Break out the latex body paint and get ready to guzzle some Klingon Warnog because the Northwest comic fan’s most wonderful time of the year is almost here – Emerald City Comic-Con Weekend! Each year, tens of thousands of genre enthusiasts prove the power of modern comics and genre entertainment as they flood the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle for a chance to meet their favorite comics and genre storytellers, hang out with fellow fans, and show off their costume creativity with pride. Last year ECCC had over 64,000 attendees, This year it is celebrating its first ever pre-show sell-out crowd. The Communication Leadership program will be there in full force with the Comics and Digital Culture Series from 1-5 PM on Saturday, moderated by our own CommLead instructor, author and media futurist Rob Salkowitz.
Few know the storytelling power of comics better than Salkowitz, who also teaches CommLead’s popular Graphic Storytelling as Transmedia Platform class. The panel will feature leading innovators from the world of comics and transmedia storytellers – including Ted Adams from IDW Publishing, renowned comics artist Liam Sharp, Allison Baker from Monkeybrain Comics, and Yen Woo and Colin Goh of educational manga app Dim Sum Warriors – delivering rapid fire, 20-minute TED-style talks, and then engaging in Q&A sessions with the audience and Salkowitz. “This series is a chance to get some perspective on how digital media is creating new experiences for fans and new opportunities for creators, and to hear from some of the brightest folks in the business.” Salkowitz said in a press release. I had a chance to talk with Salkowitz about how the Comics and Digital Culture Series came to be. He told me that leaders from ECCC and the CommLead program thought that an event uniting their communities would be a good fit, and started talking last summer about a way to bring their brands together. “Lots of people who go to comic-con are people who are also part of the tech and digital communications community,” Salkowitz said. That’s not to say that the series is designed exclusively with those communities in mind. In fact, Salkowitz organized the series to appeal to casual con-goer and hardcore cosplayer alike. “This series is for kids, manga fans, people who want to see what’s possible with an app and people who want to know how to get their story read. These speakers are the people you want to see at a comic-con.” Salkowitz hopes that the talks and discussion leave con-goers empowered and hopeful for the ever-expanding possibilities of comics and digital storytelling. “It’s a very optimistic series, and it’s easy to see how this is a powerful medium for entertainment, for education,” he said. “This is where the really interesting stuff is going on.” We’ll be covering the series, which takes place from 1-5 PM on Saturday in Room 204, so stay tuned to Flip the Media and follow us on Twitter for more exciting ECCC updates!