Emerald City Comic-Con (my first Comic-Con trip overall)

So is that only for the big conventions or is it spreading to the smaller cons like Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, etc?
There is a site I found listing all the conventions everywhere www.fancons.com I’m sure there’s other con listing sites too.

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I could see a lot of fans trying to sneak in a free autograph and putting the celebrities in an awkward position.

“Oh you don’t have the special tattoo, I can’t give you an autograph. It wouldn’t be fair to everyone who paid for the tattoo.”


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Is it cheaper to just wander around in your let’s say, MST or RiffTrax costume and find others who are into the same thing and talk about episodes and stuff?

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I have no idea how much it’s spreading. Companies like CreationCon run a lot of fan cons these days.

Assuming you still want to get into the convention itself, you will need to pay the door charge. After that, I don’t know what really happens as I haven’t been to a con in close to 30 years. Even when I stopped going the local con was up charging for ‘reserved’ seats in the ballrooms and things like that, and they were starting to charge a fee for the autograph line. At that point, I bowed out.

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I had a great time at ECCC several years ago. But, yeah, first time is often disappointing because you don’t know what to do to make the most of it. I had that at NYCC, where it was just crowded and you had to stand in line for hours to get into any of the good panels and I didn’t know what else to do with myself.

The big corporate cons are something a friend once described to me as a “mall for nerds.” It’s cool to browse Artists Alley and maybe do a bit of shopping in the vendor hall. Keep an eye out for smaller panels that seem interesting. Enjoy all the neat cosplayers. But that’s about all I get out of it.

Felicia is a big name celeb in those circles, so, yes, it’s very hard to get access to her. You have to pay for a meet & greet, and she has security around her when she walks the show floor so she doesn’t get swamped.

That said, ECCC has some gems. It’s the home convention for both Girl Genius and Kirby Krackle. Even if you’re not familiar with the comic, the Girl Genius radio play is a highlight of the convention. It’s hilarious, and there’s always some audience participation. (If you drop by their booth, Phil is not the most social guy, but his wife Kaja more than makes up for it.) Kirby Krackle usually plays a concert off to the side somewhere, and then does an after hours “Krackle Fest” at a nearby bar, where it’s just hours of hanging out listening to nerd rock and meeting like-minded souls.

But if you want a really good experience, look for a smaller fan-run convention. Its had some issues lately, especially with the pandemic, but I’ve had a blast at VCON in Vancouver. Plenty of cool people to meet, a variety of activities, but it’s not so crowded that you need to rush anywhere or reserve space for anything. Just fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and nerd culture getting together to enjoy being fans together. You don’t get the big name celebs, but you don’t really need them.

I’m sorry this was a disappointment for you. But I hope you find a better con to attend. And maybe if you go back next year, you’ll have a better time now that you know what to expect and what to avoid.


Apparently Emerald City was nearly 100,000 attendees pre-covid, and this year they had been expecting it to be over 65,000, facemasks still required.

I believe so, yes. Well, you have to pay for a photo op, and/or autograph, which grants that brief face-to-face access. Their FAQ says the autograph allows for a brief chat, but the photo op should be only about posing the shot.

The number of customer slots per celebrity session is limited, and they do often sell out. It must be a huge task to manage these dozens of celebrities and sessions, keeping everyone happy while getting it done smoothly, plus rescheduling for unexpected demand or celebrities becoming unavailable.


Yeah, that’s it. I thought the producing company of the celebrity cons had been called Origins, but that’s a gaming convention :person_shrugging:

Wizard World and it’s successor FanExpo haven’t helped with pricing though.

Edited to add: not Origins, Creation


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I didn’t really think about that until now. Thanks for the advice.


Yeah, the issue with celebs is that there are tens of thousands of people at the con, and they’re all there because they’re fans of the genre.

If there are 60k people there and 10% want a chance to talk to Felicia for just a minute, that’s still (6k people / 60 minutes)… 100 hours. Which is more time than the entire convention and leaves no time for anything else. And Felicia is a nerd who likes to do fun things at conventions, too. So there really isn’t a better choice than to sell a limited number of tickets for the few hours she sets aside for autographs and photos.

Smaller celebs will be different. I got to meet Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) at NYCC because there was basically no line at his signing table. Which was kind of sad, really. But I’m very glad I got the chance.

I do miss the Cinematic Titanic tours. The whole cast (Joel, Mary Jo, Frank, Trace, and J. Elvis) would stay at the post-show merch table and just sign anything and talk to you for as long as you (reasonably) wanted, and they’d stay as late as necessary to talk to the last person in line. So if you were willing to give up a few hours of your time standing in line, you could meet all of them. That’s a very rare level of dedication. And it was still limited to the few hundred people who had bought a ticket to that night’s show.

Bygone era. They don’t do that at the MST3K live shows. You have to get a VIP ticket or something. But then, the MST3K live tours have bigger audiences than Cinematic Titanic usually got.


This was the most amazing thing about CT. I absolutely treasure the moment I got to meet them all this way. It really was a dream come true.

Never been to a con except multiple years of the Strawberry Shortcake convention which was only like maybe 50-60 of us tops. Lol! But they were amazing and super fun. We got to tour American Greetings and Hasbro.


Another option might be for some organized and entertaining fan(s) to submit a proposal for a fan-hosted MST3K panel, maybe a brief presentation, or organized discussion, Crow vs Servo debate, whatever.

These fan panels are listed in the schedule and are better able to get together both fans and MST-curious in a less ad hoc or hectic setting.


RocketJ posted the big cons described as “mall for nerds”. Yep, pretty much now days.

