The Wizard World Los Angeles convention held this past weekend was the third convention I've attended in the last seven weeks. For any of you who've worked a convention before, you know it can be a tiring experience. But three in a row? Well, it would be nice if I could afford some time off on an island in the Pacific to recover, but alas the opportunity is not available right now so instead I'll have to make due with 65-70 degree weather in sunny Southern California.
Friday at Wizard World LA felt very light. Sure, there was plenty of activity surrounding the Marvel, DC and Top Cow booths, but for the most part the floor was rather quiet. A number of factors may have contributed to the slow Friday - it was held from 1-7pm, while most people were still working, and it rained that day. One of the hard truths about Los Angelinos is we don't like weather. It's true! We have 50 weeks of good weather every year, so when it rains we tend to not do anything. We'd prefer just to stay in and watch a movie or work from home rather than battle with other motorists on the SoCal freeways. Ask any employer how many "sick" calls he gets or requests to work from home on a rainy day and they'll confirm that fact for you.
Saturday at Wizard World LA was much busier than Friday, but compared to last month's two conventions-- San Francisco's WonderCon and the New York Comic-Con-- it wasn't the same. Now, of course, it's hard to compare one convention to another considering each floor plan is laid out a bit differently. The New York Comic-Con had very, very small aisles, which just added to the issues that convention had. WonderCon had much larger aisles, yet the convention center felt rather packed on Saturday. The Wizard World LA show also had large, roomy aisles, but rarely did the claustrophobic feeling sometimes felt at a comic convention come over you. Also, one must keep in mind that panel discussions move people on and off the floor regularly, so it's impossible to accurately gauge convention attendance based on a cursory glance of the floor. Regardless, Saturday felt good at the show, with long autograph lines at the Marvel booth and excited convention goers all around.
I didn't attend the show on Sunday, but I spoke with a number of people who had and they classified it as real quiet. The Los Angeles Marathon took place Sunday and the first mile marker was just down the road on Figueroa, the street that runs directly in front of the convention center. A number of people I spoke to on Saturday said they would forego the Sunday show completely so that they didn't have to deal with street closures. It sounds like they stayed true to their word. The sad truth is that those I spoke to who did go to the convention on Sunday had no troubles whatsoever. Street closures weren't a major issue, or they simply took the LA rail line to the show. The Marathon started early in the morning in LA and by Wizard World's 11:00 AM opening time, the streets were mostly clear and access to the convention center was hardly impeded. Attendance would probably have been much better had the LA Marathon not taken place on the same day.
All that said, Wizard World LA was a show of very muted and mixed success. There were some interesting news items to come out of the show-- mostly from the Marvel camp-- and access to comic creators was rarely a problem. But WonderCon and the New York Comic-Con set the bar rather high for a successful mid-sized show and Wizard World LA didn't quite live up to those shows successes. But, this was the first year Wizard World L.A. was held in Los Angeles proper (the past two years it was held in Long Beach) and with a bit of work and promotion, L.A. could one day find itself host to a major comics convention, rather than the regional show it felt like this weekend.
Now, let's see what the floor itself looked like at the convention. This year I was joined by photographer Pinguino at Wizard World LA, bringing you one of the largest photo parades we've ever hosted. Enjoy!Saturday
Pinguino's Saturday Images
Pinguino's Sunday Images