Emerald City Comicon 2014: Plan of Attack—Meet the Creators
Emerald City Comicon is my local con and I’ve been attending for many years now enjoying the comic creators, celebrity guests, gaming, and vendors. ECCC has steadily grown in quality, and last year it nearly doubled in size. The con now has so much content that it is hard to see it all. With so many first-time attendees headed to ECCC, sharing my highlights, sacrifices, and tips and tricks could prove helpful.
Also see my ECCC Plan of Attack—Celebrity Guests post.
Comic creators are the heart and soul of Emerald City Comicon. Even though the event has grown to include lots of gaming, vendors, programming, and so many celebrity guests, I spend most of my time with the comic writers and artists.
You can scout all the ECCC Special Guests—writers, artists, cosplayers, and novelists—on the web. Wandering around is a treat, but if you have a specific mission to meet some creators you will want to plan a path to their tables. Then build your day round that creator’s availability. No matter who you came to see, you are sure to find something new to fall in love with. And, if you like someone’s work be sure to tell them!
I am thrilled to see so many of my favorite creators at ECCC this year.
- Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo)
- Kelly Sue DeConnick (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel, Ghost)
- Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals)
- Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman)
- Brian Churilla (The Secret History of D.B. Cooper; plus, I need to pick up my commission from Brian at ECCC!)
- Jason Aaron (Scalped, Punisher Max)
- Frank Barbiere (Five Ghosts, The White Suits)
- David Malki (Wondermark)
- Tim Seeley (Revival, Hack/Slash)
- Scott Snyder (Wake, American Vampire)
- Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes)
- Roc Upchurch (Rat Queens)
- Kurtis Wiebe (Rat Queens, Peter Panzerfaust)
- G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel)
- Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals)
You know, I could go on and on and on. This con attracts so much great talent. Gail Simone! Ben Templesmith! Kate Leth! Do not miss Stan Sakai, who is celebrating 30 years of the greatest samurai in comic history with Usagi Yojimbo.
If you are looking for commission work, it is best to get to the artist as soon as you can. Hopefully, you have a Friday or 3-Day Pass for greatest chance of success. Spots fill up fast for popular artists. Some actually take commissions before the con through their websites—it is worth checking. You will need a clear idea of what you want them to draw and then cash for the work. If you can’t get on the artist’s list at the con, you can ask if they do commissions throughout the year. Some do and some don’t.
This year ECCC has handful of novelists. It is a short, yet killer, line-up including John Scalzi (Redshirts, Old Man’s War), Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles), Cornelia Funke (Inkheart Trilogy, Dragon Rider), Kevin J. Anderson (Terra Incognita, Dune), and Dave Wolverton (The Runelords, The Golden Queen). I have books by all these authors on my shelves. Many of my friends are planning on visiting, or possibly stalking, Scalzi’s table.
A few tips for the ECCC newbie on meeting creators:
1: Say hello! While you are browsing at a booth be polite and say hello. Alternatively, don’t interrupt someone else’s moment. You can always circle back later or wait patiently.
2: Be aware of a line forming behind you or around you while chatting. Don’t be that oblivious guy or gal. Not all creators will have ECCC Minions to manage lines at their booths or tables. Be courteous of other fans. We are all at ECCC because we love and appreciate the same stuff.
3. Know that creators eat lunch and take coffee breaks too. Often creators will leave signs at their tables regarding signing times and their availability. Notes might also direct you to their panels or signing at a publisher’s booth. It is a bit unpredictable; just know that you may need to try to see people a couple times before you see success.
4. Personalities are a spectrum. Some creators are just as shy as you. They might not be good at “tabling” and they would much rather be drawing than chatting. Also, some creators are boisterous and opinionated. They might be better at “tabling,” or not. Know the difference between someone being a jerk and someone just not being the best at socializing.
5. Be prepared when buying art and comics! Investing in a portfolio, plastic sleeves, bags and boards, or a poster tube will keep your purchases and investments safe from damage while you walk the con. You can buy many supplies on the ECCC floor. I like to bring a a few things: sharpies (black and silver), pencils, rubber bands, post-it notes or flags, and paper clips or binder clips. You just never know what might come in handy! If you are the sharing type, you can make fast friends by offering a rubber band to an attendee in need.
Again, you won’t have enough time, or probably money, to do it all. So focus on making what you can do the best experience possible.