I’m getting ready to head to Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) in Seattle this week. I’ve only been once before, but I loved it.
You might say, “But Trisha, Comic Cons are about comics, video games, superheroes – not books! Why are you going?”
Well, let me tell you. I’m going for two reasons. One, my lovely friend Beth lives in Seattle area and goes to ECCC each year. This is a chance to spend time with her. And two, comic cons are fun! They aren’t just about superheroes and video games (although, those are a large part). Comic cons are about art, comics, graphic novels, pop culture and so many wonderful things.
Four Reasons Comic Cons Are Great Fun
- The art!
- The people-watching!
- The panels!
- The comic books and graphic novels!
Comic cons are full of comic books, comic artists, graphic novels, designers, fan art, original art, cool swag. Need I say more? Wandering around Artist Alley in the convention centre is so interesting to look at. There are so many different styles of comic and graphic artists and they all show up with their best stuff to attract admirers and buyers alike.
As a booknerd rather than a huge fan of comics or gaming, I don’t always recognize the fan art subjects, but like so many amazing book fan art, it’s gorgeous to see. And it’s really fun to see people squeal about seeing their favourite character rendered by another fan.
Comic cons are known for cosplay. And yes, sometimes there is bookish cosplay – which is super cool! And yes, a lot of the time, like with the art, I don’t recognize characters. But, cosplay is another amazing form of art. The time, investment, and energy that people put into their cosplay costumes is astonishing. And the results are amazing to see. Going to cons and wandering the show floor can be tiring. I’m always okay with sitting out on the sidelines for a few minutes to rest and watch the crowd and see the phenomenal costumes fans have created for their favourite video games, comic books, novels, tv shows and movies.
At my first ever comic con, I sat eight feet from Patrick Rothfuss and listened to him read an excerpt from his work in progress. I got to hear kids and adults ask him questions about his writing process, about his inspiration behind the Kingkiller Chronicle, and tell him how his books had impacted and inspired them.
It might not be a book con (which I dream of going to one day!), but ECCC still pretty darn awesome and always has some bookish content.
The Comic Books and Graphic Novels
Until 2014, other than the Archie Comics I read as a kid, I’d never read a comic book. I bought my first comic book at ECCC that year, The Intrepid Girlbot. It was an images only book, all in tones of orange. It was beautiful. Since then, I’ve read a bunch of comic books and graphic novels, including Ms. Marvel (starring a Pakistani-American Muslim girl as the new Ms. Marvel, – how rad is that!) Hawkeye, Nimona, Black Widow, and Giant Days. I’m now reading Lumberjanes. (Note: I’ve listed only the beginning of each series title, as most of these are series that have been volumized and published both in individual comic books, as collected volumes.)
For some booknerds, comic books and graphic novels still have a lower status than prose novels. I’m not okay with this. They are an amazing form of art. And, graphic novels are an incredible tool for literacy training. Especially for kids and teens who are reluctant readers, or who have learning disabilities or are learning English as another language. Just check out this list from Scholastic of ten benefits of graphic novels and comic books.
I’m excited to see what new graphic novels and comics I discover at ECCC this year. I love wandering the booths of big publishers, little publishers, and the writers and artists themselves.
So, friends, the moral of this blog post is don’t knock a comic con before you try it. It might not be a place to get a ton of amazing new novels or autographs from your favourite authors, but is still a place where bookish folk like us can find great reads.