Rumors started flying at last years Comic-Con International in San Diego about the possibility of Wizard Magazine launching a new convention in the Southern California area. At the time speculation rested on the Anaheim area, home of large convention centers and a couple of pretty well known theme parks. The rumors were partly true and Wizard made a big announcement today.
Wizard Conventions Inc. will launch a major convention on the West Coast at the Long Beach Convention Center, March 19th through the 21st of next year. The convention will be called Wizard World Los Angeles, despite the fact it's being held about an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles. Wizard also runs shows in Philadelphia, Chicago and Texas.
"When we started expanding our events, we always knew that we wanted to be in Los Angeles since its the heart of the comics-to-films movement, and with more films in production than ever before, now is the right time for a Wizard World show in L.A.," Gareb Shamus, Chairman and CEO of Wizard said in a statement. "This new event enables us and our marketing partners to truly reach a national audience through our network of events."
The timing of the announcement is obviously calculated to take advantage of the interest in this week's Comic-Con International in San Diego. Previously rumors were that the planned Wizard Convention would be held close to CCI, directly competing with the event. With Wizard's convention held in March of 2004 and CCI held sometime mid-summer of 2004, the date's won't directly conflict with one another, but certainly the locations will draw similar crowds as well as vendors. The Long Beach convention center is a straight drive up the coast from San Diego, approximately 1 1/2 hours (barring typical Southern California traffic, of course). While there is a monthly comics event held at the Shrine Convention Center in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention, never before has there been a convention of this size held this close to Los Angeles.
The next Wizard World convention will be held in Chicago, August 8th to 10th.