Last week, I asked people to share their experience with this year's Emerald City Comicon. Over the last few days, I've heard from local cartoonists, from comics professionals, and from people who attended the show as fans. From those conversations, a pattern has emerged.
People are, so far as I can tell, pretty happy with Emerald City Comicon, especially as compared with other large comic book conventions. In fact, the more conventions that someone attends every year, the more likely they are to appreciate ECCC. Professionals say that even though it's clearly grown over the last few years, ECCC still has the feel of a small-town show that's not as overrun by Hollywood glitz and promotional glamor. A few fans complained about ECCC being overcrowded, but they mostly mirrored the professionals: compared to virtually any other big city's comic book convention, ECCC, they said, is a total delight.
The local cartoonists and vendors, though, said the show suffered from some behind-the-scenes organizational distress. People who have dealt with ECCC for multiple years say that the ECCC administration was generally non-communicative, which is a big change from conventions past. They didn't receive check-ins from show representatives until very late in the convention process, if at all, and they did not feel as though their complaints were addressed with the same care and consideration as past years. If a convention's true customers are the vendors, many of the vendors we talked with felt as though ECCC's customer service slipped from the exceptional level of care and consideration that they enjoyed in years past to something a little more aloof and disconnected this year.
Still, most of the vendors who complained to us had their most profitable ECCC yet, which suggests that perhaps the administration was just overwhelmed by their own show's success. Nobody seemed bitter about their convention experience; they just seemed slightly disappointed and wary about whether this experience would indicate a slip in quality in conventions yet to come.
On the whole, it seems that ReedPop's first full year in charge of ECCC landed in the solid B-to-B-minus range from vendors and in the A range from fans and professionals. Not a bad report card at all — though there's some room for improvement in the area of vendor relations for 2017.