L.A. Comic Con 2022
Follow L.A. Comic Con
It felt odd to be at the Los Angeles Convention Center for an event other than Anime Expo. Having only ever visited that venue for AX, it’s a bit of a Twilight Zone or alternate reality experience. It has much the same layout with the vendor hall, panels, cosplay and food vendors, but instead of anime everywhere and the AX-themed marketing, it’s a comic con.
The LA Comic Con is a smaller convention compared to Anime Expo and it feels much less crowded. That’s a good thing for the average attendee who wants to peruse the vendor hall and maybe see some of the cool guests.
“Smaller” is a relative term of course, and LA Comic Con is still quite large as comic conventions go. AX is a beast of a convention and one of the largest fan conventions in the US. There’s not much of a comparison other than the venue. While AX fills the entire venue with people everywhere, LA Comic Con has plenty of room to spread out. Take a look at my video and see how much empty space there was to move around and film. The lower Kentia hall is completely unused and the outdoor areas are essentially vacant. I spend 90% of my time at Anime Expo filming at the “horseshoes” area outside. For LA Comic Con it’s an off-limits valet parking area for the neighboring Crypto.com arena. It’s nothing to do with the weather. It was surprisingly almost the same temperature in December as it was in July, hovering around the low to mid 70’s F. You gotta love that LA weather!
Outside of the aforementioned vendor hall and panels there was this whole anime area in the west exhibit hall which I didn’t even explore. As someone who prioritizes filming cosplayers, I just didn’t take a lot of time to look around. I didn’t even spend much time in the vendor hall. While vendors halls are more or less the same from con to con, it did seem like there were a lot of fun things to see and people to meet. There was an area dedicated to cosplayers and other influencer types, if that’s your thing. There were some surprising booths like the LA library and some that seemed like they were promoting health products. Those aren't the kind of booths I see at other conventions, but I guess the show runners would rather have odd booth vendors than empty ones.
It was also odd to be there during the winter. It actually rained a couple of times, which is unusual for socal. There was an ice skating rink in the nearby shopping area, which was pretty neat with all the Christmas decorations and lights. It got dark outside a little after 4 pm and the south hall lobby felt a lot like a cave. It’s surprisingly dark for such a public area. Had I not brought a bright video light I would have been forced to move to better illuminated areas or to the brightly lit vendor hall to film. I personally don’t like filming in vendor halls because of how crowded they are. Also the lighting, while bright, is all downlight and often a mix of color temperatures and a source of flicker.
The things which I appreciate about this convention are the lower attendance and ease of access to celebrities. There were many guests in attendance including Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, and Simu Liu (Shang Chi). William Shatner was there and you could just walk up to the stage and see him talk. The stage was at the center back of the vendor hall, open for everyone to see. At Dragon Con you would have had to wait in a long line which wrapped around the building and then maybe not even make it inside due to capacity limitations. While there were some queues for entry due to LA Convention Center security, they shrunk pretty quickly after the doors opened. The hall had late hours on Friday of 4 – 9 pm, which is great for people getting off work. There were no vaccination or masks requirements either, which greatly simplified things. It seems like it’s just a handful of anime conventions that are still holding on to COVID 19 precautions, but I expect those to eventually go away as we get into 2023.
All in all, LA Comic Con is worth a look if you’re in the socal area and want a fun weekend. Badges are easy to get and relatively affordable. There’s no need to worry about scorching hot weather or extremely long lines. It’s large enough to have a lot of vendors and guests, but not enough to overwhelm you and wear you out by waiting in long lines.
For those interested in cosplay, there's plenty of that to be had. Whether you enjoy people watching or participating in cosplay, it’s a great place for both. The lobby is spacious and can easily accommodate group cosplays and photography setups. A couple of photographers had backdrops and lights on stands setup along an unused wall. I used my light on a stand the whole weekend and no one said a word about it. Some venues have rules about these things and will ask you to move if they think it’s a problem. If you schedule photo shoots you literally have the entire venue open to you, other than the horseshoes area. I even got a couple of shots outside after it rained that looked really cool.