Fandom Convention Love

Photo: Shannon Cottrell/L.A. Weekly, taken at Anime Expo, 2010.

Over at LA Weekly, I write primarily for Style Council, our arts blog. I almost always work with photographer Shannon Cottrell. Together we cover everything from local artists to nightclubs. What we've possibly become known for covering, though, are fandom conventions.

Shannon and I met about two years ago, when we were paired together for the same assignment. Then, at one point I said something to her like, "Hey, want to go to Anime LA with me? There will be lots of cosplayers. You'll get cool photographs."

I'm admittedly an anime nerd, so I had been to Anime LA before, and to a few other cons. Shannon had been to Comic-Con, but hadn't attended any anime events. I'm not sure if either of us knew what was going to happen that weekend. But by the end of it, we had become reporting partners and developed a serious con addiction. Our mission, henceforth, was to scout out every convention, plus fan gatherings in between conventions, and cover them. That summer, we scored our geek fantasy assignments—Anime Expo and San Diego Comic-Con International—and the obsession grew worse.

Initially, it was the cosplay and fan art that drew us into the con scene. We were amazed by the imagination and skill we saw throughout the hotel where Anime L.A. was held. But cons quickly became much more than that for us. There's much more to fandom conventions than cosplay and big industry announcements. As we continue our journey, we try to bring what we find to readers.

We've also met a lot of great people at the events, from bloggers to artists, and kept in touch with them during the downtime. The people we meet through our Southern California con travels have become our guides as we venture further into the scene. They're a source of inspiration for us.

I hope to introduce you to a few of them over the next week.

Related reading over at LA Weekly:
San Diego Comic-Con 2010
Anime Expo 2010