It is safe to say that, as amazing as Friday was, Saturday at Emerald City Comic Comicon was even more spectacular. The aisles were crowded and booths were doing brisk business. By the end of the day, many of the booths were reporting sellouts of much of their inventory. It is safe to say that the con was at capacity from the moment the doors opened until late in the evening.
Cosplayers were in full effect, with many I had not seen before at a show including a female Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Jubliee (complete with fireworks coming from her palms), all iterations of the female Captain Marvel, and a Spider-Man from his time in the Future Foundation. With an Andrew Hussie signing at 2pm, there were many more Homestuck cosplayers than on Friday, but still not as many as the year before. After speaking with a few cosplayers, it seems that the extended hiatus of the strip, coupled with the emergence of new fandoms has eroded the cosplay base. The emergence of Attack on Titan as a cosplay group was definitely on display.
It was not all about cosplay, however. On Saturday we took in the Why Eisner Matters panel. Peter David, Matt Fraction, Michael Avon Oeming, and Jeff Smith riffed on the concepts Eisner brought forth in his work and the legacy of his writing and art style. It was a fun panel which ran the gamut from talking about Gene Luen Yang and John Byrne to the legacy of Ebony White, the Spirit’s sidekick. If anyone took anything from the panel, it is that much of the great storytelling of the past 50 years is built on the shoulders of Will Eisner. Young creators would do well to read the Spirit as well as Comics and Sequential Art.
Saturday was also the Self-Publish or Perish panel hosted by your’s truly. I will give a write-up later of all the things I learned from my first time moderating a panel (and there was plenty to learn!!!) but I will say for now that the panel was a success in covering the important role that self-publishing has for creators and the industry as a whole. Each creator spoke about their experiences with self-publishing and the role it has played in shaping their careers. Since the panel covered over 35 years of self-publishing, it was fascinating to hear how much not only the publishing industry has changed, but how the prospects have improved in some ways and decreased in others for self-publishers. People interested in seeing the panel for themselves can do so right here.
Keri and I booked a couple of commissions, and it was a good thing we did. Many of the creators’ commission lists were filled by noon Saturday (some were even filled by Friday). It pays more than ever to hit a con with a plan. Five years ago you could go to ECCC and wander the hall for a day and then find someone to do a commission. Now, with the con spanning multiple floors and rooms within the floors, priorities need to be made, a plan mapped out, and backup plans created before ever hitting the floor. While it may cause a bit of stress at the start of the con as you rush from place to place, it will save many headaches and disappointments over the long run. I was able to get the commission I wanted and the books signed early on friday and then spend the entire remainder of the convention perusing and people watching.
With sketchbooks dropped off, Saturday was mostly spent wandering the aisles and looking at art and perusing books. While superheroes and fan art still ruled the con, there were plenty of small press and self-published books to be found. Because ECCC has become such a destination con, many creators were sure to have new work ready for the masses. I spoke with several creators who had books and prints that just came back from the printers as late as the day before. As much of a pain as that may seem, it was clear that there was a high demand for new product and nobody wanted to be left without!
Saturday was a fantastic day at the con. We left physically exhausted but creatively invigorated. There was such an abundance of talent on display, we could not wait to come back for day three!