Updated: Emerald City Comicon 2017 is here . Tens of thousands of fans gather in Seattle for the biggest pop culture celebration in the Pacific Northwest. This year ECCC celebrates its 15th anniversary with four days of comics, cosplay, gaming and more. Fans can see a gallery of celebrity guests, comic book royalty and geek out experiences.
How do you make the most of ECCC? Here’s picks to help you plan and you soar like this stunning Valkyrie cosplay winner.
Stars of Marvel’s The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s Daredevil, Stranger Things, Outlander, Stars Wars and Justice League/Aquaman are among the special entertainment guests who will greet fans in panels, autograph and photo sessions. Legendary creators and rising star comic book writers and artists will be here for sketches, autographs and spotlight panels.
Stan Lee makes a triumphant ECCC appearance and will team up with Todd McFarlane for a can’t miss panel of Spider-Man history. The legends will discuss how Spidey impacted their careers and their contributions to the webslinger’s mythos. McFarlane is one of original founders fathers of Image Comics reuniting at ECCC for a power packed panel celebrating the publisher’s 25th anniversary.
The homegrown con exploded into a major destination for fans across the country. The massive event is now officially part of the ReedPop family and now takes over the entire Washington State Convention Center for four days plus the Sheraton is hosting the celebrity autograph and photo ops.
With so much to see and do, how do you make the most of Comicon?
Here’s our updated Comicon for Virgins or returning fans. If you’re brand new or a super fan here are 10 important things to remember to help you enjoy your Comicon:
1. Have a budget. Bring cash. Be ready to blow your budget.
A ton of artists and merchants now have fancy card readers but have cash on hand just in case. You can look up prices or buy celebrity autograph and photo ops ahead of time. Check your favorite artist’s website for commission prices. Be ready for the unexpected. You will see an amazing print, rare comic or cool collectible you must have.
2. Do your homework and have a plan.
Make a wish of stars and creators you want to meet and the must attend panels. You can mark your map/guide or download the ECCC app ahead of time. Each celebrity will have a schedule for panels, autographs and photo ops. Check the programming guide to find time to meet your favorite artists or writer in between their panels. Major publishers like Dark Horse, Skybound, Image and Valiant Comics have their own booths on the show floor and offer special autograph sessions with marquee artists and writers plus exclusive comics like this Super Sons ECCC variant from DC and sometimes free cool stuff. Check publisher’s sites so you can know if you should wait in line for a certain comic guest.
New this year: Celebrity autographs and photo ops are over at the Sheraton. The Artist Alley is on level six of the convention center. Gaming is on level two. The Podcast Zone is on level six.
3. You know what they say about best laid plans!
If you miss what you hoped to see don’t worry, there’s always something cool. Maybe it’s Comicon destiny that a panel room is full or an autograph line is capped. Changing your strategy could lead to discovering new artists and friends.
4. Autographs and Photos, Part One.
For comic book guests, know they have panels booked so you’re not waiting in line and then they have a panel. Comic book guest autographs are usually free. Celebrity autographs and photos are on a schedule and do have fees. Be sure to pay attention to instructions from the ECCC volunteers (aka Minions) to keep lines flowing smoothly so everyone enjoys their experience and follow the rules especially about not snapping photos with your phone in the celebrity area. Just don’t do it.
5. Autographs, Part Two.
Be selective about comic books you bring to have signed. I take only a max of four books to be signed by a writer or artist. I pick my books based on if they are number one issues, first issues for that creator or because they were part of a cool story with my favorite hero. Respect other fans waiting just like you. Don’t drop dozens of books to be signed. You can buy new books at their table usually. This is your chance to talk with the creators. If you’re going to be critical, be constructive and respectful. If the writer killed off your favorite character, don’t worry, they’ll be resurrected eventually. This is your moment with a top comic book creator but remember your fellow fans are waiting for their moments too.
Most artists charge a fee for a custom sketch. Check an artist’s site or ask fans ahead of you what they’re charging and if you should provide the paper. Some fans bring sketchbooks, a blank comic book variant cover or a comic book card. Sometimes you might catch an artist in a mood and sketches are free but plan on paying. Many are already working on booked in advance commissions. I’d recommend trying to see the artist on day one to get on the list or reach out to them via social media to see their commission requests and prices. Even if they’re drawing they will usually still sign your comic. Be patient and again, respect your fellow fans.
7. To Cosplay or Not to Cosplay? COSPLAY!
This is comicon. You don’t be self-conscious. Let your geek flag fly high. Go crazy with a costume celebrating your favorite character from comics, movies or video games or just sport a cool t-shirt celebrating your favorite comic, sci-fi or fantasy genre. There are a ton of meet up groups so you can meet fans from the same genre and admire each others creativity.
8. Cosplay is NOT Consent!
No harassment of any kind. Show respect for others who are expressing their comic or sci-fi love. Geeks come in all shapes, sizes, colors and orientations. Comicon is not the time for ridicule, objectify or unwelcome advances – this is a time for celebration of the genres we all love. Respect others.
If it’s a big star like Jeremy Renner or Stan Lee on the main stage expect a big line so get there early. For a major celebrity or publisher’s panel you may want to get in line at least an hour. If the room is full then check your guide for what’s close by. Some of my favorite panels last second detours after I couldn’t get into a full room.
10. Expand your horizons and enjoy!
Comicon is massive, filled with a diversity of programming. Embrace discovering a new artist, writer, comic book or fan group. You may meet your next favorite comic writer, comic book or new friends to share your geek love and fan devotion.
Plan, Respect. Enjoy. Emerald City Comicon is March 2-5 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.