Pop culture conventions are first and foremost seen as a meeting ground for geekdom to congregate to purchase art and collectables, see their favorite cosplayers and celebrities, and gain first-hand news for major events in the industry. While these activities are certainly consumer-centric, there’s a large portion of attendees who are creators, or creators-in-the-making, who attend pop culture conventions to seek the advice of experts in one-on-one sessions or attend the various panels that impart advice on how to better their craft and careers.
Positive energy and enthusiastic vibes reverberated through the Anaheim Convention Center as fans of popular culture converged the location for the return of the three-day annual event, WonderCon 2017. In one of the upstairs conference rooms on Friday afternoon, March 31, 2017, Vice President of Marketing & Communications Hunter Gorinson and publisher Fred Pierce took to the stage to lead the panel, “Valiant 101: The Story Starts Here.”
On a warm sunny Sunday afternoon, March 26, 2017, fans flocked to the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles for a screening and panel discussion with the cast of ABC’s Scandal. The panel was part of the PaleyFest sponsored by Hulu (streaming the panels), Official Card Citi, and The Los Angeles Times. For those who may not be familiar with this TV program, the show revolves around a fixer, who is the "go-to" person to resolve delicate and sensitive political situations that require crisis management. Set in Washington, D.C., there are naturally several story tendrils involving White House staff – all the way to the President. As the name implies, there is plenty of scandal in the nation’s capital and fans love it.
The smell of aging books wafted through the main hall at the Glendale Civic Auditorium on Sunday, March 19. Celebrating its thirty-eighth year, the one-day show boasts an affordable $5 admission and free parking, and, in return, attendees can browse the tables of over fifty vendors. While there were tons of vintage paperbacks of various genres – westerns, mysteries, science fiction, and horror – there were also hardback books of recent and classic fiction, original artwork, and back issues of Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Illustration, and many other magazines. Books filled makeshift shelving units, stacked on tables, or in long boxes under the tables. It was all a matter of rooting around until you found a treasure that you could not be without.
Saving Throw, one of the earliest Twitch channels to start streaming tabletop RPGs, invites you to attend a 24-hour gaming marathon themed like a school dance, aptly named "The Saving Throw Spring Formal: A Knight to Remember." Streaming live on Twitch from Friday, March 17, at 8 p.m./PST to Saturday, March 18, at 8 p.m./PST, the marathon will include geeky music, awkward dancing, and snacks galore, but, most of all, there will be gaming! 24 straight hours of it!
On Friday afternoon, February 17, 2017, while the biggest storm front in past few years moved into the Los Angeles region, prompting severe flood warnings, an undaunted group of 50 – 70 comic professionals checked in at the Long Beach Convention Center for the first annual Comic Creator Conference (C3). The conference, held the day before the Long Beach Comic Expo, brought together new and seasoned professionals in the comic book industry for a conference where knowledge and assistance could be shared, creating an opportunity to build and/or strengthen the attendees' business and profitability within the industry and in other mediums, according to Legendary Comics SVP/Editor-in-Chief Bob Schreck’s welcome letter in the program.
Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon was joined by three talents in the comic book and entertainment industries - Megan Hutchison (Rockstars, Will o’ the Wisp), Susan Lee (Wraith of Love, Shadow of the Knight), and Laura Lee Bahr (Angel Meat, Haunt) - for a fifty-minute panel at Long Beach Comic Expo 2017 titled “Women on the Dark Side.”
In the final hours of this year’s Long Beach Comic Expo, as the attendees began to trickle out and a few vendors closed shop early, the panel programming was still vibrant with activity. One well-attended panel was the “Writer Seeking Artist: Finding and Maintaining Healthy Collaboration,” full of budding writers eager to be instilled with advice on how to partner with an artist in hopes to see their stories come to fruition. The panel was moderated by Rosie Knight (Cougar and Cub) with Kelly Sue Milano (Hex11), James F. Wright (Lupina, Nutmeg), Johnny Parker II (Elvish, Black Fist and Brown Hand), Joshua Henaman (Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman), and Nick Marino (Cougar and Cub, Holy F*ck) participating as the subject-matter experts.
While many folks attend comic book cons for the “con experience” of meeting celebrities, buying art, and viewing all the cosplay, there’s still a significant amount of attendees that take advantage of the various workshops and panels that offer access to decades of industry knowledge and insight from the professionals who make themselves available.