Long Beach Comic Con: A Dive into the Independent Side of Comics

Author: Joe Di Gaetano

Long Beach Comic Con is not your typical convention. While it may not boast the big names that larger conventions do, it offers a unique charm that’s hard to resist. Geared more towards the independent side of comics, this convention provides a cozy, intimate setting where enthusiasts can truly immerse themselves in indie comics. This year, the convention ran from Sunday, September 2nd to Saturday, September 3rd, at its usual home in the Long Beach Convention Center.

A Day at the Convention

I attended the convention on Saturday. Typically, I prefer to go on just one of the days for a two-day con. However, for three-day conventions, I make it a point to attend all three days. One of the main reasons I was drawn to Long Beach Comic Con was its size. There’s something uniquely appealing about smaller conventions. They offer a more intimate experience, allowing for genuine interactions and a closer look at the world of independent comics. It’s a refreshing change from the bustling atmosphere of larger conventions. The decision to attend Long Beach Comic Con was spontaneous, but its focus on independent comics and its cozier scale made it an irresistible choice for me.

One segment that piqued my interest was The Space Expo. Although smaller than in previous years, it had some engaging features. Families could pose behind mock space suits, and there was an AR/VR segment where attendees could fly drones equipped with cameras through obstacles, viewing their flight path through a specially designed helmet.

Interestingly, another event, Youngla Block Party, took place nearby, which reduced the space available for Long Beach Comic Con. This year’s convention was notably smaller than in previous years, possibly due to the pandemic. However, when compared to Midsummer Scream, which is held a month earlier at the same venue and occupies the entire convention floor, the size difference is stark.

Spotlight on Special Guests

The presence of several notable guests graced the convention, each bringing their own unique charm and star power to the event.

Keith Coogan was one of the standout guests. Many might remember him as Brad from Adventures in Babysitting. His appearance was a delightful surprise for fans of the classic film. Kevin’s interactions with fans showcased his genuine appreciation for their continued support.

Sam J. Jones, the iconic Flash Gordon, was another guest that drew attention. His portrayal of the titular character has left an indelible mark on pop culture. Meeting him in person allowed attendees to reminisce about the film’s impact and timeless appeal.

Niketa Calame-Harris, known for her voice role as young Nala in the original Lion King, was also present. Her contribution to one of Disney’s most beloved classics made her a sought-after guest at the convention. Fans were eager to hear her insights on voicing such an iconic character.

Lastly, Mary Gibbs, the voice behind the adorable “Boo” from Monsters Inc., added a cuteness to the event. Fans of the Pixar film were thrilled to see the voice behind one of their favorite characters. Mary’s anecdotes about her time recording for the film added a personal touch to her interactions.

The presence of these special guests undeniably elevated the experience, making the convention even more memorable for attendees.

Notable Experiences

One of the highlights of my visit was participating in a Star Wars trivia panel. With two teams competing, the categories ranged from “What’s Missing?” where we were shown a picture and had to identify a missing object or character, to “Star Wars Products” and “Star Wars Songs.” It was a fun and challenging experience that tested our Star Wars knowledge.

Another memorable moment was discovering the Tee Turtle booth. They sold shirts with unique phrases, and I couldn’t resist buying one that humorously declared, “I am not procrastinating. I’m just doing sidequests.” These little finds make conventions like Long Beach Comic Con so special.

While the convention had several attractions, one that I missed out on was the cosplay contest. I had planned to stay for it, but I left early, thinking I’d be joining a team for the trivia night in Burbank and needed to rush back to beat traffic. It’s always a game of choices at conventions, and sometimes, you have to pick one event over another.

Long Beach Comic Con offers a unique experience for comic enthusiasts, especially those interested in the independent side of the industry. While it may be smaller in scale, it more than makes up for it with its charm, intimate setting, and focus on indie comics. If you’re looking for a convention that offers a different vibe from the larger ones, Long Beach Comic Con is worth a visit.

If indie comics and a cozy convention atmosphere sound like your cup of tea, don’t miss out on the next Long Beach Comic Con. Dive into a world where the independent spirit of comics shines bright!

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