Anaheim Comic Con: A Comic Con That's Actually Happening in Anaheim

Though it's looking increasingly less likely that prior rumblings of globally gigantic Comic-Con International moving from San Diego to Anaheim will come true, Anaheim does have a comic convention of their own to look forward to: this weekend's inaugural, aptly named Anaheim Comic Con, taking place April 16-18.

Yes, the same weekend as Coachella, with organizers clearly not figuring on an overlap--even though, say, Gorillaz co-mastermind Jamie Hewlett co-created Tank Girl, among his other comic book work.

For years, there's been complaints that Comic-Con International in San Diego was becoming too much about movies, TV and video games, with actual comics getting a smaller and smaller stake of the event (though it still attracts more comic book publishers than any other convention). Anaheim Comic Con, though, doesn't seem too concerned about comic books at all. Take a look at their site and what they're promoting--yeah, you've got the Stan Lee appearance, somewhat obligatory for a Southern California convention, but the next billed announcement is...Shannen Doherty. No, really. Also, her Charmed co-star Holly Marie Combs.

Following that, an entire page is dedicated to the fact that Adrianne Curry--mmhmm, the Adrianne Curry, the reality show lady that married Peter Brady and not only the first America's Next Top Model winner, but the only one you've ever heard of--is going to be there, dressed as Leeloo, the character Mila Jovovich played in 1997's The Fifth Element. Yeah.

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What else do they have going on? A Saturday afternoon Q&A with William Shatner, a Saturday evening screening of the movie version of Comedy Central's execrable, otherwise forgotten Drawn Together, a Sunday session with Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld writer David Mandel. Nothing against any of those activities, and some of them sound pretty awesome--Saturday boasts a 30th anniversary Q&A with Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner and Billy Dee "Lando" Williams, a panel with the Futurama voice cast and a reunion of '60s Batman stars including Adam West and Burt Ward--but it all has very little to do with actual comic books, though there will be plenty of dealers like LA's Golden Apple.

A major contributing factor for the lack of comics presence is the fact that there's another convention this weekend on the very same dates, C2E2 in Chicago. It's also the first year for that convention, but it's produced by the same folks who put on the popular, annual New York Comic Con. C2E2 is where the major publishers--your Marvels, your DCs--will all be at.

Anaheim Comic Con is produced by Wizard Magazine, who from 2004 to 2008 put on the now-defunct Wizard World LA convention, which took place its first two years at the Long Beach Convention Center and last three years at the Los Angeles Convention Center. C2E2 was already on the books when Anaheim Comic Con was announced last July, raising eyebrows that Wizard might me acting predatory in its scheduling. Those eyebrows turned to full-fledged suspicion in October, when Wizard scheduled their Big Apple Con, at Pier 94 in midtown Manhattan, the same weekend as the New York Comic Con, taking place about a mile away at the Javits Center.

Comic book superstar Brian Michael Bendis was announced in August as an Anaheim Comic Con guest of honor, and later reported two months ago that he wouldn't be there. "There's just stuff going on behind the scenes I don't want to be part of," Bendis wrote on his message board.

Still, though, Anaheim Comic Con will have Mickey Rooney. So, y'know. There's that.

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