Long Beach Comic Expo 2014 took place on May 31 - June 2, 2014 in the Long Beach Convention Center in downtown Long Beach. Though the con had very humble beginnings in 2011, the con has certainly attracted cosplayers and people who enjoy the art of comics. Long Beach Comic Expo is one of those small cons that you can do in half a day - the price is about right. $15 for single day admission will give you access to fan panels and the dealers hall. Curious passer-bys will check out the auto show outside the con center feauturing picture cars from Back to the Future, Batman, Ninja Turtles, and more. Long Beach is a humble comic con in Southern California sandwiched between the giants that is Wonder Con and San Diego Comic Con.
Though a small event, there was still plenty to explore. The dealers hall had plenty of comics and rare finds. If you were a hardcore collector, there were plenty of back issues from back in the day that you can claim or trade. Also in the dealers hall, there was a very small artist alley scattered around. You could meet artists from various comic books and media - they typically sign artwork and you could also have some one on one time with them. This was perfect for fans who wanted to get to know their favorite comic artists and writers. It was not too overwhelmingly crowded. The artist alley was scattered around - attendees can find exclusive and custom prints. One of my personal favorite artists was there selling custom Disney prints - his style is very much a mashup of Disney and DC/Marvel comics.
As far as panels go, we ended up attending a Kickstarter panel hosted by Richard Hatch and a few of his colleagues. The panel focused on how to make fan films for very little and how you can utilize crowd sourcing to create fan films. They showed a trailer of a Star Trek fan film they had some involvement in. I was quite surprised they were able to get Tony Todd (aka Candyman) to play a Klingon. The panel also discussed the future of online media and how it's taken up as the new form of entertainment.
The other panel I was able to check out was "Cosplay =/= Consent." It turned out to be a general "issues in cosplay" discussion. The panel had four new, but well known cosplayers from the comic con scene discuss problems and issues in regards to creepy people and bullies. Issues such as press ettiquette and the infamous Rule 63 cosplay (aka gender bent) were discussed (though I do confess that I mistook the "Lady Thor" for Valkyrie, a known female Asgardian in the Marvel Universe). Though the panel went from issues in regards to harassment and bullying, it shifted to a lighthearted discussion on craftmanship (same cosplayer talked about how her armor was all craft foam) and getting started. The panelists cited Jessica Nigri and Vampy Bit Me to be their cosplay role models.
Otherwise, this was a really nice hangout con if all you wanted to do was just look at comics, cosplay, attend a panel or two for about half the day. When the day is done, there's plenty of restaurants close by to grab dinner or just hang out with friends at Rainbow Pier or at the Pike. I would reccomend Long Beach Comic Expo for a day if you just wanted to show off your cosplay (there's plenty of great places for photo ops!) and just hang out and meet people (the vibe from everyone was friendly - everyone is a fan of something!).
Until next time, it was nice to hit up this Southern California con. Thank you again Long Beach Comic Expo for the opportunity. You can check out their larger show, Long Beach Comic Con later this year.
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