ECCC 2018: Time Travel, Sorcery, and Sing-Alongs

Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC), located in Seattle, WA. Is the premier comic and pop culture convention of the Pacific Northwest. With an attendance of approximately 91,000 people last year, it’s no surprise ECCC is a geek destination spot. They have something for everyone including a diverse panel line up, comic industry guests, fandom meet ups, an incredible artist alley, and of course entertainment guests from some of our favorite shows and movies. The guests I was most excited to see this year were Doctor Who’s very own Tenth Doctor and beloved companion, Rose Tyler. Otherwise known as, David Tennant and Billie Piper! I was also looking forward to meeting Summer Glau from Firefly, Felicia Day from Supernatural (among many other fan favorites), and comic book artist Babs Tarr.

Although ECCC has been a 4-day con for a while now, this year marked the first time that day 1 had a full day of programming instead of a half day. So, at 9:30 A.M. Thursday morning, I hopped in the car with my friend Emma (Swan Song Creations) to head toward Seattle. Before getting on the freeway, we stopped by a grocery store to get some supplies for the weekend. I had gotten food poisoning earlier in the week and still wasn’t feeling well. I got some Gatorade and granola bars, as my stomach wasn’t up for much else just yet.

At 11:00 A.M., we arrived at our hotel, The Fairmont Olympic. Let me tell you, that hotel is absolutely stunning! It has one of the most gorgeous lobbies I’ve ever seen. With wonderfully ornate architecture and beautiful, welcoming furniture, oh, and a freaking chandelier!  Once we got checked in I waited with Emma in our room while she changed into her Spider-Gwen cosplay and did her makeup.

We arrived at con shortly after noon, where we promptly met up with our friends Tiffany (cuddleturtle) and Liz (a.lizardqueen). We hung out in the common hangout area on the fourth-floor lobby, that has been lovingly dubbed the brotographer/brotog corner. It earned its name after years of on the fly photoshoots happening there. Before long we decided to head to the main stage area to get seats early for the Doctor Who panel, since they don’t clear out the room before each panel starts.

There was one panel before the Doctor Who panel, which was the Patrick Rothfuss spotlight panel. We arrived a bit late, and admittedly I wasn’t familiar with his work before we sat down. However, I’m totally a new fan after listening to him read one of his children’s books. It was so funny! He had the slides for it on the screen, so it was truly story time for all to enjoy in the panel room. He also talked a bit about his fantasy series, The Kingkiller Chronicle. Which is a first-person recount of the life of musician and adventurer, Kvothe. I’m definitely curious. I didn’t have time to pick up any copies during con, but I plan on snagging one soon to read.

The Doctor Who panel was a pure delight. It felt like coming back home to the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler, but also not because David and Billie’s personalities shone through as well. There were the typical questions asked such as their favorite episode(s) of Doctor Who to film, to which they both agreed that “Tooth and Claw” was top of the list. Billie also remarked that “New Earth” was a really good one as well. David noted that every episode was full of happy times when they filmed together, which was really sweet. Their favorite modern Doctor Who episodes to watch that don’t feature them are “Blink” for Billie, and “Father’s Day” for David.

When asked what attracts them to a role or character, they both responded that the writing, and variety of a role matter to them, as well as a certain spark that can’t quite be named/described. Both stars also admitted that it can sometimes be more fun and freeing to do voice acting. David exclaimed what a great honor it has been for him to be voicing Scrooge McDuck in Disney’s Ducktales. While the topic was on voices, someone brought up Billie’s music career. Much to many a fan’s dismay she proclaimed that she won’t return to the music industry.

Throughout the panel they kept cracking jokes, it really felt like you were hanging out with them in a living room, despite the large audience and studio lights. At one-point Billie declared that she’d love to see a comedic one-off focused on the domestic life of Rose Tyler and the alternate (human) Doctor. It’d be about how life got dull due to a lack of time and space travel. They also discussed which shows they would love to bring back on the air, for Billie it would be 90210, and for David it would be West Wing.

Towards the end of the panel, Billie and David were asked to give advice to anyone getting into acting. David answered first and stated that if you can get into anything else, you probably should. Which got a chuckle from everyone. He also noted that despite the hard work and competition, it’s a great life. Billie’s advice was to do your fair share of theater work, and to live a colorful, enjoyable life. She stressed the importance of not letting it become a blood sport, because that’ll ruin your life for acting.  Definitely some solid advice there!

