Those who know me know that I typically need things planned ahead of time. I am not spontaneous. But when our founder, Shannon Parola, offered to get me a press pass for L.A. Comic-Con as my first big assignment with The Game of Nerds, I could not resist the call to adventure. Living in Southern California, I have been attending conventions like L.A. Comic-Con, WonderCon, and San Diego Comic-Con since I was thirteen, but this was my first time attending as a press member. Admittedly, I was nervous. I had always attended these conventions with family and friends, so I was worried about attending alone. But Shannon was so encouraging, and, as a writer, I saw this as an opportunity I couldn’t pass on and said yes

Thanks to our excellent relationship with the convention staff, I was approved as press Friday night, and Saturday morning, I packed my bag, got dressed, and hit the road for Los Angeles. L.A. traffic can be brutal, but parking can be much worse. It took me an extra thirty minutes to get to my reserved parking spot with SpotHero. My advice would be to do what I did and reserve a spot with parking reservation services like SpotHero because they saved my butt. I parked and headed to the convention center dressed as Ash Ketchum, feeling like a happy ball of anxious energy. 

Predictably, there was security at the front doors and inside checking bags. I explained I was there to pick up my press pass, and security let me in without a problem. I went to the Press/Industry booth, asked for Sahara, and was provided my badge. I mixed in with the crowd and headed to the main floor, knowing exactly where I wanted to be first. Before every convention, I check the Exhibitor List and make mental notes of every booth I want to visit before I start wandering mindlessly. The first visit on the agenda and a significant reason I dropped everything to come to L.A. was WEBTOON. If you need to become more familiar with WEBTOON, check out my WEBTOON Explained article, explaining the platform and my experience with it. 

I missed their main panel because I got caught up in traffic, so I beelined for their booth and ended up connecting with the staff to propose a TGON/WEBTOON collaboration series featuring WEBTOON comic creators and WEBTOON-related news. WEBTOON was thrilled by the idea, so anticipate future articles featuring fan-favorite WEBTOON creators. I am thrilled with the idea of this collaboration, and I cannot wait to start, but let’s move on to the rest of my Comic-Con adventure. 

During my two days in L.A., I met the creators of WEBTOON ORIGINALS Eaternal Noctural, Suitor Armor, and Castle Swimmer. I loved meeting the creators responsible for three of my favorite webcomics. I even enjoyed waiting in line because it allowed me to chat with fellow convention attendees. While I waited to meet the creator of Castle Swimmer, I met a girl that designed her own Castle Swimmer sweatshirt, and the creator loved it so much that she signed it. I talked to the same girl afterward, and this turned out to be her first comic convention. I loved her enthusiasm. It reminded me of my first time at a comic convention over ten years ago. 

Next, I visited the following booth: The Hero’s Journal. I was thrilled to meet the co-founders, Kyle and Nick, and learn more about their products designed to help geeky and indecisive people like me that are looking for a bit of adventure in their daily lives. They showcased their classic hybrid/planners and sidequest decks. I was especially interested in the sidequest decks because a card a day seemed like a perfect way to start each day. I left with their Istoria Magic Academy – SideQuest Deck.

Brandi with @theherosjournal co-founders Nick and Kyle. Photo Source: Brandi Ortiz from The Game of Nerds

Not far from The Hero’s Journal booth, I came across another fun-looking booth showcasing a fantasy series called The Last Lumenian. Being a geek for fantasy and a wannabe author, I was happy to approach the booth. I talked with the author S.G. Blaise and loved how she described her story. This was her first time exhibiting at L.A. Comic-Con, and being a writer myself; her success story inspired me. 

After visiting more mainstream booths, as per tradition for visiting every convention, I spent a good hour or two lurking Artist Alley, where the artists, writers, and comic creators gathered to showcase their work. I loved seeing all the different art styles and learning about the stories folks here had to tell. Two particular booths in the Artist Alley caught my eye. 

Artist and illustrator Greg Jones ran the first booth, selling cross-over art from animes like Naruto, One Piece, and Pokémon. What particularly caught my eye at his booth was an illustration of Monkey D Luffy with a Monfero. I loved the style, and it reminded me of how I nicknamed my first starter Pokémon, Chimchar, Luffy. Greg and I then talked about how we nicknamed Pokémon from our past. Talking with him excited me to return home, play Pokémon Scarlet, and return to my Quaxly. Yes, I picked the duck. Don’t judge me!

The next thing that caught my eye was a 3D-printed Cubone skull designed by Sheri Jordan, otherwise known as Sanjicat. Sheri and I talked when some random guy tried being funny by insulting my mother and me while I remained completely oblivious. However, Sheri was not ignorant of his insults and kindly convinced him to leave me and her booth alone. I hated guys like that that wandered Comic-Con, but I loved that Sheri stood up for me. If I were to have one complaint about Comic-Con, it would be the weirdos mixed in with the good people genuinely looking for a fun time. Sheri and I shared a bit more conversation, and eventually, I left with a new decor for my room. 

At the end of the last day, I attended a panel called “Writing for Animation: Getting In and Staying in.” I loved listening to experienced animation writers and wanted to learn from them. In less than an hour, I learned that spec scripts are vital for any screenwriter’s portfolio and that to be a writer, I must read. There was more, of course, but I won’t be spilling any Hollywood trade secrets. By the end of the panel, I was ready to go home and write. Overall, I LOVED this year’s L.A. Comic-Con. I loved the variety of costumes and was thrilled when I recognized the characters being cosplayed. Harley Quinn. Princess Peach. Bowsette. Juliet from Lolipop Chainsaw. Mima from Perfect Blue. Persephone from Lore Olympus. I loved seeing how much people pooled into their costumes because it showed their passion for this three-day weekend. I loved talking to the different creators in Artist Alley and admiring their work. True, things like Comic-Con are not for everyone. I have met plenty of people who think Comic-Con is stupid and a waste of money, but when I walk around and see how excited people are, I forget the haters and have fun.