Comic Conventions are a place where people can gather en masse to express themselves openly and honestly. They are a place where being a nerd is not only respected – it’s revered. This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending LA Comic Con and it was an amazing experience. With my trusted photographer, and dear friend Patrick beside me, I walked into the Los Angeles convention center, with absolutely no idea what to expect, as I’d really been to one as massive as LACC.
It was like stepping into another world.
Thousands of men, women, and children dressed as their favorite characters interacted with other convention attendees, posing for photos, and gushing over the hard work of their contemporaries. There was no competitiveness (though there was a cosplay competition) and no egos – only kindness, respect, and fun.
Lots of fun.
When I learned Christy Carlson Romano, the voice of Kim Possible (and my favorite Broadway representation of Belle) would be in attendance, my fifteen year old heart nearly exploded. I grew up with her. So, as a fanboy, the first thing I did was to wait in line for her autograph and a selfie.
We talked about her acting, music, life as a mom, and her new cooking series on Youtube Christy’s Kitchen Throwback. She was one of the kindest, most down to earth, and funniest people I’ve ever met.
Transitioning from fanboy to journalist, I set to exploring the convention and the rainbow of offerings it had to choose from. No matter what your taste are, the convention had something for everyone. Literally. There was so much to see, I’m still not sure I saw it all. But, some of my favorites are scattered throughout this piece.
I got to witness reunion panels not only for Kim Possible, but also the Office, but also one remembering the brilliance of Stan Lee and another for Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. I saw thousands upon thousands of amazing artist, writers, and designers, and other creatives with products all of which tied into the comic book / gaming world.
Games like Unicorns and Zombies, a card game created by Jason Davis with art by BeeJay Delong. This card and dice game is colorful, creative, and just plain fun. It has something for everyone, including a 18+ NSFW expansion pack that is definitely not for the easily offended or faint of heart. It’s actually pretty brilliant and beautifully designed.
What’s more is that the creative team is just plain awesome. Jason Davis is hysterical and someone you can tell is very passionate about what he’s doing. “I’m not concerned about money,” he said. “I want to help people enjoy themselves.” And enjoy themselves people did. Every time I passed by the booth it was filled with laughter.
Another game, Drinks with Frenemies from BE games looks extremely fun. A party game created by Erik Cancél, it boasts itself as a sabotaging game where friends become enemies and enemies become frenemies. As the game continues, the rules change, so the players must always stay alert and ready for anything. In edition to the original version of the game there is also a NSFW edition, and a retro edition. With cards that are laugh out loud funny, it’s a perfect icebreaker.
In Artist Alley I met Shequeta L. Smith, an artist and writer who created Rayven Choi, a graphic novel series about a bounty hunter that she’s released not only in English, but also Korean. Released through Shero Comics,of which Smith is the CEO. the first three volumes are available now. Smith and I also discussed SheroCon, which is dedicated to showcasing women in the industry. Also created by Smith it is a one day celebration that made its debut last march, and will be happening again the same month next year.
I also came upon a comic series called Fractured Fabulous Frightmares, which puts an LGBT spin on the classic monster stories. The convention and comic book community has always been a welcoming place for LGBT individuals, but it still makes me happy every time I see it. It’s wonderful.
One of my favorite moments of the convention was meeting artist Rhapsody Artajo. I first became a fan when I saw her version of Jolene (ChunLi) as Ms. Swan from MadTV. Not only did she pull off a perfect Alex Borstein, but when she revealed the true power of her actual singing voice, it was nothing short of magical. Dressed as Sarah from Labyrinth in her masquerade ball. “It’s my dream cosplay,” she said, after revealing that it had taken over two years to complete the look. She was stunning.
Officially, this was my first big convention, and as a whole it was an incredible experience. While initially overwhelmed at the sheer number of people, my nerves didn’t last long. Everyone was so nice, and fun, and willing to chat about their look, experiences, and of course to take a photo. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun and I can’t wait to do it again.
Photos by Patrick Edwards.