Adrienne Fox

Emerald City Comicon 2014: Plan of Attack–Programming

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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 and 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.

See my ECCC: Plan of Attack—Celebrity Guests and Meet the Creators posts.

ECCC Logo

There was a time when programming at ECCC was a “How to Break into Comics” panel, plus DC Nation, and a creator spotlight or two. There is nothing wrong with starting small. Over the years, ECCC has grown so much that the convention needed more space and then more programming to fill it. Now, ECCC has open call for programming and it results in more interesting panels than you can imagine. See the list of programming on the ECCC site.

You’ll need to gauge event popularity, room size, and competing programming to figure out what kind of time allowance you’ll need to attend your chosen panels. It’s not always easy. Celebrity guest spotlights often have a line and if the guest is very popular—like Sir Patrick Stewart or this year Arrow‘s Stephen Amell—you should be prepared to queue up well in advance.

GET A PROGRAM! There is a floor plan and map in there. Or better yet, take a few minutes now to familiarize yourself with the floor plan and programming locations. ECCC happens at The Washington State Convention Center (or the “WSCC”), The Conference Center (or “TCC”), and The Sheraton across 7th Avenue. Know where all these buildings are and how they relate to each other for best con  navigation.

My personal approach to a comic con is to attend a mix of panels and different topics: comic craft, social issues, and genre topics. Below is my must see programming for ECCC 2014. I’m just picking a few for each day, but truly there is so much to do! This list is only a small portion of what’s available. Go to the web now and start planning your day, or days, at ECCC. (You can filter the programming list by room and by day to help organize your thoughts.)

Friday

Storytelling Through Color
Room: 2B
Time: 12:00PM – 12:50PM

You’ll never look at color comics the same way again! Join Oni Press editor in chief James Lucas Jones and rockstar colorists Jordie Bellaire, Nathan Fairbairn, Nick Filardi, and Dave Stewart for a discussion on the role of colorists in storytelling.

ECCC presents Nichelle Nichols
Room: MAIN HALL (6ABC)
Time: 3:00PM – 3:50PM

Lt. Uhura. The name has become synonymous with strong female role-model. That can also describe the actress who played her, Nichelle Nichols. Come listen as Nichelle speaks about her amazing life and times.

Saturday

Fantagraphics Books: Forecasting the Future of Misfit Lit
Room: TCC 301
Time: 1:00PM – 1:50PM

Seattle’s Fantagraphics Books recently suffered the tragic loss of co-publisher Kim Thompson. Gary Groth, Eric Reynolds, Michael Catron and Kristy Valenti examine the future of the legendary publisher. Moderated by The Stranger‘s Paul Constant.

Sex Criminals presented by Image Comics
Room: 3AB
Time: 2:00PM – 2:50PM

Sex Criminals debuted in 2013 and quickly became the book of the year. Now, a few months into 2014, the same looks to be true! Sit down with creators Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky and bare your soul, fetishes, and anecdotes with the Sex Criminals.

Secret Origins presents Scott Snyder
Room: SECRET ORIGINS (604)
Time: 5:20PM – 6:05PM

Scott Snyder (BatmanAmerican VampireThe Wake) is comics’ newest superstar writer! His re-invention of Batman continues to be a bright spot in The New 52. Join him for a spotlight panel moderated by CBR’s Jonah Weiland

Sunday

Join The Corps!
Room: HALL B (608-609)
Time: 11:10AM – 12:00PM

The Carol Corps. Find out what the fiercest & friendliest fandom is all about! It’s a powerful movement happening in comics right now and you can be a part of it! Join Prof. Ben Saunders as he speaks with Captain Marvel scribe Kelly Sue DeConnick and Ms. Marvel author G. Willow Wilson. They’ll talk about the origins of “The Carol Corps”, it’s Ms. Marvel-inspired offshoot “The Kamala Korps” and what’s in store for the future.

Redefining All-Ages Comics
Room: TCC 301
Time: 1:00PM – 1:50PM

Join KaBOOM! Editor Shannon Watters as she moderates a lively discussion about the importance of all-ages comics in today’s market and teases what’s in store from the BOOM! Studios imprint in 2014. We’re not just talking about “kids” comics, we’re talking about amazing comics that can be enjoyed by young, old, and everyone in between! Adding to the discussion are all-ages creators Mike Kunkel, MAD Rupert, Royden Lepp, Ryan North, Kate Leth, Colleen Coover, Paul Tobin! Bring the whole family and discover comics to share!

