By Michele Brittany, a West Coast Bleeding Cool Correspondent
The Long Beach Comic Expo expanded from a single Saturday to a two-day weekend show this year, Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1. Previously, the one-day show had been held in a single ballroom off to the side on the first floor, however this year the expo was moved the second floor ballroom that was probably double the size.
Saturday morning got off to a bumpy start with some of the ticket and line volunteers not being in sync with managing lines of registered ticket holders and those wanting to buy their tickets. It caused some confusion for both volunteer and attendee. Throughout the weekend, the top of the staircase where the restrooms, ticket booth, a photo op station, and the cosplay room intersected between the panel rooms and the ballroom caused traffic to bottleneck. Fortunately, I heard the space for this expo will not be used next year, so I am hoping that the line and bottleneck issues will be a thing of the past in 2015.
Once inside the ballroom, the larger size allowed for more vendors and artists and more aisle room, which was lacking last year. The one thing that seemed a bit odd was that the professional cosplayer booths were located in their own room. I sensed a more carefree vibe in the cosplay room that I think was missing in the ballroom.
The display of replica famous cars from the autumn Long Beach Comic Con was back on Saturday, although a trio of cars was displayed on Sunday. It gave attendees a breather from being inside and allowed for photo opportunities with one's favorite shows and movies.
Media guests were kept at a minimum so the expo could focus on promoting comics via the artists, writers and exhibitors. In addition, there were many panels both days that spotlighted on the careers of individuals well know in the industry that included Tim Bradstreet, Gerry Conway, Marv Wolfman, Steve Niles, and Joshua Hale Fialkov, among others. Current issues in the industry were explored in hour-long discussions such cosplay harassment, the ins and outs of indie publishing, how to break into comics or how to become a full-time exhibitor. I think the panels provided a balance of topics so there was something of interest for just about every attendee.
Organizers of the expo already have their show dates for next year: Saturday, February 28 and Sunday, March 1, 2015. If you missed the expo, save the date for the larger autumn show scheduled at the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday, September 27 – 28, 2014.
And here's a photogallery of the event:
All photographs taken by Michele Brittany.
Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer currently editing an upcoming anthology on the influence of James Bond on popular culture. She regularly posts reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage genre on her blog, Spyfi & Superspies.