There's only one way to beat the summer heat — air conditioning, obviously. But do you know what places have air conditioning? Conventions! And they have so many celebrities to meet, things to see, stuff to do, and merchandise to buy as well! Check out our summer guide for the "coolest" cons near you (pun totally intended),
Photo: Getty Images.
Note: These are the biggest cons between May and August (i.e., summer), as they are the ones most people can get to. There's no way to list every smaller con, so please, add your favorite local cons below!
World Horror Convention, May 8-11
Location: Portland, OR
Besides being home to the Bram Stoker Awards, this convention will feature guests of honor like writer Nancy Holder and artist Greg Stamples, but also ghost of honor Edward Gorey. Make sure to stop by the Gotham Masked Ball at night and the Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast in the morning.
Official Site: World Horror 2014
Steampunk World's Fair, May 16-18
Location: Piscataway, NJ
Music, comedy, workshops, more music, burlesque, comedy, and then maybe even some more music — this con has it all, and that includes a session on how to duel people with parasols.
Official Site: Steampunk World's Fair
Anime Central, May 16-18
Location: Rosemont, IL
Located pretty much right next to Chicago, Anime Central is America's third largest anime con. This year features yoshitoshi ABe, a bevy of voice actors, and bands and DJs from both sides of the Pacific ocean, as well as a special concert from famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu.
Official Site: Acen.org
Supanova Sydney, June 13-15
Location: Sydney, Australia
Besides guests from Torchwood, Arrow, The Walking Dead and more, Australia's biggest pop culture con includes karaoke, cosplay chess, game shows and competetions, animation screenings, and an Adventure Time scavenger hunt.
Official Site: Supanova
Japan Expo, July 2-6
Location: Paris, France
France may love anime even more than America does, and their Japan Expo is proof — it had nearly 250,000 attendees last year, and is five days long. It'll be just as packed in 2014 with guests from Studio Ghilbi, Capcom, Bones, Tatsunoko, and more.
Official Site: Japan-Expo.com
Anime Expo, July 3-6
Location: Los Angeles, CA
The original cast of the America adaptation of Sailor Moon reunites for the first time, and famous designer Kimura U holds her first overseas fashion show. Add to that America's largest anime art show, AMV contest and masquerade, and you've got Anime Expo.
Official Site: Anime-Expo
London Film and Comic Con, July 11-13
Location: London, England
London's biggest pop culture con hosts so many guests from Game of Thrones' Natalie Dorner to Doctor Who's Paul McGann to Powers Rangers' Bulk and Skull, not to mention countless artists, authors and more. Come for the autographs, then stay because it celebrates pretty much every single nerdy thing you love.
Official Site: London Film and Comic Con
San Diego Comic-Con, July 24-27
Location: San Diego, CA
Not may people have heard of this little-known west coast convention, and yet if you haven't already gotten registered, you're probably screwed. It's gotten too big for its britches, but there's no other place to see exclusive movie footage, the biggest announcements, and the most stars.
Official Site: Comic-con.org
Official Star Trek Convention, June 6-8
Location: Las Vega, NV
Shatner. Bakula. Brooks. Mulgrew. Greenwood. Those are only the Captains appearing at the year's biggest Trek convention; there are too many others, from the series and the movies alike, to list here. But there's also a special concert by the Nevada Pops Orchestra, a special Trek tour which inclides a visit to the location where Shatner shot his death scene in Generations, parties, and more.
Official Site: Star Trek 2014 Vegas
Otakon, Aug. 8-10
Location: Baltimore, MD
Otakon isn't as fancy as Anime Expo, but it's often a lot more fun. Being a fan-run convention means that it's less a chance for companies trying to sell you stuff, but more a celebration of fandom (although there's still plenty to buy).
Official Site: Otakon
Worldcon, Aug. 14-18
Location: London, UK
Also known as Loncon 3 (note the location), the World Science Fiction Convention will celebrate its 72nd anniversary this year with over 100 guests in the scifi and fantasy fields, including George R.R. Martin, who isn't even a guest of honor. That's how insanely big WorldCon is.
Official Site: Loncon3.org
Comiket, Aug. 15-17
Location: Tokyo, Japan
As big as all these other convention are, they pale in comparison to Japan's Comic Market. Almost 600,000 people attended Comiket last year — that's almost five times as many as last year's San Diego ComicCon! And it's all for the chance to look at and purchase fan-created comics (including naughty ones). (Image: Danny Russell.)
Official Site: Comiket
Gen Con, Aug. 15-18
Location: Indianapolis, IN
If you like gaming — and I mean all gaming, not just videogaming — then Gen Con is your ultimate destination. Besides the table-tole role-playing, collective card gaming, and everything in-between, aspiring writers should attend the Writers Symposium and meet The Dresden Files' Jim Butcher.
Official Site: Gen Con
Fan Expo Canada, Aug. 28-31
Location: Toronto, Canada
The greatest con north of the border will host Nathan Fillion and Bruce Campbell, as well as a bevy of The Walking Dead stars. If you're looking for comics, cosplay, or the Canadian steampunk scene, there's only one place to be.
Official Site: Fan Expo Canada
Dragon Con, Aug. 29-Sep. 1
Location: Atlanta, GA
Dragon Con bills itself as the biggest pop culture convention in the universe, and… well, they're probably right. The sheer amount of stars, authors, artists, actors, Power Rangers, etc. is astounding, and the events range from the annual Dragon Con parade to a burlesque show to a special Dragon Con night at an Atlanta Braves game. Dragon Con: The one, the only. (Image: Norman Chan)
Official Site: Dragoncon.org