There was a period of time where an upcoming convention, whether I was attending or staffing filled me with anticipation and excitement. That wore off a while ago.

Going to Sakura-Con or Anime Expo meant seeing people I rarely got to hang out at, the opportunity watch something or try something new. New experiences and the feeling that I am actually in a place with people who understood or didn’t question my tastes in media, as I would at home and even to a lesser degree at work. (When I worked in a freaking comic book shop.)

As the internet and “social platforms” grew a lot of the concerns connected to being in contact and able to embrace people with similar interests, and the “Rise of Nerd Culture” has removed a lot of barriers that a con atmosphere used to require.

I had attended a couple Creation Trek conventions in town, and by the 3rd one, beyond who the guest was, they all seemed to be the same show, even a few years apart. That’s what the big conventions have basically become. With groups like Creation/Origins/WW-FaneXpo and such, it just has become a traveling road show of sorts. Arrive in town, set up at the convention centre, couple panel rooms, large venders hall, maybe a decent artist alley and after the week-end pack it all up and move to the next town.

Personally, after being in a higher position for a decent sized fan run convention, dealing with all the drama and seeing the landscape change likely has jaded me a bit more that some others, but the last convention I knew I really enjoyed was PAX (when it was just PAX). No responsibilities, just got to enjoy myself in something that felt special.

I used to travel for multi-day events, wonder what would the convention T-shirt look like, schedule my day around Panels/Presentations/Meet-ups, trying to avoid the Dealers hall cause I knew i’d spend more that I could (and fail) and hit up dances/room parties/special events, and maybe getting 4-5 decent hours of sleep before doing it all again. Now when FaneXpo runs through Vancouver, I will buy a pass, I will enjoy myself but both the last times I went (with the wife, kid, and a enough people from my social group that we were in a rotating group of about 7-8 people most of the day) it was pretty much:

  • Head Downtown.
  • Grab a quick breakfast.
  • Arrive at venue a little early.
  • Pick up passes.
  • Early walk thru Dealers Hall before it gets to busy.
  • Convene with group to plan things up to lunch. (Manly for those willing to pay for guest interactions/important panels.)
  • Look in on a couple panels. (Twisted Toons will always get my attention.)
  • Go to Artist Alley, Say hi to some artists we have bought from before.
  • Go for Lunch (8 to12 people)
  • Walk around for a bit.
  • Another walk around Dealers and Artists.
  • Go for Dinner.

What were once calendar events I would plan seasons around, are now pretty much a nice day out. I know that there are still smaller events like V-Con I can easily go to, but I know someone I know will end up asking me to help with something, and I’ll stupidly agree. Always happy to help when asked, but just not something I can easily commit to anymore.

As this is altogether more ranty than this post was suppose to be, I’ll leave things here.


I too grew up behind-the-scenes at conventions, helping with security, con suite, panels, video rooms, etc. The admission would get you in for three days of panels, workshops, movies, plays, trivia contests, masquerades, readings, dances, cosplays, filking, room parties, and just plain old sitting around a hotel chattering away with friends old and new. Nothing cost extra. Guests would hang out with congoers and everyone would have a pretty good time.

Nowadays it’s having to throw elbows to get down a people-choked aisle, buy overpriced convention center food, stand in line for 5 hours to sit in the next to last row of a panel, and drop $30-$200 for an autograph or photo-op. I think you’re dead on with the impact of the internet; people don’t need conventions to “get together” with fellow nerds anymore, they go to cons for the big names, the big spectacles, the big experiences.

Which, is fine, I guess, but these big professional cons just tire me out and aren’t conductive to making connections. And they’re just…so…darn…expensive!

And I’ll see myself out…I need to get to the Early Bird Special at Dennys, then get to bed early. :laughing:


There’s another Con this weekend. Fan Expo Toronto. I’ve seen videos from City and CBC about it. Looks big like SDCC.
Surprised MST didn’t go up there to announce The Gizmoplex is available. Is someone going there to see if there are any MSties?
You can get Hamburger Coffee there too? From Twitter www.twitter.com/airzach/status/1562662448452096000

CBC video on Fan Expo


The Mads still do free meet and greets before and after shows with fans. Well, they did when they toured. I assume that will happen again someday.


Our local comic expo is slowly dying from lack of guests as they keep pulling out. This year we were supposed to have the entire crew from Clerks but they cancelled yesterday so yeah as much as I’d like to meet some of the remaining guests (Trailer Park Boys among others) the main reason I was going cancelled

The rest of the convention is overpriced stuff I can order online cheaper and none of my artist friends are going to be in the artist’s alley (the expo charges an arm and a leg for a booth and it’s just not worth it for smaller artists who aren’t drawing anime tiddy…)

Whew I guess this belongs in the gripe thread at this point but I still have a ticket for the Saturday and a cool outfit to wear but I just don’t know if I’m going to bother at all anymore :confused:


Can the smallerites pitch in ‘n’ get cracking here in louisiana on a booth for a group of themselveses to save dollarinos?


I think the expo has rules against different companies trying to group rent a single space. I’ll try to find out though

Edit: I just checked and it’s one company per space

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Loophole: We 25 Artists, LLC :innocent:

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All the Fan Expos cons are a decent size, but nothing in North America is anywhere close to being SDCC sized.

The largest Con in Vancouver (pre-covid) Fan Expo Vancouver 2018 (same company that runs the Toronto one) was a small fraction the size of SDCC was in 1996. (Last year I attended) Even back then the convention split around the entire area of the city around the convention center. It honestly needs to be experienced to be understood.

Regardless, go if you can, enjoy and don’t skip the artist areas, amazing what some people come up with.

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