I put the word out on Twitter that if anyone was attending the Long Beach Comic Expo over the weekend to let me know. I’d love to feature a write up on it. Luckily Shawn answered the call! Below is his write up about the event and a few photos he took as well. Thanks again Shawn!
Long Beach Comic Expo
This weekend, I attended the Long Beach Comic Expos’ (LBCE) one-day sophomore show. Despite a very small show last year, I had high hopes for this year’s expo because it is clear that MAD Event Management is putting a great deal of effort into making Long Beach a twice-a-year geek attraction. The sophomore edition of the Long Beach Comic Convention, October 29-31, 2010, was a major step forward, from their first year production. I had little doubt that MAD would put together another strong performance, after seeing the schedule for this LBCE. Surprisingly, as good as I expected the 2011 LBCE to be, it was even better.
With the backdrop of a beautiful Long Beach afternoon, LBCE saw long lines of con-goers lined up early and anticipating the opening of the doors. All of the standard cosplayers were in attendance; with Darth Vader, Captain America, Joker, and a host of other heroes and villains spread across the exhibit hall. Additionally, there were many of the local show cars, including Ratchet and Bumblebee, on display; with the classic Magnum P.I. Ferrari getting the most attention, while the show’s theme song played in the distance.
With a show so focused on being comic-heavy, it was no surprise that there weren’t many of the typical vendors seen at other cons, such as those selling t-shirts and toys. There was little for sale that didn’t directly relate to comics and their art work. There were 8-10 comic vendors and an Artist Alley that really encapsulated what this show was all about: comics and their creators! With over 50 artists and writers working away at their craft, LBCE featured some major players in the industry. Talents like Tom Hodges, Dustin Nguyen, Steve Niles, and Cat Staggs were all manning their tables and seemed to be constantly busy. In fact, there was such fervor for the artist’s signatures and work that crowds were aplenty. Despite a showroom floor that could easily fit inside the vaunted Hall H at SDCC, there was an energy to the crowds that felt very much like a Saturday afternoon at SDCC.
The thing that stood out most, about the Long Beach Comic Expo, was the vast offering of panel presentations for this one-day show. As con-goers know, single day shows rarely have much in the way of panels and this is where LBCE thrived. From open to close, there was a consistent offering of panels, ranging from an Anime voice acting workshop to an inking workshop by comic book legend Joe Rubinstein. My wife and I opted to spend some of our time at the panels hosted by Aspen Comics and Top Cow. Although there was no way there were going to be announcements as significant as some offered at SDCC, it was impressive that both companies put on such a great showing for such a small show. The small size of the audiences in the panels allowed for an intimacy that is rarely seen with companies of their stature. There was more than enough opportunity to get autographs and to ask questions.
Being able to see MAD Event Management nurture the Long Beach comic scene is really cool. Over the course of the last two years, they have consistently moved forward in putting together a better show each time out. Their 3 day show in October was awesome and this 1 day show was as good as it gets, given the fact that it was only a 1 day show. It is exciting to think where these shows are going, in the future, and I’m very happy to think that Long Beach will become a consistent player in the world of comic conventions.