Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Comics And The Real World

Graham Clark |
February 9, 2014 | 7:16 p.m. PST

Staff Cartoonist

Rare and unusual titles abound at the convention, including this unauthorized copy of "Filipino Spiderman" on DVD. (Stephan Grandjean for Neon Tommy)
Rare and unusual titles abound at the convention, including this unauthorized copy of "Filipino Spiderman" on DVD. (Stephan Grandjean for Neon Tommy)
It's one of the few places Stan Lee definitely won't make a cameo appearance.

At the Los Angeles Comic Book And Science Fiction Convention, profit margins are low. The coolest merch here sells for hundreds of dollars, not thousands. Revenue comes mostly from dollar bin comics, Ziploc-bagged action figures and bootleg discs.

The event's organizer recently reeled in plans for future occurances, leaving some attendees wondering if the end is near. Previous conventions featured Keanu Reeves, Vin Diesel, Jackie Chan, Christian Bale and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The biggest celebrity guest onsite this time is Neil Kaplan, voice of Gluto, a gangster-ified giant frog monster on "Power Rangers Time Force."

Yet there's something to be said for the small-scale style of Sunday's convention. It's got more in common with the real-world, day-to-day nature of subculture fandom than international events. Comics, Anime and video game fans don't have to dress up in elaborate costumes to consume their favorite media, here discussions and purchases were conducted almost entirely in t-shirts and jeans.

Besides slinging merch at this convention, Tracy Dearing has made a name for herself as the blogger and body behind Hot Nerd Girl. She said smaller crowds mean more  interaction with actual members of the cultural community: "You can really look through the comic books and look at the toys, whereas at the San Diego Comic Con comics have kind of taken a back seat. So I really appreciate the, kind of, smaller conventions like this."

At that, her friend Hayden Lawrence, a.k.a. the Geek Outlaw, was moved to speak up: "But there is something to be said for dressing up like superheroes when it's not Halloween out."

Reach Staff Cartoonist Graham Clark here. Follow him on Twitter here.




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