Now that San Diego is behind us, you’re probably going through a little bit of a depression period. Don’t worry, it’s normal! You go from running around for a week straight to sitting behind your desk at work and longing for the next convention. You know, that next convention doesn’t have to be San Diego Comic-Con 2014. That’s right! There are plenty of other conventions out there! Some are big, some are small but they can help you get through your post-San Diego blues.
The nice thing about local cons is the price. In most cases, they cost a lot less than San Diego. My local show is Baltimore Comic-Con. I can get a two day badge for $40. The Rochester RocCon is just $26 for a three day badge. Boston Comic-Con just happened a few weeks ago but that was another $40 two day badge convention. Now, these shows might not have the glitz and glam of San Diego, but they’re still amazing to attend. If you’re someone who doesn’t like the fact that “Hollywood is taking over” San Diego, then these smaller conventions are for you. In most cases they focus mainly on comics, with maybe a special guest or two thrown in. Some offer more guests than others but it’s an easier way to get access to someone who maybe had a long line at San Diego, or even a Wizard World event. In my opinion, you really do get your monies worth. Plus you’re not spending an arm and leg on travel expenses!
Another reason why I love smaller shows is Artist Alley. I remember my first year out in San Diego I didn’t check out the area once. There was just too much to see and do. Now when I attend other shows it’s my first stop. I could easily spend all day looking through the artwork and adding sketches to my sketchbook. Even when I go to NYCC, I make sure I make the time for Artist Alley. It’s a great way to support artists, especially local talent, and even chat them up. They aren’t as rushed at some of the local shows and this allows more time for interactions. Granted, this doesn’t mean you can spend all day hanging out at their booth. Plus not every artist enjoys going to San Diego. It’s a lot of work, planning, and money. Sometimes it’s easier and more affordable for them to attend the smaller shows. If they have ties to the area, that might play into them attending as well. I know someone like Matt Fraction can’t make every convention but it’s almost a guarantee he’ll be at HeroesCon along with Kelly Sue. In fact, he’s already on board for the 2014 event.
If you’re someone who’s looking for a deal on a comic book to finish off your collection, then these shows are the place for you. I know at Baltimore it seems that half the floor is made up of local comic book vendors. Since you’re not fighting off thousands of other people, you can now take the time to look through those boxes and really get the deal you want. Plus if it really is your local show, you can easily get all those purchases home. You don’t need to worry about checked baggage or shipping fees.
The cosplay is there too! Don’t you worry about that. I’ve seen some kick ass cosplay displayed at the smaller shows. Plus it’s a tad bit easier to get that photo that you want. Just remember, it’s still a convention with other people trying to get by. Don’t block aisles or doorways trying to get your photo. If you can, try moving out of the flow of traffic. In short, just be respectful to the cosplayer and those around you. Almost every convention has a costume contest as well. During San Diego Comic-Con, it’s not easy to make it into the masquerade. Attending a local show will give you a better chance of making it into something like this and be able to get the photos that you want.
It’s a great way to meet up with friends, old and new. There isn’t as much going on and it’s easier to set up a meet up. Maybe it’s grabbing lunch down the street? Maybe it’s attending a panel together? No matter what your plans are, it’s much easier to put them in motion at a smaller or local convention. Plus if you make some new friends, chances are they’re local or within a few hours. If you’re someone who’s looking to make new friends who are into comics, conventions, or cosplay, than your local show is going to be a gold mine! I recommend having some “business” cards that have your email, Twitter, and other social media accounts listed. There are plenty of places online to order them from like VistaPrint and MOO. This will make it easier to stay in touch and you’re not always looking for a piece of paper or a pen to write information down.
Alright, you’re sold right! But how do you find these conventions? Convention Scene is a great resource to find local or just new conventions. They include conventions in Canada as well, not just here in the States. Another thing I’ll do is a search for City Name + Convention. In most cases something will show up! While the larger conventions are great, it’s important to support our local events as well. They can bring in extra money to the area and the more successful they are, the bigger names they can draw in and the more vendors will want to set up shop.
There you have it. Do you attend your local show? What’s something amazing that’s happened to you at your local convention? Let us know!