Thoughts on the Anaheim Comic-Con Announcement

Anaheim Comic-Con LogoEver since Wizard canceled Wizard World Los Angeles back in January, just two months before the event, they’ve claimed that the show was not actually canceled, but merely “postponed” (as opposed to WWTX, which was canceled outright). They can probably stop claiming that now that they’ve announced Anaheim Comic-Con, launching April 16-18, 2010.

In the six months since Wizard World canceled half their convention slate, the owners of New York Comic-Con have announced a new Chicago-area show, C2E2, launching next April 16-18 (does that date sound familiar?), and a group of former Wizard staffers have put together Long Beach Comic-Con, starting October 2-4, to take the place of the missing WWLA. Wizard, meanwhile, has renamed Wizard World Chicago as Chicago Comic-Con (its original name before they bought it a decade(?) ago), bought Big Apple Con, and bought Paradise Toronto Con. Or, to be more precise, Gareb Shamus, owner of Wizard, has bought them.

Immediately obvious:

  • Anaheim Comic Con replaces Wizard World Los Angeles on the WW slate.
  • Shamus is downplaying the Wizard World brand name for the convention circuit.
  • Whether intentional or not, Anaheim Comic Con is scheduled to maximize damage to their primary Chicago competitor.

Making some Magic

Wizard.Six months ago it looked like the LA/Orange County area wouldn’t have any big conventions for a while (aside from being 2-3 hours from San Diego). Now there are two. The timing (April) is far enough from both San Diego (July) and Long Beach (October) that it won’t feel like overkill to hit all three. It’s even far enough from WonderCon (usually February or Early March) that it might be worth hitting both.

And I did have fun at WWLA last year and the year before.

And yet…

Wizards Behaving Badly

From what I’ve seen, most comic conventions don’t see other cons as direct competitors, and seem to be friendly toward each other. An example: Long Beach’s website prominently displays a quote from Comic-Con International’s director of public relations wishing them success.

Wizard World, on the other hand, seems to see other conventions as threats.

Maybe not all of them. But they were the ones who tried to launch an Atlanta, GA event the same weekend as HeroesCon in Charlotte, SC — only a few hours’ driving distance. This year, they did schedule Wizard World Philadelphia the same weekend as HeroesCon. And then there’s the Long Beach staffer who was kicked out of WW Philly for no apparent reason other than his LBCC connection.

So, the owner of a Chicago event scheduling a new con for the same weekend as another new Chicago event looks awfully suspicious.

Draw?

It’s only a 15-minute drive for me, so I may as well give it a shot. Honestly, I’m more interested in the Long Beach con at this point, even though it’s a longer trip. Of course, it’s also a lot sooner — 3 months vs. 9 — and I’ve known about it for longer.

I guess we’ll see as it gets closer to the actual date.

Further commentary at the Beat, in the Newsarama comments, and at the CBR Forums.

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