This year Emerald City Comic Con really step it up. The convention was well organized, there were really good panels planned for the weekend and there was a good variety of artists in the exhibit hall. It was a treat to see all the different artists and finding what you were looking for was very easy too. All areas were well marked and you could use the guide as well as their app to look for your favorite things or activities. They even provided reminders for the different signings, panels, and photo ops through the app, so you would not forget.
One thing I think is great about this convention is the fact that they provide a whole set of activities specifically planned for families and kids. This year the Family HQ for the ECCC were located at the lower level of the TCC, right across the street from the convention. They had many different activities, from lightsaber classes from the Jet City Saber Guild to different Lego themed activities from Brick Nation and even drawing sessions with Katie Cook. The only thing I wish it would have been different is the location of the Family HQ. With the photo ops organized in the Sheraton, the Main Stage and exhibit hall in the convention center and then the Family HQ in the TCC, seems like a lot of effort needed to enjoy the different activities. Going from one place to another can take a long time and so for families with little kids it would be difficult to enjoy the different areas.
Saturday included some of the best panels of the weekend. I was lucky enough to attend three of these panels: the Twisted Toonz panel, the Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven from Stranger Things) panel and the Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane panel. I have to say, I had never seen the Twisted Toonz panel before but I was so glad to have been there, it was hilarious. Listening to a live script reading of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi with the different voices of Troy Baker, Jim Cummings, Jess Harnell, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeil and Rob Paulsen reading as some of the main characters from many other shows was incredible. A Darth Vader Winnie the Pooh was definitively my favorite. Even my 3 year old son was laughing so hard, the voices were really funny. The next panel was the Millie Bobby Brown panel. She was funny, honest and a pleasure to listen to. She even sang a little for a fan and has a beautiful voice. She talked about not wanting to work for Disney Channel, as she said her personality would not go well with having to be all smiles every day (I hear you!). She also talked about becoming Eleven and working with Winona Ryder and how incredible the experience has been. There was also the mentioned of the second season of Stranger Things during Millie’s interview, she shared it was going to be even darker and better than the first season. (So Excited! I love this show)
The third panel was Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane’s one-on-one panel. It started with a few jokes from Stan Lee, who cracked joke after joke until Todd interrupted him, and continued with some really great anecdotes about the origins of Spider Man and Spawn. Stan Lee also explained why he changed his name from Stanley Martin Lieber to Stan Lee and got stuck with it, LOL. Trying to use a different name as an artist, back when comics were not so liked by people, he basically ended up with the name Stan Lee for life. He also went on to clarify the difference between a “comic book” and a “comicbook”, adding that comicbooks are not “funny books”. Stan and Todd discussed the many cameos Stan Lee has done over the years (his favorite one was the one with Thor, because it included two scenes) and the possibility of him doing one wearing Pj’s on the next Spawn movie. Todd also teased about the movie describing it even darker than Logan. Then walked to the front of the stage and described the order from PG-13 to Spawn as PG-13 in the far left, then Deadpool, then where Logan would fall and far to the right of the stage as were they would go with the next Spawn movie. Without a doubt, a great panel.
The entire convention was a great experience and an improvement from previous years. It felt better with this year’s panels and exhibitors. It was also better organized and the crowds seemed to be enthusiastic and fun as always. With the opportunity to attend a Stan Lee panel, see Sean Gunn (Kirk from Gilmore Girls) and Millie Bobby Brown (from Stranger Things), it was definitely an epic experience and the expectations for next year’s convention are already high. Good job ECCC!