As stated in the text section below this week’s comic, this coming weekend will see Dawn and I returning to the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle for the second year. We also included a custom map showing our location, because the convention has become… larger.
The press for the show says it’s their biggest ever, and they aren’t kidding. Last year the floor was confined to the north hall of the convention center, and this year it’s both north and south, so we’re talking almost doubling the size.
And while I’m sure the organizers are ecstatic about the explosion in popularity that enabled the expansion, I’m not so sure how I feel about it from my end. I know from an attendee end the ticket prices saw a significant increase, which not everyone was happy about. Meanwhile I’m looking at the show floor and having to squint to find our table, which is located way, waaaaaay back from the show entrance. They split Artist’s Alley into two different Artist’s Alleys, which I’ve personally never found to be a good thing, although to their credit they seem to have spaced out the “big names” between the sections.
This is their prerogative as the organizers, and also something of a function of how the Washington State CC is laid out… but the convention has been effectively split in two, and the only attendee entrance is all the way at one end of those halves with a skyway separating north from south. And man are there a lot of exhibitors this time around, with a staff that may not be prepared to deal with growing 100% in a single year. Call me a downer (Dawn does), but I do worry about being “lost in the shuffle”, or perhaps even “lost in the haystack”.
Will there be the same sort of personal attention we got last year, where staff volunteers actually came around to ask if we’d like some complimentary bottled water, or even if we needed a temporary booth sitter while we took a bathroom or food break? I admit, I’d never been to any other convention that did this, but now that I’ve experienced it I also admit I’d find it sad if it goes away. Will we get any decent flow of traffic, given past conventions where even attendees who wanted to see us got lost finding our table in much smaller, less complicated layouts? Anytime you split up Artist’s Alley you risk your attendees browsing through one half of it and then stopping, not realizing there was more. Now there’s a situation where attendees might browse through one half of a convention and then stop, not checking out the rest… I hope having some of the special guests on the “far side” will be enough to overcome that possibility.
Anyway, here’s me, being a perhaps silly pessimist before I set one foot in Seattle. We just ended up doing so well last year and having such a great experience that we decided to deal with the costs and troubles of coming around for a second outing, and I can’t help but wonder if there’s going to be disappointment. Or maybe I’m just inoculating myself, keeping expectations low and hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I’m fairly certain a large part of my disappointment with APE was due to my giddy hopes going in, so I’m keeping giddiness to a minimum.
Will ECCC growing so big so fast be boom or bust for us? This time next week, I’ll have my answers. I will say that if it’s a bust, it’ll make it easier to let go, since at the moment it looks like 2013 will be our last big year in terms of convention outings, at least those which require non-local travel. Oh, to be one of those people important enough that a convention springs for your travel and hotel costs… but that requires a lot more clout than we’ll probably ever have. I think I am glad we managed one more year at Emerald City, though, if for nothing else than the opportunity to personally witness the growth spurt for good or ill.