Emerald City Comicon (ECCC), dubbed “the largest comic book and pop culture convention in the Pacific Northwest”, took place over the first weekend of March this year. The convention has been growing steadily throughout the years, and with 53,000 attendees in 2012, ECCC is becoming one of the premier cosplay conventions around this part of the country. Being locals, Vince and I attended this convention to bring you the insider’s look of this year’s ECCC.
The immediate attraction of the exhibitor hall is prominent as soon as you arrive at the convention, but not before you wade through the long line of people waiting to get their convention badges, even on a Friday. Going from the registration area, the line extended to the Freeway park area, around, down the escalators, around the first floor, and back out to the streets. Luckily the weather was pretty mild, otherwise I could not have imagined how miserable these guys would have been. Of course, it was around rush hour when I arrived at the convention, so this magnificent sight was probably the worst case scenario, as Vince reportedly got his convention pass within 5 minutes the morning of.
After registration, the 2nd challenge was to navigate through the exhibitor hall as it was already packed with people. There were many cool booths, from shops selling merchandises, to artists showcasing their art… one would really need to fight their urge to splurge.
As you walk around, there was also this lesser-known area that leads to an additional space on the 3rd floor that hosts several booths and celebrity signing areas. With some additional exploration, you would find a massive Lego exhibition on the 2nd floor, a play area for kids on the 4th floor, the 501st Legion‘s photo-booth on the 6th floor, and a few very cool activities around the convention space.
One of the highlights of Friday night was the Live Art event held at Baltic Room, a club near the convention center, where artists created art, live, as everyone else watched, socialized, and just generally enjoyed their time. The artwork created at this event are auctioned off and the proceeds all go to Seattle Children’s Hospital, so it was for a very good cause to party it up.
Being cosplay photographers, Vince and I naturally spent a significant portion of our time photographing and socializing with awesome cosplayers from all over. One funny incident I observed was Mark and Mindy from Portland 501st, who dressed up as very authentic looking Batman and Selina, getting stopped for photos pretty much every step of the way.
As one can imagine, the cosplays at a Comicon would naturally gear toward comic book heroes/villains instead of anime characters, and ECCC is of no exception. Without actual statistics to back up my claim, it almost feels like the ratio of cosplayers have increased, which is good news for those who enjoy seeing a wider variety of costumes.
With a few years of experience shooting at the convention center, I decided to tackle a personal project and utilize a simple backdrop system for the entire convention. An interesting development was that the corner where my setup was located turned out to be the hangout spot for my friends as well, so that was a welcoming surprise.
In short, ECCC is a growing convention that is set to be one of the major comic/anime conventions in the Pacific Northwest region, if not already. The roster of celebrity guests is always one of the biggest attractions, as well as the massive dealer’s hall, and a full lineup of panels to keep the attendees engaged. There are many wonderful cosplays to see and photograph, and the amount of cosplayers attending the convention is also growing at a fast pace. Vince and I undoubtedly enjoyed our time at ECCC this year, and we would certainly give it our stamp of approval as well as recommendation to those who are seeking conventions worth attending around this region.