Year seven and this once small expo has officially broken the 100,000 attendee mark, making it the biggest pop culture convention in L.A.’s history.
When we left Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con I said to myself, “Wow, LACC has come to play!” Convention.Life-ers have been going to this event since it was an “Expo”. My, how it’s grown. The first couple of years, it contained the standards of a comic/pop culture convention: an exhibit hall with vendors and artists showing their wares, separate rooms with panels from how-tos to meeting the casts-ofs. One of the more curious distinctions for this convention was the integration of the Hot Topic Main Stage within the Exhibit Hall. The first couple of years the stage felt more like a show to walk by and check out in passing, the Exhibit Hall’s vendors were the draw. The guests and topics on stage were fun and informative but nothing I could really highlight.
This time, as we entered the convention we had decided on a plan: find some innovative vendors from the Exhibit Hall to cover, catch a few panels and share fun stories we heard from celebrities, add to our Instagram stories, and of course, cosplay pics! That plan blew up quickly, and not in a bad way, the second we decide to “check out” the Hot Topic Main Stage. We were sucked in.
Together Joel and I found a nice spot close to the front of the stage to get pics and take down notes for the upcoming panel. The usual move from panel-goers is to take in the panel and then move on, as that happens, the people in the back move up to get closer for the next panel. That’s the rotation. Most of the panels in these conventions don’t cater to everyone so people move in and out.
While we were waiting for the Stretch Armstrong & Flex Fighters panel to start we REALLY looked at the upcoming schedule then realized the onslaught of awesomeness coming and knew we were going to be in for a long day in that one spot. I’m not complaining because it was a treat of a long day. Following Stretch Armstrong was the Power Puff Girls original voice reunion, then came the Sabrina the Teenage Witch Reunion, we then got sucked into the funny but personal stories of Katee Sackhoff, then up next we watched Drew Carry’s 2017 Comedy Legend induction.
We noticed this year, the crowd just grew as the panels went on, the rotation barely existed. Each panel was only 30mins, just enough to be insightful and fun, then the hype level rose again as we waited for the next panel. It was just celebrity-appearance-high after celebrity-appearance-high. At this point, we broke; we didn’t prepare to be in this one place all day. We reluctantly left our spot to get some food then quickly came back. Well, Joel did. I decided to cover some of the Exhibit Hall, but as far as I got away from the stage I can hear the crowd roaring. It was electric.
Joel was there getting pics of Scott Bakula, as a huge fan of Quantum Leap, he had to. The super talented people who made up the Cosplay National Championship immediately followed that panel. I barely made it through The Price is Right wheel line on the other side of the convention floor when I ran back to see what all the hubbub was about. I reached the Main Stage just in time to catch the ridiculous line up of musicians along side the Black Eyed Peas, my face was melting. My creative heart was crying as Will.I.Am expressed his passion for the making of Masters of the Sun, an amazingly innovative book with so many ways to entertain from the illustrations, to the star-studded voice-overs within the fully animated VR experiences, to the music. It has over one and a half hours of recorded content, all in one book, that’s just crazy.
After we thought we couldn’t have any more celebrity power as the Black Eyed Peas left the stage, I looked around and see the floor around of the stage is completely full. No one has left to rotate out. It’s standing room only, and it’s a sea of people waiting because… “FINALLY, the Rock has come back to Comic Con!” Joel and I have been fans of Dwayne Johnson since he was a wrestler. This was work and fun for us. Joel and I were separated at this point but I know we could hear each other “sqweee” across the crowd. Johnson played his best card, interacting with the crowd. He is such a likable and humbled person, it didn’t feel like a pitch for us to watch Jumanji as much as it was supposed to be. He was asking the crowd for questions, and then came the one question he didn’t confirm or deny, “Will you run for president?” Johnson gave a long pause as the crowd chanted, “Rocky, rocky, rocky.” His response with a strong smirk was, “I think the ‘People’s President’ has a really nice ring to it. I’ll just say that.”
Mic drop, our night was over. There was more from Johnson but that was it for me. Wow, what a crazy fun convention and that was just Saturday. Look out SDCC, NYCC, ECCC, C2E2, and others receiving votes, LACC is making its move and is only getting bigger and better.