By Jason Delgado
On December 2nd – 4th, 2022, LA Comic Con (LACC) once again graced fans with pop culture Christmas come early! The final attendance of 126,600 is a new record for the Con, besting even pre-pandemic numbers. So, what made this year’s LACC so popular?
In a word, diversity. Fans of comics, movies, television, anime and games were all treated to their interests. The usual pop culture collectibles, booths, and Main Stage were in the South Hall of the LA Convention Center, while the West Hall was expanded to include the ever-growing fandoms of gaming and anime. It was like adding E3 and Anime Expo to an already popular Con. I say, the more, the merrier (except when it comes to parking).
The Friday night of the Con had lighter attendance than the jam-packed Saturday, and ample parking, but the feeling of fun and excitement was still in the air. I felt like a kid again when I got the opportunity to step into the squared-circle with the championship belt and wrestlers Foxxy Fierce and Americana, a couple of the delightful ladies from WOW – the Women of Wrestling.
LA Comic Con featured some of the most delicious food that I’ve ever had at any Con because of the top-notch food trucks that could be found just outside of both main Halls. No matter how cold it gets (and it was cold and rainy on that Friday night!) I must always get some of my all-time favorite vegan ice cream from the Creamy Boys truck, which features New Zealand-style ice cream made from real fruit!
My Friday night was capped off by an incredible pop-up event put on by the famous Islay distillery Ardbeg, called Planet Ardbeg. Coming into the event, I was a bit wary of their attempt to combine whiskey and comics into a 40-page sci-fi anthology, but I was pleasantly surprised by the results!
There was a special Q&A with one of Planet Ardbeg’s creators, Ronald Wimberly and Ardbeg National Ambassador Cameron George, where they discussed the process and inspirations behind the comic, such as the horror/sci-fi based comic line from the 40’s and 50’s called EC comics.
Installations and life-size artwork adorned the three different areas at Planet Ardbeg, where we were told about and given the various whiskey drink ingredients to taste and smell. I must say that the Wee Beastie Float is the tastiest drink I’ve ever had! Try it for yourself by ordering at Ardbeg or via ReserveBar, where fans can also experience the three whiskies the graphic novel is based on: Ten Years Old, An Oa or my favorite, the Wee Beastie.
Saturday morning at LACC kicked off with a special personal achievement, by having the honor of being a guest on Film Threat’s Future Indies You Must See panel, along with esteemed host Chris Gore, my Film Threat Editor-in-Chief Alan Ng, and video content producer Walter Areas. The audience was treated to independent movie trailers, many of them Christmas-themed, such as A Christmas Karen. Not all of them are “must see,” as those who watched the trailer for the hilariously weird Manbaby can attest. Everyone should definitely check out the old-Hollywood-style epic, action-packed Indian Tollywood (Telugu cinema) film RRR though if you haven’t yet!
Chris says that it is a great time to be a filmmaker, because anyone can make a movie with their phone, along with using the special effects and editing software that is available cheaply these days. Independent filmmaking communities online are eager to share tips on whatever is needed, known actors will work for scale and can be contacted on the IMDbPro site, and anyone can send their film to FilmThreat.com to get reviewed, so the sky’s the limit.
I went on a small rant at the end of the panel about the discussion over Tarantino and Scorsese’s comments on Marvel movies because it all comes off as so negative. I think that these extraordinary directors simply long for a time when a more diverse slate of genres was being shown in theaters. As an obsessive fan of film, I get it. I just wish that the discussion had gone in a different way, such as by promoting the great and diverse indie films that hardly anyone even hears about (which are reviewed on Film Threat), as opposed to bashing the wildly popular MCU. The types of films that these guys want back in the theaters are still alive and well in indie land, they’re just not always on the big screen. The only way to change Hollywood is with wallets, so if fans want this kind of content, they should go see independent movies. Scorsese himself was executive producer on the smaller movie The Eternal Daughter. Fans who check out such films will be able to see all of the weird stuff in theaters that used to be popular, such as Donnie Darko (which ironically bombed initially at the box office, but you get my point).
I finished up my time at LACC by watching actor Simu Liu’s panel on the Main Stage. The man is witty, funny, and humble when talking about his success with Marvel’s Shang-Chi. The panel even got emotional when a mother of a small child talked about the humongous impact that the character has had not just on her family, but the entire Asian community. Lui joked that it would be near impossible for the next question to follow that, and true to form, the next person with the microphone asked about “what kind of boba” does he prefer. Lui is excited for his upcoming non-Marvel projects as well, with the animated Star Wars: Visions being the most highly anticipated amongst fans.
I had an amazing time at LA Comic Con, and I can’t wait to see what they have planned next year! Check out ComicConLa.com for details, and to listen to their year-long podcast! Stay nerdy my friends, and keep the discussion going on our Forum!