I did something different at Long Beach Comic Con this year: I went for two days instead of just one! Well, one and a half days, really, but it is a first. The con is still small enough that I can do the whole thing in a day, but there were Saturday-only events and one Sunday-only event that I really wanted to attend.
Before I left, I skimmed over my posts about previous years’ cons. Last year I felt particularly unfocused most of the day until I figured out what I wanted to do…at the end of the day. So this year I approached LBCC with a few goals in mind:
- Young Justice panel
- S.T.A.R. Labs Mobile Research Unit (an interactive promo for the Flash TV show)
- Bargain collections
- Artists & interesting indie books
Speaking of last year, I noticed that the convention was diverging into two: The main event down on the convention center floor, and the cosplay gathering in the lobby and out front. That was true again this year, and I noticed something interesting about the hours: While the main floor never got too crowded, it was bustling at every hour of the day on Saturday from 10-7…but “Lobby Con” was basically 12:00-4:30. From out front the place seemed deserted until lunchtime. It was still going strong when I went up around 4:00 for coffee, and then emptied out by the time I went up around 5:00 in search of a cell signal.
Most popular costumes this year: Deadpool and Spider-Man. Not too many Flashes, which surprised me given the show starts on Tuesday. But I did see a Captain Cold. I hope he ran into Jack Frost and at least one of the Elsa cosplayers.
It’s hard to say whether the con has been growing or not. On one hand, LBCC has had less and less publisher presence each year. DC helped them launch the first year, then dropped back to just having a panel or two, and now nothing. Aspen and Top Cow are still involved, but I don’t think I saw IDW or Boom. The geeky cars that have been a fixture the last few years were gone as well.
On the other hand, I think they filled more of the floor space this year than last, in the same room. That’s a good sign. And even if they didn’t have anything from DC proper, Warner Bros. was well-represented between the Young Justice panel with about 20 people on it, and the S.T.A.R. Labs truck.
Science of Super-Speed
The S.T.A.R. Labs Mobile Research Unit was a trailer filled with science-y exhibits to promote the Flash TV show. Each exhibit related to super-speed in some way: water drops synced to a strobe so they looked almost stationary, testing your reflexes, speed reading, etc. It was only there on Sunday, when it took over about 2/3 of the Laser Tag arena, which is why I came back for the second day. Check out my post on Speed Force for the full *ahem* run-down, including a glimpse at Barry Allen’s case board.
As for Young Justice, they brought in producers, writers, designers, voice actors, and more to talk about the show in connection with the Blu-Ray release. CBR has a good writeup, but for me some of the highlights included:
- Greg Weisman and actors reminiscing about the fake shows invented to keep the real show and cast of characters secret during auditions…like “Cloud Ninja.” (Apparently, Star Wars: Rebels is even more secretive.)
- Jason Spisak’s Kid Flash performs Shakespeare (the ending of Midsummer Night’s Dream)
- Weisman explaining, when a fan asked if there was any chance of a wrap-up to the series’ ending, that “There’s no end. Ever. I just did a Gargoyles panel this morning. It’s been twenty years, and we’re still not done. The idea of wrapping it up? Get over it.”
Alley Isn’t the Right Word
Artist’s Alley is still the centerpiece of the show. Maybe “Artist’s Central Park” would be a better term, because at this con it’s always a huge section in the middle of the floor.
Roughly speaking, publishers and comics dealers wrapped around one side of the “alley,” with collectibles dealers and fan groups on the other. This year the con had official cosplay groups and individuals as guests. In a stroke of brilliance, one of the groups had set up a costume repair station as their booth.
It’s been a while since I had back issues to look for (and the online market has vastly changed that process), though I would have had plenty of opportunity here at the many comics dealers. Instead I looked for discounted graphic novels until I realized that I was spending waaay too much time at it, and went off to do stuff that I could only do at a convention.
I spent most of Saturday afternoon wandering the aisles of Artist’s Alley, looking at art and buying books. I spoke briefly with Norm Rapmund and bought a Flash print based on the current storyline that really grabbed me. I have no idea where I’ll put it, but I couldn’t pass it up.
I stayed for dinner Saturday evening. Potholder Too was out, because they closed at 4:00. The chain restaurants across the street didn’t appeal to me. I can go to Islands or CPK anytime I want. I ended up at a Greek restaurant called George’s a few blocks up Pine Ave. It’s the kind of place where the owner greets you at the door with a handshake, and while I felt a little out of place reading in my convention T-shirt and backpack at a table for one, the food and service were both very good, and I’d definitely go there again.
I finally decided to skip the costume contest when I looked at the schedule and realized that I’d be getting home after 11:00, instead of closer to 10:00. Maybe next year.
LBCC was held September 27-28, 2014. Check out my full set of photos from the con on Flickr.
See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups