Long Beach Comic Con


Although I won’t be attending this weekend’s Long Beach Comic Con, I highly recommend the event. For me it’s a throwback to the experiences I had at the San Diego Comic Con during my youth, before it transformed into the overwhelming beast of today.

My brothers and I grew up with comic books. Our parents encouraged reading and when we weren’t spending hours on end at our local library, we were buying comics at our local used bookstore. The store had a friendly exchange policy, which allowed us to trade in our mom’s used books (mainly romance novels by the insanely prolific Barbara Cartland) for store credit.

That credit was immediately spent on issues of Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, and many others. We started off as Marvel kids for no other reason than that’s what you did back in the day: you were either a Marvel or DC fan. As the years passed, we added Batman, Superman, and even the occasional independent book, like an up-and-coming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

During our Saturday afternoon visits I’d wander around the store, soaking in the smell of yellowing paperbacks and listening to the creaking of the old wooden shelves that held them. But most of the time would be spent up front amongst the racks of new comics and cardboard boxes of back issues.

My experience at last year’s LBCC was special for me since one of my brothers and his children attended. Hanging out with my niece and nephew and introducing them to this former world that their father and uncles once inhabited (and still do to some extent) was a blast.

Of course, the cosplay scene of today is mind-blowingly better than what we had in our day. Upon seeing the first few Deadpools and Stormtroopers walking around, my nephew brilliantly observed, “Boy, I’m underdressed!”

We hung out for a few hours, soaking in all of the comics and pop culture. We made buttons, thanks to the wonderful Long Beach Public Library booth. We operated remote-controlled robots at the Space Expo area hosted by the Columbia Memorial Space Center. We perused some of the cardboard boxes of back issues found throughout the convention center floor.

And we took pictures with some of our favorite characters.

The photos in this post were taken by my niece, who I was proud to have by my side as part of the press coverage. I hope she and her brother continue to explore the many facets of geekdom, just like their dad and his brothers did in their day.

The Long Beach Comic Con is September 2-3. More info here

All photo credits: Kaya Gaviola








Long Beach Comic Expo 2016

I wrote a board-game-centric review of the Long Beach Comic Expo here and I said it was a throwback to my youth. The LBCE reminded me of my time spent at the San Diego Comic Con, back before it took over the entire convention center when it was all about the comics, with cosplay, gaming, and all other pop culture phenomena took a backseat to the printed page and those responsible for them.

Here are a few more thoughts and photos about the glorious day I spent in the LBC.

First, I’d like to give myself a pat on the back for being able to wander around the aisles and NOT dump my wallet’s contents onto each table. It was insanely difficult not emptying my bank account on so many cool things. Thankfully, you didn’t need to be well-funded to enjoy the con. One of my first stops was at the Long Beach Public Library table, where I chatted with one of the representatives about their services. I’m a huge fan of libraries, so I made a mental note to visit the one in Long Beach the next time I’m in town. The young lady working the booth told me about some of the library’s features, then showed me how to make my own button. I chose Darth Vader, of course, so my backpack was bedazzled for the rest of the day.

Free make-your-own Darth Vader button.

Free make-your-own button at the Long Beach Public Library table. Kylo Ren would’ve loved my backpack.

It was great seeing the locals representing at the con. In addition to the public library, the Columbia Memorial Space Center had a big presence in the hall. Kids and adults alike were amazed by the science demonstrations, the space suit displays, the build-your-own-rocket table, and more.

Ground Control to Major Tom.

Ground Control to Major Tom.

This was something I really appreciated: the amount of families I saw hanging out together. Not everybody was dressed up, but there was definitely a family-friendly vibe all around. I was glad I ran into these light-saber-wielding folk.

The Force runs strong in this family.

The Force runs strong in this family.

This young lady had the best ride of them all.

Perfect ride for an afternoon on Endor.

Perfect ride for an afternoon on Endor.

One thing I’ll always love about these types of conventions: you never know who you’ll run into.

Thanks for the selfie, Artoo!

Thanks for the selfie, Artoo!

This was terrific marketing: a $35 box of goodies worth $50. I’m not sure what was inside, but those boxes were definitely an excellent way to sell stuff. I saw a lot of people carrying these things around.

No, you don't grow after punching one of these.

No, you don’t grow after punching one of these.

I love the fact that a KISS tribute band had their own booth. Looking forward to seeing these guys someday.

You wanted cosplay, you got cosplay. The hottest (tribute) band in the land ... KISS!

You wanted cosplay, you got cosplay. The hottest (tribute) band in the land … KISS!

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Ran into a walking carpet and a scoundrel.

Ran into a walking carpet and a scoundrel.

Lots of Star Wars cosplayers here.

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The 501st Legion FTW.

The Force Awakened.

The Force Awakened.

I swear I’m not just a Star Wars fan. Here are a bunch of photos of various cosplayers. Enjoy!

The Mask.






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From beginning to end, I couldn’t be happier with the LBCE. Yes, it was a throwback to my younger SDCC-going days, but it also proved that today’s geekdom is in excellent hands. Kudos to all involved for making the event such a blast. I can’t wait to do it again.

Final note: I couldn’t resist one more Star Wars costume. This hip hop stormtrooper had his boombox blasting hip hop classics and got more than a few people dancing. It was the perfect way to end a day spent geeking out.