I went to Wizard World Los Angeles today. I almost went last year, and decided not to—and regretted it when I learned that Sunday (the day I almost went) was sparsely attended. So not only would I have had no problem getting in, but it should be a low-stress experience overall, rather than the insane crowds of San Diego.
The convention itself did turn out to be a nice, low-key experience, and I found some interesting stuff, but getting to the convention was a bit of an adventure.
The drive up to LA wasn’t bad at all, though I made one critical mistake. Instead of getting off at the first exist that said “LA Convention Center,” I waited for the next exit: the 10W-110N off-ramp to Pico, where the traffic slowed to a dead stop. I’m not sure anyone actually made it to the end of the ramp. It’s possible I only moved forward when someone ahead of me gave up and tore off to the 110 South. After 25 minutes, I got close enough to see a glimpse of the street in front of the convention center… with a line of people stretching around the block.
At that point I decided to bail. If that many more people were there this year, it would be like trying to buy tickets at the door for San Diego. It wouldn’t be worth waiting for three hours just for two hours looking for books that I probably wouldn’t find anyway. I ducked into the next lane and onto the 110 South, took the first exit, and decided, you know, I drove up here, I may as well try to get in. I made it to the parking garage easily via surface streets, thought the Central City sign was appropriate, and headed out to look at the line.
That’s when I noticed three things: First, signs directed Wizard World to West Hall. Second, I was parked next to South Hall. Third, the people in line didn’t look like comic book fans. I walked the entire length of the convention center, eventually discovering that the South Hall was hosting the DUB Auto Show.
By the time I got past the Bride Expo and American Inventor, and finally found Wizard World itself, it was nearly 12:30. But there was only one person ahead of me in line, and there were two clerks selling tickets. I had arrived!
On the Floor
I didn’t attend any panels, since all the interesting stuff was on Friday and Saturday anyway. The main floor was much like the floor at Comic-Con, with a trade-show area, a dealer’s area, and an artists area, only a lot smaller, and a lot less crowded. Actually, I’d say there were about as many comic dealers at this con as there were at San Diego last year. Memorabilia and general pop culture has really taken over the CCI floor space.
Oddly, there were no Heroes T-shirts to be found anywhere. It’s NBC’s biggest hit (Jeph Loeb joked that they refer to it as, “Save the cheerleader, save the network.”), we’re almost to the end of the season, and there are no T-shirts out?
There weren’t too many costumes. A couple of booth babes, one guy in a Transformers costume that I couldn’t place, and, bizarrely, an Alien who was helping to hand out promotional flyers at the entrance.
I wandered through Artist Alley a couple of times, mostly because I’d read that Humberto Ramos (the original artist on Impulse) was going to be there. One thing I found frustrating was that there were no placards identifying the artists. With very few exceptions, I don’t know any of these people on sight. I know their names, and in some cases I can recognize their art style. A few artists had brought their own signs, but surprisingly few of the rest had drawn up their own placards.
My main goal was to further the Golden-Age Flash hunt, which failed. I wasn’t expecting to find anything. Dealers seem to mainly bring their high-grade Golden Age books to conventions, and I’m not looking for collectors’ items, I’m looking to read them. The one low-grade book I found was a rare enough book (All-Flash #32*) that they wanted $200. Though I have to admit I enjoyed the chance to gawk at a pair of 9+ Flash Comics #1 and All-Flash Quarterly #1.
There were a few newer things I was looking for, and skimming the $1.00 and 50¢ bins reminded me of more. Around mid-afternoon, the cries of “All books, half off!” started reverberating through the hall, and I pored through several dozen boxes of 50%-off trade paperbacks. One booth had 5-10 copies of the first Fallen Angel TPB, a fact that came in handy when I overheard someone who was looking for the book.
In the end, I managed to find a full set of JLA/Avengers and a missing issue of Robin with Captain Boomerang, Jr.. The bargain bins helped me fill in the Seven Soldiers issues I hadn’t read, plus Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating JLA and Crisis (I read them tonight—the Crisis book was terrible, and not just because he made Crisis a villain instead of a concept), and a bunch of random Sergio Aragonés stuff.
I left around 4:00. The Pico off-ramp was still backed up, and getting to the freeway was a challenge.
Overall, not a bad day. Maybe next year I’ll try to attend on Saturday. Update: I did. You can read my 2008 WWLA Con Report.
*All-Flash #32 is not only the final issue of the series, but the three stories in it feature big-name villains: the Fiddler, the Thinker, and the first appearance of the original Star Sapphire. The Fiddler and Star Sapphire stories have been reprinted, but the issue contains the one Golden-Age Thinker story I haven’t tracked down.
See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups