We only attended Los Angeles Comic Con on Saturday and Sunday. Los Angeles Comic Con in the previous year was a chill event, people were still on their toes in regards to the pandemic post-lockdown. Los Angeles Comic Con’s numbers exploded in 2022. So many people wanted to go back and express their geek self at LA Comic Con. This event brought thousands to downtown LA in December for this star studded event.
We begun our Saturday at the sweet scented West Hall. Booths selling cotton candy lined up West Hall and emitted a sugary scent. We wandered into West Hall that hosted the anime section filled with photo op zones, giant balloons of anime icons, and more. West Hall also was where the gamers went to pay console and PC games. The stage showcased streamers going through popular games. There were even dealers that were selling gaming plushes from Mario and Sonic. One could spend a decent amount of time here if they were into gaming. However, I was disappointed by the the lack of TCG and TTRPG gaming that LA Comic Con used to have.
The vibe of LA Comic Con was vivid. Upon entering South Hall, you saw people ooh-ed and aah-ed at hardcore cosplayers or stopped in their tracks to watch the Corps Dance Crew do their thing. It was a mix of Marvel, anime, and things we loved from childhood all mingling in the lobby of South Hall. You could feel that there was definitely a jump in attendance compared to 2022 just by looking at South Hall. It was busy, but not once we felt sardined in.
LA Comic Con had a few interesting panels we attended. Among them included one on independent movies to keep an eye on. Artificial Immortality still lives rent free in my mind, considering LA Comic Con took place during the time of heightened concerns about AI art applications. It was very nice to have programming dedicated to niche films. Speaking of niche films, we were treated to an early access presentation of “Attack of the Doc.” While I don’t have much attachment to G4 or Attack of the Show, it was a well done passion project documenting the rise and fall of G4. Chris Gore, the filmmaker, cited that this documentary highlighted a time when it was great to be a geek.
I also attended two panels that highlighted diversity in Hollywood – Why Movies These Days Suck and an Asian American panel. The former panel had known YouTubers shared a variety of voices of what’s wrong with Hollywood. One panelist mentioned she has preference to Sound of Music to most movies these days. The panelists debated how diversity should be handled ranging from token-ism versus what it means to actually be seen. Everyone had different interpretations of what it means to be seen on screen be it creating relatable characters or seeing one’s community; a fascinating discussion.
The Asian American panel hyperfocused on cosplayers, journalists, actors, etc who discussed what it means to be truly represented. What I liked most about this panel is each person talking about their experience as a creator and getting some behind the scenes tea with Star Wars and Marvel. I had a good talk with a few of the panelists afterwards. (Hi! I’m Asian American and I’ve been in this comm for 20 years – please consider me for further discussion!)
Shopping at LA Comic Con is one our highlights. We treat LA Comic Con as “Christmas Shopping Con!” After all, you could get unique gifts for your family! There were many unique booths at LA Comic Con. One cosplayer was offering therapeutic massages. Another cosplayer had a Starry Night background to allow cosplayers to pose with. Artist Alley had so many folks from the indie press and I found a lot of unique comic books that would give mainstream Marvel a run for their money (I mean Dan Slott blocked me after I told him how awesome Yor Forger is…true story).
Hot Topic had their massive Nightmare Before Christmas display for photo ops. Cantrip Candles sold candles inspired by fantasy TTRPG. You really could get some unique holiday gifts for loved ones at the LA Comic Con dealers hall (or treat yourself). Tommy Wiseau is a regular at LA Comic Con; you can smell his cheap cologne from a booth away.
One of my few critiques of LA Comic Con is how cosplay meetups were handled. LA Comic Con “official” meetups were announced a week before the convention. However, the staff ignored the fan organized meetups that were established long before the announcement. For example, the Disney meetup has always been on Sunday afternoon. LA Comic Cons sanction a Disney meet up on Saturday.
Overall, LA Comic Con can be enjoyed in a day – be it a Saturday or Sunday visit. We were quite surprised that Sunday was just as poppin’ as Saturday. I’m not a huge fan of going into downtown LA, but if LA Comic Con has decent guests and programming, we’ll be there.