I started off the morning right and walked the floor of the convention center. I start at concourse A where a lot of the video game companies have booths and consoles and work my way across the building toward Hall H.
Like the progression of the rainbow changing colors, the aisles slowly change games and toys in concourse A to wholesale comics dealers in concourse B, where you can find the latest and the most classic comics ever written. Original edition classic books and art are for sale, available for a price.
As you approach concourses C and D, you start to see the booths change again from wholesalers to comic book publishers’ booths where they not only sell comics, but the writers and artists have scheduled appearances to autograph them. Top Cow, Image, Zenescope, Dark Horse… each publisher has their own slightly different style as the company names get bigger and bigger until you arrive at the center of the main floor with the two major dominant comic book companies of DC and Marvel.
The displays are epic in size and scope. Both booths have stages in them. DC has autograph booths on every wall, employees passing out free issues of comics everywhere you turn, and all the new Justice League costumes on display. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are the big draws. The Flash is a TV fan favorite, but I’m an Arthur Curry (Aquaman) fan. That said, Cyborg’s costume was particularly jaw dropping in person. In fact, the outfit was so badass in person that I now find myself most interested in seeing what the DC film does with that character. The cell phone photo does not do it justice. I have to see The Justice League movie now even if just for Cyborg.
Marvel has a huge rear projection screen over their stage every year with previews and clips from their movies on loop. They have hourly giveaways where the throng of the crowd really gets crazy. Get there at least a half hour early to line up for the freebees if you want a good spot, but you have to wait at a distance until they lower the ropes. People will cut in line and shove. Take a deep breath. The Marvel giveaway at the end of the weekend was epic. They gave away everything they had left, which included so many posters, comics, books, pens, pins, and toys. There’s plenty to go around, so pass along to someone else what you’re not going to use. It was totally worth the wait. Thank you, Marvel!
On the far side of these major comics publishers, the floor changes again at around E and F, veering into a giant film and television section with major booths for the motion picture and television studios, including Lionsgate and Warner Brothers, where the cast of the Justice League came and signed autographs. There are multiple Star Wars centric booths with kid photo ops. AMC always has a large The Walking Dead walk-through display featuring live interaction with the walkers in some pretty hair-raising make-up. There’s an especially large presence of animation networks and production companies like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Funimation and Arcana. Every year, I have to stop by and play Yu-Gi-Oh at their booth in order to get packs of cards to bring home to my anime-addicted little ones.
From animated TV the floor flows into the anime section building to the last section of G, where the die-hard comic fans can approach the best in the business and buy limited edition prints or pay the artist to draw something for them. This is Artist’s Alley. The most talented pencilers and inkers in the business are there showing and offering their tremendous skills in person.
Add to all of this plus one-hundred-fifty thousand of the most hardcore entertainment/comics fans in the world featuring some of the coolest fan cosplay anywhere, and you begin to get the slightest picture of the greatest entertainment convention open to anyone willing to go through the trouble to to buy a ticket. It’s the equivalent of Burning Man for entertainment lovers. These are the die-hard fans, and I am one of them.
The convention floor ends there, but on the far side of that is Hall H, but we’ll talk about that later. Now that we’ve seen the floor, it’s time to go hit some of the private events. Don’t worry. You’re coming with me! Coming next is the private event scene. Stay tuned…
This is courtesy of Honorary FoF Member and screen writer Michael Tabb.