The Emerald City ComiCon has solidified its position as the little comic convention that could.
In fact, it’s not even fair calling it “little” anymore. It’s grown from its humble origins in a corridor of Qwest Field to the main room at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.
This year, Battlestar Galactica cast members Tahmoh Peniket, Aaron Douglas, and Michael Hogan, plus Wil Wheaton, Jewel Staite, Ray Park and the Suicide Girls worked the floor alongside an impressive horde of comic book writers, artists and publishers. All corners of the nerd-world were representing (including the cosplayers), making it a very enjoyable convention.
ECCC organizer Jim Demonakos took the time to talk about this year’s con and answered some questions about the exclusive “Monsters and Dames” artbook, what it’s like running a convention amidst a recession, and forming the first-ever comic book rock band.
Pop Culture Zoo: First off, congratulations of what appeared to be another successful year. What were your impressions of the weekend? What were your highlights? Was there anything you thought could have gone smoother?
Jim Demonakos: Thanks! The weekend was great, the show was really successful and we’re really thrilled with the results. For me, the highlights was just seeing the fan response to all the stuff going on, whether it was the guests, the panels, the celebrity photos, it just seemed everyone was having a good time on both sides of the table everywhere. My only complaint, and this is something of us to address, was because of the growth of the show, registration didn’t run as smoothly as it could have and we aim to fix that by next year.
PCZ: Do you have any attendance numbers yet?
JD: We were at about 11,000 this year, compared to around 9,000 last year and 2,500 our first year, it’s been nice and steady growth.
PCZ: Why do you think Seattle has proven to be a successful breeding ground of nerd activity?
JD: Seattle is very technology friendly, and those fields and “nerd activity” as you call it blend together pretty well, so I think it’s something… of a no-brainer, we have some of the best fans in the industry.
PCZ: Let’s talk about the “Monsters and Dames” art book. I managed to snag a copy of it and it’s a fun book with a great lineup of artists. [The book has new art from many of this year’s guests, including Becky Cloonan, Dave Johnson, Amanda Conner, Bruce Timm, Ted Naifeh, Gene Ha, and features a great cover by Frank Cho.] Can you talk about the process of putting this book together?
JD: Well, the idea was to do something cool for charity, specifically, Seattle Children’s Hospital. It took me a long time to come up with the theme, but after I did and started talking to artists about it, it kind of came in a flood – everyone loved the concept and doing it for charity was definitely something artists could get behind. So little by little, we started getting in these amazing pieces of art and the book came together pretty nicely.
We have a few of these great books left, so if anyone out there reading is interested in getting a book and supporting a great cause, drop us an e-mail at email@example.com.
PCZ: While I was walking the floor I saw the Kirby Krackle booth, which I found out you’re involved with. Can you talk about where the idea to form a comic book influenced band came from and your involvement in it? Also – how did Sunday’s show go?
JD: Kyle [Stevens, co-band mate] and I talked about the lack of good comic book music out there, it’s usually some guy yelling the name of a hero over and over again, or just small references to them in songs. Kyle is a full time musician, so that combined with our shared geekiness for all things pop culture, came together in to what Kirby Krackle is, a mix of real music with pop culture-infused lyrics.
The show on Sunday went great, it was a pretty full room and it was also the first time KK performed live with a bassist and drummer. You can check out some of the YouTube videos we posted. It was tons of fun.
PCZ: It doesn’t appear to be the ideal economic climate for comic conventions right now – but the ECCC continues to get bigger and better each year. Did the economic doom and gloom affect your planning for this year’s convention at all? What about looking ahead to next year?
JD: It definitely made us nervous about the show, we did try our best to be conservative on our spending, but at the end of the day, we just did the show like we always did and hoped for the best, which turned out okay, hahaha.
Same goes for next year, we have a definite plan and a budget, just trying to make sure we get the mix of exhibitors, guests, dealers and more that
makes ECCC a show people want to come back to year after year.
PCZ: Where do you see the convention heading in the years to come? Have you even started thinking about next year yet?
JD: I think eventually the show will find it’s way to three days, but that’s a couple years off minimum. I’m already working on guests and ideas for next year, I can announce that Skottie Young is on board and we’re talking to a lot of cool people. We’re also starting on “Monsters & Dames 2010” which
will benefit children with autism. It’s pretty early to actually announce anything, but I’ll say we have some really exciting things in the works!
The 8th Emerald City ComiCon will be held March 13-14, 2010. Jo Chen, Joe Casey and Darwyn Cooke are also tentatively scheduled.