Over the weekend the Long Beach Comic Con Expo was in town and this was the biggest expo yet. Moving to the huge arena at the Long Beach convention center this marked the continuing expansion of the spring expo event. This was the second year that the expo was held for two days and Saturday was the busiest day but Sunday had a nice vibe to the day and was a bit more laid back. There was plenty to see and there were a good amount of venders that carried nearly everything you could want. With comics, toys, jewelry and collectables there was something for everyone. One of the best things about the Long Beach Comic Con is the huge artist alley that always has a great mix of artist. There were tons of artist prints, original artwork, buttons, shirts and even etched glasses.
Cosplay is always a big part of fandom conventions and there was no shortage of them at the show. There was the usual ton of deadpools but there were a lot of unusual and outside the box people who did some great costumes and were more outside the box thinking for characters.
There were some really good panels at the expo and there was also the first Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award that was on Saturday. I will be doing more in-depth stories about those later in the week.
One thing that was really nice was on Saturday there was an announcement that there would be a moment of silence for Leonard Nimoy and let me tell you it was a very moving moment. To get hundreds of people in an arena to pause and be silent was both touching and impressive. Most everyone held their hand up in the Vulcan salute and you could have heard a pin drop in the hall. Then they ask everyone to make some noise so that Leonard could hear it and I think that he just might have. This moment really showed what the Long Beach Comic Con is all about.
My impressions of this years expo was good but there were some issues. First one of the best things about the Long Beach shows is the laid back atmosphere that they have. There is not the huge crushing of crowds and you can actually spend time talking to creators and other fans. This is one of the reasons that I end up not taking as many pictures as I should because I spend so much time in conversation that I forget to take pictures. While the exhibit floor is big it is not overwhelming and it gives you time spend either looking or visiting with creators. A number of the issue were not the because of the promoters but with the Long Beach Convention Center facility itself. The lighting in exhibit hall was so-so because of the hight of the arena the lighting was inconsistent is some spots. The layout of the exhibit area was good and similar to the fall show that takes place in the main floor of the convention center. While there were many venders it would be nice to get more comic companies to come to the show. While it was great to see IDW back at the expo they were the only major publisher to come to the show. The panel rooms were pretty bad this year. They were pretty small and had really low ceilings. The lighting in the rooms was simply terrible and during the McDuffie awards it was nearly impossible to get good photos because the lighting was so bad. The rooms had paper-thin walls and you could hear panels in the other rooms and that was very distracting. They had an area for the main interview stage that was a really great idea but it was in a fully open area and people were some times very loud when going by and that was disruptive to the panel. There was a real lack of signage for the show and while there were a good amount of volunteers that had clearly marked shirts, they sometime gave bad information or were not sure how to answer. But they were all very friendly and it’s understandable to try to have all of the information remembered.
The ticket area was large and was easy to navigate. There were better food options available in the arena area. There was a restaurant in the convention center that had better choices than the usual hot dogs and pretzels. There were also food trucks in the driveway area that were pretty busy both days and people seemed to be happy with the food. There were a lot of the people at the show but the floor was well laid out and you never felt it became too crowded.
The show continues to grow and is becoming a great local destination for Southern California convention goers that are looking for a much more intimate show that makes sure that the most important part of the show is the talent and a nice and relaxing experience. While the show still has some growing pains the positives of the show far outweigh the issues that are not fatal to the show in the long run. Hopefully the fall show will be back in the main convention center and that they are able to get good guest and hopefully be able to get more comic companies to be at the show.
Here are some photos of the show, guests and cosplay.