ECCC presents Ron Perlman
Room: MAIN HALL (6ABC)
Time: 2:00PM – 2:50PM

Ron Perlman has appeared in such films as HellboyPacific Rim, and Blade II. His television credits include Beauty and the BeastThe Magnificent Seven, and Sons of Anarchy.  You can hear his voice on such game classics as the Fallout series, Gun, and Halo 3. Come hear him speak. You won’t regret it.

Dark Horse Builds Characters: Powered by Creators
Room: HALL D (602-603)
Time: 2:40PM – 3:30PM

Nearly 30 years ago, Dark Horse arrived with a different agenda than any other publisher in comics. The young company was founded on the belief that comics creators should have the option to retain the rights to their own work, and continues to be a highly fertile breeding ground for new characters, concepts and more! Join Dark Horse publicist, Aub Driver, along with Matt Kindt, Greg Rucka, Adam Warren, Michael Avon Oeming, Jai Nitz, Frank Barbiere, and Bryan JL Glass for a look at some of this year’s most exciting original works!

 

Paul McGillion panel at ECCC 2013

Paul McGillion panel at ECCC 2013 courtesy of HaveYouNerd.com

I am always interested in what people are saying about social issues in comics and popular culture, mostly about the portrayal and treatment of women. Whether it is how women are rendered on the page or represented in the industry, it is a topic I seek out. There are lots of panels at ECCC to fulfill my need for critical thinking on this topic—and yours, if you are so inclined.

Friday

Women: Comically Portrayed
Room: HALL C (610)
Time: 11:20AM – 12:10PM

Female heroines are abundant in comics, but are they equal to their male counterparts? Join us for a discussion about the current state comic book female heroines, what damage those images might cause, and what artists and consumers can do about it.

Changing Role of the Character of Color
Room: HALL C (610)
Time: 12:20PM – 1:10PM

Has the disposable character of color finally disappeared or have we just replaced them with sassy sidekicks and self-sacrificing saviors? Do characters of color get their chance to shine or are they still mostly props for Caucasian leads? We’ll discuss in this highly charged panel sure to spark conversation.

Looking Past the Target Audience
Room: HALL D (602-603)
Time: 3:40PM – 4:30PM

The world is a politicized place and the geek community is no exception. Join us as we look at how gender and race are portrayed in geek culture. Creators, curators, community leaders and critics on the front lines of this issue examine the fight over geek identity and the barriers to diversity in geek communities and media. The discussion will include proposed steps toward a diverse and inclusive geek culture. Panelists include Rachel Edidin, Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Regina Buenaobra, G. Willow Wilson, Scotty Iseri, Andy Khouri, and Sfe M.

Saturday

The Elephant in the Room
Room: HALL D (602-603)
Time: 12:40PM – 1:30PM

What can we – and you – do to challenge harassment in comics culture? Journalists Rachel Edidin, Laura Hudson, Bobby Roberts, and Janelle Asselin lay down the law about comics, gender, and power–and how fans, professionals, and publishers can help.

Rat Queens: A Creator Chat
Room: HALL D (602-603)
Time: 3:40PM – 4:30PM

Have your chance to meet the creators of the Image Comic’s hit Rat Queens and learn about the origin of the series, including its RPG influence, what the future looks like as well as the importance of gender and sexual orientation in modern comics.

Sunday

Feminism & Gaming
Room: GAMING (Sheraton Issaquah Room)
Time: 12:00PM – 12:50PM

A discussion on what it means to be a feminist and a gamer: how to overcome the obstacles, problems, conflicts, and stereotypes feminists face as gamers. Tifa Robles (Lady Planeswalkers), Liz Leo (Job Hunters, OneUpMakeup), and Ana Visneski (University of Washington) discuss their experience. A panel for all! Men and women are encouraged to attend!

Secret Origins presents Amanda Conner
Room: SECRET ORIGINS (604)
Time: 12:20PM – 1:10PM

Her playful style has been a favorite of fans for years! Join Amanda Conner (Power GirlHarley Quinn, Silk Spectre) in a panel moderated by CBR’s Jonah Weiland.

A few tips for the ECCC newbie on navigating panels:

1: Make a list of what you which panels you would like to attend. Then, pick some alternates too. Study the floor plan to map out a route between destinations.

2: Know that making it from one side of the con to the other could take more time than you think. At ECCC, going outside and crossing Pike Street to go between WSCC and TCC might be the fastest route between locations.

3: This year, the Sheraton is also hosts programming. There is no skybridge and you will have to go out-of-doors to get there. Be prepared for the weather or to just be subjected to it for a city block.

4. Check the time! There is so much to see you that overload and losing track of time is likely.

5. If you ask questions at panels, PLEASE just ask one question. Not one question with three parts. And don’t ask for a hug or autograph for your Aunt, even if she is somewhere awesome like the ISS, or anything like that.

6. 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.

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