I was excited in the coming months leading up to ECCC. This was my first convention of the year, after a previous year of less cons, less money and disappointment. That was partially due to being busy with my 1 year old son, and having to adjust to his needs, plus just lack of planning and not getting out to the convention until late. This really irritates me since I'm paying good money for conventions--I want to get my money's worth of seeing exhibits, panels and take plenty of cosplay photos.
We planned better this year, actually getting a hotel room for ECCC for the first time. Since the downtown hotels are way expensive even at convention rates, plus the fact that we're not sharing a room with friends (not that they'd want to share with a couple with a baby), I picked a hotel near the Seattle Center and we would just take the monorail to the convention center each day. The hotel itself was old but decent, had all we needed plus complimentary breakfast. I was wondering a little about how ECCC was going to be different this year, as I heard they sold to a major company (Reed Pop), which is I guess who owns the comic con in New York, where they are more strict with cosplay rules. I waited to see what unfolded that weekend before I made any conclusions.
We headed out on Thursday which was the first day of ECCC as they changed from 3 to a 4 day con. I hoped to check out the exhibit hall, cosplayers and other things. We got there late unfortunately, and we had to meet family for dinner, so we just had a quick run through that night, ate dinner then headed back to the hotel. One thing that was bothersome was trying to unfold the playpen the hotel provided for my son to sleep in. They weren't locking in place, and we had to get a hotel worker to assist us.
Friday was looking to be better. I opted to wear one of my classic crossplay costumes for the day as I hadn't crossplayed in like 2 years. I dusted off my Chun Li costume, adjusted it and got help with makeup from my wife. I looked pretty good, though I think my age is starting to show in my face. I went ahead with my son to the convention while the wife got ready. I started to take photos of some great cosplayers including some friends, and got a good reaction from my costume. I had to take a break to change my son's diaper and give him some food, so I took him to the family room, a nice service that ECCC provides for it's con-goers. Last year we used the newborn room, where new families could nurse their babies and relax quietly away from the con. The family room is for older kids and families who need a break from all the people stimulation of the con, and say hello to other families who are also fan geeks and are turning their kids into them (just like us!). Diapers and stuff for cleaning were provided, along with kiddy snacks. I thought it might be a weird sight for a guy dressed as Chun Li changing his toddler son in the room, but nobody complained. I let the little tyke run around the room and eat graham crackers. He's pretty friendly with everyone anyway.
Then back to the convention floor for more photos and checking out the dealers room and artist alley exhibits. There are so many it's difficult to remember where everything is if you wanted to come back and look and buy something. They have a key in the program and the ECCC phone app, but still you can get turned around easy in the showfloor. You can pretty much find something for every fandome imaginable, from comics, movies, tv series, video games or sci/fi and fantasy novels. I met up with the wife later on, then I actually headed back to the hotel room to fetch something, then come back. I made a decision early on to either concentrate on panels and guests, or cosplay photos seeing friends. I chose the latter because I hadn't interacted with many friends in the past few conventions and wanted to at least say hi to them. Also I had very few photos from last year and I wanted to change that. At least with family with me, one can watch the child AND get a quick photo, and not be stuck in a panel which you may have to leave early if the child gets unruly. At the end of the day I met up with an old buddy of mine, and we all headed back to the hotel room, ordered Italian food and watch You Tube videos as my son fell asleep.
Saturday is usually the biggest day of ECCC, attendance wise. Sure enough when I arrived there I was amazed with the attendance, but I never felt it was like too many people. You do have to navigate carefully through crowds to get to your destination, making sure you don't bump into people. This is harder when you're pushing a small stroller. I went ahead again with my son, both of us in costume. I was excited as I was wearing a new costume for once: Rick Deckard from the film Blade Runner, my favorite Sci-fi film. I didn't expect many people to recognize it, but probably a half dozen people did, including a exhibitor who was selling a BR piece of art, which I gleefully bought. I did more of what I did on Friday, which was take cosplay photos, visit the showroom and artist alley areas, plus catch a few of my friends wandering around the halls. As for shopping I was mostly looking for artwork. Last year I found some awesome art of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy films such as superman, star trek, highlander and others. I was hoping to find some artwork of some other genres of films, and I lucked out. A fan artist had some great artwork for Bruce Lee and Quentin Tarantino films, so I got a couple. There was also a drinking glass I saw last year, and hoping it was still available. I found it: a Bugs bunny glass where he says "What a Maroon!" on it, and I got one for my sister too. My wife found me a Beatles art work as well, from this small seller who created his own comic book based on his career in a rock band in the 70's. I hope to find that comic. I would have liked to go to the cosplay contest, but we had the little tyke to put to bed so we have to knock around 7 or so. I also have hoped to partake of the beer garden at ECCC, but at 8$ a pint, I'm more happy than to go to the drug store and buy a 6 pack of PBR, which I did. We stopped at the store to get more snacks and stuff and and then we hung out again at the hotel with my friend Hector. We also hoped to soak in the hot tub there, but it was being repaired. Oh well.
