This is no April Fools Day joke: Seattle's premiere comic book and gaming convention is coming up, and it will feature the same vast array of talented guests and speakers that have become a pivotal part of the convention's success. The 2006 Emerald City ComiCon (ECCC), highlighting comic book creators ranging from local independents to internationally known talents, will take place April 1-2 at the Qwest Field Event Center in Seattle, WA.
"What people will find is what they've come to expect from the ECCC, which is a large show floor filled with the top names in comics, high-caliber exhibitors and some of the best dealers in the country," said Jim Demonakos, one of the coordinators of ECCC.
Filled with panels, costume contests, gaming tournaments, and even sketching duels, fans are sure to find something to excite. For budding professionals, portfolio reviews by Bob Schreck (DC Comics) and Diana Schutz (Dark Horse Comics) and others will be available as time permits.
"It's one of the most fun, friendliest shows around," said Demonakos. "Whether it's your first time or you're a convention veteran, you'll find things to do, things to see and things to do, it has something for everyone."
"The con offers a lot of variety," said Batton Lash ("Supernatural Law", "Radioactive Man"). "As someone who self-publishes his own comic book and works on a corporate-owned character, I appreciate the wide range ECCC encourages."
The convention, in its fourth year, has taken on a key role for creators in the Seattle area and beyond.
"The ECCC in particular is a very well put-together show," said Erik Larsen, publisher of Image Comics and creator of "Savage Dragon". "Seattle has had a number of different conventions over the years that have largely been glorified swap meets. Seattle needed and deserved a first-class convention and the ECCC fits the bill nicely."
"In the short time ECCC has been around, it has developed an amazing reputation," said Demonakos.
Readers and fans will have a chance to rub elbows with the creators of their favorite books and characters-as well as witness those creators rub elbows with each other.
"The life of a comic book artist or writer tends to be a somewhat solitary existence so it's always a joy to bond with others of my own kind. We're something of a tribe unto ourselves and so it's a communal experience when a group of us manage to gather in one spot. The positive vibe this creates is always a blast and I think most of the fans really like to share in that energy as well," said ECCC guest Matt Wagner ("Grendel", "Batman: Bad Moon Rising"), who calls conventions such as ECCC one of the most "unique opportunities in any pop culture medium for a creator to truly interact with his audience."
"I'm an overgrown fan so it's always fun to hang out with my fellow fans and chew the fat," said Larsen. "It's even better when there are a lot of top flight creators thrown into the mix."
Creators attending the event have come to look forward the chance to connect with their peers as well as the fans. It also gives them a chance to break character and act like fans themselves.
"I like to talk shop with other self-publishers, meet and greet Pacific Northwest readers of "Supernatural Law" and, of course, geek out when I meet some of my favorite cartoonists attending the show!" said Lash.
This is the second year ECCC will be a two-day event. Last year's overwhelming interest guaranteed organizers would continue with expanded hours.
"Reaction to the two-day event was incredible. We couldn't have been more pleased," Demonakos. "We more than doubled our attendance and fans were still clamoring for more."
The Emerald City ComiCon is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, or at the Seahawks Box Office. Children under seven are admitted for free. For more information, and a complete list of participating guests and merchants, go to www.emeraldcitycomicon.com.