few reasons people are very hyped for NYCC this year:
  • The Walking Dead Fan Premiere in Madison Square Garden
  • The X-Files reboot premiere on Saturday
  • The release of the Brooklyn Defender, the official NYCC craft beer
  • Heroes & Villains fan meet-ups
  • Nerd Nite Speed Dating
  • The 7th Annual HP Lovecraft Festival
  • Cosplay Championships
  • GeekFest Film Fest
  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour Improv

And those are only a few of the events going on. That said, I would check out the programming before plunging in if you've never been to NYCC before. I've noticed a general belief that NYCC is SDCC's East Coast twin and is therefore its equal in any way that matters. That's actually not true. NYCC may have impressive attendance and I won't deny it has a lot to offer. But it's not going to roll out the same experience you'd get in San Diego.

One difference: the pop culture aspect of NYCC is a bit more broadly defined, which some attendees like. It's hard to imagine the Pretty Little Liars panel showing up at SDCC, for instance. Super Week also offers an assorted array of events around the city. But mostly NYCC offers a different feeling than that magical nerd bubble that prevails at SDCC. It's just not as engulfing, possibly because when everyone walks out they're pulled in so many different directions.

None of which is to dissuade you from going. New York Comic Con is a great option if you're still morose over missing SDCC or just hungering for another big Con before the year ends. And it's in New York, which means that even you hate it (kind of impossible if you're a Comic Con person) you can still find something fascinating to do. Autumn in New York is a beautiful visit on its own. So if you think the programming is a fit, investigate your options and give it a shot. There's a reason this Con has become so popular so fast, and I think you might love it.

The face of fandom - how typical are you?


Another survey examining our Comic Con ways is stirring discussion. This isn't entirely new, as it's a continuation of the Eventbrite surveys that have been going on since 2013. But the data does reveal some interesting stats on who today's superfan is, how many Cons they go to, what they spend and what they buy. Let's look.

  • Here's one absolutely shocking fact: women like going to Cons and now make up half of attendees. Next thing you know we'll be voting and driving cars. Overall the split is 49/49, with 2% defining themselves as non-binary/other gender. 

  • 46% of fans go to 3 or more shows annually - slightly more men than women. So don't feel you have to be monogamous with San Diego Comic-Con (which, let's be honest, will never offer a guaranteed badge in return for your loyalty.) Look around and find other events that appeal to your interests. Superfans know each Con has a different energy and offerings, so don't think adding a 2nd or 3rd Con to your annual roster is redundant.

  • Women dominate media, fantasy/sci-fi and manga/anime, while men dominate comics and gaming. But every category has a fair amount of both genders, with other/non-binary gender represented most strongly in Alt/Small Press.

  • Age and gender patterns intersect. Under age 40, female fans predominate 51% to 46%. Male fans tend to be older, with over a third over 40, and tend to have a longer Con history and higher income.

  • Onto cosplay. We've all heard the ridiculous complaints that fake geek girls are using up all the badges just to cosplay for attention and they're not even real fans! Another complaint: those evil women don't spend money on the floor, hurting the exhibitors. So here's what the data actually shows. 
    • 2/3 of women do cosplay sometimes at Cons and 30% said it was their primary or exclusive interest. (55% of men said they never cosplay.) 
    • "Most male and female fans spend money at comparable levels on the same kinds of stuff. When you adjust for age and household income, women actually spend slightly more and female cosplayers spend about the same as everyone else." The survey has spoken.
    • But this stereotype holds true; men spend more on toys and comics while women "slightly" prefer clothes and accessories.

  • The number one purchase across every demographic? Original art and prints. That surprises me.

Do you see yourself in these results? Are you Nouveau Comic Con or part of the Old Guard? I don't think any of this is terribly surprising; if you've strolled around a Con in the last year, you've probably seen these trends with your own eyes. 

And they are just trends, not concrete statements on gender preferences and patterns. Plenty of attendees (like me) fly in the face of "boys like comics and girls like costumes" generalizations that might seem supported by the above. Still, it is an interesting look at who's going to Comic Con and why. Hopefully as Con life becomes increasingly recognized as the cultural juggernaut it is, we'll get more data examining our experiences and the factors driving the growing demand for attendance.

Emerald City hotels will go live 23 September


If you're anxiously waiting to book your ECCC hotel room, the team's Tumblr says that hotels will go live the same day of the ticket sale. That's 23 September. Superattendees will have their credit cards ready and nail down their tickets and hotel that day no doubt;  but if you need to wait for another pay cycle (most hotels require a deposit) to reserve a room, you probably can.

Last year the hotels were live on the site before it was official. I have no idea if that'll be the case this year, but it doesn't hurt to check.