By Michele Brittany
The last weekend of September heralded the return of the sixth annual Long Beach Comic Con (LBCC), organized once again by Martha Donato, co-founder and executive director, and Phil Lawrence co-founder and sales director. The two-day con was held at the Long Beach Convention Center, centrally located to many food options, parking lots, and close to bay for an evening stroll after the show floor closes for the day. To be honest, this is my favorite con, second only to Wondercon held in the spring in Anaheim.
LBCC has a lot to offer. As a larger con it attracts the some of the big established names in the industry with guests of honor that included Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Marc Silvestri, Mike Mignola, Richard Starkings, and James O'Barr. However, you could also meet Andrew Robinson, Tim Bradstreet, Ben Templesmith, Joshua Hale Fialkov, and Mark Andreyko. The show floor layout was designed to showcase a fifteen-section artist alley in the center of the room, surrounded by publishers, vendors, a cosplay corner, and fan group tables such as con regulars the 501st and the California Browncoats. In addition, there were fun zones of laser tag, gaming and a LEGO Fun Zone, which was all very kid friendly.
And LBCC programming and panels provided something for everyone. This time the con had a dedicated Kids Room offering how to workshops for our future comic writers and artists. For adults with the same aspirations, the Wacom Classroom featured a "#MakeComics" series of panels that gathered together industry experts who shared their knowledge with audience attendees. And, new this year, the Hero Complex Theater featured longer panels on comics and other forms of entertainment. If you were still standing by the end of the day on Saturday, well then there was Pierre Bernard's Cosplay Live Drawing and the LBCC Cosplay Contest.
Walking around the show floor and attending some of the panels, I really enjoyed looking at new merchandise, comics, and the exchange of the ever-evolving dialogues that exist in this industry. In addition, it was warming to see more kids at this con – smiling kids and actually, a lot more smiling adults. If there was one thing I could say bad about the con was that I wished it was held later, in November, as it has in previous years, because this con is really a wonderful way to wrap up a year cons. If that is my only complaint, then really that is inconsequential to all the positives this con does have going for it.
If you missed attending LBCC, not to worry, you can now plan for next year! The date is already set – September 12 & 13, 2014 – as well as its sister springtime con, the Long Beach Comic Expo, scheduled for February 28 and March 1, 2015.
Here's a wide-ranging photogallery of the event:
All photos are used by permission of Michele Brittany
Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer and editor of the forthcoming title James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (McFarland & Company). She regularly posts reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage genre on her blog, Spyfi & Superspies and can be followed at Twitter @mcbrittany2014.