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An Emerald City Comic Con 2018 Debriefing

An ECCC 2018 Debriefing

At the beginning of March (a few weekends ago, now) I joined ninety-five thousand others in attending Emerald City Comic Con in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. This year the convention was extended to four days—I skipped Thursday but visited Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday. As is the tradition around here, it’s time for a convention debriefing.


🌤 Friday

I had to get a picture of, Android Cosplay's amazing take on classic Nightcrawler
Android Cosplay’s classic take on Nightcrawler

Friday started oddly but finished great. I learned a valuable lesson about con-attendee me—I need to have things to do. The one panel I wanted to attend was full, so I spent a good portion of the day poking around the show floor and getting the lay of the land. I swung by the tables of a few author friends, Lee French had a table, as did Matt Youngmark (Go buy their books!) and I managed to get a few pictures of some great cosplayers. (Including Android Cosplay’s classic take on Nightcrawler in the image on the left.)

Around 2 PM, I took a break and went home to get some writing done. Later, I returned met up with Lars Brown. Lars is a talented comic creator. (His Penultimate Quest series was one of my favorite graphic novels from 2016. You should buy them.) Together, we stuck around the con for a bit, then went to dinner. All in all, it was a relaxing—if not somewhat quiet—first day.


☀ Saturday

On Saturday I was joined by my friend and fellow author Steve Toutonghi (his new book Side Life is coming out in April, you should preorder it.) Together we hit up a bunch of panels. My favorite was probably Books as Flint: Using Graphic Novels to Spark Political Activism. It was a discussion on the power of stories and how graphic novels (this was a comic convention after all) can often bridge the gap and open conversations on topics such as politics, race, religion, misogyny, and bigotry. The panelists were passionate and knowledgeable, and everyone had great thoughts about inclusion and activism in the comic space. Lessons that could easily be applied to novels as well.

My friend (and very talented woodworker) Steve Leroux and his daughter as the Weighted Companion Cube and Chell from Valve's Portal series
My friend (and very talented woodworker) Steve Leroux and his daughter as the Weighted Companion Cube and Chell from Valve’s Portal series

Steve and I also attended Family-friendly Fantasy: Keeping It PG in the Age of Grimdark & Game of Thrones and another on called 10 Points to Slytherin: Why Good Fans Love Evil Characters. Both were excellent and much better than I expected and both sparked some good conversation.

Oh! While waiting for one panel, we randomly slipped into a conversation with Shannon Purser (Barb from Stranger Things, y’all)—it was fun. Lots of kids with questions and Purser was kind, articulate, open, and honest. I’m generally not one for celebrity panels like that, but I found myself enjoying it.


🌧 Sunday

Writing the Future Panel - [Left to Right] Sylvain Neuvel, Michael Miller, AdriAnne Strickland, Annalee Newitz, Chuck Wendig, Jason Hough
Writing the Future Panel – [Left to Right] Sylvain Neuvel, Michael Miller, AdriAnne Strickland, Annalee Newitz, Chuck Wendig, Jason Hough
I had only two panels Sunday, and once again Steve Toutonghi joined me. Our first panel was What Do I Read Now (and Where Do I Start)? hosted by a group of local librarians, and the premise was they’d recommended books based on other properties people liked. It was fun. I did take issue when one of the panelists mentioned recommending only finished series. I bring this up because I feel it’s an important topic. The best way you can support a series as a fan is to read it as its published. Waiting until it’s finished can often kill a series. Publishers make decisions based on sales. So even if you want to wait until you have them all, buy the books (or check them out from your library) as they come out. It’ll make a big difference.

Our final panel of the weekend was Writing the Future (pictured above), and it was interesting. The room filled up fast, there was loads of audience participation. Afterward, a friend asked me if I had any new takeaways. My honest answer was no—I didn’t hear anything new or revelatory. If anything it was nice to see veteran writers reaffirm my choices.


Leaving ECCC—for now.
Leaving ECCC

So, that was my ECCC! There was so much I missed, and I felt like I had my schedule pretty well planned. Overall ECCC is excellently run and well managed—I appreciated all the hard work keeping the crowds organized. It’s not simple with that many people, and the staff and volunteers excelled at keeping everything under control. It’ll be interesting to see how it changes as the Seattle Convention Center expands.

