Comic Book Convention General Description:
In addition to the sales and promotion of comic books, fans in attendance often participate in Question and Answer panels involving comic book professionals such as the artists, writers, and editors of various comic book publishing companies. Additionally, actors, actresses, directors and movie producers also attend said panels to promote their movies at these panels.
One of the main attractions to Comic Book Conventions is the presence of comic book artists who often sell their artwork in the form of prints and sketches, along with their works from comic books. It is typical for the artists to draw custom sketches for attendees, often for a fee, but sometimes free of charge. Where the artists gather at their tables is often referred to as "Artists Alley". Another major draw is the presence of vendors who sell sought after and rare back issues, merchandise such as T-shirts, posters, action figures, busts, statues, and movie memorabilia.
Awards are often handed out at the Cons, and rotate from Con location to Con location, such as the annual Harvey Awards for the larger mainstream comics industry, and the Ignatz Awards for the alternative and small press comics scene. There are also Guests of Honor, usually noted comic book professionals such as artists and writers, at the assorted Comic Book Conventions, and one very frequent Guest of Honor has been Stan Lee. Additionally, there are Costume Contests, where fans dress up in the costumes and garb of their favorite comic book, movie, and characters from various entertainment mediums. This activity is often referred to as "CosPlay" and awards are often handed out for best costumes.
Comic Con attendees usually stay at a hotel that is close by or often, a hotel will host the Comic Con in its own convention center. Most Cons typically last 2-3 days, usually during the weekend. They also are usually held between the beginning of summer through the fall seasons, some typically occurring right around Halloween. Convention activities include gaming, movie viewing rooms, dances, video game previews, and role playing. Some conventions often premiere special Alternative Cover and exclusive Comic Con Special Preview comic books which only those in attendance can purchase.
Attendees take pictures and shoot videos featuring all of the merchandise on display, as well as the CosPlay attendees. At a few Cons, parades are held, such as the one at Dragon Con, where CosPlayers show off, and walk along while vehicles like the Batmobile also are seen. Yet more coverage provided by media other than television stations have been comic book oriented magazines and websites, most notably Comic Vine. Comic Vine has provided interviews, panel information, movie trailers and videos from the Long Beach Comic-Con, Wonder Con, the San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con and C2E2 from Chicago, Illinois. Genres such as Science Fiction, Fantasy, Video Games, Gaming, Anime and Manga often are featured at conventions. Also, there are two notable Comic Book Conventions featuring "lesser" known comics, such as the Alternative Press Expo, held in San Francisco, California, and the Small Press Expo held in Bethesda, Maryland.
Plenty of models dressed in costumes, often located near the vendors' booths, referred to as "Booth Babes" attend to promote comic books, movies, video games, and even website offerings. Also in attendance you will find actors from TV shows, movies, along with directors and producers. Animated TV series' professionals often participate in the major Cons, such as those from the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, at the San Diego Comic Con.
A few issues have risen regarding the Cons and the San Diego Comic Con in particular, and they have been the increase in fan attendance, whether the Con should be relocated, and also the influx of movie studios promoting movies which have nothing to do with comic book properties.
List of Comic Book Conventions in the United States of America:
Alternative Press Expo (San Francisco)
Big Apple Convention (New York)
Boston Comic Con (Boston)
Charlotte Comic Con (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Chicagoland Entertainment Collectors Expo (Carol Stream, Illinois)
Chicagolandz Comic Book and Toy Show (Grayslake, Illinois)
Comicpalooza (Houston, Texas)
Con Nooga (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
Dallas Comic Con & Sci Fi Expo (Dallas, Texas)
Dragon Con (Atlanta)
Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle, Washington)
FanimeCon - (San Jose, California)
Heroes Convention (Charlotte, North Carolina)
InfiniCon Comic & Toy Show (Winston Salem, North Carolina)
Jet City Comic Show (Seattle, Washington)
Long Beach Comic-Con (Long Beach, California)
Lubbock Comic Book Expo (Lubbock, Texas)
Philadelphia Comic Con (Essington, Pennsylvania)
Pittsburgh Comic Con (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Mega Con (Orlando)
Media City Comic Convention (Burbank, California)
Motor City Comic Con (Novi, Michigan)
North East Comic-Con (Boston)
New York Comic Con (New York)
Phoenix Comic Con (Phoenix, Arizona)
San Diego Comic Con (San Diego)
SiliCon (San Jose, California)
Small Press Expo (Bethesda, Maryland)
Wonder Con (San Francisco)
If you haven't attended a Comic-Con, watch any of the following Comic Vine videos for coverage from various Cons around the U.S.A they covered to get an idea what one looks like and what takes place. Many are interviews with comic book creators, actors, and other entertainment media pros, and are a good insight to what the people behind the scenes do.