Another gorgeous weekend filled with comics, creators, and friends happened in sunny Long Beach, CA on September 27th & 28th, 2014. Unfortunately I had to miss the majority of the day on Saturday due to a family commitment, but I did hit the con floor early to buy a big stack of back issues from one of the many great comics dealers who were there before leaving a bit before noon. When I returned at 4pm, the scene above was what greeted me outside the main hall: Clear blue skies and lots of people standing around chatting, both costumed and in regular clothes.
I’ve talked before about all the different experiences people can have at the same con, so my visit isn’t going to be exactly like the one experienced by anyone else. As I said above, I come to a comic con for three things: Comics, Creators, & Friends (not necessarily in that order).
Comics were readily available if you wanted them. There were a number of dealers with older back issues, recent back issues, current comics, and creator-owned stuff being sold by the creators themselves in Artist’s Alley. I picked up back issues (for full sticker price, less a negotiated discount), back issues from “50% off marked price” bins, back issues from $2 bins (there were $1 bins full of stuff I already have, but are great resources for people with less than 95,000 unique comics!). I also got a few 50% off HC collections and some small-press creator owned stuff from the people in Artist’s Alley. All-in-all, I couldn’t have hoped for a better comic buying experience, I bought stuff on both Saturday & Sunday.
I missed a lot of the panels I wanted to see on Saturday since I wasn’t on-site during the majority of the day, but I did get a chance to chat with a lot of creators in Artist’s Alley, both creators I had met before and was able to catch up with, creators whose work I’ve read and enjoyed by never met before, and I met some new folks and got to discover some things I’d never seen before. I dropped off a couple of sketch covers Saturday morning (Sandman with Tone Rodriguez and Unity with David Baron) and was able to pick up the finished sketches when I returned to the con in the late afternoon. Getting artists to do sketches on blank comic covers is something I’ve become a big fan of over the past few years. I love displaying these unique original pieces of art and comic cons are the best places to pick these up, direct from the artists, though you can buy them on eBay from people who get them just to re-sell.
Another favorite of mine are the panels put on by what I’d consider to be “good cons”. Long Beach had some GREAT selections this time around, and unfortunately I missed most of the ones I wanted to see, but I was able to catch a few on Sunday. My favorite was How to Get Away With It: The Art of Writing Crime – Jamie S. Rich, Jimmy Palmiotti, Alec Siegel, and Kyle Higgins (pictured above) talked about their process for writing crime fiction; with POV discussions on criminals, cops, and detectives. Alex Segura joined a bit late, but added some great insights to the panel nonetheless. I really appreciate the variety of panels offered, they really appealed to my somewhat eclectic tastes. My main worry is about having these kinds of panels repeat since most of the panels I attended were very poorly attended (10-20 people in the rooms). I’m not sure if it was that the topics were not interesting to the attendees, if they just didn’t know the panels were going on, or if they mainly wanted to spend their limited time at the con on the show floor. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope we continue seeing a lot of variety.
However you slice it, if you’re at a con take some time to listen to creators, whether it’s at a panel or meeting them in person at a table/booth. Go and talk to that favorite creator and let them know how much you enjoy their work!
This is something that has evolved over the years, but I love spending time with friends at comic conventions. I have “con friends” who I have met over the years while waiting in line at a con, sitting in a panel, or know from on-line forums or Facebook. When I find that we’re going to be at the same con I like to take some time to meet and chat with them, whether it’s just grabbing a few minutes to talk on the con floor, sitting together in a panel that we’re all interested in, or sharing a meal together after the show floor closes.
This year a group of 8 of us went to Famous Dave’s BBQ across the street from the convention center after the show closed (waiting for the table is pictured above) and we had a great time chatting about the show, comics, and life in general.
I usually talk about cons I’m going to on this Blog and on Facebook, if you see that I’m going to be at a show you’re attending & you’d like to meet, drop me a line at the e-mail address below! I love to meet people who share my love of comics!
Long Beach was a great show for me, and I look forward to the Long Beach Comic Expo coming up Feb 28th & March 1st, 2015! I’ll be there, will you?
Bob Bretall: firstname.lastname@example.org
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