The Top 5 Comic Conventions of 2011

The dust has settled after the whirlwind that was New York Comic-Con. I’ve finally kicked con-crud. All of the Tasty-Kakes Paul brought us have been eaten. And there are several piles of comics and sketches that desperately need to make there way onto bookshelves or into frames.

NYCC is the unofficial end of the convention season, but after attending five cons this year, it’s the official end of the season for me. And there’s an unwritten rule that if you do (or have) five of anything, you must rank and file them into a Top 5 list. So, without further ado…

The Top 5 Comic Conventions of 2011

5. WonderCon
April 1-3, San Francisco


Shh! Don't tell the guys I took the mic!

There were a lot of good things about this trip. It was my first time in California, I actually got to see a bit of San Francisco, I had good times with good friends, and I met some really amazing people. Plus, I have soft spot for anything branded “Wonder”. I almost feel bad putting it in the bottom spot. WonderCon is most well known for its parties – The Walking Dead Bar Crawl and Isotope Party were more fun than I could have imaged. But the convention itself was not great. The panels and special guests weren’t promoted well. The convention floor was a bit dimly and felt a bit seedy. While it wasn’t really cramped, there wasn’t a lot of room. It was obvious the convention was an after thought; people were there for the scene.


4. Comic-Con International
(aka: San Diego Comic-Con, SDCC, the Mother of All Comic-Cons)
July 21-24, San Diego

SDCC 2011

with acomicbookgirl, daccompo, and jurassicalien

Nothing can prepare you for San Diego and its sheer dominance of… well, everything. There’s a humming energy to SDCC. It’s fueled by the tens of thousands of people all there because they love comics. That’s a rare and wonderful thing. But the sensory overload also means you miss a lot. There were people and things I never got to see and it was impossible to focus on anything. Like WonderCon, San Diego is very much a scene; the Hyatt Bar is everything Mike Romo said it would be. I’m very glad to have witnessed it, but I’m not sure I could make SDCC an annual thing.

Also, I got to meet Red Fraggle.


3. FanExpo
August 26-28, Toronto

Fan Expo 2011


Oh Canada! I still kinda miss Toronto. FanExpo was a small convention done well – Artists Alley was easy to navigate, all the comics stuff was in one spot, I got a really awesome Walking Dead messenger bag. After the insanity of SDCC, FanExpo is a much needed laid back show. And the fans who go, go because because they genuinely love comics – or gaming, or horror, or anime. There’s not really a “scene” up there, but that meant more quality time hanging out with friends and fellow geeks. It was just a damn good time.

2. New York Comic Con
October 13-16, New York

NYCC 2011

Reverend Paul Montgomery at the iFanboy table

New York Comic Con kicked my ass this year. And I mean that in the best way possible. Having been to four other conventions, a lot of what there was to see at NYCC I had for the most part already seen earlier this year. Which meant I was able to take it easy and see what I wanted, not what I felt like I had to. Aside from dragging our own Paul Montgomery into the Locke & Key screening (you’d think he didn’t want to go!), I didn’t go to any panels this year. The DC Nation panel, which has been a staple at every show I went to this year, wasn’t on the schedule. While it was usually a forum for fan rage, I can see why DC was hesitant to host one, but I still would have liked to see a post New 52 discussion. Instead I spent most of my time bugging Paul and creators or sitting at a local bar with friends. I will say that the iFanboy Party was the best I’ve been to. The show itself is starting to feel cramped, with the crowds on Saturday being a bit too overwhelming. This show is only going to get bigger, so I’d like to see some better management of the crowds. And I don’t think many people would complain if they moved the Anime Festival to a different weekend to free up the space.


1. C2E2
March 18-20, Chicago

C2E2 2011

Together again for the first time!

C2E2 started with me getting off the plane, going to my hotel, running into Jimski, Kelly Stephenson, and Jeff Reid and giving them all a giant, running-start hug. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend. There were SO many great people I got to meet; I think the largest group of iFanboy staff was at C2E2 (we even got a picture!). And being on the the first conventions of the season, there was a great back-to-school kind of feeling. Thanks to a very generous friend, I was able to stay at the convention center hotel. At the end of each day, pretty much everyone went back to the hotel bar to hang out, which made everything feel kinda like sleep-away camp. C2E2 was the best run show I attended this year. There was a focus on comics, but the convention definitely has appeal for a broader range of geek culture. It’s a large enough to attract really great creators, but small enough that you can walk through the convention floor and not get squashed.

Also, I got to meet Chris Samnee and he called me WonderAli.

I’ve said this before, but the best part of any convention for me is getting to meet and hang out with my fellow iFanbase folks and Twitter friends. It’s always a pleasure meeting these friends face-to-face and sharing in the things we love most. And I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with so many different people in so many different places.

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s quite amazing watching Ron, Josh, and Conor work. Constant professionals, they are the best at what they do. If you mention “iFanboy” at a convention, the response you’re most likely to is “I love those guys!” I’m already thankful and proud to be associated with this site, and going to conventions just doubles that feeling.

So whenever a comic convention rolls into your area, no matter how big or small, GO! And if you can travel to one, even better! At every show I went to, there was a strong, wonderful sense of community that you just can’t get anywhere else. And it’s a privilege to be part of.


  1. i seen things at the ANimeFestival that i cannot unseen. there’s barely anything “anime” about it anyways.

  2. Wondercon also had WONDERTAXI! 😉

    Your enthusiasm for C2E2 has made me decide to devote all my resources to making it there in 2012.

