Los Angeles Comic Book and Sci-Fi (and Dirt) Convention 2006

A couple of weeks ago, I teased that I was going to attend the Los Angeles Comic Book and Sci-Fi Convention, or as I call it, the LA Dirt Con. It took me a little while to get these pictures up on the web, but these should give you some of the flavor and essences of the event. And a heady essence it was.

I make the sometimes faulty assumption that all comic book readers have been to a convention at one time or another, but what’s really evident is that there is a wide range of convention quality that one can expect to encounter at such an event. The thing about San Diego Comic-Con is its sheer size and magnitude, and exceptional cleanliness. There is carpet and it’s bright, and things generally seem new, except in the farthest most distant reaches of the hall. But the dirt con is a different story. There’s a musky scent of man and bootlegging, and the similar piquant of men who bootleg. It’s a distinction to be sure.

As you can see, it’s not all that big of an event, but it has its charms. If you’re in the market for toys you never knew existed, toys you’d forgotten existed, or toys that just came into existence for reasons that defy logic, this is the place to be. I’ve never been anywhere in my life where a bin of what looks like old chewed up thirty year old toys are being sold at a significant markup. But the dirt con is the place. It’s also great if you need, say, the entire run of the rare animated Star Trek series on DVD, or perhaps just some old used VHS porn. Please keep in mind, we make no guarantees of quality.

You may have noticed that I’ve made no mention of comics at the dirt con. That’s because, while in the convention’s title, it seems the comics are an afterthought here. There are comics to be found, but there are basically two types of dealers. There are those selling recent hot issues at a great premium price, proving that there are still a lot of people who did not learn their lesson in the mid 90’s, and that there are still those who profit from them. And then there are dealers still trying to clear out those books from the mid 90’s, and apparently no one told them, or their apparent customers that none of Rob Liefield’s work is actually worth anything, regardless of what the Wizard or Overstreet Price Guide may suggest. But in there, if you’re willing to look, there are deals. There are nooks and crannies where the discriminating comic reading dirt con goer can find sustenance. I found a guy selling new Marvel trades for 50% off the cover price, and managed to pick up most of the Alias trades at a sweet discount. I found the one issue of Fables that I missed many years ago, thus completing the first three trades worth of that title. I also found a great deal of other material just clean enough to warrant my money, had I had any more money from the aforementioned buys. No, it’s safe to say that with enough cash, one could easily get carried away and blow more than his or her allotted geek allowance. It’s actually a bit safer here than in San Diego though, because many of the purveyor of the great Convention down south accept credit, where as here, if you don’t have cash, you’re out of luck. Of course, in San Diego, things are shiny and the beautiful things stand out at you, but at the LA Dirt Con, you’ve got to get your hands dirty and dig for your treasures, and the challenge of that has likely saved many relationships from arguments starting with the exclamatory interrogative, “You bought THAT?!”

The irony is not lost on me that in a city famed for its glamour and beautiful (on the outside) denizens, its namesake comic convention is as dirty as anything to be found in grittier parts of this nation. But of course, in this, there is a kind of pure beauty, and the proof of its call is that I will return before I leave this city for good, and after I am gone, I will miss it, and I will wonder which D-level horror movie alumnus is making his appearance. After all, this is the same place that only a couple of years ago, I shook the hand of the friendly yet late William Hootkins and paid same $10 to sign my Jek Porkins action figure, mostly out of ignorance that there was a fee, but also to pay homage to a small legacy in my fan based world. Yes, it’s clear that there is magic to be found amongst the dirt, and for eight bucks, you’ll get a free Mission: Impossible 3 cap and pin to boot. Why wouldn’t you go?

Photography by Lindsay Flanagan. Visit her website!


  1. Man. Forget the con. Look at these awesome JOSH pictures!!!!!

  2. Quiet, my ego is showing.