See more of Shannon Cottrell's photos in "Anaheim Comic Con 2011." Read more in "Southern California Ghostbusters Turn up at Anaheim Comic Con" and "Green Lantern Goes Samurai at Anaheim Comic Con."
On the morning of April 30, just a few hours before the start of this year's Anaheim Comic Con, Wizard World, who organizes the event, announced that it will be launching a new Comic Con in Los Angeles this September. So when we headed to the Anaheim Convention Center Saturday afternoon, we couldn't help but wonder if the event was a sign of what's to come to downtown Los Angeles in a few months.
"The great part of doing a show in LA is that it gives us the chance to be back in the Southern California market," said Wizard World CEO Gareb Shamus.
Shamus described the numerous conventions that the company organizes as a "tour" that can consistently bring the latest in entertainment across the country. With that in mind, Shamus said, Wizard World can focus on the hot spring and summer releases to Anaheim and the fall and winter ones to Los Angeles.
"Because the content is always changing, we always have a show that people can come out to and be a part of," he said.
Although attendance numbers for Anaheim were not available at the time of this post, we can tell you that on Saturday afternoon, the convention center was pretty full. It wasn't uncomfortably packed, but we saw crowds of people milling through every aisle of the spacious exhibit hall.
Like many cons, Anaheim Comic Con wasn't just about comics. There were aisles dedicated to celebrity autographs and photo sessions, a professional wrestling element and panels that covered a pretty wide variety of subject matter. Where the Anaheim event succeeded, though, was in keeping the convention fan-friendly. There was a good sized section of the exhibit hall dedicated to fan groups like Southern California Ghostbusters. Saturday's must-see panel was a Q/A session with Batman stars Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether and Julie Newmar. There was a crowded gaming area and, all around, you could see people dressed up in their best superhero and villain costumes.
One of the things that impressed us most about Anaheim Comic Con was the size and scope of its artist section. Shamus said that over 230 artists and writers participated in the Anaheim event. We were happy to meet Chynna Clugston-Flores, creator of Blue Monday and Scooter Girl, whose work we have long admired. It was also nice to see that up-and-comers like Nathaniel Osollo, whose Twitter-sourced comic 140 we featured in our Long Beach Comic Expo coverage, were able to participate.
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We asked Shamus if Los Angeles Comic Con would share the same support for the comic artist community.
"Absolutely," he answered. "The creative community will probably be larger because there are so many people in the creative community that live in L.A. There are so many people involved in animation and storyboarding."
We left Anaheim Comic Con impressed and excited about this fall's L.A. event. Wizard World will be making more announcements about who will appear at the Los Angeles Convention Center and we will keep you posted.
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