Superheroes and villains on the streets of Seattle? Must be the annual Emerald City Comicon, expected to draw 90,000 “nerds” and “geeks” through Sunday. “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman and the “Outlander” cast will also make an appearance.
United in their love of “nerdy things,” nearly 90,000 people are expected to swarm into the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle for the 15th annual Emerald City Comicon, from Thursday through Sunday.
They will be coming to breathe the same air as comic-book legend Stan Lee, look at rare, collectibles comics (and perhaps buy some), meet celebrities, hear panelist discussions, cosplay and celebrate among like-minded individuals.
“It’s something I look forward to all year,” said 19-year-old Seattle University student Leah Dooley, who will be wearing three costumes during her fourth consecutive convention.
Emerald City Comicon
2-7 p.m. Thursday (March 2); 10 a.m..-7 p.m. Friday-Saturday (March 3-4), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (March 5); Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle. Tickets available for Thursday, $20. (www.emeraldcitycomicon.com)
“There’s so many things to look forward to: the costumes, the shopping, the panels, the community of people. Everyone is kind of united over a common love of nerdy things, and it’s a good time.”
2:15-15 p.m. My First Comic: Comic creators will talk to kids about how they went from reading comics to writing, drawing and creating them.
3-4 p.m. The Power Was in You All Along: The creative world is full of copycats and trend-followers. It’s tempting to go with the crowd, but what if the real secret to success is … originality?
4:15 -5:15 p.m. The Comic Elements of Avatar and Korra: Fans of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” will want to hear writer Gene Luen Yang and “The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars” artist Irene Koh as they explore this treasured world.
11 a.m.-noon The Cyanide & Happiness Group Sketch Jam Panel: The Creators of “Cyanide & Happiness” take audience suggestions and all draw frantically on the same piece of paper until everyone is offended.
11 a.m.-noon “Outlander’s” Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe: Fall through the stones with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as they travel back in time with ECCE fans to discuss their iconic roles as Jamie Fraser and Clare.
1-2:30 p.m. Image Comics: 25th Anniversary Founders Panel: Twenty-five years ago, a group of comics artists looked at the difference between what they were capable of and what they were being given, and left the promise of steady work to found Image Comics.
6:30-7:30 p.m. Jeremy Renner Spotlight: Come join Marvel’s “The Avengers,” Jeremy Renner and get the inside scoop on being part of a superhero gang.
11 a.m.-noon Robert Kirkman Q&A: Join the creator of “The Walking Dead,” for a lively Q&A. Why lively? Because there will be no moderator, just Robert Kirkman and fans, asking questions directly.
12:15-1:15 p.m. Evangeline Lilly and the Return of Squickerwonkers!: Join actress Evangeline Lilly, best known for her work in blockbusters like “Ant-Man,” “The Hobbit” and “Lost,” as she dives into her creative process.
2:45-4:15 p. m. Twisted Toonz: Twisted Toonz makes its triumphant return to Emerald City Comicon,where it debuted 5 years and over 4 Million YouTube views ago.
5:45-6:45 p.m. Stan Lee and Todd McFarlaneOne-on-One: Amazing. Spectacular. Sensational. These adjectives describe not only Spider-Man, but also the two men who found fame with Peter Parker and his alter ego. Join the two legends as they come together for a rare one-on-one discussion.
10:45-11:45 a.m. Fashion, Comics and the Rise of Geek Chic: Ever wondered what it is that makes comic-book style so iconic? Meet the creators behind some of the most fashion-forward comics.
11 a.m.- noon MARVEL: Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends: Join a slew of Spider-Family talent including Christos Gage (“The Clone Conspiracy Omega”), Joe Kelly (“Spider-Man/Deadpool”), Jason Latour (Spider-Gwen), Dan Slott (“Amazing Spider-Man”), Robbie Thompson (Silk) and other Mighty Marvel Guests for a discussion about the fallout from “The Clone Conspiracy” and what the future has in store for Spidey.
1:15- 2:15 p.m. Alice Cooper Spotlight: Hear the singer, songwriter and architect of shock-rock.
1:30-2:30 p.m. Tom Felton Spotlight
Main Stage: Come see Draco Malfoy, who was chosen by the Dark Lord for a special task at ECCC. Join him in the flesh as he discusses his time as the wizard we all love to hate. Felton also has comic cred as Dr. Alchemy on “The Flash.”
Check out the complete schedule at www.emeraldcitycomicon.com
It’ll be the seventh year in a row for Colleen Mold, of Renton, who first attended in 2010 with her best friend, her best friend’s husband and their newborn son.
While not a huge geek herself, attending with her friend’s family has become a tradition she wouldn’t miss.
“The people watching is a gift from God, and it’s been so fun to have seen my godson grow up through this show,” Mold said. “Meeting celebrity guests has also been a highlight through the years, but watching it through Jakob’s eyes has always been the best part.”
This year, she said, Jakob, now 8, will be dressing up as “Hawkeye” on Friday to meet Jeremy Renner, the actor in Marvel’s “The Avengers.” On Sunday, Jakob will be dressed as “Eleven” from the Netflix TV show “Stranger Things.”
“He is super excited to meet Millie Bobby Brown (who plays Eleven) and personally I can’t wait to stand back and watch that interaction happen,” Mold said.
Besides Lee, the creator of Spider-Man and Iron Man and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics, there will be several other very big deals in the world of comics: Robert Kirkman, the writer and creator of “The Walking Dead,” and Rob Leifeld, creator of “Deadpool.”
Celebrity draws will include Renner from “The Avengers,” members of the “Stranger Things” cast and the main cast from “Outlander,” according to Emerald City Comicon event manager Kristina Rogers and content manager Marykate Goodwin.
“We’re seeing a ton of excitement around that,” Goodwin said, referring to the “Outlander” actors.
Another draw will be Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” movies but also has a legit comic connection: He’s Dr. Alchemy in “The Flash.”
Alice Cooper, the musician, will also be there.
The first Seattle comic convention, held in 2003 at Qwest Field Event Center, drew about 2,500 aficionados.
“What made it so special back then was that it was going to be 100 percent about comic books,” said Brian Pierce, 43, of Bothell, who has attended every previous Emerald City Comicons. “The other conventions had become about science fiction, fantasy, movies, television shows, while the person who started ours, Jim Demonakos, wanted it to be dedicated to comics.”
The first couple of years, he recalled, he was able to park across the street from the show.
“It was still great when it started getting bigger and it was great to see it growing as the superhero movies started coming out,” Pierce said.
But, a couple of years ago it began feeling like it was getting out of control, and this year, for the first time, Pierce and family members will stay home.
The event was sold in 2015 by its Seattle creator to worldwide-event producers ReedPOP, and has spread from the convention center to include local hotels. This year, for example, autographing areas will be at the nearby Sheraton Seattle Hotel.
Goodwin and Rogers suggest downloading the event’s mobile app and spending time creating a strategy for seeing what’s most important to you.
“Prioritize, plan ahead and make a schedule,” Goodwin said.
”And wear good comfortable shoes and pack snacks and water,” Rogers said. “You’d be surprised how many people forget.”
The crowds won’t deter Dooley, the Seattle University student.
“It does keep getting bigger and it can feel like a lot to handle,” she said. “But I think it’s OK. The more people you can get together to celebrate the things you love, the better. Where else can you have an impromptu conversation with a stranger about ‘Star Trek’? It really unifies you, and in these times, that’s a good thing.”