Emerald City Comicon Roundup 2016
So many people. OMG so many.
I’m slightly dazed. This is in part because I have early onset con-crud, the unspecified cold or virus you pick up from being around sixty thousand people in a confined space. It’s also in part because this year’s Emerald City Comic Con was fantastic for me. I’ve come away in high spirits having met many of the people I’ve been dealing for a long while through just email and Twitter, and I also met many new talented people I didn’t previously know about.
It was my first con as a professional in comics, even though I might be stretching that term somewhat, as I’m still very much unknown in the industry. Still though, it was exciting for me, and I pushed my boundaries and actually talked to people. *Gasp.* “A simple strategy,” you might think, but not one a normally manage due to the anxiety wall I have to try and push through. I’m very glad I did, because I learned lots and met some lovely people.
Emerald City Comic Con has become the con for comic lovers and creators. Lots of cons have shifted focus to movies and TV almost exclusively, which leads to smaller, indie comic creators leaving the cons, because they lose money on their booths. ECCC is different; the people attending ECCC want to see comics and buy comics. This makes ECCC the perfect show for getting to meet indie creators and get some new comics you might not have otherwise heard about or had an opportunity to buy.
It was also the first con I’ve attended as an out trans woman, and I didn’t have a single negative experience. I don’t know if this was due to the con being in Seattle, which is a pretty chill city generally, or the good work by ECCC staff—probably both. When you were waiting for panels to start, they had an official ECCC slideshow that looped on a big screen, and one of the slides contained warnings against bathroom policing among many anti-harassment policies. While I can only speak for my experience, I had no issues and felt safe inside the con.
The cosplay was shockingly good, both at the dedicated level and the casual cosplayers. Many people were cosplaying, and it was great to see. This year, I didn’t, but my spouse-human casually cosplayed as Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The new character trend that I was most happy to see was Judy Hopps. I really enjoyed Zootopia, a flawed gem, and seeing just how fast the kickass upbeat character of Judy has been embraced by cosplayers was awesome. If cosplay is your thing, you should go and look at Super Hero Hype’s massive selection of photos.
I got to meet the old DC Batgirl team of Cameron Stewart (@cameronMstewart), Babs Tarr (@babsdraws), and Brenden Fletcher (@brendenfletcher) for the first time. I’d worked with the latter a little bit behind the scenes on getting Batgirl’s approach to transgender character Alysia Yoeh right. Jeez Brenden is slick; watching him schmooze a room was an education in itself! I also got to chat briefly with DC publicist Clark (@drinkpinkink), who was instrumental in getting Gotham Academy off the ground. The man deserves to have beers bought for him. The team had issues of Batgirl and Gotham Academy to give away, but now they’ve now moved on to make Motor Crush at Image Comics.
I also got to meet Tamra Bonvillain (@TBonvillain), Erica Henderson (@EricaFails), and Alex De Campi (@alexdecampi), among many others. Alex was by far the most generous person of the entire con and loaded me down with issues of No Mercy (from Image, including a story about a trans guy) and Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight (from Dark Horse, sexy sci-fi). I also met a lot of Twitter people, fans, writers, and critics, which was great. Yelling incoherently on Twitter a lot seems to have some benefits!
My favorite two book purchases were indie anthologies, firstly Taneka’s (@Neekaneeks) anthology Beyond: Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy, which is a great read and highly recommended. The second was the largest surprise find, Valor from Fairylogue Press which includes work from Mildred (@froregade) who sold me on the book. It’s a collection of retold fairy tales starring women heroines. My entire family has loved reading it. I finally met Janelle Asselin, the owner of Rosy Press, who I’ve worked with on Fresh Romance both in having a story in it and doing some of the behind-the-scenes diversity editing. She’s such a lovely person, and it was great to actually meet her face to face.
This year’s big star attendee was Firefly’s Nathan Fillion, not that I got to see him as the hall filled up too fast for us to get into it. We refuse to line up for anything for long, so sometimes we miss out, and that’s OK. Comic book announcements included a new DC mature imprint called Young Animal that launches with four books. Perhaps the strangest announcement was DC’s Kamandi Challenge where twelve teams contribute to a long story arc with no communication between the teams. IDW, who already publishes Donald Duck comics translated from Italian, is reusing the formula and bringing in old Mickey Mouse comics from France for a new ongoing monthly. This will include some comics that have never been reprinted before.
Dark Horse has ten new comics coming out including Bounty, a sci-fi comic from Rat Queens’ Kurtis Weibe and Mindy Lee. They’ve also got the highly anticipated Mouebius Library coming this October, something already on my pre-order list. Brian Michael Bendis sneakily announced in a panel that Marvel would be doing a new Alias comic. Dynamite has a new Six Million Dollar Man comic and The Art of Atari, A 350-page tome featuring Atari artwork from the classic era of video games. Lastly for the news roundup is that Archaia is publishing a Mouse Guard coloring book.
This all leaves out the spoiler talk and alcohol-fueled bar discussions from ECCC. Those remain locked in a vault never to be heard from again! I had a blast this year, and I’m already trying to plan out how I pay for next year.
(image via ECCC)