Category Archives: Conventions

10 Years of Long Beach Comic Con! (2018)

Back in 2009, I attended the first-ever Long Beach Comic-Con, an event that filled the void left when Wizard World cancelled WWLA at the last minute. I had a good time, and it had a lot of support from the industry, but I wondered how long it would last.

Ten years on, LBCC is still going strong! It’s small compared to WonderCon or SDCC, but it continues to be much more focused on comics and art than most “comic cons.” Artists’ Alley is still the central focus of the main floor, with an outer edge made up of small press, comics and collectibles dealers, a wrestling ring, fan groups, Space Expo, and celebrity signing areas.

(If you’re in a hurry and just want the photos, head over to Flickr for the full set.)

Family Trip

Professors Trelawney and Mad-Eye MoodyAll three of us attended on Saturday. Katie debuted her Professor Trelawney cosplay, explored, and caught a panel on the science of Black Panther.

I spent most of the afternoon taking J. around. We picked up a few toys, played video games (he found the customization screen on a fighting game right away, and spent the time experimenting), and several rounds of laser tag. The Long Beach Public Library also had a great area for kids, with crafts, a 3D printing demo, a photo area and a floor maze.

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Professor Trelawney Cosplay at Long Beach Comic Con

Cosplay: Professor Sybill Trelawney (Hogwarts: Divination) ponders the future.

Katie’s been talking about dressing up as Professor Trelawney for a while now. She put together the pieces for a costume over the last couple of weeks, and wore them on Saturday at Long Beach Comic Con.

It was a huge success! Lots of people recognized the character and wanted photos. We even ran into “Mad-Eye” Moody on the way into the convention! Edit: Then again, there was also the guy who insisted in talking to her about Woodstock.

Hogwarts Professors Sybill Trelawney and Mad-Eye Moody are ready for anything: Constant Vigilance! Professor Sybill Trelawney has learned something horrifying: You have the Grim!

I’ll have more to say about the convention in the next post, but for now, check out my full LBCC photo gallery on Flickr. And you can follow Katie’s cosplay on Instagram at @CasualCosplayKatie.

WonderCon 2018

It’s been ten years since we first went to WonderCon, back when it was still in San Francisco. At the time I thought it would be fun to come back, but maybe not every year. As it turns out, we’ve kept going back yearly, only missing one! It’s effectively replaced SDCC for us, between the difficulty in getting tickets and hotels and just how overwhelming the event can be, especially for a kid.

WonderCon has been held in Anaheim since 2012 (except for one year in LA), and this year’s event ran Match 23-25. We mostly explored. None of us made it to any panels or signings, and the main floor has gotten big enough that it’s hard to see everything. There were costumes to wear, art to look at, toys to try out. The kiddo kept coming back to the fidget spinners and mystery boxes.

Cosplay

The kiddo wore his Minecraft Spider Jockey costume from Halloween. Katie repaired it and enhanced it, and it was a big hit. Everywhere we walked, we could catch people saying “Hey, Minecraft!” to each other. Lots of people wanted to take photos as well, though by mid-afternoon he was tired of it and declined a lot of them. I didn’t do anything complicated, though I did wear Steve’s outfit to go along with it.

Kid in a skeleton costume with a boxy head, wearing a cardboard-box spider as if the skeleton is riding it, as a Minecraft spider-jockey. And me dressed as Steve.

Katie brought back her Whitney Frost costume on Saturday. She got recognized a lot more this year than last. Did Agent Carter Season 2 hit Netflix between then and now? Has Madame Masque been more prominent in the comics? Then for Sunday she wore an alternate Kara Danvers (Supergirl) outfit that she’d intended to wear on the second day of Long Beach that we weren’t able to get to.

Woman in a purple dress, off-center 1940s hair, and a crack of darkness spidering its way down her face Woman in an office shirt with glasses and ice cream

As for the general cosplay scene, there’s still a lot of DC, Marvel, Disney and Star Wars. And mash-ups. Lots of mash-ups. Samurai Spider-Man, Doctor Strange/r Things, Hogwarts of Westeros… Our full photo gallery is up on Flickr.

Hotel

After last year’s parking debacle (it took an hour to get from the convention center to the parking lot way out at Honda Center), and with a complex costume in mind, we decided to get a hotel this year. The cost was reasonable, especially compared to San Diego. Not only is WonderCon smaller than SDCC, but I suspect a larger percentage of attendees are local.

And let me tell you: it was worth it. We stayed at the Red Lion, right across Harbor. We were able to store the giant spider in the room, and take it to the con without dealing with a shuttle or walking for miles carrying the boxes. When J. got too tired to deal with the convention, I took him back to the hotel to hang out while Katie continued to explore. We could even put the kid to bed at something close to his usual bedtime!

Getting Around

Badges were mailed out ahead of time, but we still had to go to Registration on-site for the child badge (free with a paying adult, but you can’t pre-register kids). Fortunately, since we got there late in the afternoon on Friday, there was no line to speak of. And this time neither badge’s RFID state got messed up in the process!

They weren’t checking bags on the way in like Long Beach did last fall, just scanning badges and keeping an eye out like usual, so movement in and out of the con perimeter went smoothly. It was also cooler than we expected (and cooler than LBCC), which was good because of all the walking around, but a bit annoying because none of our costumes were really suited for jackets!

The yellow-sign judgmental religious protesters who’ve plagued these events for the last few years (the worst was probably the jerks harassing the line to get into LACC in 2016) never got closer than across the street as near as I could tell.

As far as food goes, I was kind of underwhelmed by the food trucks this year. The lines were just too long and the price too high for what you get. The convention center food was bland enough that J. actually refused to eat a hamburger. Oddly enough, IHOP has stepped up its game since I last went there.

Anyway, if you’re still reading this: thank you! I’m not sure who actually looks at personal con reports these days. I’m still writing them partly for completeness, partly to provide context for my photo gallery, and partly as something I can look back at for myself when I’m trying to remember, “hey, which year was it that X happened?”

Comic-Con Economy: What a Difference a Decade Makes

SDCC Blog reports that Comic-Con International is expected to be the San Diego Convention Center’s top economic generator of 2018, “with 130,000 attendees and an estimated $147.1 million in regional impact.”

That’s a far cry from 2008, when the con was derided as “decidedly low-rent” and generated “only” $41.5 million, half the impact of the top biotech conference for the year. The rest of the top events are still medical conferences, but the #2 event, a conference by the Society for Neuroscience, is estimated to bring in $88 million.

That said, SDCC still brings in fewer dollars per person than those medical conferences (130K attendees for Comic-Con, 30K for the neuroscience event). Fans saving up all year to go somewhere for fun can’t compete against professionals with expense accounts, after all.

But it’s nice to see Comic-Con recognized as a vital contributor to San Diego’s economy instead of an embarrassing side note.