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Wizard World LA

Short form:
Lame.
Medium form:
Relocating from Long Beach was a bad idea (nothing to do outside the convention center at all). Guest list didn’t hold a lot of interest for me (all of their big names come to every west coast show anyways). Artist’s Alley was half-deserted (there were still some standouts, but it seemed underpopulated). Programming was dire (unless you were a hardcore Marvel fan or hadn’t been to Wondercon to get the same DCU panel three times). Costumes were largely unimaginative (though points to the Ghost Rider with the fluorescent orange wig). Spike TV’s booth was unwelcome (even with all the comely lasses strategically placed inside, it was too big, too loud and too obnoxious. I know, that’s their target demographic).
I finished with the place in a little over an hour, but stuck around a bit longer to rifle through the cheap OGN bins (plenty of Howard Chaykin goodness and a couple other oddities–including a copy of VOICE OF THE FIRE by Alan Moore for half off cover price, which I passed on). Said my hellos to people I came to see (that’d be Josh Fialkov — Mr. Ritchie looked too busy most of the time to get a word in edgewise; Tommy Lee Edwards was a pleasure to chat with and his pages for BULLET POINTS look just great, though I’m not a fan of JMS, so I’m torn on this project.)
Wizard has a lot of work to do if they want to take over the west coast. Wondercon was three or four times the show that this was. Things that’d be nice to see:
More diverse programming (don’t just focus on the big guys and their tentpole projects) would be welcome.
More diverse guest list as well.
More interesting events.
Some kind of incentives to get more local artists in on the show to make it feel like an LA show and not a generic and bland comic show (the art jam at the Golden Apple booth was great — spread that out, make a bigger deal of it.)
Even the big guys didn’t have their best foot forward (though the line for getting Geoff Johns to sign anything was a freakin’ mile long). DC’s booth seemed anemic compared to what they had up at Wondercon. Marvel’s booth seemed kinda desultory, not a lot of effort in it. The biggest line there was for portfolio reviews.
On Saturday, the vendors were haggling hard for sales. I can only imagine what it was like Sunday.
Saturday morning, which should have been crazy busy (and was at Long Beach for the years I’ve gone) was dead. I was registered and in the door in ten minutes. Because the crowds just weren’t there (although I was processed efficiently.)
Last year’s show in Long Beach was much more impressive than this, and not just because I could go and get a reasonably priced Guiness and a meal afte crossing a street. Maybe it’s the big two coasting on their big events, maybe it was Marvel shooting their wad early on Friday, and maybe it was just a not so good show this year. It happens.
Better luck next year, Wizard.

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