I’m just in the door from Emerald City Comic Con. Although my feet are aching, my eyes are sore and my head feels a little too tight, I had an absolutely stupendous time. Comic Con is a lot of fun! I saw some fantastic costumes, and I took part in some really great conversations. I saw some stupendous art, and I got to meet and chat to some exceptionally talented creators. I’m tired and sore, but there is no doubt in my mind that it was worth it.
The people at ECCC are awesome. They are welcoming and friendly without having to think about it. People were walking around with weapons which were taller than themselves, but they had all been peace-bonded. Other characters were walking arm in arm with their sworn enemies. People were happy to stop and have their photos taken. ECCC has a strict anti-harassment policy, and I didn’t see anyone come close to breaking it. I myself was dressed as FemShep (from Mass Effect) and no one asked why I hadn’t dressed as ManShep. I even got a couple of compliments, which was nice.
The only hint I saw of the sexism that can all too often be found in the discussion of comics was at some of the artists’ stands. The convention floor had an area where artists could sell prints of their work, and there were some overly sexy depictions of female characters; these actually looked pretty old-fashioned and out of place next to some of the more contemporary work which surrounded them. There were a number of measures in direct opposition to this sort of thing, too – panels where the panelists talked about using monsters and robots to discuss issues of gender and sexuality, and another that talking how to create welcoming gaming spaces were among them.
I attended a lot of panels, and they were also awesome. They ranged from huge halls, with thousands of people coming to see Gina Torres or Alex Kingston, to smaller rooms, with maybe a hundred people coming together to talk about personhood and the dehumanization of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, or the resurgence in popularity of archery in pop culture. I personally found the smaller panels more interesting – the conversations were usually led by people who were experts in the field, and after a bit of an introduction from the panelists, they opened up to questions from the floor. Our last panel was the one about personhood in BSG, and I could quite happily have invited the entire room to the pub to continue the conversation well into the night over copious pints.
I also discovered that Comic Con involves a lot of walking. It took up the entire floor-space of two large buildings, and we did several laps of each floor each day, moving from panel to panel, and browsing the merch. A lot of this walking happens at a pace that you cannot control because you’re stuck behind someone else. This is frustrating and it tires you out a lot quicker than being able to walk at your own pace. The best way to stop yourself getting grouchy is to ensure that your blood sugar up with delicious snacks.
Comic Con was a huge amount of fun. It had the friendly openness of other Cons that I’ve been to, even though it was almost overwhelmingly large. I will be going again.
…I should go.