Sunday, the final day of ECCC, started just like any other convention does, with us packing up the car and vacating the hotel room as quickly as we could, and putting our costume as well. As our stuff filled our car, I had the wife and child take the monrail to the con, and would drive the car there into a garage. Even on a Sunday, some of the main parking garages were full, but I managed to find one nearby--albeit a rather expensive one. I proceeded to the con and meet up with my family, where we would take care of the baby's needs, walk around the sites and take photos. I rushed around to find an exclusive Bruce Lee comic in the showroom before the con closed. We saw more of our friends on that final day doing the same thing we were. A lot of them hang out at an area opposite the escalators called the "Brotography corner," a place where several photographers shoot cosplayers as there's enough space and backgrounds to shoot. It's a pretty cool spot, and we'll stop there to see friends or maybe hope to get a picture too. Continuing on our final run, we hung around the artist alley area since my wife wanted to meet this artist who created an academy award nominated short animated film in 2014, and was doing another one. So we basically stayed there (though I went outside to another area to look at T-shirts), until the announcement was made that ECCC had concluded (after which everyone applauded). We stopped at the bro corner again and found several friends saying their good-byes as ECCC did end, and chatted a little until we decided to leave as well.
So that was it. It was great fun, though I felt maybe I should have attended some panels or something. After all we spent a bit of money on these tickets and I hoped to get my money's worth out of them. However I was a little disappointed in the guest they had, no offence to Sean Astin who would have been cool to see. I know that Jenna Coleman was to appear, but she cancelled...AGAIN. She did the same thing the previous year which erked many fans including myself, but we all understand that's how it is when you're in show biz (but still...!). Melissa Benoist, Supergirl herself, was also to appear but ALSO cancelled which was another disappointment. So the 2 main guest I wanted to see were out, so no point in waiting in line or fighting for a chair in the main panel room. And like I said before I wanted to take a lot of cosplay photos this year, but I guess I succeeded. I didn't really see any noticeable problems at the con in regards to staffing and organization. I remember I was in the family room and a young teen came in out of breath, like a panic attack. A staff member came in and asked for the one in charge of the room, but no staff member was ever in the room in charge in the times I was in there. I guess the family room doesn't need to be staffed? The only other problem that caused some controversy at the convention was the weapons policy. From what I understood, you cannot take a weapon that's too large and heavy into the showroom, and you would have to leave it with staff at a table or station. This bothered a lot people who's character brandished large weapons, or were made with heavier material and that all their work had to be left behind for a spell. Plus it made for some odd photos if the character poses without their signature weapon, don't you think? People speculate it had to do Reed Pop's acquisition of the con, and that the con itself is changing for the worse, getting too big, and so on. I don't see any real problem yet with the con growing, but I will keep an eye on it as I continue to attend it. And there's always an issue of creepazoids out there who follow cosplayers around for pics and such, or just socially awkward people who start talking to you about weird stuff. One guy was bothering my wife who was in her Lum costume (furry tiger striped bikini) and took her pic, but then followed her around with his camera phone and saying weird things. I didn't think of it as anything until later, but the wife didn't like it, so we'll have to be more wary of folks like that at conventions and stop them in their tracks.
Overall ECCC was a lot of fun. There's stuff to see and do for the whole family. This convention has been eclipsing the other con of the season, Sakura Con. In fact we skipped SC this year as the 2 cons were only a week apart, and we couldn't possibly afford attending both, along with the fact that I have been disappointed with SC for a long time. Not that ECCC is perfect. My main gripe with this years comic con was guests I wanted to see cancelling, which was one of my mains draws to the con. I've seen many a celebrity from filims and TV series at past comic cons, so I hope they can rectify the situation of people mainly coming to see a certain guest that doesn't show up. I look forward to seeing what great guests and events they will have at next year's ECCC with great eagerness.