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Emerald City Comic Con 2021: What to Expect From a Con During a Pandemic, by Angela Rairden

comic con cosplay Emerald City Comic Con Emerald City Comic Con 2021 Seattle

Prior to last weekend, nearly one thousand days had passed since the most recent Emerald City Comic Con took place in Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center in March of 2019. Of course, no one could have predicted that a freaking pandemic would force 2020’s ECCC to be pushed back from March of that year, to August 2020, to finally the first weekend of December 2021.

Many thought that having a comic con in Seattle in December, only three weeks before Christmas, was a terrible idea. In an area known for its rain, no one wanted to be trekking around outside to get to and from the con during one of the coldest, wettest months of the year. Especially given that the pandemic meant some added securities had been put in place which would require con-goers to either have proof of their vaccination or a recent negative Covid test in order to attend at all. This was on top of having to wait in line to enter the building through a specified entrance where one had to pass through scrutinizing security and metal detectors, precautions which ECCC had already put in place back in 2019.

On the one hand, it felt like a lot of hoops to jump through and perhaps not for the feint of heart. At the same time, however, ECCC only happens once a year and, lately, it hadn’t been happening at all. So, despite the precautions and the securities that really just felt like signs of this modern world that we live in  more than anything else, it really seemed worth it just for a chance to get to that magical world that is comic con.

ECCC morphed into a 4 day con back in 2015, running Thursday through Sunday. Due to my other job (unfortunately, I’m not just a blogger, I’m also a floral manager at a grocery store), I was only able to attend ECCC for the second half of Friday, all of Saturday, and the last three hours or so of Sunday. Still, despite the bit of a hassle that it was to physically get into the con, I’m extremely happy that I went.

Overhead shot of the escalators at ECCC (taken on Sunday)

Overall, there seemed to be a feeling of gratitude that ECCC was even happening again at all. People – con-goers, vendors, artists, etc. – all seemed to be in good spirits, tossing out abundant casual compliments such as “I like your dress” or “I love your hair” to complete strangers, even to those not in actual cosplays. There was a return of that feeling of being among your peers and those like-minded individuals who don’t think that your obsession with Star Wars or Pokemon or comic books is weird or abnormal. Not to sound corny, but that’s always been one of my favorite things about comicons.

The 8 Bit Brass Band, performing outside of ECCC

Of course, the multiple factors that I mentioned earlier did have an impact on attendance. Although four day and Saturday passes sold out, the con overall wasn’t nearly as packed as it has been in past years. The attendance on both Friday and Sunday felt like how the last half of a Sunday normally feels, with Saturday being the busiest day but still only as busy as a “normal” Friday at ECCC. It seemed that there was more space between the aisles of booths in both the vendor hall and artist alley compared to past years, with one section of the vendor’s hall actually being nearly empty. I heard a few vendors saying that sales had been pretty slow on Thursday and Friday, but that things really picked up for them on Saturday.

These are the droids you're looking for

As an attendee, I didn’t mind a less crowded con at all. In fact, it was really nice not having to squeeze past throngs of people, something I didn’t like doing even before Covid. It gave me a chance to actually have long and meaningful conversations with various artists and creators. Even though I’m generally a bit of an awkward introvert, it was really nice to connect with other interesting and creative people.

A couple of Jonboy Meyers' Frankie's exclusive covers at the Frankie's booth

Of course, Frankie’s had a large booth in the vendor’s hall where they were selling $30 mystery boxes, exclusive comics, and Frankie’s t-shirts, as well as giving away stickers with that adorable trademark Frankie’s logo. I was thrilled to get to meet Jesseca Fields, one of the owners of Frankie’s, and we chatted quite a bit. I also got to interview comic artist Jonboy Meyers (keep your eye out for that interview coming to the blog soon!), and meet both Rose Besch and Ivan Tao, as all three were at the Frankie’s booth for the weekend.

The talented Rose Besch drawing a commission at the Frankie's booth

Rose was very sweet and a little shy, which may have been partially due to me awkwardly gushing about how much I love her art and how nice it was to meet her when I asked her to sign the Red Sonja comic I had brought for that purpose. Ivan was extremely kind and humble, and Jesseca told me that he and his wife had flown thirty-six hours to be at ECCC!

Amazing Ivan Tao at the Frankie's booth

Covers by Ian Tao, Rose Besch, and Jonboy Meyers

I didn’t get a chance to attend any panels or get any celebrity photos or autographs while I was at ECCC. I do know that all of the celebrity photos were taken with a sheet of plexiglass between them and the con-goer, but that did mean that masks didn’t have to be worn. Some of the biggest names that were there included Tim Curry, John Cena, Hayden Christiansen, and Amy Jo Johnson. Of note, talented comic creators such as Jim Lee, Donny Cates, Mirka Andolfo, Terry Dodson, Dawn McTeigue, Randy Emberlin, Ben Templesmith, and Ryan Stegman (to name a few!) were also in attendance.

Artist Dawn McTeigue and I

Mirka Andolfo paused in drawing this commission so that I could take her pic

What I did get to enjoy, however, was the cosplays, and I’d like to close out this blog with some of the really great ones that I got photos of.

ECCC will return to the Washington State Convention Center August 18-21, 2022.

My friend Princess of Comic Gains at the Frankie's booth

Lady Vixus Cosplay as a Stormtrooper bride

Vitamin Jay Doherty as Green Goblin

Alex Cautley as the Pixar Light!

Standard.Deviation.Cosplay as Doc Ock

I don't know who the rest of these cosplayers are. If you see yourself, let me know so that I can tag your social media please!

An adorable Loki "family"!

Mandalorians

Catwoman and Batgirl

Kylo Ren

Masquerade Harley Quinn

Din Djarin (The Mandalorian)

Jon Snow

I don't know what these knights were from, but I loved them (look, they are holding hands!)

The Borg

Snorlax!

 

 

Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.



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