Comic Arts Los Angeles (CALA) held their first show in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday December 6, 2014 from 10am to 6 pm (twitter @ComicArtsLA). Any time there is a comic show here in the Los Angeles area, I try to swing by to see what is happening, particularly inaugural shows (and the free admission didn’t hurt either).
I am not enamored with the date selection, December is a very busy time for me, so I was only able to spare a quick visit. I understand that there are shows seemingly every weekend but I would love it if they moved this show to sometime in January. As near as I can remember they would have a fairly empty slate of competition in Southern California until the Long Beach Expo at the end of February.
Overall I had a very favorable impression of the show. The place was loaded with volunteers swarming around. It was on the second floor but there were 2 volunteers on the sidewalk directing people on the street and handing out the show program. I was unfamiliar with the gallery space but I do spend time in downtown. This was right by Santee Alley which boasts a wide selection of vendors selling their fabrics, toys, purses, perfumes and just about everything else.
This was just about 100% artists show as opposed to the normal mix of artists and vendors. Sorry kids, no long box diving here. One polarizing feature of the show is that with a certain sort of artist crowd, there is almost no hard selling going on. Many of us veterans of haunting the artists alley have heard our share of aggressive pitches. I don’t know if it was my appearance very early in the day or the nature of the exhibitors but I had to approach them to engage. But I’m fine with either style, so enjoyed just cruising by the tables and missing out on the hard sell approach I get at some cons.
It was a one floor affair with the panel room in the back. It reminded me of Bent Con in that I saw very few of the same artists that haunt the “normal” comic book convention scene (Long Beach, WonderCon, Comikaze, etc) which is a good thing as it gives an opportunity to interact with lots of new and different creators. In fact, one artist, Andrea Bell, came out all the way from Chicago. I bought a short stack of books from several different tables. Since my tastes run more to the comic book end of things I was happy that there was plenty there for me, but for those of other persuasions, there were plenty of other types of product on hand also. Due to other commitments later in the day, I was unable to stay long enough to attend any of the programming but I plan to go back next time for a longer stint. This was definitely a show worth my time.
Andrew Sanford for https://comicspectrum.com/
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