ECCC 2022: Emerald City Comic Con Continues to Recover from the Covid Apocalypse

Emerald City Comic Con 2022 (ECCC 2022) felt better but still felt different. The streets around the Seattle Convention Center teamed with cosplayers, people trying to sell or buy tickets, and a few guys tapping CDs for free, but not for free.

But the crowd was more sparse. The season was wrong. The Con was more concentrated. Smaller vendors dominated the exhibitor floor.

But in many ways, it felt more like an old-school Con, the kind that focused on comic books and collectibles, seeing friends and gaining new ones. And that was nice. I didn’t need to sit down for days ahead of time and map out my schedule. I didn’t feel a need to show up every day because at least one thing was so big I needed to drive from Sammamish into the city just to attend that event. Our team swapped off, attending days and events rather than running around and trying to stay connected.

Except for badge pickup and the main stage, most of the Con was concentrated in the Seattle Convention Center, which also reduced the wear and tear on shoes.

I know that most businesses want more. They want to grow, to demonstrate to shareholders and management that the next one will be bigger and better. But as many things affected by the Covid pandemic, smaller and more intimate are not necessarily bad. In fact, they can be good. I felt more connected to ECCC this year than I have in previous years. I could spend more time connecting with people.

I was able, for instance, to chat with Chris Claremont of X-Men fame for more than 30 minutes without feeling like a burden to his schedule. It reminded me of a chat with Walter Koenig in 1978 as we both flipped through comic book boxes at a Con in Los Angeles.

The one celebrity moment was a main stage event with Chris Eccleston, who shared insights about his time as Doctor Who, in the Leftovers, and just as an actor. We also attended the She’s All That reunion.

ECCC 2023 - Chris Eccleston

I am sure ReedPop will want to continue to rebuild momentum, to return to a more frenzied and varied show. But I will remember 2022 fondly. The odd, out-of-season little Con that allowed me to reconnect to my teenage self even more than I do at most Cons. This ECCC was all about attendees, mostly in small moments, servicing their passions.

It will be interesting to see what form ECCC 2023 will take as people return from fear.  I hope ReedPop plans to give people breathing room to just be, to just be in a few special moments that accumulate toward their expanding repertoire of experiences that define their relation to comics, science fiction, and fantasy−and to the people they share those experiences with.

See you next year at ECCC 2023.

For more on ECCC, click here.

Scenes from ECCC 2022


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