A First-Timer’s Guide to Emerald City Comic Con 2023

Catch us LARPing on the garden terrace ⚔️

A group of cosplayers pose together at Emerald City Comic Con

📸: Courtesy Emerald City Comic Con

The Northwest’s nerdiest four days are upon us. It’s Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC), babies! 

From Thursday, March 2nd until Sunday, March 5th, nerds of all varieties (fantasy, Disney, gamer, gaymer, gay pirate, LARPer—you name it) will pack the brand-spankin’ new Seattle Convention Center’s Summit building for ECCC’s 20th anniversary

As with all comic cons, ECCC is way more than a bunch of sweaty men sifting through tubs of yellowed comic books. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some of that, but ECCC is a celebration of passions, an exploration of interests, and a coming-together of those on the margins. Since the schedule is jam-packed with cosplay meet-ups and celebrity autograph signings, here are highlights.

The who’s who of ECCC 🎉

For more regional cons like ECCC, it can be a crapshoot when it comes to celebrity guests. This year, though, ECCC’s celeb line-up is stacked. Each guest will have a panel appearance, plus autographs and photo ops for purchase. 

Celebrities you might want to see:

Mark Ruffalo

Saturday, March 4th + Sunday, March 5th

The Incredible Hulk and Reese Witherspoon’s co-star in the 2005 classic Just Like Heaven will grace the main stage on Sunday. You may not like him when he’s angry, but maybe you’ll like him when he’s chatty

David Tennant

Friday, March 3rd

The beloved Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who, Crowley in Good Omens, Olivia Coleman’s counterpart in Broadchurch, and so much more, David Tenant (otherwise known as Scotland’s best export) will grace the stage on Friday. Maybe he’ll even crash one of the Doctor Who fan panels. Who knows???

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reunion

Saturday, March 4th

Fill up on your holy water and sharpen your stakes, it’s a Slayer reunion at ECCC. Sarah Michelle Gellar won’t be there, but Charisma Carpenter, James Marsters, and Kristine Sutherland chat all things Buffy at a Saturday panel. You can even buy yourself a group photo-op with all of the stars. 

The Cast of Our Flag Means Death

Saturday, March 4th

HBO’s 2022 homoerotic pirate show Our Flag Means Death developed a huge fandom seemingly overnight. ECCC will be the biggest gathering of OFMD cast members since the show aired and the first convention appearance for series star and fandom sweetheart Rhys Darby (who you may know better from Flight of the Conchords). Saturday is OFMD day at ECCC with cast panels, photo-ops, autographs, and a slew of fan meet-ups, including cosplay contests and an in-depth discussion of fanfiction. ECCC is the place to be for fans of this pirate show. 

The Twin Peaks Cast

Sunday, March 5th

Twin Peaks fans make pilgrimages to North Bend to Twede’s Cafe for a slice of cherry pie and to Snoqualmie Falls to witness the iconic cascade of water from the show’s title sequence. It only makes sense stars Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn, and Ray Wise would stop in at ECCC. You can see them at their panel on Sunday or for photo-ops and autographs throughout the weekend. 

The Cast of Scream

Friday, March 3rd

If you love horror movies and have a shred of taste, then you love the Scream franchise. The original cast will be reuniting at ECCC. Neve Campbell, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich, and Jamie Kennedy will all be there on Friday

Other weird fun stuff I would do if I were you 👯


Garden Terrace
All throughout ECCC

The live action roleplayers (LARPers) involved in Amtgard are hosting battle games at the top of every hour every day of ECCC. You can find them on the third floor of the Summit building on the garden terrace. They’ll be the ones dressed like knights and fantasy-folk, battling each other with foam swords and shields. There’s no battle experience necessary. If you’d like to LARP, Amtgard will show you the ropes during training sessions between battles and provide you with all the necessary weapons. If you’re not keen on participating, you can always watch.  

Wanderstar! Space Murder Mystery

430: Foulplay Games Co. Murder Mystery
Various times every day of ECCC

Throughout the convention, Foulplay Games is hosting murder mystery games. I’m a sucker for whodunnit and this one sounds extra fun. The mystery—categorized as a “space western murder mystery”—takes place in “the Doublestar Cantina in Lone Rock Port, a lawless port in the Outskirts of the Frontier Star System.” When you sign up for a time slot (get there early in the day so you don’t miss your chance to play!), you’ll receive a suspect to play and information to hoard. During the two-hour gameplay, you and whoever else is in your time slot will try to solve the mystery.  

Learn how to spar like a samurai

420: Pop Asia
Thursday, March 2nd • 2 – 3 pm

If you went to a comic convention and didn’t learn the ancient art of wielding a samurai sword, why did you even go? For an hour on Thursday, Pop Asia will teach some basic blocks and attacks you can do with katanas or kom dos. They’ll hand out practice swords for you to learn the techniques. You’ll be a sword enthusiast before you know it.  

PlaytestNQ board game prototypes/playtesting

433: Gaming Zone
Thursday, March 2nd • 4 – 8 pm
Friday, March 3rd • 2 – 10 pm
Saturday, March 4th • 10 am – 10 pm
Sunday, March 5th • 10 am – 4 pm

At ECCC, you can try new board games before they’re even released. Not only do you get sneak peeks at new games, but you can offer your feedback to creators so they can refine and tweak their games. 

Get a tattoo

ECCC has a TATTOO PAVILION with 14 tattoo artists who will tat up anyone who wants some ink. You can find their booths in the pavilion or scope them out here

Dancing at the Green Dragon

345: Family HQ Interactive
Friday, March 3rd • 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Ever wish you could go to a shindig in The Shire? Drink your weight in mead, watch some crazy fireworks, and kiss a hobbit? Well, you won’t get all of that at ECCC, but you can still dance a Springle Ring and other group dances they might jive to in the Lord of the Rings. You don’t need any experience or Hobbit heritage to learn these dances in this one-hour tutorial and dance party


Nathalie Graham

Nathalie is a writer focused on anything she finds weird or fun. Sometimes this includes local politics and the environment, sometimes this involves scootering half-nude in Tacoma. She used to work as a staff writer at The Stranger where she did a lot of that sort of thing. She detests dentists and loves costume parties.

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