In the wake of Emerald City Comic Con getting postponed until later in the year, creators and business owners have begun to coordinate efforts to help artists who’ve taken financial hits from the loss of the massive annual event in Seattle.
ECCC is a big event in the American comic book industry, with artists, cartoonists, writers, and other creators coming from all over the world to run booths and tables at the show. Many of those creators depend on their convention sales — sketches, commissions, prints, comics, pins, you name it — for some of their annual income.
Now that the convention is officially off the schedule, those exhibitors have been left on the hook for their travel costs, unsold merchandise, and lost sales.
As a result, many of the creators have resorted to holding flash sales and fundraisers to try and recoup some of the losses, many of which can be found under the #eccconline hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
Some of the efforts to help artists affected by ECCC’s rescheduling include:
- Seattle-based collaborative game development studio Very Very Spaceship will host what it calls the Very Very Shopping Network live on Twitch on March 12-14 from 2 to 8 p.m. PT. The show features several members of the VVS team hosting a sort of telethon, with guests drawn from the ranks of creators, cosplayers, and others who had to pull out from ECCC. Viewers will be able to purchase comics, stickers, and other merchandise from these creators that would’ve been available for sale at the con. VVS has posted the schedule for the VVSN on its Twitter.
- For other streams and similar online events, freelance comic marketer and VVSN co-host Jazzlyn Stone has begun a short thread on Twitter.
- Distant Worlds Coffeehouse is hosting an Artist Alley Pop Up event in Seattle on March 14 from 1:30 p.m. PT to 4:30 p.m. PT.
- Rowan Rowden of Dual Wield Studio, an officially licensed merchandising boutique in Seattle that employs many freelance artists, has volunteered to help remote creators who might have shipped items and merchandise ahead of themselves to the convention floor. If you’ve got a package in limbo, Rowden is networking with people throughout Washington state to coordinate picking up all ECCC-bound boxes and get them to a single location for returns. Dual Wield will also host an online storefront for affected artists who don’t have one.
- White Squirrel’s Andrea Demonakos is offering advice on Twitter for independent artists on how to set up their own online stores, in order to move merchandise that was intended for booths at ECCC.
- Toronto-based editor/writer Stephanie Cooke has begun a hashtag, #TwitterComicCon, to promote the work of artists who were planning to attend ECCC. She’s also tracking post-ECCC recovery efforts, as well as the possibility of several online panels, in a blog post on Creator Resource.
- Several other Twitter users, such as Mica Burton (“Critical Role”), Kate Elizabeth, Zambi, and Kiki’ssh, have begun Twitter threads as “Virtual Comicons,” to highlight artists who’ve been affected by ECCC’s rescheduling, and to hopefully drum up some extra work for them.
- Portland’s Oni Press has put up a pop-up shop to sell several items that would’ve otherwise been exclusive to this year’s ECCC.
- Brazilian artist Isadora Zeferino, who was unable to change her flight to the US, has opened an online store on Gumroad to sell prints and art. The store will be taken down on Friday, as Zeferino isn’t usually able to ship to the USA.
- Chicago-based indie publisher Iron Circus had planned to attend ECCC 2020. Instead, it’s now holding an online event it calls Pajama Con (#pajamacon2020), live on Twitch on March 13-15, from 10 AM to 4 PM PST. Guests include Iron Circus’s owner Spike Trotman, Kate Leth (“My Little Pony: Equestria Girls,” Marvel’s Hellcat), Steve Leiber (DC’s current Jimmy Olsen comic, Whiteout, Superior Foes of Spider-Man), Chris Roberson (Adventure Time, Edison Rex, BRPD), and others.
- Local artist Hannako Lambert has a thread on Twitter specifically for pin creators who were going to be at ECCC, with plans for an event later on in the year.
- Podcaster Adron Buske has created a searchable resource, Convention Prime, which is intended “to help pop culture consumers find and support independent artists and creators, outside of the usual convention exhibition floors and artist alleys.”
- On March 14 and 15 in Portland, Oregon, several local retailers have teamed up to hold an event they’re calling PDX Pop-Up Con. Exhibitors can set up booths for four-hour shifts for free at participating retailers; each must bring their own Square readers and cash boxes, but no fees will be charged.
- A group of artists who had planned to run tables at ECCC have collaborated to open an Online Artists’ Alley, which is live as of Thursday morning. The site links to each collaborator’s online shop, each of whom plans to run promotions or sales this weekend.
If you’re a creator who planned to be at ECCC, you’re encouraged to reach out to one or more of these organizers, whether it’s to help or be helped.
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Emerald City Comic Con was scheduled to take place on March 12-15 at the Washington State Convention Center. Held every year since 2003, ECCC drew almost 100,000 attendees last year, and was scheduled with a full lineup of celebrity guests including Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Endgame) and Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future).
Fears over the COVID-19 virus have led to several other high-profile recent conventions being postponed or cancelled entirely, such as the Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco and the 2020 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
ReedPOP, the organizer behind ECCC, initially planned to hold ECCC as scheduled, albeit with a renewed focus on public health and hygiene. This past Friday it postponed the event until an unspecified date this summer.