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ECCC 2012: Emeral City Shines

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This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Emerald City Comicon and they celebrated in style by breaking previous attendance records and having their most successful show to date.

Held on March 30 to April 1, 2012, ECCC was scheduled directly between two national shows, Wondercon two weeks prior and the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) less than two weeks after. It was a time slot that could have easily relegated ECCC to a modestly attended regional show.

But instead, it was ECCC’s ability to separate itself from the larger media shows that allowed it to thrive. By focusing on comics themselves and the goal of bringing creators and fans together, the con continued to grow, attracting artists and attendees from all over the world.

ECCC is also run extraordinarily well. Exhibitor set up and check in was smooth and the various panels and events were very well managed. During the show, plenty of volunteers circulated around the floor. I felt bad for them that they were labeled as “minions” on their bright green shirts, but at least they were easy to spot.

There are also a number of fun exclusives to commemorate the show like t-shirts and alternate covers featuring comic characters interacting somehow with Seattle’s Space Needle. Then there’s my personal favorite, the Monsters & Dames art book. For the fourth year in a row ECCC has put together this beautiful hardcover featuring illustrations by exhibiting artists that fit with the theme of monsters and dames.  The money raised from the sales from the book, as well as the accompanying art auction, is donated to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

As for the creators at the show, there was a pretty even distribution between established talent and newcomers. Everybody was mixed together pretty well and even thought the publisher’s booths were a little nicer than the artist alley tables, they didn’t dominate the floor space. If anything, they just seemed to provide another avenue for artists to set up and greet fans.

The Oni booth had appearances by both Bryan Lee O’Malley of the mega-hit Scott Pilgrim as well as Brian Churilla, who was promoting his brand new series, DB Cooper. Brian brought along a new giclee print for the show to sell those along side of DB Cooper #1, which ended up selling out. I think the print is still available if you contact him.

Achaia Entertainment followed suit with pairing a veteran with a newcomer at their booth. David Petersen was there signing Mouse Guard, and next to him was Royden Lepp promoting his new series, Rust. The first volume, Visitor in the Field, is out now with the second volume is scheduled to come out this summer. It’s worth noting that 20th Century Fox has acquired the rights to adapt Rust into a movie. If you haven’t heard of this series yet, I would say that now would be a good time to take a  look.

Then there was artist alley, which shouldn’t even have been called an alley for this show as it took up nearly half of the show floor. And like the rest of the show, it was packed with shoppers all weekend long. I was set up in artist alley and even though I brought more copies of my graphic novel, American Terrorist, than I had ever sold at a show before, I managed to sell out on Saturday. At least this gave me Sunday to walk around the show, take pictures and talk to other creators.

Tony Moore probably had the most elaborate set up in artist alley and it’s a good thing they put him in the front corner because he had quite a line at his table. I enjoyed seeing fans rolling up with so many books to get signed that they needed a handcart just to transport all of them. Got to get that entire collection signed!

I made my way over to see the very talented couple, Comfort Love and Adam Withers. I’ve always been impressed by their dedication to their craft. Not only to they exhibit at more shows a year than I can count, they’ve also been self-publishing two different titles. Their first series, The Uniques, is up to issue #9 and their second series, Rainbow in the Dark, just came out with #6.

I noticed their table had a nice variety of options for purchase. They had their own comics, prints of mainstream characters and the opportunity to get an original commission drawn. I asked what had been the most popular and they told me that their comics sold the most, then commissions, and lastly the superhero prints. I was glad to hear there was a strong support for the indie titles.

I saw Natalie Nourigat also trying to balance the tasks of drawing commissions and promoting her creator-owned graphic novel, Between Gears, published by Image Comics. No chair needed.

And lastly, just to prove that mini-comics still had a place at ECCC, I stopped by Sylvia Mann’s table. She was easy to find because she had the most eye-popping banner in the entire show. That was my best attempt at a pun because her comic is called Eye Bot and it’s about a robotic, prosthetic eyes that pops out of its host and goes about its own agenda. Sylvia had just finished issue #4 for the show. She said there was a lot of support for her comic at ECCC and it was one her busiest shows of the year.

At the end of the show I was surprised to see how energized everyone was. I’m sure people were pretty tired, but there didn’t seem to be that feeling of pure exhaustion that’s so prevalent at other shows. Exhibitors were pleased by how well they did, fans left exited by what they had purchased or had signed.

I’m interested to see how the show organizers prepare for the very likely possibility of an even bigger next year. I know I’ll be there with more copies of my graphic novel to sell.

###

Tyler Chin-Tanner started his own publishing company, A Wave Blue World, where he wrote and drew layouts for Adrenaline, its flagship series, Adrenaline and wrote its latest graphic novel, American Terrorist.
© 2011 Tyler Chin-Tanner.  All rights reserved.
Email: tyler@awaveblueworld.com

www.awaveblueworld.com

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