Last week marked a special occasion for anime, comics, gaming and entertainment enthusiasts who Emerald City Comic Con gathered in the center. Emerald City’s Marketing Director Fallon Prinzivalli is celebrating its 20th anniversary March 2-5. Assumed around 75,000 attendees visited the Seattle Convention Center. Along with meeting celebrities and attending events, fans dressed as fictional characters to express their love for their favorite works and the art of cosplaying.
Founded in 2003, Emerald City Comic Con has brought many Northwestern fans together to celebrate and appreciate their favorite media, with Comic-Con.xyz ranked number five on their Largest Comic Cons in the US list. However, conn has yet to recover its pre-pandemic attendance numbers, which reported a total of 98,000 fans in 2019. Despite this, the convention center was filled with excitement and positive vibes from young and old fans.
This year, the participants had the opportunity to meet several actors and content creators, e.g Mark Ruffalo, David Tennant and Jennifer Hale. Various book signings, cosplay information sessions and fan meetings were planned throughout the event, attracting huge crowds. Artist Alley was packed with attendees looking to support small businesses and artists, likely spending an extraordinary amount of money in the process. The convention center also set up an LGBTQ+ lounge and other safe spaces for attendees to decompress from the noisy convention life.
In addition to meeting celebrities and participating in events, Emerald City Comic Con was a hub for cosplayers from various backgrounds. The floor was full of fans taking pictures with their favorite characters and wondering about their original works. For longtime cosplayers like Josh, these conventions give him the opportunity to showcase his craft and love for specific creative works. Josh attended the event dressed as Elias Ainsworth, a humanoid magus from the obscure anime “The old magus’ bride.” While his suit and other accessories were store bought, he spent nearly two months 3D printing the character’s skull.
“‘The Ancient Magus’ Bride’ is kind of a niche anime, but when people watch it, you get really amazing reactions from people who really know the character,” Josh said. “To be able to stay [this] character [and] To see someone so happy is just heartwarming.”
Along with individual cosplays, many group costumes were seen walking the con floor. Mother and daughter duo Crystal and Skyla cosplayed Destiny and Delirium from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” cartoon and TV series respectively. Megan and her partner dressed as Eda Clawthorne and Raine Whispers, a couple from the popular Disney show “The Owl House.” Both groups saved and customized their costumes, with Skyla adding “floating” butterflies to her Delirium costume. Like Josh, Megan enjoys taking pictures with “Owl House” fans because she takes pride in dressing up as a character she wishes she had in her childhood.
“A lot of people have come up and asked for pictures,” Megan said. “[They were] mostly younger [children]which is really exciting to see kids get to grow up, see a really fun representation that we didn’t get growing up.”
Although cosplaying may seem intimidating at first, these individuals believe that anyone can participate in the hobby. There are websites and professional cosplay designers who offer or order costumes and props. For those who want to make their cosplay from scratch, there are various ways to do it. Cosplayers can modify clothes and items as Megan, Crystal and Skyla, or purchase materials from art shops such as Jo-Ann Fabric and crafts and BLICK art materials. No matter how they do it, Crystal believes that anyone with ingenuity can create a cosplay.
“Get really good with a hot glue gun and sticks; anyone can make anything with hot glue, sticks and scissors,” Crystal said.
For complicated items like props and masks, Josh assures new cosplayers that there are places to get tips and tricks. Whether it’s on sites like Pinterest and YouTube or published cosplay magazinesexperienced cosplayers regularly share their work and construction processes for inspiration.
“The cosplay community is not secretive; so many people would love to share their secrets, open everything up [and] give you the advice you need,” Josh said.
Emerald City Comic Con continues to be a place of self-expression and solace for cosplayers and fans alike. As Seattle recovers from the pandemic, more people will gather to celebrate their favorite works and characters.