I’m a nerd, always have been. A Tolkien nerd who later gained an appreciation for science fiction, too. I loved Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. I even liked the movie version for what it was – a bad, campy space soldiers vs. bad alien bugs action movie. I thought the short story I Am Legend was genius. But I was never into comic books. I liked the movie versions, but I didn’t follow the incredibly talented and creative artists and writers who worked in the world of comics. Similarly, I never paid much attention to Comic Cons. That was a mistake.

I floated around the periphery of the Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) 2017 shortly after moving to Seattle. I was just getting back into photography and was exploring whether I could make it in the brutal world of freelance photojournalism. (The jury is definitely still out on that one.) The streets of downtown Seattle were packed with Comic Con attendees. I liked walking around taking photos, but I still viewed it as a really expensive event aimed at game companies, the convention center, and hotels. It is expensive, but my cynicism was leading me to another mistake about Comic Con.

Fast forward a year to ECCC 2018. This year I was more aware of the Comic Con build up. I know more people in Seattle now, many of whom are comics and gaming fans. I even know a few people who work at comic book shops. They were getting excited for ECCC. I was excited for them, and I was looking forward to taking photos.

Easier said than done. I still can’t justify the cost of a multi-day pass. The passes are expensive and hard to come by. I’m much too small a fish to qualify for a media pass. Luckily, my friend Edyn gave me a great pro tip – head to Freeway Park on the Saturday of ECCC. That is the day of the costume competition, where people bring out their best costumes, and Freeway Park is the place to see and be seen.

I spent a good part of Saturday at the park taking photos. Edyn joined me for a while and got some shots with my second camera. We had a blast. I loved seeing the results of the hard work and creativity that people put into their costumes. They don’t just assemble them and wear them. For a few days they get to be them, and they share that happily. There were a lot of kids young and old out there reveling in the costumes.

I think the best part was getting a sense of the strong community within the Comic Con world. It all seemed so mutually supportive and inclusive. It made me wonder how on earth that Gamer Gate thing got started. Having now been to a Comic Con, I suspect that the Gamer Gate bros are not part of the Comic Con / Cosplay world. If they are, they keep it hidden. The people I met at ECCC wouldn’t have any part of it. (I realize the topic of Gamer Gate is more complex than that. I don’t want to sound like I’m discounting the ugliness or existence of it, just pointing out that it would be hard to imagine it coming out of something so positive like ECCC.)

I hope you enjoy the following photos. The first ones are individual photos, but the last one is a gallery collection of loads of photos in the carousel format. If you’re in any of these, I think you’ll be able to right click and download them. I haven’t double checked that. If you have any trouble, send me a note and I’ll send you a copy. Also, if you’re in any of these and don’t like the way it/they turned out and want the image(s) removed, please feel free to contact me.

Note: Edyn Byrne took several of the following photos, which are credited on Instagram. For the carousel gallery, I exported/uploaded in bulk, so all of the images have the sbhopper watermark. I have added her credit in text to a couple of photos, but I’ll go back through them and make sure that all of them are properly credited. 

Babs Tarr at Seattle's Phoenix Comics, 1 March 2018.

Babs Tarr at Seattle’s Phoenix Comics, 1 March 2018.

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