April 26, 2011

Long Beach Comic Expo Recap

Did someone say comic expo? Okay, twist my arm, I’ll go. I attended the Long Beach Comic Expo last year, and it’s a fun one day show.

Since I went last year, I knew to expect a smaller show. I got the impression that a few people were confused or disappointed about the size and offerings, but it worked for me. The dealer room/exhibit hall was set-up in a medium sized room. The offerings in one section of the room included lots of back issues of comics, trades, graphic novels, and steampunk hats. I didn’t notice many toys or t-shirts. Lots of indie comic creators lined the outer walls of the room, and the rest of the space was taken up by a mini Artist Alley. I say mini, but there was really so much art to browse through. That really stuck out for me as a highlight of the convention. A handful of cosplayers attended, and to my amazement, I didn’t see one slave Leia. That might be a first for me. I did spot steampunky goodness, a Dr. Horrible, a couple of Batmans, and a fantastic Joker & Harley. I went in an Amy Pond-inspired outfit.*

There was another area in the hall that most convention attendees couldn’t access. The Guild was filming at the convention that day, they set up their own fake convention: Mega Game-O-Rama Con! You could stand behind the caution tape and look around the set. They set up fake booths and Golden Apple Comics had a booth in the real convention and the fake one. To complete the phony convention, The Guild crew made up some panels and posted signs outside the convention meeting rooms. Many convention attendees pre-registered ahead of time to be extras and I saw them pull in a couple of Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion table. I didn’t stick around to watch actual filming, but I did see Felicia Day and Jeff Lewis at the Golden Apple table in the actual convention.

It’s a great show to attend with friends you actually want to hang out with (and I did). You have time to walk the floor repeatedly, leave to eat lunch, or just sit in the hallway and chat.  I never felt uncomfortably crowded or squished. I got to look at art at my leisure and talk to the artists and creators. Oh, and back to the art. I added a fair amount to my collection. I purchased pieces from Tom Hodges, Mark Dos Santos, James Riot, and more. I’ll be busy framing next weekend. I also picked up all the Blazin’ Brandy comics by Stephanie Lesniak.

My nitpicks:
I feel that $15 is too much considering what the show offers. There were approximately 10 panels and a cozy exhibit hall. I think $5-8 would have been the ideal price range. That said, I still had a good time.

The folks behind the Expo and the Long Beach Comic Con should take care to differentiate the brands. A lot of people attending Saturday called it the con rather than an expo, and it makes attendees have higher expectations. Well, bigger expectations. The Expo is separate from its big brother and should be treated as its own event. Maybe give it a separate logo, website, or a new name? I’m not sure, but I just heard the names swapped interchangeably and they shouldn’t have been.

Those barely count as complaints though; I'll be going back next year!

*I make a good companion - in the Whoverse definition not the Firefly kind. Within the first 30 minutes of arrival, I ran and then I performed investigative reporting.  My partner in crime's - @ArkhamAsylumDoc - parked car was hit and the driver left. She stopped his car with the Force (really) but he denied doing it.  We still had an awesome day despite this.


  1. Another potential confusion I overheard was for the "Lifetime passes" for the October Con, which apparently don't apply to the Expo. Regardless, no real complaints from me. Hell, they even went and put my name and Dawn's name on the "Awesome Guest" list for their October promo flier, alongside people like Amanda Conner. And that's just... well, awesome...

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  3. That bit about interchangeability (or not) of "expo" and "con" is really important in general terms. Over here in Mexico City we'll be having a couple events next Summer, one named "Comic Con México" and another named "Expo Comic México". I'm not quite sure they are marketing it the right way though... there is much confusion about both events and what they will offer, based only on the names.

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