The culture within Comic-Con

A guide to the experience of Emerald City Comic Con

by Ursula Stickelmaier, Editor

Cosplayers meet each other and the press on the balcony (by Ursula Stickelmaier)

You’re walking through downtown Seattle when suddenly you see giant groups of people all dressed up in different costumes walking through the street. You might find yourself wondering about who these people are or what they’re doing. But if you are aware of what happened at the Seattle Convention Center this past weekend you would know that these intricately dressed people are cosplayers, all heading to the Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC). For those of you who have never been to this city’s Comic-Con, consider this The Tempest’s guide to the culture and experience of the ECCC.


Artist Camille Sanchez at her ECCC booth (by Ursula Stickelmaier)

Artist Alley

When you walk into the building there are several floors you can venture to but level two seems to be where most of the action takes place. Level two contains both the autograph area, where you can meet and get things signed by some of your favorite actors and creators, as well as Artist Alley, the place where creators from all over come to meet and sell their art.

Artist Alley was for sure my favorite part of the entire convention. It’s so interesting to see so many artists who share the same love for comics and other pop culture all gathered in the same place. When you’re walking through it is heartwarming to see the community that has been built there. Creators talked to their neighbors, they said hello to cosplayers they had met at past conventions, and just generally made a very welcoming environment for all newcomers.

Camille Sanchez is new to the Comic-Con world and was spending her first convention at ECCC. I was lucky enough to get to interview her about her first experience with the Comic-Con community. “I’m really glad this is my first Con because I think people are really nice,” Sanchez said. She talked about how her neighbors went around asking other artists if they needed help setting up their booths and everyone was sharing other community events that creators could participate in. “It’s great that local people really want to support each other,” she added.

Each booth was full of pins, stickers, prints, comics, and other beautiful designs that artists spent their valued time creating. Artist Rich Bernatovech talked about the time he spends working on each of his designs, “Dark Phoenix, here, took about a day since her costume is so simple but then Okoye took about a week since there is so much detail to include. It all depends on the character and how much inspiration I get from them.”

It’s easy to get lost in all the hustle and bustle of this level but it makes for an enjoyable experience and is a great way to spend a couple hours.


The Tempest’s own Co-Editor-in-Chief, Eliana Megargee, as Vax’ildan from Critical Role (by Ursula Stickelmaier)

The Cosplayers

For those unfamiliar with cosplay it is the practice of dressing up as a character from a book, movie, show, or video game. The ECCC was full of people all dressed as characters such as Lord Farquad, The Mandolorian, and even a zombified Princess Peach.

Some cosplays can take days to complete while others only a few hours. Though it was easy to tell the difference between the costumes that had a lot of work put into them and those that were more lowkey, it was interesting to look around at all the references and try and guess what each one was from.

This year’s cosplay contest, The ECCC Cosplay Central Crown Championships of Cosplay, saw many fantastically dressed participants. Dressed as both known pop culture characters and original designs. First place went to Sushie from Chibling Props dressed as Azure Starlord Armor from the video game Monster Hunter. The dedication put into all the cosplays here was amazon but that one really knows how to blow you out of the water.


Panels and the other floors

If you decide to venture outside of Artist Alley there are several other floors you can go to. The basement level is the exhibition hall. This mainly consisted of the bigger companies and exhibitors selling stuff that doesn’t count as part of Artists Alley. Though I didn’t have as much time to explore this level, The World of Studio Ghibli booth was fun to explore and there were a bunch of great photo opportunities throughout this level.

Level three had panels and rooms to go through and explore. The lounges were a nice place to relax, especially after walking around for a couple of hours. The other rooms had family areas and lego related rooms and overall this level was a great place to just sit down and breathe amidst all the excitement of Comic-Con.

The fourth level was where what seemed like all the gaming happened. When walking around, you could see people all dressed heading to different rooms to play D&D, new board game releases, and new video games. There was also a balcony on this level where different cosplayers got to meet up and have their pictures taken by press.

The fifth and final floor was by far one of my favorites. This was the level with the main stage and it was where some of the bigger panels were held. I went to see the Twin Peaks panel and it was such a cool experience to see this giant group of people, all united under a common interest, gathering to listen and talk to the actors of one of their favorite shows.

During the question portion of the panel, actress Sherilyn Fenn referred to the fans of Twin Peaks as her “sacred family,” in reference to how they continuously saved the show, and I think that that term does a great job of summing up the culture and community there. As I was walking through the convention center I felt that idea of community and family and I hope everyone interested will one day get to experience that as well.