Everyone Loves a Good Comic Convention and Theses are Some of the Best
When you’re a geek, there’s nothing quite like a comic convention. The artists, cosplayers, special guests, there’s so much to do and see. Best of all, they’re places that are made just for all of us. A place where you can be yourself and not feel embarrassed about your passions/ obsessions. They thrive on fandoms and the close communities they create. Best of all, it’s a place to meet new friends. Yeah, comic conventions are great.
There are a ton of different cons across the country, and each one is great in its own unique way. However, there are a few that are above and beyond awesome. That’s why I’ve decided to put together this list of some of the best Comic Conventions in the US. Better start saving, because these are all shows you’re going to want to check out.
Kicking off this list is SPX, a comic convention that is all about independent comics and creators. It’s an outlet for new and emerging to present their work to the public. That means you won’t see a lot of retailers there peddling their goods. SPX is held in Bethesda, Maryland and usually pops up in September, which is a slow month for conventions. While a lot of cons focus on spectacle to pull people in, this is a really informal convention that puts the focus on the creators. It’s a great cause and a great way to meet other creators, which is why I decided to include it on this list.
DragonCon has a little something for everyone. From film to comics to novels, there are panels for them all. Mostly though it’s known for its cosplay and being a total party convention. This thing just doesn’t stop. It’s three days of essentially geeky hedonism. Every year it’s been hosted in Atlanta, Georgia and is typically the first weekend in September. Unlike a lot of conventions, this is not a “dry” con. In other words, there is a lot of drunken debauchery happening through the entire thing. The highlight though is that there is a different party every night. If you’re a geek that wants to blow off some steam, this is the comic convention for you.
I’m a bit biased when it comes to this comic convention since it was the first one I ever attended. Still, it’s one of my favorites. It’s a mass con held in Orlando every year and feels a lot like a smaller version of Comic Con. It features a ton of special guests from film and comics there to meet their adoring public. However, I like it because the artist alley is absolutely huge. The con is held in Orlando, Florida each year and happens between March and April of each year. Unlike DragonCon though, this is a dry con. But it’s located near the major theme parks in the state, so there are plenty of reasons to plan an extended vacation around it. I’ve managed to meet a lot of great and talented people at this con, and I’m sure you will too.
This is one of the newer comic conventions, but it hit the ground running. Its first year has over 70,0000 guests, which automatically meant it was running with the big dogs. What really sets it apart from the others on this list though is that it’s held twice a year, the beginning of spring and in the fall. Which makes sense considering there isn’t a lot to do in Salt Lake City. As the name suggests, it takes place in Utah every year. Now, the real reason that I’ve included this con, is because it has the balls to stand up to the king. San Diego Comic Con recently sent them a cease and desist letter over the use of the word “Comic Con” and they are refusing to back down. We’ll see how this turns out legally, but I have to give them props.
Wondercon is a convention that has been around for over 30 years. Recently it’s been held in Anaheim, California, but has floated around a bit. One of the big draws for this convention is the amount of vendors selling back issues of comics and rare/ hard to find DVDs. It’s like a treasure hunt con. However, there is an artist alley as well and some costume contest, like most conventions. It’s an interesting con because it seems to be constantly growing and adapting. For example, the Comics Arts Convention is held in conjunction with it, where academics get together to talk funny books. It has a close tie to San Diego Comic Con and typically pops up at the beginning of spring.
Also known as C2E2, it’s probably pretty obvious where this comic convention is held every year. This is another spring con, typically held in April. It’s a relatively young convention, but that doesn’t stop it from being favored by creators and industry leaders. It’s also home to one of the bigger cosplay contests in the country, the C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay. The contest also features some pretty intense and famous judges from the cosplay community. The convention is a pop culture con, but there is a heavy focus on comics and graphic novels. In fact, just this year Stan Lee and Frank Miller were special guests.
Commonly referred to as ECCC, this Seattle based convention has been growing rapidly since it started in 2003. It’s an absolutely huge comic convention featuring an enormous showroom floor and plenty of special guests. This is another one that is hailed by a lot of creators as one of the better cons in the country. Typically the convention is held in the spring (which leads to quite a busy season) and is held at Washington State Convention Center. However, it’s spread over to nearby hotels to better host all the events it features every year. Not only is this a great con to attend, it’s held in a great city that has a lot to offer after the convention closes for the day.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best comic conventions in the country. That’s because the entire focus of Heroes is comics. Held in Charlotte, North Carolina each year by Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find the convention is the place to go if you really want to get a chance to actually meet comic creators. The year I went, Brian Michael Bendis gave me a cookie and I casually talked with Matt Fraction for about 20 minutes. As you can see, it’s a relatively low key, but still, has everything you love about comic conventions. There are plenty of panels, but the real focus is the artist alley. Not only are there a lot of famous creators there, but there are a ton of up and coming independents as well.
This is the biggest comic convention in the Fall (usually held in October). Since it’s held in New York, you know that this con is larger than life. It’s a comic convention where major companies like to announce new and upcoming projects, so the panels are a big part of it. It’s also a con that knows what geeks want and works hard to bring in special guests you normally might not get a chance to see. NYCC also hosts the Eastern Championships of Cosplay, which is a pretty hardcore contest and place where the best of the best show off their skills. Since it’s so big, it might be easy to get lost in the crowd, but this is another comic convention creators really love. NYCC is in the city that never sleeps, so don’t expect to get any during this epic comic convention.
The biggest and best comic convention in North America. SDCC is held every summer in beautiful San Diego, California. This is a beast of a con with more special guests and industry pros than you can shake a stick at. It’s got panels that people wait in line for two hours to see. Cosplayers are everywhere sporting the best costumes they could possibly make. Best of all, all of San Diego gets into the spirit. Local business geek themselves up and a lot even encourage staff to dress up too. Indeed, it’s is a geek mecha. The only downfall? Well, it’s a little too big. Indie creators can get lost in the sea of booths, especially because a lot are by major movie studios and publishers and are usually larger than life. Even getting a ticket is a crap shoot. However, this is undoubtedly penultimate comic convention.
Those are some of the best comic conventions North America has to offer. There are still a ton of others though, not to mention a ton of international cons that put most of these to shame. Still, if you’re a geek than these definitely deserve to go on your bucket list.
So what do you think? Are these some of the best conventions in the country? Have you been to any of them? Is there one you think should go on this list? Make sure you comment below to let me know your thoughts.
Photo by Gage Skidmore