Comic-Cons: Where Fantastic Is The Norm

 

Creativity is the only criterion for getting your Comic Con on. It is a concoction of artists; those who draw, sculpt, and create costumes, shoot videos, write genre fiction, or excel at other niche crafts. And it is a visual feast. Whether visitors choose to cosplay (come in costume) or just mingle with fellow fans, they will be amazed by the characters that step forth from the pages, screens, and incredible minds of industry giants such as Marvel, Warner Brothers, and DC Comics.

The Pop Culture phenomenon has grown from the original comic book conventions of the 1960s and ‘70s to include more mainstream art forms such as movies, television shows, video games, and the sci-fi and fantasy genres. It was a conscious effort to combine comic fans, Medieval fantasy geeks, lovers of horror, anime, and manga, video-gamers, collectors of toys and card games, and more into one incredible venue.

The result is a crazy collection of talents and theatrics. One might bump into several incarnations of  Wonder Woman, members of the Suicide Squad or Guardians of the Galaxy, and characters from “Game of Thrones” in the same afternoon. Mega-celebrities such as Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Superwoman), and Benedict Cumberbatch (“Doctor Strange” star) show up at the major Cons and often join in panels to discuss their craft or to promote new projects.

Visitors can attend question and answer sessions with professional actors, directors, makeup and special effects artists, costume designers, and more, if they are willing to stand in long lines for their individual panels. For example, James Gunn, director of the wildly successful “Guardians of the Galaxy,” attended some Cons in 2016 to talk about his sequel film.

If it seems like everything is happening at the same time, it is because it is. Trailers, posters, action figures meandering through the halls, dealer tables, competitions and awards presentations, workshops with comic book professionals, and the anticipation that another spectacular sight will be just around the next corner creates the electricity that is Comic Con.

Crowds topping 130,000 visitors regularly show up at the biggest event: Comic-Con International: San Diego. This was the original, and the founders went to court to get the hyphen, so no one else can use it. More closely linked to Hollywood than those in other U.S. cities, the San Diego Comic-Con has also spawned Cons in Europe and throughout the world.

The biggest showcase at San Diego Comic-Con this past July was reportedly “Suicide Squad,” which debuted in theatres just after the event. And the crowd went wild for cast members of “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2”, who arrived in full makeup and costumes. The second-largest U.S. venue, New York Comic Con, is known for its yearly panel for the “Walking Dead,” along with cast member appearances.

San Diego Comic Con 2016

San Diego Comic Con 2016

Some 2017 Cons are listed below. (A note of caution: tickets go fast, and venues have capacity limits, so crowding can be an issue.)

- Wizard World Comic Con: Jan. 6-8 in New Orleans, LA
- Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention: Jan. 7-8 in Los Angeles, CA
- Silicon Valley Comic Con: Apr. 21-23 in San Jose, CA
- Phoenix Comicon: May 25-28 in Phoenix, AZ
- Wizard World Comic Con: Jun 1-4 in Philadelphia, PA
- ComiConn: June 10-11 at Foxwood Resort Casino in CT
- San Diego Comic-Con: July 20-23 in San Diego, CA
- Dragon Con: Sep. 1-4 in Atlanta, GA
- New York Comic Con: Oct. 5-8 at Javits Center in NYC