By Jason Strangis
The Long Beach Comic Expo might have been relatively small in size but it packed a big punch last weekend. An impressive list of writers and artists headlined the event with the likes of legendary X-Men scribe Chris Claremont, longtime Marvel writer Gerry Conway, and fan favorite artists Terry and Rachel Dodson (Spider-Man/Black Cat and Harley Quinn) and Ethan Van Sciver (Green Lantern).
Overall, about 150 writers, artists, and creators from the comic book field met with thousands of fans at the Long Beach Convention Center. A highlight for fans was the large number of panels and stage events during the weekend.
Animation received plenty of attention at the Expo. One of the animation panels featured a 20th anniversary of Disney's Gargoyles with voice cast members and show creators sharing stories and anecdotes. Keith David, the unforgettable voice of "Goliath," drew a rousing ovation from fans as he entered the stage. Also at the panel was Salli Richardson-Whitfield ("Elisa") and Cree Summer ("Hyena"). Greg Weisman talked about creating "Gargoyles" for an animated series, and acclaimed animation director Frank Paur was at the event as well. In another animation panel on Saturday, voice actors from Young Justice took the spotlight.
A number of #MakeComics workshops were held during the weekend. In one of the Saturday panels, writer Joshua Fialkov talked to fans about breaking into the comic book business. Some of his tips involved publishing your own comic book as a way of getting noticed and discovered.
Popular panels on Sunday included Rotten Tomatoes: Critics vs. Fans and a conversation with television producers Tara Butters ("Marvel's Agent Carter") and Marc Guggenheim ("Arrow").
There was also a new Cosplay Contest and as might be expected, the event attracted a large number of fans dressed in colorful and elaborate costumes.
Science fiction followers took time during the convention to honor Leonard Nimoy, who passed away just one day before the Long Beach Comic Expo. Fans held up their hands in a Vulcan salute to honor Nimoy and his alter-ego Spock during a moment of silence.
This year marked the sixth Long Beach Comic Expo. While it's not one of the larger comic cons, it's still a fun event with plenty of creators, exhibitors, and panels throughout the weekend.
Jason Strangis is a freelance writer who enjoys superheroes, sci-fi, and attending comic book conventions. He can be reached at email@example.com