It's that time of year when thou mayst in me behold my love for Emerald City Comicon. Yes, I know we're more than half a year away from it actually happening. But we're only mere weeks - maybe slightly longer - away from its badge sale, and last year proved that you will want to be on top of that sale like the most grimly determined SDCC combatant ever.
I say that because the Delux badges sold out in under 3 minutes last year. I got one and so did other SDCC attendees I know - and while I don't have the stats to back this up, I'm betting that our training and ride or die intensity is what helped us beat out the more laidback ECCC attendees who rolled in minutes or hours later. Not that it's a competition! They're both great Cons.
But of course it is a competition when it comes to getting the badge you want - so I'm sounding the bell now to get prepared if you're entertaining thoughts of Seattle next April.
Why you might want to go to Emerald City
- You're a comic book fan. This convention is a Valentine wrapped in a faded Silver Age issue wrapped in an indie artist's sketch wrapped in the bag and board of your most treasured comic book. But don't worry - there's decent Hollywood talent and gaming and an entire cult of cosplay there as well.
- It's manageable and comfortable in a way that SDCC can never be again. Yes, there are some lines and yes, the badge sales will probably become consecutively worse. But right now it's fairly easy to book the hotel of your choosing, get a badge and walk into the panel you want. That said, don't be lazy. You will need to move fast this year.
- The ECCC team is dedicated to attendee satisfaction. Their social presence is attentive and positive and they genuinely care about fan opinions and input. Witness the survey many of us got from them today. When asking for possible improvements, one of the choices was "entertainment while waiting in line." Can you imagine SDCC even thinking of that? Or sending out a survey or asking our opinions at all?
- They're committed to retaining their friendly community feel while offering the excitement and versatility of a bigger Con. This is no easy feat; I'll say here that for all my snark, I do recognize the challenges that come with organizing such a major event. I get it. CCI probably does many heroic things behind the scenes that we attendees will never hear about. But that just makes it even more impressive that ECCC is willing to go to strenuous new lengths to keep us happy. Today's survey asked if we'd be interested in more outside activations around the city, more cosplay features like contests & photo booths, more ticketed and free events, special artist and writer workshops, more gaming, etc.
- They were bought by ReedPOP but seem to be adhering to their promise to keep their distinct feel. I'm sure next year will be different. Maybe we'll see it as soon as the badge sale. But I have faith in organizer Jim Demonakos and so far it seems like ECCC is keeping its special personality rather than morphing into a generic Con.
- You might not get a badge to SDCC. This is a stellar backup choice. And you can sell your badge off to anyone if you change your mind; ECCC doesn't mind.
- You want a Comicon with a progressive energy that offers content friendly to LGBTQ and diversity issues. Gender-neutral restrooms, Cosplay is Not Consent posters, after-hours events for people of every persuasion - possibly even Otherkin - it's all here.
- You want to see indie creators, small presses and an Artist's Alley that is truly a bazaar of creative originality. You want to see the rising stars, writers and artists who are working for Boom and Image and IDW and others and injecting a new color and vitality into the comics industry. They're here too.
Okay, enough of the hard sell. I really don't have a horse in this race; I just think ECCC is an incredible Con and a great and often overlooked option for people myopically focused on SDCC.
Last year's badge sale was in September. I have no idea when this year's will be but given that we're sailing through August, it's a good time to look into this Con and decide if you'd like to go. Please get over the "San Diego Comic-Con or nothing" chip on your shoulder if you have one. ECCC and other Cons are not the participation trophy of conventions. They're exciting, they offer prestigious talent and they can be a better time than SDCC depending on your interests.
I'll post more on the badge sale when it's announced.
ETA: Which according to Transmute Jun will be definitely in September, per ECCC's Tumblr. Actual quote: "We’ll be posting more info later this month, but you can expect ECCC 2016 tickets to go on sale in September." So it sounds like we'll know more fairly soon.