The beauty of these cons is that they typically include comics, anime, sci-fi (Star Wars/Star Trek, etc.), card games (Magic, Yugi-Oh, Pokemon, and many others), and some even include D&D tournaments. The cosplayers come out in full force as well, boasting some very well crafted costumes and makeup work.
These conventions usually bring out prominent actors from geek-favorite shows, like Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager), Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Star Trek Voyager), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca in Star Wars), Jason David Frank (the Green, White, and Red Ranger in Power Rangers), and many others. Some current celebs guest at these conferences as well (hence the huge notoriety of San Diego Comic-Con International).
Comic cons are also a great place to meet some of the biggest names in comics -- award-winning writers, artists, and publishers alike, such as Grant Morrison, Jeph Loeb, Bill Willingham (Fables), Jim Lee, Neal Adams, Stan Lee (the king of Marvel himself), and many others.
If you've never been to a comic convention before, here are the 10 best cons to start with.
10 Comic Cons That'll Make Your Inner Geek Scream
Geek Fest Florida: Do you relish the bragging rights of being the first to do something? If so, here's a golden chance. Geek Fest Florida launches its inaugural comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, and pop culture convention in South Florida in the next 12 days.
When: November 18, 2012
Where: The Grand Palm Room at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL
Wizard World Comic Convention: Wizard World Comic Cons are no joke. This is one of the largest multi-location convention companies out there.
Expect a bevy of everything I described in the intro above: celebrities from popular geek shows (including the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation cast, cast members from The Walking Dead, Gillian Anderson, and much more), and heavy comic industry hitters including Stan Lee, Eisner Award Hall of Famer Neal Adams, "Zombie King" Arthur Suydam, and many others.
The next con is happening November 30 - December 2, 2012 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.
There are other great WWCCs coming up:
- Wizard World Portland Comic Con: February 22-24, 2013 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, OR
- Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con: May 30 - June 2, 2013 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA
- Wizard World Chicago Comic Con: August 8-11, 2013 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, IL
- Wizard World Ohio Comic Con: September 20-22, 2013 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH
- Wizard World Austin Comic Con: November 22-24, 2013 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX
- Wizard World Toronto Comic Con: [date TBD] at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, ON
You don't want to miss these. Check out Wizard World's massive site for more details about each convention and their killer guest lists.
Emerald City Comicon: the Washington state comic con offers an overwhelming list of great comic and graphic novel artists and award winning writers for 2013, including Neal Adams (yes, he's everywhere), Charlie Adlard (artist of The Walking Dead graphic novels), Bill Willingham (Fables), Denny O'Neill (Batman writer), and Mike Mignola (Hellboy creator).
The celebrity guests include Gillian Anderson, Patrick Stewart, Adam West, Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes on The Walking Dead), and Billy Dee Williams.
When: March 1-3, 2013
Where: the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA
MegaCon: this is Orlando's biggest annual comic convention. 2013's guests include the entire Star Trek: TNG cast, Billy West (Frye from Futurama), and Neal Adams. Exhibitor spaces are already sold out, but attendee tickets aren't. Make sure you order yours in advance online -- it's cheaper than paying at the door.
When: March 15-17, 2013
Where: Hall D at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL
WonderCon 2013: another Cali comic con favorite, and part of the San Diego Comic-Con International network. If you're itching to attend a con before going to the big Comic-Con in July, you can start here.
When: March 29-31, 2013
Where: the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA
Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2): So far, Kevin Smith (Clerks) is a confirmed guest for 2013, but stay tuned for more updates, because this comic con draws some pretty big names as well.
Last year's guest roster included Val Kilmer, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Goonies), Shia Lebouf; and acclaimed comic industry figures Jeph Loeb, Gail Simone, Geoff Johns, Brian Azzarello, and Dan DiDio (SVP - Senior Editor, DC Universe).
When: April 26-28, 2013
Where: the West Building at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL
San Diego Comic-Con International (aka Comic-Con): if you attend no other comic con in your entire life, attend this one. All the major production studios provide sneak peeks of their latest film projects prior to release, and many actors do press conferences (The Avengers cast was at last year's); everybody who's anybody in the comic industry attends as well.
It's the largest comic convention in the U.S., and since it's an international convention, you'll have to handle your logistics way in advance. Keep checking the site for more details and buy your five-day passes as soon as possible; secure your accommodations as early as possible as well, because nearby hotels will fill up quickly.
By the way, if you can only afford to attend one day of the con, purchase the Preview Night pass -- that's when you can preview the new films and media, and see the celebs.
When: Preview Night - Wednesday July 17, 2013 Convention - July 18-21, 2013
Where: the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA
Dragon*Con: D*C's 26-year run alone cements its credibility (2013 makes 27). Like most of the cons listed here, they'll be boasting award-winning writers as well, with more guests to come. Bookmark their site and keep checking for updates.
When: August 30 - September 2, 2013
Where: Atlanta, GA (venue TBD)
New York Comic Con: dubbed "the largest pop culture event on the east coast," and who can argue that? NYCC is sponsored by DC Comics, IGN, Marvel Entertainment, and Midtown Comics, and is part of the ReedPop event network, which also brings you C2E2 each year.
There are no 2013 details yet, but keep your thumb on the pulse.
When: October 10-13, 2013
Where: the Javits Center in New York City, NY
Comikaze Comic, Anime, Gaming, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Expo: Comikaze is co-presented by Stan Lee (yes, the Stan Lee) and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, so you pretty much know what to expect in 2013: the best and most iconic of the comic and film industries.
2012's Comikaze included Todd McFarlane (Spawn creator), Kevin Smith, Adam West, Burt Ward (Adam West's "Robin"), Thomas Jane (The Punisher, Hung), Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), Zak Penn (co-writer, The Avengers), Lou Ferrigno, and Neal Adams.
When: November 1-3, 2013
Where: the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA
If you want to research even more cons for yourself, check out these sites:
And if you find this info useful, pass it on, would ya? ;)
Flickr photo by Parka81.