This was my first year attending the Long Beach Comic Expo, and I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike the bigger conventions where you spend something like two days in a queue trying to get inside, The LBCE was really laidback and actually easy to walk around without bumping your elbow into the next person’s saber.
I was told by regulars that the rain may have kept the turnout to lower than usual. I was able to navigate the floor in an hour and a half without practically no waiting in lines! This alone is reason enough for me to recommend the LBCE. Go there, liven it up! (That’s not to say the expo was slow, though there was a booth where you could get yourself drawn as a sloth.)
If you’re at comic cons for the cosplay, there was enough of it at the LBCE.
I spotted the usual Joker and Harley Quinn, Captain Jack Sparrow, two Spidermen strumming Backstreet Boys on a guitar and some very uncomfortable looking Transformers. I was in jeans and not playing any role. But you probably could have called me Peter Parker.
The LBCE 2017 Panel Highlights
Now, I know that for many people the thrill of comic cons lies in dressing up as their favorite superhero or comic character for photo ops. But there also seems to be a lot of shaming and bullying in the community, which led to the need for a panel about How to overcome bullying in the Cosplay Community. It seems that the popularizing of what was once geek culture has oddly narrowed down diversity.
In that context, it wasn’t strange to see a panel called Nerd Living, where the originators of the inclusive comic loving culture seemed to want to take back their territory. Some of the more interesting panels were Celebrating Cuban cultural art, Women who draw and a panel on the dos and don’ts of cosplay photography.
The Artists’ Alley and Celebrity Highlights
The Artist’s Alley that was well represented by artists and writers. Aspen Comics, Marvel, DC, artists like Paige Halsey Warren (of Busty Girl Comics fame), Oni Press founder Bob Schreck, legend George Perez (outside whose booth was the longest queue of the evening).
Also present were also David Gallaghar, Michael Golden, Matt Haley, Mike Zeck, Renee Witterstaetter, John Livesay, David Baron, and a host of other artists and writers. There was also a good mix of celebrities like voice actor Diane Pershing, Resident Evil face model Jamisin Matthews, Jason Momoa, actress Gigi Edgley etc.
Some of the other highlights: Rikishi for WWF fans, Bernie Bregmen hosting the cosplay contest, Supernatural’s Ghostfacers, Le Geek so Chic fashion show.
Half of the floor was taken up by the publishers and vendors, which is a good thing. Fans may have been a little disappointed at the lack of fan centric panels. But I think overall, this medium sized comic con is great for people wanting to get into the business of comics.
The tickets were cheaper than other conventions. It was family-friendly; parking was easy and close to the venue. People were friendly. And whether visitors were looking to walk away with some fantastic collectibles or a publisher’s card, there was something for most comic lovers at the LBCE 2017. Let’s hope it stays that way.