ECCC 2011: The East Coast Better Step up Its Game!

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Yes, my report is a little late... real life interrupted.

Anyway, the weekend of March 4-6, I attended Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, WA.  2011 marked the first year that Jim Demonakos and crew opened the con's doors on Friday (as opposed to just Saturday and Sunday) and the crowd that first day made it apparent that ECCC going three-day was the right move.

I go to a lot of conventions.  Being an aspiring comic creator that also keeps a blog aimed at helping new creators break in means that I'm invested in attending as many conventions as I can.  While I see the allure of the major shows like NYCC, C2E2 and CCI (San Diego), the conventions that I enjoy most and that best benefit my career are the ones that are still primarily about comics.  Those conventions are unfortunately few and far between these days, as the lines between flim, videogames and comics continue to blur, but they are still out there.  Heroes Con in Raleigh, NC is widely considered the best of this type, with Baltimore Comic-Con a close second.  Honestly though, after an entire weekend in Seattle, I'd have to say that ECCC rivals both of those.

Despite the fact that much of DC has shifted to the West Coast, the presence of both the Big Two publishers is mainly East Coast.  That makes ECCC interesting in that it has less of a presence from the larger publishers and gives companies like BOOM! Studios, Image, Dark Horse and others a chance to really spread their wings and take up a lot of space.

ECCC is definitely a creator's show.  With the largest guest/artist alley area I've ever seen allotted for a convention of that sign, ECCC was a welcome place for creators of all levels of notoriety.  Much like Baltimore, it was also a great place for fans to approach and spend quality time getting to know the people who make their books, something that is next to impossible at the larger shows like San Diego and NYC.

Given that ECCC had such a large focus on comics, it made a great place for publishers to launch new titles and make some big announcements.  Some great news came out of this particular convention.

For one, ECCC let us all know what we all suspected already; Nick Spencer is the Next Big Thing.  With his hit Morning Glories primed to continue its success into the next year and another series, Infinite Vacation, just getting started, you'd think just his Image contributions enough would make him completely buzzworthy.  But Nick Spencer got something else at ECCC;  he got an exclusive deal with Marvel Comics.

The news certainly didn't end there, as every publisher had something to offer.  Marvel and DC of course teased their next big events, Fear Itself and Flashpoint, so nothing too shocking occurred there.  It was at the smaller publishers that a lot of great news really broke.  For instance, Dark Horse informed audiences that Guy Davis, longtime B.P.R.D. contributor, would be leaving the series to focus on more of his creator-owned work.  He will be replaced on the title by Tyler Crook, artist on the graphic novel Petrograd from Oni Press.  B.P.R.D. will be Crook's first ongoing title.

The most announcements of the weekend certainly came from BOOM! Studios though, who have made ECCC into something of a hometown show.  BOOM! rolled out information about their new kids imprint, kaboom! and let the cat out of the bag on some new licensed properties they'll be developing over the coming years.  On the kaboom! front, they shared some pages from the Peanuts comic they'll be releasing, which is best described as a comic book format remix of the original Schulz comic strips. 

Little more was given on the World Girl title or Snarked! from Muppets Show and Thor: The Might Avenger creator Roger Langridge, so I guess we'll just have to keep our eyes peeled over the next month for more info on those books.  On the more adult front, BOOM! announced that they'll be publishing a Hellraiser ongoing series actually written by original creator Clive Barker, a Planet of the Apes series based in the continuity of the original films and, of most note for this fan of dark fantasy, an Elric ongoing series written by Superman and I, Zombie scribe Chris Roberson, who was apparently handpicked for the job by Michael Moorcock himself.

When all was said and done and the convention was behind me, I found that I had the best time I've had at a major convention yet.  The crowd was certainly great on all three days, the guests were amazing and the cosplayers were out in full force.  For all rights and purposes, ECCC has arrived.  The East Coast better step up its game!

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