Now that we're a few days into 2012, it's a good time to think about making plans to attend a comic or anime convention this year.
Whether you're a 'con vet' or you're new to the convention scene, or if you prefer anime cons vs. comic cons vs. "indie" comics events, there's an event near you that's worth checking out. See my freshly-updated 2012-2013 Anime and Comics Convention Calendar, and see what's on the schedule (so far). If you're looking for fun close to home, check out my listing of U.S. and international conventions
that list shows by U.S. regions and states, as well as international shows listed by country.
So what's on my schedule this year? Well, I live in Northern California, so I'm pretty fortunate that there are several noteworthy conventions on the West Coast that are relatively easy for me to check out. I'm still sorting out my plans, but here are my must-sees for 2012.
Toronto Comic Arts Festival
May 5-6, 2012
Toronto Reference Library
Toronto, Ontario - CANADA
TCAF is one of my all-time favorite shows. It's an artists-centric show, so the focus is squarely on comics creators and publishers (vs. games/toys/movies). Many publishers debut new books here, and in recent years, TCAF has attracted some top talent from Japan, like Yoshihiro Tatsumi (A Drifting Life), Natsume Ono (House of Five Leaves), and Usamaru Furuya (No Longer Human). The TCAF crew always put on a fun, well-run show, and it's always well worth the trip to Toronto.
May 25 - 28, 2012
San Jose McEnery Convention Center
San Jose, California
Now that Wondercon has moved to Anaheim for 2012, it looks like Fanime will be the main comics event in the San Francisco Bay Area this year. Fanime is one of the longest-running anime cons around, so it attracts a lot of fans, a lot of amazing cosplayers, and more often than not, a few top talents from Japan.
June 29 - July 1, 2012
Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California
I skipped Anime Expo last year to save my efforts/resources for San Diego Comic-Con, so I'm not totally sure if I'll be making the trip south this year either. But for many West Coast fans, Anime Expo is *the* show to check out. While they haven't announced their guest list yet, AX tends to book a full roster of top-notch anime and J-pop talent from Japan and the U.S.
San Diego Comic-Con International
July 12 - 15, 2012
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, California
The big 'un! San Diego Comic-Con is one of the biggest, busiest, and most exciting comics/pop culture shows in North America -- and as such, it's almost gotten too big, too popular, too crazy for some folks to stomach. Hollywood previews hot flicks, game companies preview major new releases, and yes, even manga publishers join in the fun by hosting some top talent from Japan too. I love Comic-Con and can't imagine missing it, ever -- but it's not for everyone. If you do decide to make the trip, be sure to plan ahead, because this event sells out months in advance.
With its movie premiers, and loads of top comics creators and publishers filling its exhibit halls, New York Comic-Con is swiftly turning into the East Coast counterpart to San Diego Comic-Con. While NYCC / NYAF is a must-see for me, this year, it's on the same weekend as the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, so this'll be a tough decision...
Usually sometime in October 2012
Somewhere in Southern California
YaoiCon 2012 marks a time of big changes for this long-running boys love manga/anime show. For one thing, Digital Manga Publishing is taking over the reigns, and is moving this San Francisco Bay Area show to Southern California. Things are still being sorted out, but as things stand now, I'm planning on making the trip to check it out. (oh please, don't be on the same weekend as NYCC/NYAF!!)
I'm still on the fence about a few other shows -- so put me down as a maybe for Emerald City Comic-Con, Sakura-Con, MoCCA Festival, Stumptown Comics Festival, SPX, and Wondercon. If I win a few extra bucks in the lottery this year, I'd sure love to check out Comic Market (Comiket) in Tokyo or Angouleme Festival in France.
So what's on your con schedule this year? What shows would you love to check out if you had the chance? Add your comments below!
Image credits: © Deb Aoki, © Toronto Comic Arts Festival, © Deb Aoki