Check out more photos from this year's conventions in "50 Awesome Cosplays of 2010."
From internationally known events like San Diego Comic-Con and Anime Expo to smaller, single-franchise conventions like Power Morphicon and MacrossWorld to non-con events like the L.A. screening of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, there was no shortage of fan gatherings in Southern California this year. Below, we've compiled our picks for the Best of the Cons.
Most Improved Convention
Long Beach Comic Con
When we went to Long Beach Comic Con for its inaugural event in 2009, there wasn't a whole lot to see outside of autograph signings. This year, though, LBCC's exhibit hall was filled with more artists and indie comic creators than we expected. It was a nice surprise and we're looking forward to see how the convention will grow next year.
See more photos in "Long Beach Comic Con."
Best Convention Party
The Yoshiki Foundation Party @ MAX
MAX was a one-day fan event at Club Nokia featuring the premiere of Japanese horror film Kai-Ki: Tales of Terror from Tokyo, a performance from Erina Mano and a maid cafe. The event ended with a huge party for X Japan fans. The bash had an H. Naoto fashion show featuring the designer's collaboration with drummer Yoshiki, a special acoustic set from members of X Japan and closed out with a film shoot for a new video from the band.
Best Artist's Alley
It would be hard to compete with DesignerCon as this one-day event is all artist alley. This year, Bwana Spoons offered portraits of classic Kenner Star Wars toys and Free Humanity had a booth filled with Star Wars street art. But it wasn't just Star Wars at DesignerCon, we found adorable monsters from Sawdust Bear, super cute plush designs from Tea Miller and so much more.
See more in "DesignerCon at Pasadena Convention Center"
Best Music Performance
Voltaire @ Comic-Con
The Dragon*Con crowd knows all about Voltaire's convention performances, as he plays there every year. At San Diego Comic-Con, the witty singer doesn't perform inside the convention proper, he typically arranges a show sometime that weekend. This year's show at Queen Bee was a cab ride away from SDCC's Gaslamp Quarter digs, but it was worth the trip. If you ever want a night of goth-geek humor mixed with good tunes, go see Voltaire.
Most Fan-Friendly Convention
MacrossWorld is a very small convention created by and for fans of the legendary anime Macross. Held in one room at UCLA this year, it's also a convention void of commerce. Instead of merchant booths, the room is filled with Macross collections. It's a convention geared towards bringing together friends who met on the MacrossWorld forums. This year's event celebrated the tenth anniversary of the web forums as well as character Lynn Minmay's birthday with a special performance from singer-songwriter/Macross star Mari Iijima.
Best Convention Fashion
Innocent World @ PMX
Classic Lolita brand Innocent World made its first U.S. appearance at Pacific Media Expo this year and they came prepared. The label brought out a wide array of beautiful clothing, from lace-trimmed blouses to jumper skirts to capelets. Designer Yumi Fujiwara was on hand in the boutique to greet fans and even worked a game booth at the Lolita carnival.
Read more in "Innocent World Makes U.S. Convention Debut at Pacific Media Expo" and see more photos in "Pacific Media Expo 2010."
Best Con for the 21+ Set
San Diego Comic-Con
We've heard repeatedly that Atlanta's Dragon*Con is the "party" convention, but since we have yet to attend it, we're going to stick with SDCC for this category. For us, SDCC has turned into a test of physical endurance. How much sleep do we really need over the course of five days? How many parties can we hit in one night after spending an entire day running around the convention center? For the record, our average is two parties a night. We need to work on that.
Check out our full San Diego Comic-Con coverage.
Bruce Campbell @ Weekend of Horrors
We were confirmed Bruce Campbell fans before Weekend of Horrors. After the panel, though, we were bigger fans, as in, we couldn't stop talking about the panel for two days. We put together a handful of reasons why Bruce Campbell is the "ultimate convention guest." You should read it.
Read more in "Seven Reasons Why Bruce Campbell Is the Ultimate Convention Guest" and see more photos in "Weekend of Horrors with Bruce Campbell."
Best Convention Booth
"Paper Animals" at Pasadena Rock n' Comic-Con
Sometimes the simplest booth is the most interesting one. At Rock'n Comic Con we met Michelle D. Reese, a recent college graduate who was showing her student film. "Paper Animals" is a whimsical cutout animation short revolving around a young girl and her father making animals out of paper.
Read more (and see the video) in "Rock'n Comic Con: The Stunning Cutout Animation of 'Paper Animals.'"
Best Convention for Cosplayers
Anime Expo and San Diego Comic-Con might have a lot more people, and thus many more cosplayers, but Anime LA is still the best place to dress up as your favorite character and hang out with your friends. Anime LA's smaller size (it's in a hotel, not a convention center) and relaxed atmosphere makes it an ideal place to meet up with cosplayers by the pool or arrange an impromptu photo shoot on a patio.
Best Non-Convention Fan Event
Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya @ Sunset 5
Bandai's screening of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya was a sold-out event featuring appearances from several voice actors and the A.S.O.S. Brigade. Fans showed up in cosplay and lined up for autographs after the film. It was a fun and energetic screening, one that was clearly done just for Haruhi fans.
Read more in "The Fandom of Haruhi Suzumiya."
Most Dedicated Fan
Guy with the Epic Power Rangers Tattoo
We met David Ramos at Power Morphicon, where he was collecting autographs to add to an already elaborate Power Rangers tattoo on his leg. We talked for a bit and David explained more of the show to us. His enthusiasm helped give us a new outlook on the Power Rangers, a show we hadn't seen since we were in school.
Read more in "Power Rangers Fans and Stars Gather for Power Morphicon" and see more photos in "Power Morphicon: Celebrating 17 Years of the Power Rangers."
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We met Alexander Lam at the beginning of 2010 and, still, we haven't seen a cosplay that topped it. Shogun Vader is based on the samurai influence in Ralph McQuarrie's original Darth Vader designs. Lam worked primarily with cardboard to make the costume. We thought it was clever and lovely.
Read more in "Shogun Vader, the Ultimate Cardboard Cosplay."
Think there's a con we need to check out in 2011, let us know by emailing Liz Ohanesian at firstname.lastname@example.org.