Emerald City Comic Con 2019 is almost here - a time when Seattle becomes the epicenter of a geek universe with movie and television stars in orbit, superstar comic book creators and a constellation of cosplayers.
A mom came to me recently asking advice for her daughter Ryley who will be attending her very first con, and the idea of this post came alive. But this guide will also help newbies and veterans make the most of their experience.
First up – how do I get in? The main entrance to the con in on Convention Way this year. If you’re on Pike go up and around to Convention Way – it’s where Will Call was last year. The Hyatt Regency is home to celebrity autographing, photo ops and the Main Stage. If you already have your badge you can go right into the Hyatt.
Make a Plan
Look at the schedule, see who’s where and when and make a plan. Especially if you’re there only one day. You know what they say about the best laid plans...have your wish list but if you miss something, don’t worry - there’s always something cool around the corner. If a panel room is full, check the one next door or head to the expanded show floor.
Who do you really want to see the most? For Ryley, it’s Rainn Wilson. The hometown son who made it big on "The Office" is now winning Trek fandom thanks to his portrayal of villain Harry Mudd on "Star Trek Discovery". If I could only see one? Don’t make me choose...but IF I had too – Peter Capaldi. The actor who played the twelfth Doctor Who. But you don’t have to choose because there’s a gallery of celebrity guests.
Speaking of celebrities, the kids from "Stranger Things" will be here! Actors from the original "Star Trek" and "Star Trek: Discovery" beamed to the Emerald City so you can actually take your photo with three Starfleet Captains. Actors from "Game of Thrones", "The Walking Dead", the "Harry Potter" films are here for autographs and photo ops. Plus, the cast of "Boy Meets World" are back together. You can catch see them in panels on the Main Stage.
Where are the celebrities? Most of the comic and cosplay action takes places in the Washington State Convention Center but the Hyatt Regency is the venue to meet celebrities. You can buy your photo ops and autographs in advance. For the first time, the Main Stage is NOT at the WSCC but at the Hyatt Regency so plan out your timing if you want to get from a panel in WSCC to a Main Stage celebrity main event.
Main Stage Panels
I would get there early to grab a seat. Ok, this is a thing with me. If you get up to the mic have a question. We know you love them. They know you love them. We love them. We want to hear from them. Don’t ask for a hug or have them record a message on phone. Ask a good question about what we love about their character.
A gallery of comic book artists and writers are here to talk about the heroes, villains and stories we love. Most creators can be found in the Artists Alley but you can also find them taking part in panel discussions so be sure the check the schedule.
Most artists are working the whole con. They take commissions so you can purchase art of your favorite characters. Some are booked way in advance. Some might even create a quick sketch at the table. I like to have an artist autograph a special comic book and support them by buying their limited edition sketchbooks or posters.
Less is more, more time for all. I love having my comic book signed but I choose thoughtfully and hope fellow fans are thoughtful of others. I try to have only four books to sign not a massive stack. While you're having your book signed, check out books they are selling.
This is Comic Con. Don’t stare. Don’t be self-conscious. If you want to go all out in costume or just wear a t-shirt showcasing your favorite geeky thing – go for it. Think of this a second Halloween and let your geek flag fly! Fandom comes in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Cons are no place for ridicule or unwelcome advances. Celebrate your fellow fans.
ECCC is huge, packed with a diverse array of things to do an experience from celebrity encounters, comic book creation, video games and cosplaying. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends, discover new writers, artists or geeky hobby. Find something that intrigues you and check it out.
Plan, Map, Be Patient, Respect Others, Be Open, Have Fun!
To Ryley and all the new first time ECCC attendees and the cool parents taking you, enjoy!