Spring is here and Summer is on its way—according to the calendar anyway. And that means only one thing: get ready for con season! Falling at the end of March, Emerald City Comicon may not be the very first convention of the year, but it seems to be the one to really kick off con season. It completely sold out, as did July’s nerd extravaganza, San Diego Comic Con. (Although there’s hope for resale badges after May 23.) If this is a taste of what’s to come this Summer, with con attendance at all-time highs, I suggest you check sites early for ticket information.
Sakura-Con – April 18-20 – Washington State Convention Center, Seattle WA: After Emerald City, Sakura-Con will take over the Washington Con Center for one of the American Northwest’s bigger anime conventions. Sakura-Con maintains fan-friendly panels, a special gaming room, and AMV and cosplay contests, along with providing a venue for plenty of cool guests.
WonderCon – April 18-20 – Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim CA: The same weekend as Sakura-Con, those more into the American superhero side of things will gather in Anaheim. The world premiere of Son of Batman, Warner Bros. Animation’s newest feature film, will take place at this particular con. Single Day badges for Sunday are all that’s left right now.
C2E2 – April 25-27 – McCormick Place, Chicago, IL: I’m not saying it’s the most fun you’ll have in the windy city, but it’s probably pretty close. Every year C2E2 boasts quite the guest list and with Gail Simone, Brian Azzarello, Adam Hughes, and the man himself, Stan Lee, in attendance this year, it’s sure to be interesting. Single Day and 3 Day passes on sale now.
Anime Central – May 16-18 – Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Rosemont, IL: Stick around in the Chicago area and you can attend one of the major anime cons of the Midwest region. Featuring a lot of music related events, one of the main ones this year will be a concert of Final Fantasy scores featuring the series’ composer Nobuo Uematsu. Full weekend passes available online now.
Heroes Convention – June 20-22 – Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, NC: Touted as one of the friendliest conventions, HeroesCon always seems to friendly enough that all the really great writers/illustrators show up. It also has stayed more comics focused while other big conventions have branched out. This year the likes of Rafael Albuquerque, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Matt Fraction, Terry Moore, Cliff Chiang, Ming Doyle will be there. The con is also relatively inexpensive for its size: $40 for 3 Day passes. Grab tickets online now.
Anime Expo – July 3-6 – Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA: One could probably call Anime Expo the SDCC of the anime/manga convention circuit. It’s definitely the largest anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture convention in the USA, and its heft comes from the fact that it’s sponsored by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation. Guests this year include Harajuku fashion designers and the English language cast of the original Sailor Moon series. 4 Day passes on sale online now.
Dragon Con – Aug 29-Sep 1 – Atlanta, GA: Dragon Con’s appeal is that it gives off the vibe that it’s one big sci-fi and fantasy party for everyone. And they also have their very own parade. Check the site for guests and special events as the date gets closer. Weekend passes on sale now.
Otakon – Aug. 8-10 – Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD: Although the name hints at its anime/manga roots, Otakon is an east coast con that is pretty open to fans of a lot of series, Japanese or otherwise. While it has definitely grown over the years, this con has managed to maintain its fun atmosphere despite some lines and really hot weather. They are capping attendance at 35,000 people this year, so check the website for pass info ASAP.
Baltimore Comic Con – Sept. 5-7 – Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD: Same convention center, a slightly different feel. This convention hosts the Harvey Awards, the Oscars of American comics, so there are often some awesome people in the industry wandering about. The size of the convention center means things are also a bit more easy to handle than NYCC. Tickets are not yet on sale, but keep an eye on their site.
New York Comic Con – Oct. 9-12 – Javits Center, NYC: The one that wraps the con season up with a bang, NYCC is bound to be a smash of Hulk proportions. Expect to see announcements in television, comics, games, and maybe even movies, as well as plenty of great cosplayers and plenty of (too much?) rad merchandise. Check the site and their Twitter for guest announcements, and info on when badges will be available to purchase.
BONUS: G-FEST XXI – July 11-13 – Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, Chicago, IL: Whether you’re a recent Pacific Rim fan or a dedicated original Godzilla aficionado, this may just be the con for you. Put plain and simple, G-FEST is a Japanese kaiju convention—the very largest of its kind (no pun intended). With the upcoming release of the Godzilla remake, maybe this is the year to study up on these crazy monsters in the company of like-minded fans.
So this summer, come along and grab your friends, it’s, well, you know.
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