Emerald City Comic Con 2023: Celebrating 20 Years!
By Kevin Hoskinson
Emerald City Comic Con celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2023 with a new building, incredible guests, and the same nerdy vibe!
The worst part about attending Emerald City Comic Con is the drive home. We only live a few hours from Seattle, but the drive down to Portland is always a bummer. It’s like coming down from a euphoric high of nerddom and creativity, which makes sense because both constantly surround you at an event like this. Everywhere you look, there is something new and unique, whether it’s a cosplay that you love or an artist you are discovering for the first time. It might seem overwhelming at times with the vast amount of people walking around you, but it never feels impossible to conquer. The folks at Reed Pop know how to manage a con, and with a new building in their arsenal of tricks this year, they have put on another fantastic show.
This year, just in time for its 20th anniversary, the convention took place in the Seattle Convention Center Summit building, the first major event to take place there. It’s a beautiful modern building. It’s a block down from the old venue, and having everything in one place was a lot more convenient and easier to navigate. All five floors were put to use, with tight organization dedicating each floor to an element of the show. The first level was the entrance, and the bottom floor was reserved for the main show hall, which housed most of the exhibitors. The second floor was dedicated to Artist’s Alley and celebrity signings. The third floor was for creator panels, with level four for gaming, cosplay central, and Pop Asia. Level five housed the Main Stage, which hosted the likes of The Scream and Arrow reunion panels, a David Tennant-led panel, and one featuring actor Mark Ruffalo breaking down his fantastic career. This was also the floor fans took pictures with their favorite celebrities.
Speaking of guests, this was a fantastic year for fans of anything. Stars from The Star Wars universe, voice actors from popular anime such as Chainsaw Man, Spy x Family, and My Hero Academia, and the casts of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Arrow were there to sign autographs and take pictures. David Tennant was also there, as well as the cast of the popular HBO Max series Our Flag Means Death. The show’s real highlight was the Scream cast reunion and the guest of honor, The Incredible Hulk himself, Mr. Mark Ruffalo.
The cast of Scream was undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend for horror fans in attendance. The “What’s Your Favorite Movie? Scream Cast Reunion” was the talk of the town. In the panel, original film stars Neve Campbell, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich, and Jaime Kennedy took to the stage to reminisce about their time working together on the first film. It was an energetic and lively hour of funny stories and fond memories from their time working with horror maestro Wes Craven. During the Q & A portion, Matthew Lillard came off the stage to answer questions up close and personal with the audience. (As a family, we had the opportunity to get a photo op with the cast, but more on that in another article discussing that experience and my love for Scream in general.) It was a great time!
While meeting your favorite celebrities is a highlight of any Comic Con, it’s a celebration of creativity and the arts, featuring artists and writers of all types. A highlight for me is seeing all the beautiful artwork on display and chatting with the fantastic artists. I finally got the opportunity to meet one of my favorite artists, Megan Lara (www.meganlara.com). She has beautiful pieces based on everything from Hamilton and Star Wars to The X-Files and The Dark Tower. She is fantastic, and I highly recommend checking out her work. Also at the show were artists and writers like Stephen Franck, Lauren Moran, David Pepose, Steenz, Kizdoma, Trace Sandy, and much more.
As far as the exhibitors go, there were some notable absences this year but also some great surprises. Bandai Namco was there to display some of their new collectibles based on properties such as Demon Slayer, Spy x Family, and Ultraman. They also showed off their new Studio Ghibli products in their own booth across the way from the main one. It was all Ghibli themed with scenic photo opportunities featuring the worlds of Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro. It featured really cool canvas puzzles, stuffed animals, and statues. A Fig Pin booth was also set up, featuring some ECCC exclusive pins and their regular stable of pins. Around the show, floor were exhibitors from around the country selling action figures, lightsabers, stuffed animals, and anything you could want. This was also the floor where you could get a tattoo from one of the many talented tattoo artist booths.
To top it all off, and for many, the best part was the cosplay! So many creative and fun characters roamed all floors of the Summit building. There was cosplay based on superheroes we all know and love to video games and anime characters. Every single one of them deserves a round of applause, and it still astounds me the amount of dedication and talent that goes into creating them. I want to say great job to all cosplayers out there, and I can’t wait to see more at future cons.
Emerald City Comic Con continues to be THE event I look forward to experiencing every year. It’s where an anxious ADHD-riddled nerd like myself could find solace and a sense of community. It’s a place where all are welcome, and all are accepted. If the world could be as fun and accepting as this, it would be a better place. In other words, it’s always an incredible time, and this year was no different.
Next year’s show will be taking place February 29th- March 3rd. I hope to see you all there!
Kevin Hoskinson is the Entertainment Editor at Pastrami Nation. A writer with a deep-seeded love for movies, comic books, television and the paranormal, he is also the host of Pastrami Nation: Popcorn on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and more. From humble beginnings working the box office at his local movie theater, he’s worked his way to becoming a humble family man and professional bug exterminator. Growing up, he wanted to become an astronaut, a Ghostbuster, a dinosaur, and a Disney animator before he found his passion for writing as a teen. He studied film at Los Angeles Valley College with an emphasis on screenwriting and film criticism. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two kids. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter @Kevin_Hoskinson, and Instagram @kevinhoskinson.