  3. Had a great time at NYCC this year but I don’t think I’ll be back for a while. It was so big and crowded I felt like I needed to take another 2 days off from work when I got back. Plan on going up to Toronto for Fan Expo this summer.

  4. Yes! Fan Expo! We’re No. 3! We’re No. 3!

    This makes me feel a little better about having missed San Diego. Still wish I had been able to go to NYCC, though.

  5. C2E2 does sounds great. Going to Chicago in the middle of March however …

  6. I agree with the comment about NYCC. Time to move Anime fest to another time/venue. It shouldn’t take 20 min to get from Artist Alley to the opposite end of the show floor. I will say that Lance and the rest of the ReedPop crew does a great job with organizing and keeping attendees up to date with what is going on. I just wish 3G and WiFi didn’t suck wind at the Jacobs Javits Center.

  7. Fanexpo is always a blast and it was great finally meeting WonderAli in person there. NYCC is just getting too out of control but it’s definitely the place I get to see the most Twitter friends so it’s worth going down just for that.

    Hoping to make it back to C2E2 this year, I went the first year but haven’t been back since.

  8. Avatar photo JeffR (@JeffRReid) says:

    C2E2 was indeed a blast, Ali. That was my only con this year and it was a good one. It’s very disappointing that I have to wait another 6 months for it to roll around again.

    Sidenote: Paul’s hat is awesome.

  9. I was really sad that I couldn’t make C2E2. Especially considering it was in my back yard practically. Sounded like a blast. But I am definitely making sure to be at the next one!

  10. I hear so many good things about C2E2 and I imagine I should get their sooner rather than later before the buzz about it increases its attendance tenfold. NYCC was awesome, though I agree that Anime Fest needs to move.

  11. Get ready for Denver ComicCon this summer!

  12. Chicago REPRESENT!

  13. Hey Ali, I know there are a lot of conventions to attend, but Emerald City Comicon was pretty fun this year!

    It was the best convention I attended this year.

    (Of course, it’s the ONLY convention I attended, which would also make it the worst I attended too; but let’s keep things positive.)

  14. I have had a blast at C2E2 both years, can’t wait to go again in April. I highly recommend it to anyone who can go.

    • At the age of 27, my first “real” comic convention was the Austin Wizard con last November. I was living in TX at the time, and I had a good time, for what was there. Now, I live in Indy and I have a few friends in Chicago, so I’m making it a priority to go to C2E2 in 2012. I have no excuse not to.

    • That was my first, and only, con too, and had a good time as well. Got a sketch from Rob Guillory and a BADASS Dr Doom statue. Really want to make it a priority to get to a non-Wizard con in the near future though.

  15. I had an absolute blast at FanExpo, and I am already looking forward to next year. I also certainly hope to add “meeting up with iFanboy folks” to my itinerary next year.

  16. You guys that whine about Chicago weather are ridiculous. That’s why people love Chicago. We get to live in a city that is culturally diverse with wonderful central transit and it’s just cold enough to keep the people on Venice beach from ever wanting to live there. For those that love Chicago, I’ll see you at Harry’s Addison way. Oh, and I want to go next year and it would be more fun if it was at a venue closer to city center instead of out by the airport.

  17. I’m so glad C2E2 was your #1 choice. It was the first convention we’ve ever attended and loved it!

  18. I am so glad that “my” con made the top of the list. it was great fun and i completely agree that what made c2e2 so awesome was getting to hang out in real life with folks to hang with on the internet all the time.

    I have every intention of making it a yearly event, and may even get myself to SDCC or NYCC in the next couple of years.

  19. No DragonCon? I assume you must have missed out on that one…

  20. I am beyond jealous about the Red Fraggle thing

  21. Fan Expo was great! Always love for Heroes Con too.

  22. I’m looking forward to C2E2 this spring. I haven’t been to chicago in years.

  23. Not once was I cited as the #1 reason C2E2 was great. Blasphemy! You’re not welcome back!


  24. I don’t know what Poutine is….but I want it!

    I only went to NYCC and it was my first ever con. I had loads of fun and I can see why people like that con over SDCC. SDCC must be enormously expensive if you live in the east coast like me.

    I do feel bad cause I didn’t really get to see anyone except for PraxJarvin and you Ali for like….5 seconds. lol

    Next year for sure I wanna hang out with the lot of you.

  25. well, i’m jealous. I can’t wait til I can go to my first Comic Convention. Hopefully some time next year

  26. ALI, come to Emerald City next year! You can stay at my house!

  27. Also, that staff photo of us is so awesome. I want to frame it and hang it on my wall.

  28. Somebody from the iFanboy crew needs to make it out to Charlotte for the Heroes Convention in June. It’s the 30th anniversary this year. Definitely a fun convention to go to.

  29. I’ve been DYING to go to C2E2, especially after this year reading your ecstatic twitter feed during that weekend. But yeah, NYCC was pretty incredible this year, I always love getting together with everyone.

  30. Ali, this was a fun column. Bums me out I’ve never been to a real con.

    My favorite thing about the picture of you and Jim is how big it makes him looks and how spritely it makes you look. What are your guys’ real heights?

    • all of them are giants. seriously. i was wandering around c2e2 and i saw conner and ron, i remember thinking to myself “my god. they’re so much taller than they seem on the computer.”

    • I’m a quarter inch shy of 5 feet – so there’s a reason I look tiny. Paul, Jim, and Ron are all tall. Josh is definitely not short. And Conor is a tree.

  31. No mention of Con-Boyfriend for Wondercon? *sad* 😉