After the Doctor Who panel, I went back to the brotog corner to snag some photos of friends in cosplay. While I was there I ran into my friend Brynnan and we opted to go explore the artist alley for the last hour it was open. I swear the artist alley gets better every year. There were so many artists whose work I fell in love with. We enjoyed every booth so much that we only covered maybe 3 rows of the entire artist alley in that hour we had. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy anything until at least the next day so I refrained from spending all my money just yet, but let me tell you it was hard!

Once the artist alley closed we headed back down to brotog corner to meet everyone, if you couldn’t tell this tends to be where everyone meets/gathers after wandering off on their own for a while. It was there that we ran into David (Chameo Cosplay ), Jay (Raging Storm Cosplay), and Brianna in their Doctor Who cosplays. We spent some time chatting but by 8pm or so things were winding down and we all decided to part ways.

By that point, I was feeling pretty tired from a general lack of sleep and the lingering food poisoning. So, I opted to head back to the hotel room for the night. My hotelmates, Emma and Erin (Neu Neu Cosplay),  were out at pub nearby and didn’t come back until 11 or so. We all decided to go to sleep relatively early, knowing we’d have a busy second day of con ahead of us.

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On Friday, I awoke bright and early at about 8:00 A.M. I was expecting my friends Liz and Erin P. at the hotel around 9 A.M. I had originally gotten up with the full intention of getting ready well before Liz arrived to do galaxy makeup for me and Erin P. However, when I got up I felt horribly nauseous. It was as though all the horrible feelings of my food poisoning I had felt earlier in the week were coming back full force. I laid in bed for over an hour just trying to feel normal. It was horrible. Thankfully, my hotelmate Erin G., had digestive medicine with her. By the time the others arrived, I was only feeling marginally better and hadn’t taken a shower yet. They told me to take my time getting ready and that they’d go on a coffee run. When they came back they brought me some ginger ale which helped a lot in making me feel better. Liz did Erin P.’s makeup while they waited for me to finish getting ready.

Eventually I was feeling well enough for Liz to do my makeup as well. Erin and I had wanted galaxy makeup for our David Tennant photo op later in the day. The makeup turned out so well! I wore a purple galaxy dress, and Erin had on a hoodie that matched my dress almost perfectly. Liz did an amazing job of matching the makeup to our outfits. We were beautiful galaxy queens! I had a purple wig to go with my look, but due to my nausea I didn’t want anything on my head just yet. I did pack the wig in Erin’s backpack, on the chance that I’d feel up to putting it on for our photo op with David Tennant.

Erin and I finally arrived at con around 12:30 P.M. and headed to the dealer’s hall to take a quick look around. Some of my artist friends were featured in that area instead of artist alley this year. So, I went to say hi to s2heartbunny, vanvan, Yuki Yoshida, and mis0happy. Not long after chatting with Bunny, I began to feel overheated and a bit woozy once more. I parted ways with Erin to go sit in the park just outside of the convention center. The fresh air instantly made me feel better. While I was out there I got a few shots of cosplayers as they passed by me in the main courtyard.

I was still in the courtyard when it was time for my shoot with Jay in his Doctor Strange cosplay. He met up with me out there and we headed to our preferred shooting location, which ended up being the outdoor area on the second floor. We got some really great shots of him on a platform with a view of the city behind him. It’s very super hero. I love to take cosplayers to this area to get very dynamic comic book superhero/villain photos!

Once we wrapped up, it was about time to head to the Shertaon hotel for my David Tennant photo op. Jay tagged along with me since his phone was about dead and he didn’t feel like wandering off by himself just yet. In addition to meeting with Erin, we found Beki and Bry. They were joining us for the photo op in their Rose Tyler and TARDIS cosplays. Thankfully, I was feeling well enough for my wig and I popped that on right before we got in line to see David. As with all of these celeb photo ops, they often go by too quickly for you to get a chance to talk with anyone. However, there was enough time for quick greetings, and David’s face lit up upon seeing us. Even better so, by pure coincidence David was wearing purple that day, so he perfectly matches us! It looks like we all color coordinated with him. I couldn’t be happier! We all look pretty fantastic and maybe a touch out of this world! (I do not apologize for that pun).

The two hours I had spent outside prior to the photo op had me feeling a lot better. That and my complete elation over getting a photo with one of my all-time favorite actors! That’ll put a pep in anyone’s step, sickness be damned! I even had a bit of an appetite again. So, we all headed to The Juicy Café. I got their peanut butter and jelly smoothie and sipped it slowly over the course of an hour. It seemed to help settle my stomach some!

