This year's Con season is over for me now. After over 52,000 miles of traveling on Planes, Trains, Automobiles--and one Moped, I dare say it was a great journey. I ended this years con season in New York and Tucson and it defiantly saw its fair share of ups and downs,from great cons, OK cons to some, well, that need more work. I ate a Hotdog with Chinese food on it, other food I'm still trying to identify on Google. I only got stuck in one city this year and managed to get two tickets for running red lights in Denver. Overall, it was a comic book fan's dream season. I have set this years travel plans in motion and am looking to surpass the miles by almost double this 2013 con season. Europe here I come and I'm coming strong this year.
However, It's time to really get down to business. I looked at all the cons this year and it all came down to a couple of things1) Did the con need to help me find anything or was their program informative enough? (2) Did they have a nice food area and Cosplay area? (3) How was their access to social networking? (4) Not that I go to any programming panels, but did they have enough to keep the fans happy? (5) Finally, did I remember the experience because of the guests and fans talking about it for weeks after?
If one con stood out above the rest, it was the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. There was something special about EMCC this year that just seemed to take it up above the rest. It seems as if the con has grown better every year! It was a con that everybody in my circle had been talking about going to, and a con that a lot of people were saddened to find that they couldn't get a table, or a guest pass, or just couldn't get in even as a fan. The one thing about EMCC is they are not quiet the whole year; they make sure you know they're coming. Their Facebook page and webpage is always running and updating, and people from the Seattle area are always talking about it.
Now I will tell you that there are Cossies and there are Cosplayers--Cosplayers are all about the look and representing their character, and Cossies are all about having a ton of fun in costume. EMCC has both and the BEST dedicated space for the players' fun. Its not inside the hall, but outside of it, so that the comic book fans don't have to dodge lightsabres or learn Jawanese. The best of the Cossies seem to be here too, and they really know their part in the con.
If you haven't been to Seattle, the food is amazing everywhere you go. Get this; it's affordable too. Its all close-by, as well; no taxi rides and, again, not immediately in the event hall, but outside so you don't have to worry about protecting your NFL Super-pro #1 from pizza spillage. What I also love about this is that the EMCC Programming is always easy to find and are usually booked into very big rooms. The audio is fantastic and the volunteers very helpful. They actually convinced me to go see a panel this year just by persistence and by reminding me that this guy named Capullo would be talking at the event.
The thing I like the most about this con is that the media guest are in separate rooms away from the comic book programming. I know its not possible for all cons to provide this separation because of their available space. But I really don't want the line for the guy from Star Trek 30 years ago crossing through my John Layman line. Its really cool to know they are taking care of their comic book fans and their media fans equally.
Their fans just like this con, no let me rephrase it they LOVE this con! And, unless they are getting bonus points for mentioning EMCC, they seem to talk about it all the time. When I see the guests at other cons, they tell me about the Seattle con in glowing terms, and seem to always ask me if I'm going next year. This is really something that makes you want to be part of that buzz.
So, do I recommend EMCC as the one con you should add to your travels for next year? Yes, In fact its a must. Just for the weather alone--and Pikes Market, or my favorite Nordstrom store, will make this a great vacation spot for you this 2013 con season.
There were some great cons this year and I know a lot of you reading this are asking, "What about San Diego or NYCC?" This is my personal opinion, but I have been going to cons now for 30 years and have attended over 400 in my life time, so, I stand by my statement. I'm sure there are people out there that don't enjoy EMCC as much as I do. But, my whole point here is that you should get out there and find out for yourself. Go to as many cons as you can go to and experience the different cultures of the wide comic book world.
As I get ready to hit SDCC for my 30th time next year--and all the other cons--I find that in the end, its not about the hall, or the food, or the programming, its about the fans and the guests. In the end though it really comes down to the team of folks who make the show happen, and what they do to make their con memorable. I applaud every single con I went to this year (well except an unmentioned two) and to your teams, for your hard work and dedication to making the fans your #1 priority. I know how much work you put into it and how much time away from your families you sacrifice. I myself spent 3 years as the Programming Manager and Auction Manager for Phoenix Comicon so I personally know the sweet and tears that go into it. Well not the tears part, because Hawkeye Fans don't cry.
I end this article by asking you to volunteer some time to your local Comic Con no matter how big or small it is. Its an experience I know I will never forget. I thank Matt Solberg and Joe Boudrie of Phoenix Comicon for allowing me to be part of such a great comic book community in Arizona. The Best Con is a Con built for the future and it always has a great staff of volunteers. So I wish you all well in 2013, happy comic book con travels and hopefully I'll see you in Seattle EMCC 2013!
I have to say, ECCC is my favorite comic con. And I agree about Jesse's views on it, he nailed it. I was happy when it first started because we never had major conventions in the Northwest, and San Diego was turning more and more into a showcase for Hollywood. And I am very excited about who's coming next year.
(But I do have to put on my anal hat, and mention that it's ECCC not EMCC, and there's no s in Pike Place Market)