Guest Author - Eugene Bradford
Comic book conventions are events designed to bring fans of comic books together to share in celebration of the entertainment medium they all fondly share. At the core, they are built on a foundation of comic books, but have expanded over the years to include many similar subjects. Some of these other areas include manga, anime, and videogames. There has been a major push in recent years with the inclusion of television and movies. This shift has received much backlash from many fans. Tons of people show up in an effort to celebrate comic books in all their glory. With that being said, crowding can become an issue. But crowds and long lines have become part of the overall experience.
There are several different companies around that host these events and the size depends on the company and the venue. There are many local shows that are hosted by groups of fans that are often held in hotels. The types that receive the most publicity are of the bigger variety and are held in huge convention centers and arenas. These ones are run by larger companies.
These gatherings happen all around the country and have occurred internationally as well. Some are one day events while others are 3-day long starting Friday and going through the weekend. The biggest and most popular show in the U.S. actually begins on Wednesday night and continues through Sunday evening. There is a lot to experience within the day or the weekend of a comic convention. Here are some of the more common elements for which people attend conventions.
A large portion of the programming schedule for conventions consists of panels covering numerous topics. These can include but are not limited to details on upcoming comic events and movie announcements. Question & answer sessions are very common too. Those are great because it allows fans of all ages to ask about their favorite characters or titles. Some of the big comic news and announcements that aren�t released on the internet are usually reserved for these panels.
Conventions also help bridge the gap between fans and creators and the companies they work for. Tons of fans line up to get various pieces signed by people that have worked on them. You might have the complete run of your favorite series ready to get signed by the writer or artist, a convention is the place to do it. You might even be able to get the autographs of the entire creative team behind one of your favorite graphic novels. It�s possible to get pictures taken along with your favorite creators as well.
Some of the bigger companies will make their presence known with big displays to represent their work. They also host signings featuring some of their top talent. Posters of various sizes and comics are frequently given away. Talent searches have been conducted with the company going over portfolios with many amateur creators.
Artist alley has dramatically risen in popularity among attendees. This area within a convention houses many different creators from the ones working with the big companies to the independent writers and artists. At their tables, they will sign work they�ve done, take commissions to do personal pieces, or even sell new work they�ve done. There are a range of styles and probably something for everybody. Part of the draw for fans is to have this vast selection from artists before they possibly become part of a major company. Many fans like contributing to the indy-creator because so much focus is put on the larger companies.
The sights are also a huge draw as fans of all ages arrive dressed as their favorite characters. These cosplayers have created or purchased costumes representing characters from not only the realm of comics, but also video games, anime, manga, television and movies. They are often followed around by big crowds gathering to take pictures of and sometimes along with these cosplayers. Many conventions will hold costume contests, including a separate one just for kids. Sometimes fans will also have a theme around their cosplay, either dressing up as members of a team or various characters from a particular series.
There is also a retailer area for fans to purchase items including comic books, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, video games, action figures and other toys, statues, movie props and other memorabilia, t-shirts, posters, and movies. You might be able to find that missing piece in a collection at a good price.
One more aspect that probably does not get recognized so much is the increase in like-minded people you may befriend as a result of attending a convention. Any of the previously mentioned elements occurring during a convention will put you in contact with tons of other people who more than likely share a common interest with you. You could be waiting in line to get a book signed by your favorite writer and strike up a conversation with the people around you. The opportunities are limitless.
As stated, comic conventions exist to celebrate the various forms of entertainment, and bring together its fans to share in the fun. With an incredible amount of options available, fans have plenty to take in over the course of a day or several days. The convention season provides fans with the chance to attend any number of shows and only looks to expand upon itself.