Next, Erin and I headed back to the Shertaon to wait in line for Sean Maher and Summer Glau’s (Simon and River from Firefly) autographs. Erin suggested we get in Sean’s line first because it was smaller, then we’d hop in Summer’s after. I agreed, even though I already had Sean’s autograph from another convention. I opted to wait with Erin, instead of getting in Summer’s line by myself.

We’re not quite sure what the hold-up was because no one actually told us, but both Summer and Sean ended up being 30 minutes late to the autograph session. By the time we made it through Sean’s line, Summer’s line was capped. I was pretty upset about it, because it meant I would have to carry my very heavy Firefly book around the next day too. Erin was upset because she had been carrying that book for me all day in her backpack, and now it had been for nothing.

It wasn’t all bad news though. We had some entertainment while waiting for Sean to get to his autograph table, in the form of watching Ricky Whittle (American Gods, The 100) interact with his fans. Erin actually had no idea who he was prior to looking him up while we waited. Despite that, she totally fell in love with him. He’s just that charming in his line. He actually stands up and interacts with fans on the other side of his table!

You can tell he’s new to conventions because he still has all that enthusiasm. His line wasn’t even terribly long most of the time, but it went very slowly. That was because he really took the time to interact with each fan. Many of them bought selfies, and he often took their phones to snap the selfies himself. It was hilarious and downright charming to watch. He also kept dancing around while he was hugging fans. At one point we looked over and he was pelvic thrusting the air to “My Pony” by Genuine, that was certainly a mighty sight to behold.

Since neither of us would be getting Summer Glau’s autograph now, and Erin had fallen for Ricky’s charm while in Sean’s line, she decided to treat herself. She paid for the “Ricky Experience” which included a big hug from the man and several selfies. Like with others we watched, he grabbed Erin’s phone to take the selfies himself. Since I had gotten in line with Erin, he even pulled me in for a few of them and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek! Such a charmer, haha. That definitely lifted our moods!

Once we finished in the autograph area, Erin needed to get her things she had left in my hotel room. I walked back to the hotel with her then I was too tired to go back to con. So, I was in my hotel room by 7 P.M. I ended up messaging Beki and she came over to keep me company in my room. Emma got back just before the pool was going to close and we all went down together to enjoy a quick soak in the hot tub. I didn’t feel like changing into my swim suit, and Beki didn’t have one with her, so we just stuck our feet in the water, but Emma got all the way in.

Upon returning to our room, my hotel mates drank wine. I decided not to tempt fate and stuck with water and Gatorade. Beki hung out with us and we all swapped stories about our day until everyone was too tired to talk anymore. I remember falling asleep around midnight.

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Friday must have been the last push of my food poisoning because I was feeling MUCH better on Saturday morning. I actually felt more like a real person! Good thing too, because it was another early day for everyone. Liz and Jay came over to our hotel around 7 A.M. Liz was doing Emma’s makeup for her Princess Bubblegum cosplay and Jay tagged along so he could avoid driving by himself/paying for parking by himself.

Since I didn’t have anywhere to be that early, I went back to sleep while Emma, Erin, and Liz got ready. Jay also took a nap in Erin and Emma’s bed, since they weren’t occupying it. By about 10 A.M. the others left for the convention center, and I utilized the empty room to get ready. Once I was ready, I waited for Emma to get back from signing up for the cosplay contest pre-judging.

When she arrived, we went down to the spectacular hotel lobby to do a photoshoot with her gorgeous Princess Bubblegum cosplay. The location proved to be a bit of a challenge due to the very warm lighting in the hotel, but we got some wonderful shots. Also, I am so proud of Emma for all the work that she put into this cosplay. It’s not easy to replicate a Hannah Alexander design. She stepped up her sewing and crafting game hardcore for this project! From the gradient dye, clay candies, and jewel decorated skirt and bodice. She certainly learned a lot of new skills to put forth into her future cosplay work. Plus, she looks stunning in her Princess Bubblegum cosplay!

Immediately after our photoshoot, Emma had to run to her contest pre-judging appointment. We parted ways and I took some time to grab some lunch from Jimmy John’s before meeting up with Liz at the SyFy live stage to watch Felicia Day’s interview. I arrived just in time, the interview was about to start, and people were glaring at Liz for saving me a seat. She got us such a good spot too! Despite the fact that Felicia Day has been to at least two cons I’ve attended, this was my first time making it to a panel/interview of hers. I really enjoyed hearing about her experiences. She’s also in one of my absolute favorite shows right now, The Magicians on the SyFy channel. I was particularly curious about her thoughts on her character and about the show as a whole. Turns out she was a fan of the books prior to the show and asked if there was a part available for her. Thus, she became Poppy Kline on The Magicians! She’s been doing a wonderful job.

