Friday, October 3, 2014
OVERVIEW: Long Beach Comic Con 9/27/14
I am very new at conventions. I've attended three now, and have only been press at two. You see photos and videos of different cons, and to a newbie, the can appear quite daunting: VERY large crowds, vendors and an arrangement of signing booths and vendors that seems, to your eyes, like The Labyrinth.
Well, I can say that, having attended both the Long Beach Comic Expo and the Long Beach Comic Con, you don't need to worry about any of that.
This year's LBCC had about 20,000 people in attendance, but the layout of the booths made out seem much less, because there was SPACE. I have social anxiety, and for me to have made out through the day for twelve hours without panicking, that means that their designers who set up the booths did a wonderful job.
The first thing I did before getting to work was check out the vendors. What I found was an excellent eclectic mix of different things that appeal to nerds and geeks of all address and tastes.
The anime booth, Toy Mandala, was so crowded, I could not get a decent photo of it, but its wears were plentiful. You had Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, more Pokémon that you'd know what to do with, Naruto, the video game Animal Crossing (one of my favorites), Sonic The Hedgehog and so many others it would take me a while to name it.
There were prop booths, one which specialized in weaponry, and amongst their beautiful swords and guns, they had THE colt. The Supernatural colt! Did I fangirl? Yes, I did and I'm not ashamed to say it! Another prop booth was selling replicas of Gandalf's staff from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and swords from Game of Thrones.
There was a booth where a jewelry maker sold homemade necklaces, earrings, bracelets and so much more, all one of a kind and having something to do with today's most popular fandoms: Doctor Who, The Vampire Diaries, The Fault In Our Stars and Supernatural, amongst others. I did make a purchase of a bottle cap necklace. The iPhoto before is her contact information, where she will make you a personal piece of jewelry for a great price!
There were toy stores with Funko dolls, board games, lunch boxes, action figures and so much more. There were three of these I visited, all with something special to add to the mix.
And then, of course, there were the comic book stands. You had the Melrose Avenue/Los Angeles staple Golden Apple Comics (which is my favorite place in LA county to buy comics), Pulp Fiction in Long Beach (with a wonderful collection of graphic novels; I bought some from them), the popular AAA Comics, Archie Comics, FVF Comics and so many more! I loved the booths with the fifty cent comics and actually bought out one booth's entire stock of The New Teen Titans and New Titans comics!
To shop there, bring BIG reusable bags and make sure you've got great upper-body strength or someone to hero you carry your loot!
After I shopped, I made contact with my interview subjects for the day: Wolverine creator Len Wein, Firestorm and Jason Todd creator Gerry Conway, Deadpool record-setting artist Scott Koblish and indie comic writer Keith Foster. All four had some very interesting stories to tell, advice to give and insights to share. Click on their respective names to read each interview individually.
There were so many more honored guests, over a hundred, from Marv Wolfman, Kyle Higgins, Babs Tarr, James O'Barr, Mike and Laura Allred, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Mike Mignola and that's just the tip of the iceberg!
You also had authors at the Mysterious Galaxy both, like acclaimed urban fantasy author Melissa de la Cruz. Neo Edmund had his own booth and I spent some time at the Horror Writers Association booth, meeting author and publisher Steven W. Booth, who runs Genius Books Publishing. I've worked with many of their authors over the years and it was a pleasure.
I had time before my interviews, when I walked around with my photographer, Annie, who took some great shots of the cosplayers who attended. I've never seen such an array. I think there were double the cosplayers than there was at the Expo in May. Below will be a gallery. If you are in any of these photos, let me know and I'll put your name into this post!
I loved the volunteers and the workers; they were all kind and helpful with whomever needed anything. It has a very welcoming atmosphere. There is no judgement on age, race, weight or fandom affiliation. Everyone is there for a common reason: because we love comics. You can feel it, the energy everyone put off, even the guests and vendors. It was tangible.
I, unfortunately, did not make it there on Sunday, so I can't report on the Flash-themed S.T.A.R. Labs mobile unit, though I wish I could!
But Saturday was a truly fun-filled day. Meeting so many people who made comics what they are today, meeting other fans, making connections, perusing wares, smelling the old comics (yes, I'm one of those people who loves the smell of old paperbacks and comic books) and being a part of the event was so wonderful.
I hope I'll see YOU (yes, you, right there, reading this) in February for the Expo, and in September for the Con in 2015!
Don't miss it! I can guarantee from first-hand experience that you'll have one of the best weekends of your life.
Find more info on LBCE & LBCC HERE.
Enjoy the gallery pf cosplayers and guests below!