Geeky conventions not to miss in 2012

Start planning your geek con pilgrimages for 2012 now. Star Trek, Star Wars, LEGO, gaming, anime, and cosplay fans will not be disappointed in this year's events schedule.

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) offers a fun glimpse of technologies to come, though many geeks don't find the event as interesting as comics, gaming, and science fiction and fantasy Cons. We know you'll want to get tickets to your favorite Cons early, so this list of some of the biggest geek conventions of 2012 should help with your trip planning.

January 28-29: New Orleans Comic Con at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. This year's headliners include Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, comic creator Stan Lee, and a Jedi fighting workshop with Nick Gillard. February 17-19: MegaCon at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Headliners include Tom Felton (from Harry Potter), Stan Lee, and Greg Capullo. March 10-11: Brickworld Indy at the Indiana Convention in Indianapolis, IN. This celebration of building blocks is fun for children and adults. March 16-18: WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. This year's guests include Wil Wheaton, Carol Lay, and Mike Mignola. March 30-April 1: I-CON 00031 will be held on Stony Brook University campus in Stony Brook, NY. Special guests for this science fiction and fantasy event include author David Weber, anime star Robert Axelrod, and Dalek master Steve Gostelow. March 30-April 1: Emerald City Comic Con at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA. Celebrating its 10th anniversary with special guests Scott Campbell, Colleen Coover, and Eddie Harris of Scooby Doo fame. April 6-8: PAX East in Boston, MA. Three-day badges are already sold out, so get your tickets soon if you want to attend. The schedule isn't finalized yet, but it's PAX -- it's bound to be great. April 14-15: Toronto Comic Con at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. Guests of honor include the cast from the hit show Being Human, Colin Ferguson from Eureka, and Eisner Award Hall of Famer Marv Wolfman. April 27-29: Penguicon will be held in Dearborn, MI. Science fiction fans, Linux users, programmers, and gamers will in attendance for this event, which will have a Geek Prom, a Masquerade Costume Contest, Lego City, special guests and presenters, and more. Thanks to TechRepublic member Myself248 for the tip. May 25-27: Forge gaming and comics convention at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, KY. Forge is new, and offers a couple features that other Cons don't usually have. For starters, the vendor floor will be free to the public. Forge will have RPGs, CCGs, LARPs, and other games. Players will earn experience points from playing games that can be used for "perks". Experience points will carry over from year to year. Plus, the Bluegrass State is usually warm and green at the end of May, and Lexington has great food. May 25-28: World Steam Expo will be held in Dearborn, MI. The steampunk event includes a costume contest, a high tea, an art show, and more. Thanks to TechRepublic member Myself248 for the tip. June 1-3: Philadelphia Comic Con at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Featured guests include Bruce Campbell & "The Evil Dead" 30th Anniversary Celebration and William Shatner. June 1-3: A-Kon 23 is an anime convention in Dallas that will include cosplay, celebrity guests, music, and much more. Thanks to TechRepublic member afuentesjr for the tip. June 13-17: Brickworld Chicago at the Westin Hotel in Wheeling, IL. You can attend workshops, see amazing LEGO creations, and more. June 29-July 2: Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA. This Con features dedicated CosPlay events, a charity auction, and autograph session. Guests are to be announced. June 29-July 2: Florida Supercon at the Miami Airport Convention Center in Miami, FL. Headliners include Howard Chaykin, Tony Bedard, and Dana Snyder (the voice of Master Shake in the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force). July 12-15: ComicCon at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA. Guests and programs are to be announced, but ComicCon always sells out quickly, so if you want to go this year, you'll need to pay attention and make reservations as soon as they are available (no date on that yet). August 3-5: Shore Leave 34 is a fan-run science-fiction convention that will be held in Baltimore. Celebrity guests include Kate Mulgrew and LeVar Burton. Thanks to TechRepublic members collins5ed and julie.ann.harris for the tip. August 9-12: Official Star Trek Convention at the Rio Suites Hotel in Las Vegas. Guests include William Shatner, Avery Brooks, and Kate Mulgrew. Other locations and dates are also available for this convention. August 9-12: Chicago Comic Con at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Celebrity guests include Bruce Campbell, William Shatner, Sam Trammell (True Blood), and Hayden Panettiere (Heroes). August 16-19: Gen Con Indy will be held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. This will be the 45th anniversary of the wildly popular gaming Con. Reservations open at Noon (Eastern) on January 31st. Thanks to TechRepublic member mbkavka and many other readers who reminded us that we left this event off our list. August 17-19: Official Stargate Convention at the Westin O'Hare in Chicago, IL. Headliners include Joe Flanigan and Robert Picardo. Other locations and dates are also available for this convention. August 23-26: Star Wars Celebration VI at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The guest roster has not been announced yet, but tickets are available now. August 23-26: Fan Expo Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in Toronto. Enjoy workshops and seminars, autograph sessions, and celebrity photo sessions. Don't forget your CosPlay attire! August 30-September 3: Chicon 7 will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Guests of honor at the the 70th World Science Fiction Convention will include John Scalzi, astronaut Story Musgrove, Mike Resnick, Rowena Morrill, Peggy Rae Sapienza, and Jane Frank. The Hugo Awards ceremony will take place at the event on September 2. August 31-September 3: Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA. Don't miss the Comic Book Babes costume contest, the autograph sessions, or the charity auction (this year's charity is the GA chapter of the ALS Association). Dragon*Con is huge, and sells out quickly once the program is announced, so mail in your registration right away. September 29-30: Mid-Ohio Comic Con will be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH. Scheduled guests include Billy Dee Williams, James Marsters, and artist Arthur Suydam. October ?: BlizzCon has not announced any information for 2012 yet, but the popular event is usually held in October in Anaheim, CA. We'll update this post when details are available about BlizzCon 2012. Update 9/18/12: Blizzard announced there will not be a BlizzCon 2012, but there will be BlizzCon 2013. October 5-7: Salute to Supernatural at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Center in Toronto. Many of the TV show's stars will be present. Other locations and dates are also available for this convention. October 11-14: New York Comic Con at the Javitz Center in NYC. Guests have not yet been announced, but the NYC Comic Con has a good reputation. They are rolling out tickets in waves because of high demand. Four-day tickets are on sale now; three-day tickets will go on sale in the Spring; one-day tickets will go on sale in early Summer. October 26-28: Austin Comic Con at the Austin Convention Center in Texas. Guests include Brent Spiner, Anthony Michael Hall, and artist Humberto Ramos. October 26-28: SteamCon IV. Details to be announced, but steampunk enthusiasts should mark your calendars. November 2-4: Grand Slam Convention Sci-Fi Summit at the Burbank Airport Marriot Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. Program to be announced.

What Cons do you plan to attend this year? Do you go with your local gamer group or on your own? Tell us about any Cons we might want to add to our list. Don't forget to share your Con and Cosplay photos with us on the message boards!

Online resources about geeky conventions

This list is the tip of the iceberg. If your travel budget is small, check these resources to find a convention near you:

TechRepublic galleries of 2011 geeky conventions

Photo courtesy Bill Ward of Brickpile