By Isabella Price
This year Emerald City Comic Con was held on March 2-5th in the usual location, the Washington State Convention Center and before the con even began I was annoyed. If you live in Seattle or have visited Seattle, or have heard about Seattle, you know one thing about it; it rains. It rains all the time, especially in spring, and especially in early spring. So the organizers of ECCC decided to do the con in early spring, and surprise, it was wet and cold the entire weekend.
But I won’t focus on the negative.
The highlight of the convention was my panel on Friday, not to be self-centered or toot my own horn but it was pretty amazing. The title of the panel was Black Heroes Matter, a nod to the hashtag started at San Diego Comic-con in 2016, about the role of black superheroes in media. The panel was made up of women of color in the Seattle area who write, review, or study comics, so basically very knowledgeable people. The panel was packed; people had to be turned away, and it went over time because people were asking us so many questions. We covered a wide range of topics including, the lack of black women in the MCU, Luke Cage, Black Lives Matter, and Lupita Nyong’o in Star Wars. We also pulled some recommendations of our own.
This year I decided to focus more on getting my art signed by artists, which usually is a tiring experience, waiting in line for 2 minutes of face time, but this year I made it a point to actually talk. It’s amazing how much of a different response you can get from your favorite artists when you give them food recommendations for nearby restaurants or ask them if they need to be brought anything. I would recommend it.
I also made it a point to see Stan Lee, on account of… well…I don’t know how many opportunities I have left. Stan was great, witty, hilarious, sarcastic, sharp and fulfilling all of my fantasy grandpop dreams. He mentioned that as of March, he had already filmed 5 more Marvel cameos, which was so smart because like I said uncle Stan’s not getting any younger. What these movies are is a question. My guesses are Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-man Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, maybe Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 and… Black Panther maybe? His hilarious anecdotes, archaic sexism, and grumpy self-aggrandizing is part of his charm. Is Stan Lee problematic? Yes, like an old problematic grandad. You have to just shake your head and ask him what it was like working with Kirby and move on.
The rest of the weekend was standard con fair. Since the controversial Reedpop takeover of ECCC, the convention has seen itself mainstreamed. Most conventions are losing the homegrown feeling of a small con for local nerds, for larger more grand San Diego Comic Con style extravaganzas. ECCC is largely indistinguishable from any other major city con, with comics becoming less and less of a focus than movies, TV, and cosplay. This is not so much a loss as an evolution into an easily accessible and interchangeable convention experience.
The best parts of ECCC are the people. For some reason, the pacific northwest has a ridiculous amount of comic writers and creators like G. Willow Wilson and Kelly Sue DeConnick. Seattle is known for its chill, hippie-adjacent attitude, so ECCC is much more relaxed than other cons. The people are less likely to shove and more likely to not maintain eye contact, more likely to tell you when your cosplay is falling apart and less likely to tell you that your body odor is making them uncomfortable. As long as my friends keep going, I will keep going. And I will complain about it with a smile on my face the entire time.