Comic book enthusiast and costume performers flooded the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center this past weekend for the sixth annual Long Beach Comic Con. It was more of a family affair than a gathering of fan-boys as the event boasted record ticket sales.
This year’s convention was host to more than 90 exhibitors and vendors including over 80 panel discussions and conversations with artists and professionals within the comic and pop culture industries.
Comic book stores and Online retailers from all over the area set up shop with an abundance of comic books, graphic novels and toys for convention-goers to purchase.
Anaheim’s own Phat Collectables was on-hand to take part in the festivities and capitalize on the thousands of potential shoppers.
New kids programming entertainment exhibitions were introduced this year to take aim at those families that read and play comic books together.
The LEGO fun zone allowed kids to partake in the craft of Lego building with a mountain of blocks at their disposal. Some adults joined in the fun as well.
The kids’ zone also featured a Star Wars themed laser tag course, complete with stormtroopers and a table area for card games.
There were more than 10 separate workshops and panels set up geared towards harnessing the creativity in kids including; how to draw the “Simpsons”, “Futurama” and “How to Train Your Dragon” demos. There were also free sketch giveaways and reading workshops.
The epicenter of the exhibit was Artist Alley, a place where fans had a chance to meet with artists, writers and creators of their favorite comics. This section also gave attendees a peek at up-and-coming talent in the world of comics.
Artist Mike Collins was one of the exhibitors with artwork on display for sale.
Collins works at DreamWorks TV as a digital clean up artist and is an alumni of Cal State, Fullerton. He is also a co-owner and artist at Tiki Machine, an independent publisher of children’s books, art books and graphic novels.
On the outskirts of comic book row and beyond the congested lanes of artist alley and nestled in the pit of the convention floor, laid the consistently bustling Cosplay Corner.
Costume artist and cosplay bloggers set up shop and offered a number of how-to demos for beginning costumers and insights to the realm of costume performing.
Raychul Moore, a widely-popular social media cosplayer with over 23,000 Twitter followers and a published gaming journalist, has been cosplaying since 2006 and has made a name for herself in the process. She was one of the handful of professionals that met with fans who share the same passion for dressing up as she does.
“I think passion is the number one most important thing about cosplay,” Moore said. “Be passionate about where you are getting your creativity from, passionate about who you are representing as a character and passion for the industry.”
Moore was not only a featured guest at the convention but acted as one of the four judges in this years LBCC cosplay contest.
Guest filled the Hero Complex theater in room 104A to get an up close glimpse of this year’s entries. entires
The contest, hosted by Bernie Bregman from Nerds Like Us, a self-proclaimed community celebrating nerd culture, showcased a number of contestants from the very young and adorable to the more experienced and intricate.
The event started off with the youth competition that witnessed the appearance of characters like: Guardians of the Galaxy’s Starloard and Rocket Raccoon, Captain Hook and Despicable Me’s Felonious Gru accompanied by one of his minions.
The winners of the youth portion of the contest went to Starload and Rocket Raccoon, also known as Mario and Alexander Alcaraz. Their father attributed the win to their love for comic books.
“They’ve seen the movie like five times but they knew about the characters before then. I would read them the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books. I read comic books to them all the time so when they saw the movie they decided to dress up as the characters,” Said an ecstatic Mr. Alcaraz. “They dress up every year for Comic Con but they weren’t old enough to enter contest until this year, and they won.”
The Best in Show and $500 in cash was awarded to Gru and his minion from Despicable Me. The suit was entirely held together by glue with the majority of the clothing items purchased at thrift stores.
Winners were awarded laser-etched certificates, swag bags and cash prizes sponsored by LBCC.
Upstairs, surrounding the lobby were 7 large rooms that were dedicated to offering fans compelling stories and true insider information on everything from comic books, novels, films and television.
Josh King, veteran Comic Con attendee, came to this year’s convention with the intention of sitting in on The Magic of Batman 66 panel, a discussion about the new Batman comic book series that is based off of the television series from the 1960s staring Adam West. The panel included Batman 66 editors, artist and an appearance from KROQ’s Ralph Garman, who co-wrote two issues of the series with film director Kevin Smith.
“Panels are the real treat of comic book conventions,” King said. “They [panels] give people the opportunity to get on a personal level with their idols, you get to see the true motivating force behind their creativity and I think that’s awesome.”
The weekend was filled with convention-goers of all shapes and sizes, of all ages and of all walks of life. Comic Con once again successfully brings superheroes, villains, the walking dead and those who hunt them down, beings from outer space, television and film icons, radio and podcast personalities and the fans that adore their very existence under one roof for one ultimate purpose, to geek out.
To watch Hornet video coverage of Long Beach Comic Con visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoNAckyMV80
Nicole King contributed to this story.