2010 in Review: Ranking California Comic-Cons

I ended up going to four comic book conventions in 2010, mostly in Southern California (plus one in San Francisco). Based on this year’s experience and past experiences, here are my thoughts on each show.

1. Comic-Con International

DC Nation - Grant Morrison and DarkseidComic-Con International in San Diego is the ultimate pop culture fan experience. They have everything you could possibly want to see, including comics, movies, video games and more. The downside: they have everything everyone else could possibly want to see, too. So it’s crowded, hectic, and requires planning months ahead in order to make sure you have a ticket and (if you need one) a hotel room. Comics publishers have a major presence, as do movie and video game studios, collectibles manufacturers, etc. and there are so many events on the schedule that you’d need a group of 20 people to see everything. If you can, try to go more than one day. This is the con I’m most familiar with, having attended every year since 1990.
CCI 2010 report.

2. WonderCon

Captain America and Iron ManComic-Con International’s little sibling, WonderCon in San Francisco, is a nice balance of everything San Diego has to offer, but less crowded and less, well, insane. Comics take up a bigger part of the show, with the major publishers always well-represented, but movies and TV have a presence here as well. I’ve been to the last 3 cons.
Wondercon 2010 report.

3. Long Beach Comic Con

Hulk Smash Puny Convention!Only in its second year, Long Beach Comic Con makes a great impression as a convention that’s actually focused on comics and the people who make them. The artists and writers area is the central feature of the main floor. Programming is light, but the mid-level comics publishers have a strong presence. The emphasis on authors and the light crowds (this was only its second year) make it a good place to meet artists and writers without standing in incredibly long lines.
LBCC 2010 report.

4. Anaheim Comic Con

Flash TrioWizard World’s return to the LA/OC area, despite the name change, is more focused on pop culture than comics. There’s little publisher presence, minimal programming, and a major emphasis on celebrities and dealers. Good for costume spotting. It’s fun, but if I had to pick one or the other, I’d definitely go with Long Beach. Technically this was its first year, but I understand Wizard World is trying to make all of their shows the same type of experience.
Anaheim 2010 report.

And Beyond

There are a lot of smaller cons that I either haven’t been to at all or haven’t been to recently. The roughly-bimonthly Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention at the Shrine comes to mind, for instance, and the California Comic Con in Yorba Linda. And aside from WonderCon and APE, I’m not really familiar with the Northern California scene — or, for that matter, the Inland Empire here in Socal.

Are there any other California-based fans here? What cons do you like to attend?

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