Loving the Long Beach Comic (& Horror) Con

2 Nov

by Orion Tippens

LBCC entrance

photo by Orion Tippens

Looking back, I wave to my humble friend. That friend who never let me down, retained its innocence while being focused on its ideals for the last three years; who, while not succumbing to the overbearing pressure of Big Hollywood marketing, resisting the video game company monsters, and not putting the attending pseudo-movie/TV celebrities ahead of its family of creative minds and indie publishers. Such fun lasted well in this struggled city of Los Angeles, and hopefully will for many more years. Here’s looking back at you, the Long Beach Comic Convention.

Actually, the show is now the Long Beach Comic & Horror Convention. A fitting, yet unnecessary change to fit for the Halloween weekend. For the added fun, attendees could participate in an epic nearby zombie walk, numerous scary movie screenings, live spooky drama readings, and special horror film guests including legendary film director, John Carpenter.  And for the more sci-fi or action inclined, the LBCC had Seth Green of Robot Chicken, the Guild cast (with Felicia Day!), live wrestling matches, Star Wars laser tag (!), and more film screenings. All good fun, and best of all enjoyed by its cheering fandom. But for reals, these happenings are mere accessories to what’s most important to the comic book convention…

The comics.

LBCC aisle 1

photo by Orion Tippens

That being said, the Long Beach Comic Con did not disappoint us. The moment attendees walked in – comics everywhere, or mostly the comic books, graphic novels and emerging webcomics presence. Not Marvel or DC, as they sadly tend to ignore the little conventions but the local champions and keepers of the flame. Those present included IDW, Boom!, Top Cow, Aspen. These companies, present in their colorful glory with many creative and legendary masters of the industry present including Kevin Eastman, Stan Sakai, J. Scott Campbell, Darwyn Cooke, Mark Waid, Bernie Wrightson, Joe Rubenstein, Stan Lee and more. From there, the hosting companies present new reads, excite current titles, building interest for upcoming projects.

Outside the exhibit floor, we had a decent number of comics related panels. Many of them focused on the creative aspects urging attendees to get in the mix with advice from the pros on pretty much any aspect of the comics making. Other panels was good ol’ fashioned fan interaction. Meanwhile, we have the usual mass cosplayists, many of whom are as deeply appreciated, if not more welcome by the fandom than our esteemed guests.

And of course, we have the comic book dealers, many from local Southern California shops. Here, one could spend the entire time browsing through countless cardboard bins of comics, both vintage and new. Upon the walls, rarities, variants and obscurities for those with bigger wallets. Even better, are the discount graphic novels and trade paperbacks, many at 50% off!  And of course, plenty of action figures beyond the print for us who love collecting and/or displaying articulated plastic of our familiar icons.

LBCC aisle 2

photo by Orion Tippens

Then there is the bright center of it all, the heart and soul of the LBCC, by which which everything else must revolve. That would be the “Artist Alley,” treated with more respect than most alternative pop-cons would ever dare for their traditional Artist Alley sections.

Here at the LBCC, the alley is more of a forum, a center, where the action is. Their Artist Alley is center is set up directly in the middle of the large showroom floor. Easily visible are the rows of tables easily accessible through every section, tempting to all gazing and curious eyes often on the way between the big dealers, displays, events. Here, a collection of veteran comics pros and beginners await, looking to promote and sell their work. Much interaction with the fans happen, as I had the chance to talk with a few including Ethan Nicolle – artist of Axe Cop, the creative minds behind Toonhole.com and the artist/writers behind Penguins vs. Possums. Interviews for ADC will be posted up soon.

Overall, a refreshing experience. The LBCC felt a lot like the way San Diego Comic Con  used to be; roomy and more personal without the push of guerrilla marketing and mainstream media attention. Here’s hoping the LBCC will last for many years, keeping its innocence in the process. Meanwhile, I and hopefully many of you will come down and visit that old friend next year.

Orion Tippens loves comics, writing, and travel, and hosts his own blog at captainipad.blogspot.com.

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2 Responses to “Loving the Long Beach Comic (& Horror) Con”

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