September 13, 2012

West Coast (OK, mostly California) Comic Cons: Comikaze, Long Beach, WonderCon & Wizard World

Category: Fandom, Timely — By @ 1:10 pm

A quick round-up of West Coast (well, mostly Southern California) convention news:

Downtown LA and Convention Center

Fall 2012 in LA: Comikaze & Long Beach

First off, Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo is this weekend in Los Angeles. Flash co-writer Brian Buccellato will be there, and has posted his schedule on his site. It’s a something-for-everyone pop culture con, and while I enjoyed last year’s event, I’m going to be too busy this weekend to make it.

Secondly, Long Beach Comic & Horror Con is coming up the first weekend in November. This is a good comic-focused convention (despite the addition of “and Horror” to the name last year), and I highly recommend it to anyone in the Los Angeles area who wants to attend a show that’s really about comic books.

Update: I totally forgot that Las Vegas Comic Expo is coming up at the end of the month (September 29-30). Brian Buccellato is on the guest list there as well. It’s been a while since someone tried to do a big comic convention in Vegas, so it’ll be interesting to see how this goes.

Captain America, Bucky and USO Girl at WonderCon 2012

WonderCon in 2013

WonderCon is going to be a bit weird. Usually it’s held in San Francisco, but renovations at the Moscone Center this year caused them to move to Anaheim. Scheduling problems mean that they’ll stay in Anaheim next year next year, but might also return to San Francisco. They have solid dates in Anaheim for March 29-31, 2013, and a very tentative “maybe” for fall in San Francisco, but they’re reaching the point that if they’re going to do a con in March, they have to commit to it.

Why not try another location in the Bay Area, like Oakland or San Jose? The Beat looks at various convention centers and compares them to the space WonderCon typically uses these days. The options aren’t that great unless you leave town, shrink the show, or hold out for Moscone.

The convention is on for Anaheim in March, one way or another. If they can get San Francisco in fall, they’re planning to do that too, and make that one WonderCon, at which point they’ll call the Anaheim convention something else.

Clear as crystal, right?

I’m looking forward to the Anaheim con, whatever it ends up being called. This year was great, except for parking. Though I wouldn’t mind an excuse to return to San Francisco, either, and IMO it’s best if WonderCon does return to its Bay Area roots.

A wizard at Wizard World LA in 2008.

Wizard Goes West in 2013

Finally, Wizard World returns to the west coast next year (this year, I think the furthest west they got was Texas), but not to the Los Angeles area. Instead, they’re opening shop in Portland on February 22-24, 2013. Wizard has a long, troubled history with the Los Angeles area. They launched Wizard World Los Angeles in Long Beach early last decade, moved it to Los Angeles after a couple of years, and then abruptly canceled 2009’s con with only a few weeks’ notice. After a year’s absence, Wizard came back, launching Anaheim Comic Con in 2010. That only ran two years, and while they announced WWLA for 2011, that con was canceled before it happened – again with only a few weeks’ notice.

Frankly, it’s probably just as well. I don’t think Wizard World has ever run a show in the Pacific Northwest before, and Southern California has been burned enough times that I can imagine people would be a bit shy of booking hotels and transportation. And as you can see above, the convention scene has changed a lot since the days when WWLA was the only mid-sized con around, and you had to either go to a tiny con or drive three hours to San Diego.

It’s a bit close to Emerald City Comicon (the following weekend in Seattle), but I suspect the audience for Wizard’s current style of show is different enough that they won’t interfere too badly.