To Boldly Go…: The 10 Biggest Geek Conventions in the World
Not that long-ago fan conventions were the punchlines in jokes about nerds who were passionately devoted to science fiction and fantasy TV shows, books, and movies. But now fan conventions are a big business and essential to the success of some of the grandest TV shows and movies.
Every major movie and TV studio presents panels. They also maintain a major presence at cons like San Diego Comic Con to court the sci fi, horror, and fantasy fans who now represent the majority of entertainment consumers.
As fandoms explode in popularity, specialized cons that bring together fans of all facets of nerd culture – from anime to superheroes – are popping up everywhere. And fans who have been ignored for decades by mainstream movie and TV studios are flocking to the cons to meet other fans, cosplay as their favorite characters, and let the movie and TV studios know that fandoms are what determines the success of a movie or TV show in the modern world. Here’s a quick look at 10 of the most popular geek cons.
10. PAX Prime
Started by the creators of the Penny Arcade webcomic, PAX Prime, or PAX West, is one of the newer cons that has become a must attend for nerds. Started in 2004, PAX is usually held on the last weekend in August or the first weekend of September in Seattle, Washington. While PAX Prime is Penny Arcade’s flagship convention, Penny Arcade also runs PAX conventions in Boston, San Antonio, and Australia throughout the year.
Focused mostly on gaming, PAX Prime gives attendees a chance to see what is coming out in the coming year, cosplay as their favorite characters, connect with developers and game companies, and compete against other elite gamers playing their favorite games. PAX Prime draws about 70,000 gamers each year.
9. Walker Stalker Con Atlanta
Another a relatively new con, Walker Stalker Con is the only Walking Dead focused horror con. There are now Walker Stalker Cons in every major city in the U.S. – and in London too! But Atlanta is the home of the first Walker Stalker Con and the Atlanta con is usually the most popular.
The stars of the show are available for photos and autographs. They also participate in panels. Other guests include horror icons and special effects gurus, as well as cast and creators of other horror themed TV shows and movies. Walker Stalker Con Atlanta draws more than 50,000 fans of Walking Dead each year and the numbers continue to grow.
Otakon is an anime con originally held in Baltimore, Maryland, now relocated to Washington, D.C., each year in the summer. Although it does center around anime, Otakon celebrates all of Asian pop culture including manga, music, and films. As one of the largest anime conventions in North America, Otakon usually has more than 100,000 attendees who come to cosplay, find collectibles, and meet other anime fans.