Amazing weather, ocean breeze, great friends, and the Long Beach Comic Expo, what better way is there to starting off the year 2020. Normally the Long Beach Comic Expo runs a little later in the year, but for the first time it was pushed to January, jumpstarting the nerdy tendencies of those who seek convention thrills. The Long Beach Comic Expo was held at the Long Beach Convention Center on January 11th & 12th. Ticket prices varied depending a single day or full weekend attendance. Returning patrons received an email with a discount code for even more superhero savings.
Prior to the Long Beach Comic Expo, C3: Comic Creator Conference had its meeting on Friday, January 10th, and Long Beach Comic Con had its dates set for September 5th & 6th of 2020. While there was plenty to see and interact with at the con, the nearby aquarium and ocean view provided relief from the event chaos.
Upon arriving, one can already feel the excitement from new and returning attendees. Witnessing the groups of cosplayers preparing their alter egos, and serious collectors devise their attack plans, the con life provides an exhilarating space that cannot be matched anywhere else. The great thing about Long Beach Comic Expo, and it was said by the great Dan DiDio, is that this con is made up of true fans. The bigger cons have more to offer, but the smaller events provide a more personal experience for everyone.
The more intimate setting of Long Beach Comic Expo allows new creators a platform to share and learn from one another, to develop new ideas that are driven by their own ambitions—not just another corporate push. You can really appreciate the independent artist experience walking around the Artist Alley; it’s always great seeing renditions of one’s favorite characters portrayed in ways we could never imagine. The vibe in Artist Alley felt homier than most traditional cons. There is no overflow of traffic, so one can actually stop, enjoy some art, have a conversation with the creator, and develop a better connection with their work. Artist Alley will always be the best part of any convention, but that’s just my two cents.
The panels hosted at Long Beach Comic Expo provided a lot of passion driven insight. Many people go to cons but rarely get to experience a panel, that is, unless it has an actor or creator they follow.
Smaller conventions afford congoers a great opportunity when it comes to panels. The interaction between audience and panelist is much more engaging, inquisitive, and interactive.
All panels I attended at the con felt like I was just hanging out with friends, talking about comics and other nerdy content. This was a no-pressure platform to ask questions, where each panelist really engaged their audience. Attending random panels is always interesting because you never know what questions might be asked, and the responses that follow are not always what you expect.
Aside from Artist Alley, attending panels should always be on your to-do list when attending any con. If you are reluctant to attend a smaller con, for whatever reason, then just go for the panels—I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I really enjoyed the Woman of Sci-Fi panel, and the topics discussed by the panelist were not what I was expecting. The discussion shared insight on how women are really treated in the sci-fi realm and further expounded on race and the favoritism.
Dan DiDio on DC comics was the most interactive panel. He pretty much called on everyone and discussed the comics they were currently reading. The panel completely blew my mind. No one can beat Dan when it comes to DC comics.
The most anticipated event of the evening was the Cosplay Contest. Your favorite characters from every genre flocked to compete in this almost tradition-like contest where, here, age was not a deciding factor. The diverse display of horror to hero made the show appeal to congoers. The moment the contest hall was open to the audience the room flooded people enthusiasts rushing to find a good seat. It was difficult to find a good spot to spectate the event, but luckily the stage was viewable from outside the room. Cosplay is a growing art form, and the quality of personas created is only getting more intricate. With all the cheers, poses, and awesome acting, it was hard to not want to participate with everyone.
Let’s face it, you can’t attend a convention and not anticipate spending some cash. If you have money to burn, or itching for a fresh convention tee, the vendor booths is the place to go. The collection of exotic merchandise, and creative works draws us in. Walking around the vendor floor encouraged me to spending more money with every lap I walked. Luckily, many booths had repetitive or similar merchandise, but alas, there is always that one booth…*sigh*.
Now, you can’t have a comic expo without comic books! The mountains of comics made it easy for collectors and enthusiasts to go on the hunt for that new or elusive issue. Most vendors were very friendly and willing to bargain—a nice benefit of a condensed expo.
Personally, I like to collect items that the vendor has a passion for, and when we begin to go on tangents about what influences us, that makes the purchase more meaningful.
Overall, Long Beach Comic Expo was a pleasant experience, and always leaves me with a stronger appreciation for comics and nerd culture. The vibes throughout the convention were great. Everyone seemed to in good spirits, and the con ran with no hiccups. Growing conventions, attracting smaller crowds, make it feasible to chat with creators and panel guests, providing opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise get at a larger, mainstream convention. Whether you are a convention veteran or a first-time congoer, there is plenty to see and experience at LBCE.