In addition to talking about her role on The Magicians, Felicia spoke about what it’s like to be a producer. She enjoys the work but admitted that she finds it a lot easier to be an actress, because she has less things to worry about/less multi-talking to do. She also mentioned that she’s really been enjoying getting more into voice acting and has taken voice lessons. Lastly, she mentioned that her dream is to be a nerdy Anthony Bourdain, as she’s a big foodie! It was truly a delight to get to know more about her, as well as hear her insights about my favorite show, and the industry in general.

After Felicia’s panel, it was time to get ready for an afternoon of photo shoots. My first shoot of the afternoon was in the park just outside the convention center at 1:30 P.M. I was scheduled to work with ash.billings, troy_rudolph, kenshinkitten, and geekgasmrealm in their amazing Hogwarts founders cosplays from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I had actually first run into this group at last year’s ECCC and had been so excited to see a Hogwarts founder group in person. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled they chose to work with me this year! We found a spot a bit further into the park with some tree coverage. I was going for somewhere that could have possibly looked like they got their portraits taken on the grounds of Hogwarts. I think it worked out rather well, and they were pleased with the photos also!

My next shoot of the day was with my friends Greg and Vanessa as Constantine and Zatanna from DC comics. We ended up leaving the park, which was getting a bit crowded at the time, in favor of the more secluded outdoor plaza area on the second floor. Their cosplays are really good! I had been telling Greg for years that he’d make a fantastic Constantine, and I was totally right. Vanessa looked super cute in her Zatanna cosplay too, and I loved all the props she had!

For my last shoot of the day, I met up with bermudapenguin to shoot his Bane cosplay from DC’s The Dark Knight Rises. I was very impressed with how movie accurate his cosplay is. Like my shoot with Jay the day prior, we utilized the second-floor outdoor courtyard for its cityscape views, and industrial-like concrete surroundings.

  

After getting my autograph I went back to the hotel to drop off my Firefly book and grab the Sailor Moon biker photo I had brought from home. The photo was from a shoot I had done a few years ago, based on some Sailor Moon fan art by Babs Tarr. The plan was to deliver a copy of the photo to Babs at her booth with my hotel mate, Erin, who is one of the models in the photo.

Only when we got there Babs wasn’t at her booth, she was doing autographs at the Kinokuniya book store booth in the exhibitor’s hall downstairs. We didn’t have time to head over there, so we knew we’d have to come back the next day to deliver the photo. Erin was heading back to the hotel soon, so, I gave her the photo before booking it to my Hamilton Sing-Along panel.

When I got to the panel room Jay handed me Emma’s laptop to get set up. Unfortunately, she couldn’t host with us because she was in the cosplay contest, and call time for that was happening the same time as our sing-along. Thankfully, Emma allowed us to use her laptop, so the show could go on! When we plugged everything in, the sound didn’t want to work, and we had to troubleshoot for a while. Turns out something was unplugged in the sound system itself, and nothing was wrong with the laptop. After we got that going, thankfully, everything else went off without a hitch.

The Hamilton panel was amazing! This was our second time running it at ECCC and our third time running it overall. This had to be our biggest audience yet! Everyone was super high energy. There was even a young child dressed up as Hamilton that we had come on stage with us, and there were several teenagers that came up to the front to dance and serenade the Mini-Hamilton. What a great experience.

After the sing-along we were all quite hungry, so several of us headed to nearby restaurant, Taphouse. Jay and Liz wanted to go cheer for Emma, so they went to the contest. Sadly, I was too hungry and exhausted. I also knew I wouldn’t be able to handle watching the contest in the standing room only area. I’m glad that Jay and Liz were there to support Emma though. Plus, they ended up meeting up with us after the contest was over. Emma went straight to the hotel with her boyfriend, as she was drained from the contest and a little let down from not winning. After dinner, Erin and I went back to the hotel. We spent a few hours with Emma and her boyfriend, together talking about the day’s events. It was a fun way to unwind before bed. None of us stayed up too late though. We knew it was going to be an eventful morning for us the next day with our Gotham cosplays.

