Let me be blunt. I don’t read comic books or graphic novels. Not because of any judgement on my part, but simply because I get impatient with too many pictures and not enough words. That said, I do love watching TV shows and movies based on this art form. Comics have rich and diverse stories to tell with complex, three-dimensional characters.
So, why did I volunteer this weekend at Long Beach Comic Con? I like to say it was because I was acting in the capacity of a sponge cat. I was soaking in information like a sponge and curious like a cat. Besides, volunteering at an event not only gets you in for free, but gives you a unique perspective on the people that attend said events.
So, in the morning I worked the “fill out this survey and get free stuff” table. Most of the free stuff were flyers promoting events, but there were some cool gifts for the upcoming graphic-novel inspired film, Priest.
I sort of met Crispin Freeman … no introductions, just helped him find someone. He’s a voice actor best known for his roles as Alucard from Helsing, Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumipa and Holland Novak from Eureka Seven. And nope, never heard of any those … found that info on Wikipedia. My impression? He seemed like a grounded, polite young man (he’s a year younger than my little sister). Freeman was there to teach an anime voice acting workshop.
I also sort of met Mike Dubisch, an artist who has done work for Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars and Image Comics. He also has a lot of work based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. He was there with his family and I pointed him to the guy who would get him his badge. Dubisch was there to do a fantasy art demo.
People watching was amazing at the LBCC! The costumes were of the highest caliber I’ve seen in a long time … and I’ve been to quite a few science fiction and horror conventions. And I’m not talking about the folks from the Southern California Garrison of the 501st Legion … their costumes are always top notch. No, I’m talking about plain, ordinary people who came to show. There were even whole families all in costume. Pretty cool stuff.
The audience was also more diverse than I’ve seen. Whether that was a result of the convention being in Long Beach, which is pretty diverse, or this being a comic-focused convention, I can’t say. There were people there of almost every race and every age group. There were families, teens, 20-somethings and pretty much representatives from every generation. To be honest, I’d never seen little old ladies at a convention before this weekend!
Once I got off my shift, I perused the dealers room. It was wall-to-wall comics. Nothing but comics. It was the most homogenous dealers room I’d ever seen. And, because comics hold no interest to me, one sweep of the room was pretty much all I needed. But, I could totally see that if you were into comics, this room could very well be seventh heaven. The glee I saw in the eyes of other attendees was bright and the excitement palpable.
Now, my shift was over at 1pm, which was kind of a bummer for me because I really wanted to sit in on the Podcasting 101 panel that went from noon to 12:45. And, by the time I got to the programming rooms, both 1pm panels had already started. I was tired, so I didn’t want to sit in and then accidentally fall asleep on them.
The next program I was interested in was at 3pm … almost two hours away. So, given that there wasn’t much to see and I was fading from not enough sleep, I decided to call it a day.
I’m really glad I had the opportunity to check out the Long Beach Comic Con and I’d recommend it to die-hard comics and graphic novel fans. If you have a passion for this stuff, this simple one-day event is worth the nominal fee.
Would I go again? Probably not to the one-day event. I was too much out of my element, knowing nothing about what was going on around me. But, the three-day event in October looks like it will be more diverse, since it is being billed as a “Comic and Horror” con. I plan to be there.
Do you see the world through genre-coloured glasses? For more science fiction, fantasy and horror news and information — with a travel twist, check out The Genre Traveler, the travel resource for science fiction, fantasy and horror fans, at www.thegenretraveler.com.