I was thrilled I spent the time I did—next year I’m hoping to go longer and actually sit on a few panels and making do some gaming. (Gaming was sorely missing from my ECCC 2018 experience. Would have liked to play Mansions of Madness or jumped into a Call of Cthulhu session.) I also want to extend a big thank you to my friends Steve and Lars for hanging out with me, having friends willing to pal around made a big difference.

Thanks for a great convention Emerald City—it was a lot of fun.


Have a convention you’d like me to attend? Let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email. Remember, You can keep track of where I’ll be and read previous convention debriefing over on my Upcoming Appearances page.


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A 2016 Lilac City Comicon Debriefing

Last Saturday was the tenth anniversary of Lilac City Comicon, and I was lucky enough to be there along side my buddy Josh Montreuil. This was my second time at Lilac City and since last year they had expanded into a larger space and quite a few more fans showed up.

Lilac City Comicon - Photos #1As before it was a whirlwind of great people and an overall success for me. I had plenty of books left over from Norwescon [Read the Norwescon 39 Debriefing Here] and I sold a ton at Lilac City. Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement. I sold out of every copy of The Stars Were Right. Which is AMAZING. Thank you to everyone who picked up a book, I left Spokane with a lighter trunk which is always a good thing.

Lilac City Comicon - Photos #2I could ramble on a bit, but let’s get to the highlights. That’s the fun stuff:

  • The cosplay. Carl, a friend of both Josh and myself, made an astute observation: at most cons you see like one person cosplaying for every ten people. But something about Lilac City really brings out the cosplayers. They were everywhere. There was probably one person cosplaying in every three, and the quality was incredible. (As you can see from the pictures.) Like last year, it was really difficult to choose which to feature. I took a ton of photos.
  • Obviously selling out of every copy of The Stars Were Right was a huge highlight. Spokane really loves my books, and I am both touched and grateful. There were a few people who came back later in the day wanting to buy a copy and unfortunately they had to go without. I’m in the process of replenishing my stock from my store, but there are plenty of places you can still pick it up. Hit the official site for The Stars Were Right where I link to a bunch of locations where it and other books in the Cycle are available.
  • Seeing my mom, dad, and little sister. Since this is a business trip, I don’t have much time to hang out with family. But it was good to see them even for a brief moment.
  • Spending time at the table with Josh Montreuil and watching him work. Josh is a fantastic comic book artist, and you should be following him on Tumblr. Seriously. Do it now; I’ll wait.
  • My adorable selfie with the Lich. What a guy.
  • Seeing some old friends. It’s been eight years since I moved westward, so it’s nice to catch up with folks and see how things are going.
  • Watching Josh work on his various sketch commissions. I saw the Grinch and his dog, Ben Grimm, and the always abriffic Doc Savage. (Who is due for his own reboot, let’s be honest.)
  • Ain’t going to lie, my table looked great.
  • I had several people who sought me out specifically after picking up and reading The Stars Were Right last year. Everyone was excited to experience more of ol’ Waldo Bell’s adventures, and I was happy to learn how much they loved the first book.
  • Big thanks to the guy who not only picked up Red Litten World but also bought the current set of The Bell Forging Cycle for his friend as well. As I said on Twitter, that means the world to us authors. Telling your friends about a writer’s work helps keep us writing.
  • My table was right next to fellow Seattle author Matt Youngmark, and it was great chatting with him throughout the day. Not only is Matt is good people, he’s also the creator of Chooseomatic Books, which is are choose-your-own-adventure novels for adults. They’re great fun and worth checking out.
  • The Steven Universe cosplayers (see above right) who sang a stirring rendition of the Steven Universe theme song at Matt’s request.
  • The Sprocket the Cat cosplay! (See below left.) If you don’t know Sprocket, he’s the mascot for Lilac City Comicon. It’s cool to see he’s got some fans.
  • The Post-Con Decompression Dinner—It’s nice to relax and have a few beers with fellow creatives after a convention. Thanks as always to Matt, Kevin, Peter, Jen, Lars, and Josh for letting me hang with them and eat Irish food, wax poetic about running a table, and crack stupid jokes.

Lilac City Comicon - Photos #3

I was really happy with my experience at Lilac City Comicon, and I am already planning and looking forward to attending next year. It’s a really welcoming crowd and it’s nice to see something like that in Spokane. Right now I don’t have any future appearances scheduled, but that could always change. You can keep track of where I’ll be and check out my previous conventions over on my Upcoming Appearances page.

Thanks for a great convention, Spokane!


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