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Sunday morning, I once again found myself up awake bright and early. I was nervous as it was going to be my first time applying my Harvey Bullock cosplay makeup on my own. It was a little rough going for a bit there. The makeup definitely took me a lot longer than originally anticipated. I was feeling pretty insecure about it until everything came together. I had to re-apply my heard a good five times before it would lay right on my face! It was also only my second time ever putting on foundation. It’s funny that a male cosplay was what finally taught me how to do a little bit of makeup. Life is full of surprises. I definitely went out of my typical skill set to get this cosplay put together.

All the insecurity I had earlier in the morning dissolved away once I arrived at con. Several people recognized who I was, even when I wasn’t standing with the rest of my Gotham squad! A few of my friends didn’t even realize it was me until I started talking! It was a really great feeling to have my cosplay come together so well. I also got a few amazing solo pictures from my friend DarkainMX . Thank you!

I wanna give a huge shout out to my friend Dani for helping me create the beard from scratch, teaching me how to apply makeup, and letting me borrow her makeup! She also helped me tailor my suit, which I had accidentally ordered in a size too big. Seriously, this cosplay wouldn’t have happened without her! I also want to thank Erin for helping me apply the last few touches of makeup, including the wrinkles around my eyes and mouth. Those final touches helped make the whole look seem more believable!

Shortly after arriving at con, we met up with the rest of our Gotham group. It was me as Harvey Bullock, Ben as Jim Gordon, Jay as The Riddler, Erin as The Penguin, Emma as Selina Kyle, Beki as Isabelle, and Hazel and her boyfriend as Bruce Wayne and Jerome Valeska. We looked amazing! Everyone’s outfits and makeup were so on point. This whole group was a labor of love, and it showed. I am so proud of my squad.

We all hung out in the brotog corner for about an hour chatting with friends. It was also a good chance for me to snag some pictures of cosplayers in the area. Even on the last day of con people still bring out some really great show stopper cosplays. I’m glad I got the chance to snap a few photos before we went upstairs to the artist alley, as I wouldn’t have any time to do so after my panel.

By the time we headed upstairs, there wasn’t much time for me to go shopping, as I had to be at the Disney Sing-Along panel in about 30 minutes. However, we did have just enough time to stop by Babs Tarr’s booth and give her the Sailor Moon photo we had tried to deliver the day before. Which was only able to happen because some very generous customers waiting for her autograph let us cut ahead. They were happy to help when we explained the time crunch and that we were only dropping something off. Thank you, lovely people!

Babs loved the photo! She even remembered the photo from when it was initially posted on Instagram. She was super impressed with how well we re-created her drawing and held up the photo next to her art to compare. At which point people in her line noticed as well and gave us a little cheer. I’m so happy I was finally able to see her reaction in person. Having my work complimented by one of my favorite artists really meant a lot to me.

Once we delivered the photo to Babs, I had to dash off to my Disney Sing-Along panel. Like the night before, there were some difficulties with the sound equipment. The problem ended up being exactly the same as before too! I really hope they do a better job of checking their side of the equipment next time. The sound tech there kept blaming the issue on our laptop without checking their side of things. It wasn’t until I mentioned that something had been unplugged on their end the night before, that he checked. Luckily, we got the sound working on time and the panel didn’t start late! The panel itself was a lot of fun and all the kids present were super adorable. I’d say it’s impossible not to have a good time at a Disney sing-along. I hope we get to do it again next year as well!

After the sing-along the con was pretty much over for us. We had about 20 minutes to say goodbye and do any last-minute shopping. Then, Erin, Emma, Jay, Ben, and I met up with Estelia Photography to do a Gotham photoshoot. Our shoot was at the Seattle waterfront, so we headed out and that was the end of being at the convention.

Being on the waterfront and getting some amazing pictures of our cosplays was a wonderful way to end the con. We spent nearly 2 hours taking some truly amazing photos. We don’t have them all back yet, but we got the first group photo and I am BLOWN away by it! I just know the rest are going to be spectacular. I may do a separate right up just about that shoot.

I’m bummed that I didn’t get a chance to take as many photos of all the amazing cosplayers like I usually do. But I’m glad that despite my con being photo lite, it was still rich in experiences. And, thanks to my amazing friends I was well taken care of while I was sick. I’m also glad I listened to my body and slowed down instead of pushing myself. ECCC has so much to offer attendees. No matter how you like to experience your con, be that going to a lot of panels, meeting up with people, or taking photos. As always, I am greatly looking forward to next year. Here’s hoping we can host some more sing-alongs! Until next time, ECCC.

All photos, unless otherwise stated, were taken and provided by Fearless Photoworks.

Please note: This is a re-post. A previous version of this article was erroneously deleted.

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