The Pros of Cons: Good vibes from Seattle’s comic cons
April 19, 2018 by Thad Allen
Conventions are an important channel for many businesses, and we’ve certainly contributed to these huge events by building keynotes. But there’s another, much more fun side to conventions—the comic con! You’ve probably heard of the massive San Diego Comic Con, but there are hundreds of similar conventions around the world. This year I attended two Seattle conventions, Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) and Sakura‑Con.
Drawn to con
Each convention has a different focus that draws different crowds. Despite the eponymous focus on comics, ECCC has a more general pop-culture tilt, encompassing TV shows, movies, books, video games and more.
Sakura refers to the blossoms of Japanese cherry trees (seen locally in such places as the UW quad), referencing its narrower lens on Japanese media.
Whatever their focus, the positive energy and enthusiasm on convention show floors is contagious.
From miles of comic-book-back-issue longboxes to hard-to-find DVDs, to vintage action figures, there’s no end to what’s available on the floor. At Comic Con, I love to get my comics signed by the authors and artists who worked on them—it’s a fun physical collectible I can keep. Plus, getting to hear behind-the-scenes anecdotes deepens my appreciation for the craft. Some cons even invite celebrities. This year I took a photo with Christopher Lloyd and the DeLorean time machine.
Meet and greet
On the crowded convention floor the main activity is interacting with others. These people are dedicated—willing to travel from hundreds of miles away to take part in the experience and meet like-minded fans.
You may have heard of cosplay—a fancy term for dressing up as a character from something you love. As Adam Savage eloquently put it in his TED talk, cosplay is where we are “injecting ourselves into a narrative that meant something to us.” It’s a physical, personal embodiment of what you enjoy. I may not know many people in my day-to-day life who enjoy JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, but when I dress up as a character from the series I can quickly find fellow fans. Cosplay has even led me to friendships that continue long after the con runs its course.
Fan conventions are a wonderful celebration of all the things I enjoy. Attending Seattle’s conventions were one of the highlights of my year, and I’m already coming up with ideas for next year.