Conventions in the world of Geek typically consist of three days of non stop madness, as hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate their passions – without getting beaten, laughed at or locked up inside gym lockers. There’s cosplaying, panels, workshops, booths, and even the chance to take a picture with your favorite writer, actor, hero, designer and so on.
Ever since geek went chic, these Cons have been bursting at the seams and attendance is steadily growing year on year. The following 14 are some of the most popular geek conventions around the world!
14. Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo – 53,000
Also known as C2E2, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo started in April of 2010 and focuses on manga, anime, video games, toys, television, and movies. Dozens of professional and amateur comic book artists have attended the convention with over 53,000 fans attracting celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame.
13. Gen Con – 56,614
Gen Con is the largest table-top game convention in North America held in Indianapolis, Indiana and includes a multitude of games from board games, pen-and-paper, card games, and more. If you can play it on a table, it’s at Gen Con.
12. Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo – 65,000
In 2011, Stan Lee put together a massive convention that attracted fans of anime, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and gaming held over a course of three days in Los Angeles, California. In its first year alone, Comikaze Expo had 35,000 attendees. In 2014, attendance was up to 65,000.
11. Wizard World Chicago – 70,000
Not to be confused with the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Wizard World Chicago was founded in 1972 and held over a course of three days in the summer. It is one of the larger comic book conventions in North America and attracts over 70,000 attendees each year.
10. Emerald City Comicon – 70,000
The Emerald City Comicon is an annual convention held in Seattle, Washington with a focus on comic book culture. It’s the largest geek convention in the state of Washington and is held over the course of three days. The event has had to move locations on a regular basis due to the growing number of attendees each year and the consequent need for a bigger, more suitable space.
9. PAX Prime – 70,000
PAX is short for the Penny Arcade eXpo and is a series of gaming festivals held in different cities such as San Antonio, Melbourne, Boston, and Seattle. PAX Prime is held in Seattle, Washington each year and was started by the writers of the Penny Arcade webcomic, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik. The event has grown so popular that different cities started to host their own PAX events.
8. AnimeExpo – 80,000
AnimeExpo is an annual anime convention held in Los Angeles, California boasting over 80,000 attendees in 2014. The convention is held on the weekend of July 4th and stretches over four days. Although it has been held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in the last few years, this convention has also been hosted in New York, Anaheim, and Tokyo, to name just a few.
7. Anime Festival Asia – 82,000
In Southeast Asia, there are a series of anime conventions which fall under the umbrella of the Anime Festival Asia, held during a weekend in November. The festival has been held in cities in Singapore and Indonesia. If you’re into anime, this is definitely the convention to attend.
6. Otakon – 109,000
Otakon is held in Baltimore, Maryland at the Baltimore Convention Center. Each year, Baltimore sees three days of anime, manga, movies, and music. With over 109,000 attendees, Otakon is one of the longest running anime conventions in the United States and was the second biggest anime convention in 2013.
5. AnimeJapan – 111,252
AnimeJapan is probably the youngest convention on this list, as it just started in 2014 at the Tokyo Big Sight in Tokyo, Japan. Although it’s less than a year old, it certainly started with a bang with attendee numbers at over 111,000. The event was an iconic merger of the famous Tokyo International Anime Fair and the Anime Contents Expo.
4. Japan Expo – 240,000
If there’s anyone who knows how to host a geek convention, it’s the city of Paris, France. Japan Expo started in 1999 and has grown to host over 240,000 attendees each year. The event lasts for five days and has everything from panels, cosplays, demonstrations, celebrity meet and greets, vendor tables, and more. I
3. Lucca Comics & Games – 240,000
While you’re in the hills of Tuscany, not only can you enjoy the stunning landscape of Italy, but you can also attend one of the largest comic book and gaming conventions in the world. Starting in 1966, Lucca Comics & Games was originally called Salone Internazionale del Comics and has grown steadily over the years..
2. gamescom – 335,000
Held in Cologne, Germany each year, gamescom is the world’s largest gaming convention and event. With over 335,000 attendees from 88 countries, 6,000 journalists, and over 700 exhibitors, it is a highly anticipated annual event. Gamescom started in 2009, and grows each year thanks to hosting representatives from almost every major video game publisher. It’s a win-win for both game developers and attendees.
1. Comiket – 590,000
The name “Comiket” is the abbreviated version of the full name, “Comic Market.” Starting in 1975 with only 600 attendees, Comiket has grown to have over 590,000 attendees and the event is now held twice a year. People have actually lined up at the doors of the convention’s location days in advance so they can get first dibs on buying different products, although the city of Tokyo has tried to ban the practice due to the problems the crowds present to the city.