May 11th marked the third year in a row that the Long Beach Convention Center played host to the ever-expanding one-day Long Beach Comic Expo (LBCE). Just as in the past, with a strong focus on comics and their creators, LBCE delivered an awesome day of comic fun.
Although this was only a one-day show, we arrived in Long Beach Friday night so that we could make it a weekend event. While con-workers set tables and chairs, we enjoyed Con Eve by walking the beautiful area. For those that followed the show on my Twitter feed (@The_Con_Fluence), you already know that I have said many times that there really isn’t a better place for a show than that immediate area. Between the weather, view, movies and food options there is so much good that is inherent in a Long Beach show.
On Saturday morning a line quickly formed for registration and entrance. Although there wouldn’t be freebies inside the hall, there would be tons of deals and many were anxious to get to them. Upon the opening of the doors, I only made it about three feet before I was opening my wallet to purchase a handful of Green Lantern figures for $5 each from Golden Apple. A few feet further and I was opening my wallet again to buy stacks of bronze and silver age comics from perennial con-favorite, Ed Robertson. And a little further into the show…yes, you guessed it…I was opening my wallet again. This time it was at Long Beach’s own, Pulp Fiction Comics where I bought a Starman omnibus at 40% off. There were deals to be had all over the show floor and I enjoyed several.
A notable difference to this year’s show was the expansion of the showroom floor into the lobby area nearest the hotel. This extra breathing room not only supplied more space for the crowd to spread out, but it also allowed for more vendors, artists, and podcasters. Additionally, the 501st was able to set-up an awesome photo booth where attendees could get photos taken of them with their favorite bad guys. Also, this area allowed for many opportunities to get cosplayers together for group shots. Between the lobby area and the exterior view, fans were able to get photos with perennial cosplay stars like She-Ra, Red Skull and any number of Imperial troopers.
With creators such as Josh Fialkov, Brian Buccelato and Wilce Portacio (just to name a few!) all readily available to fans, it made for an extremely fan-friendly heart to the show. As my Twitter followers know, I’m a huge fan of meeting the creators at the smaller shows and saving the time at the bigger shows for other pursuits. Its much easier to get a Jim Lee autograph at WonderCon or a Greg Capullo signature at Amazing Arizona Comic-Con than it is to attempt to track them down at something like San Diego Comic-Con. With that in mind, I packed my bag with copies of Dr. Who, Flash, I, Vampire, Last of the Greats and Incredible Hulk so that I could add the creator’s signatures to their covers. Thankfully, I can now leave them at home when I go down to San Diego in July.
Just like last year, LBCE again showed why they have one of the best one-day shows in the country with a strong offering of panels for such a small show. Whether it was the Nerdist crew breaking news about their content offerings or Joshua Fialkov leading workshops for professionals, LBCE offers a quality that you just don’t see at one-day shows (ever?).
In the end, the Long Beach Comic Expo continued to make significant improvements on a show that I’ve always enjoyed. It is for this reason (and the great fun of last year’s Long Beach Comic and Horror Con) that I’ve already marked my calendar for November 3rd and 4th, when LBCHC returns again.