To say that the Long Beach Comic Expo this weekend was small would be an understatement. But that in no way should be considered a negative thing. While I love the huge spectacle of San Diego Comic-Con, this show was lean and compact and felt more energetic and alive than most shows 10 times its size. The size was, of course, intentional. This was not meant to be the same thing as the Long Beach Comic-Con held in October each year. If anything, the intimacy of the room made it impossible to not be able to check out every creator in the room. If you were there to buy piles of comics from a variety of "won't be undersold" vendors, it wasn't necessarily your place. They were there, of course, but this show was mostly about the creators of those books, most of them independent, but nearly all of them regulars to the convention circuit. Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson, Richard Starkings, Mike McKone, Angus Oblong, Luis Calderon, Tone Rodriguez, and lots more packed into a handful of aisles without looking or feeling cramped. It gave creators the opportunity to talk amongst themselves without having to wander too far from their own table when one of the many attendees took the time to look over their work. I got the chance to talk to Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic artist Georges Jeanty as I paged through a stack of his original artwork. While much too pricey for my wallet to handle, grabbing one would have been worth every penny had I the money to give to him, just to hang it on my wall.
The funny part about this event is that the show technically didn’t take up the entire room, because a “fake” convention was taking up about a quarter of the floor space. Actress/writer/creator Felicia Day and her gang of virtual warrior pals were shooting scenes from the upcoming fifth season of the highly acclaimed web series, the Guild. So, technically, Long Beach Comic Expo was the first convention to host a convention inside of it, even though it wasn’t technically real. Oddly enough, the fake one was the only one of the two events that came with branded swag bags. You could tell which Guild uber-fans were acting as extras, because they were the ones clutching bright green “MegaGame-O-RamaCon” bags and holding on for dear life.
Here are just a few images that PopCultureGeek.com captured at the event…
In all, the one day Long Beach Comic Expo was a fun experiment that seemed to pay off for both the hosts and the attendees. I think there’s room for comic and pop culture conventions of all sizes, because each serves a purpose in shining a light on the various facets of geek culture. If you ever wanted a show that gave you the opportunity to meet some of your favorite creators (and discover lots of new ones), the Long Beach Comic Expo is the perfect place for that. Here’s hoping for a second Expo next spring! Until then, you can always hit up the official Long Beach Comic and Horror Con this October 29th and 30th, 2011.