[Con Report] Emerald City Comic Con 2015

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I’m going to put this report behind a read more cut…

Is Emerald City Comic Con worth going to?

Yes.

After 13 years, ECCC is still about comics and it’s creators.

The dealer’s room, artist alley, gamer room, writer’s block and panels are worth going to.

Seattle? Doesn’t it rain all the time?

Nope. The locals just say that to keep you from moving here.

Seattle is full of hidden treasures to go to from the Underground Tour to the EMP Museum to the Space Needle. My third year here and I’m still finding things.

 

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Has Hollywood invaded Emerald City like San Diego?

Thankfully, no.

Sure, there are celebrities signing but they’re located on a different floor than the dealer’s room.

The Convention Center and the Conference Center is 6 floors so while San Diego was spread out horizontally, Emerald City is spread out vertically.

The gawker’s block like WETA or Lucas Film or giant prop from a movie coming out this summer wasn’t there.

Welcome to Emerald City Comic Con! We're sold out!walking in

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I used to enjoy San Diego but the prices and lines soured the experience.

Emerald City Comic Con has become my default con for the last three years and this year was just as fun as last.

And it get’s better: Emerald City Comic Con is going to 4 days in 2016! April 7-10, 2016

Yes, I realize the ticket prices may balloon but I’m willing to let that slide so long as the quality continues.

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My own misadventures to get to con started when the plane from the East Coast had a heater problem and couldn’t fly above a certain altitude.

The next flight was scheduled for 6 AM departure the next morning so I arrived in Seattle a day late but the warm weather stayed with us until I left.

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This year Emerald City decided to do something different and do a Deluxe Pass that got you a bag, a t-shirt, a lanyard and a goody bag (full of comics, swag and even ARC copy of Scott Sigler‘s new book along with access to the con from a certain room). It was worth the extra money and the time in line.

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Changes

Each year, Emerald City shuffles things up just like each year they send out a survey form to see what worked and what didn’t work.

The Writer’s Track Panels were in a bigger room this year.

Along with that bigger room, they also placed the writer’s table space to sell their wares much closer to where the Writer’s Track Panels.

It was on the same level as the celebrities instead of being across the Convention Center in The Conference Center as they were last year and that freed up more space for meeting rooms on TCCC Level 3.

TCCC Level 3 judging from what some exhibitors had blogged about had been labeled the dungeon and while they did manage to squeeze many people into Level 3, I’m glad they changed it up for meeting rooms.

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The downside was no line stanchions. Instead, there was tape and while everyone followed the tape, more line stanchions like at the swag booth or outside rooms on Level 6 would’ve served things better than having a line worth of minions.

The only downside to moving the Writer’s Track was that most of the writing panels on Friday from noon until 5pm were full since the room 602-603 were capped at 200 people.

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This situation last year was worst when the room was capped at 100 or less. This means the demand is there.

The programming guys just need to figure out how to restructure the rooms while keeping the room close enough to the Writer’s Tables and not using the rather large meeting rooms in TCCC 3.

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TCCC

Yes, there is something on the other side of the Convention Center, it’s called TCCC.

A few exhibitors had blogged that being moved across the sky bridge had a negative effect on their sales.

The dungeon is gone and now it’s rather large meeting spaces that could fit maybe 300+.

If ECCC decides to keep TCCC 3 as meeting room space, I think it’s time to find a way to use TCCC’s meeting spaces more effectively.

There was traffic going to these panels, people made the trek across WCCC 4 and down the escalator that stopped working on Saturday.

I had three panels in TCCC. Comixology, Ins and Outs of Kickstarter and Making Money with Creator Owned Comics.

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The only one I believe used half the space was the Ins and Outs of Kickstarter and I was 10mins late for that one and still got front row.

As opposed to 602-603 where I hopscotched up to the front row and camped out.

The panel before Comixology was Comic Con Horror Stories and it was a big group and the room helped.

The next panel after Comixology was just as big as Comic Con Horror Stories.

The smaller panels like Making Money and Comixology could’ve been fit somewhere else.

And I think the one of the reasons why they weren’t was because of the addition rooms like: Family Break Room, Stroller Room, New Parents Room and Quiet Room.

All these new rooms are great ideas don’t get me wrong.

It’s the fact they’re taking up rooms: 307-310 which could’ve been repurposed for possible medium sized panels.

The Wi-Fi (or lack there of)

Yikes.

That’s what comes to mind when I think of the Wi-Fi accessibility at the Seattle Convention Center and TCCC.

The warning text about “light web browsing and email” feels like we’ve stepped back into the world of dial-up.

Comcast needs to step in.

Yes, I know Comcast is evil but if the exhibitors are having problems taking my credit card order then you know it’s that bad.

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Mobile App

I loved the updated mobile app for ECCC.

It was clean, easy to navigate and had built in maps of where all the rooms were.

It’s almost on par with the San Diego Comic Con App with bookmarking the panels you want to go to.

The only thing missing is the export feature to your calendar app.

Swag

The queue for the swag line to get my tote bag, lanyard, t-shirt and the like moved along at least.

ECCC hasn’t embraced on-line ordering like SDCC has.

SDCC tried this in 2013 and it worked. I handed in my print out, they gave me my 2 t-shirts and we were done.

Thankfully, there was a smaller swag both on Level 6 for those people just looking for items and not t-shirts.

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Minions

I loved the idea of calling volunteers minions.

The ones I encountered on Level 6 were helpful and while some of them were a bit more trained with giving pre-room announcements like turning off your cell phones and such, overall I didn’t have a problem.

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Writer’s Block

I’ve focused on the writer’s block panels on the past and this year was no different. It’s the same reason why my cosplay photos are so anemic.

One of the first writer’s panels was actually full but once I got in, I camped out at 602-603 on Friday and Saturday.

The panels were different from last year and I was happy that each of them was informative in their own ways.

Michael Stackpole‘s panel on plotting was perfect and even made us take good notes on what he talked about.

Once Emerald City released the videos of these panels, I would recommend finding them, they’re worth paying for.

This comes back to something I wonder about: should these fifty minute panels be longer or is fifty minutes long enough.

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Or, should there be workshops?

Good examples: How to write a comic book script? How to write a screenplay? How to write a manuscript? Who to use Scrivener? How to write a query letter?

The AV situation in all of these rooms existed for the most part, even if the AV crew didn’t have the dongles to connect the older computers but it’s certainly something to think about for the future.

Overall, I went to 2 days of the con and had a fun time.

WonderCon, Norwescon or Emerald City?

This is where things get dicey.

I mentioned that Emerald City moved into April for 2016 and puts it in the cross hairs of WonderCon and Norwescon.

So much so if Norsecon keeps to the first week in April then my first thought it is to go to both conventions and make it a 2 week vacation in Seattle.

Now, the problem with that is: Most people can’t do that.

And then there’s WonderCon.

I wonder if this is an attempt by the new owners of Emerald City to make fans choose or if this move to a new date and an extra day has been in the offing for a while.

I hope this doesn’t become a Wizard World fiasco like it was for NYCC. Norwescon is more book oriented then comic and while there is some overlap it’s not like forcing fans to choose.

Check out ComicsBeat ConWars subheading for more on what happens when cons mis-scheduling happens.

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