Category Archives: Conventions

Stumbling Through LA Comic Con 2016

Welcome to LA Comic Con BannerWe’re ready to swear off going to cons at the LA Convention Center. We tried to spend Saturday at Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con (formerly Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, formerly Comikaze Expo), but…well…

(TL;DR: Skip to the photos)

Getting There is Half the Fun^H^H^HDay

It took us as long to drive the two blocks past the off-ramp as it took us to drive into Los Angeles. I dropped Katie off so she could get in line while we spent the next hour looking for an open parking lot. (The only “try over there” parking signs were small and listed addresses, not directions.)

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Zooming Through Long Beach Comic Con 2016

One of the weirdest things about this year’s Long Beach Comic Con is how much moving the entrance to the other side of the convention center changed the flavor of the experience. For the last seven years, they’ve used the western entrance off of Pine Ave. with a big, open, glass lobby and an outside area that stays sunny all afternoon. There’s always a mass of people in costume out in that lobby — I’ve called it “Lobby Con.” That didn’t happen this year.

This year, they used a larger section of the convention center for the main floor, and brought everyone in on the east side between the theaters and the big circular arena with the Wyland mural. The lobby is smaller and feels more closed-in. There’s a lot more open space outside, but it’s divided by stairways and balconies.

Outside LBCC

The result: No Lobby Con. There wasn’t room for people to gather inside the lobby, and outside was so fragmented that it didn’t feel like a gathering. On the plus side, the lines for the food trucks didn’t look too long either, and the varied space made for some interesting photo backdrops: the mural, palm trees, lamp posts, sunny spots, shady spots, etc.

Going Somewhere Solo?

Whitney Frost CosplayI usually do Long Beach Comic Con solo, while we make WonderCon and San Diego (when we get tickets, anyway) family trips. We planned to change that this year. Katie has been putting together a Whitney Frost cosplay outfit (from Agent Carter). J. is in the age range for kids’ programming now. Then things fell through so that Katie couldn’t make it, and then J. got a cold, so I ended up going solo after all. We did do a full makeup/hair test and photoshoot as Whitney Frost first, though!

Anyway, I arrived around lunchtime on Sunday, leaving me with just one afternoon to cram in as much Comic Con as I could. That meant I only attended one of the panels that looked interesting, picked a few artists to seek out, didn’t spend much time browsing for comics (though I did buy a few), and made several cursory circuits of the floor, pausing when someone or their art or merch caught my eye, rather than really exploring.

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Whitney Frost Cosplay

Whitney Frost Cosplay (Madame Masque)

The “big bad” of Marvel’s Agent Carter Season 2: Whitney Frost, a scientist/actress who becomes imbued with what she calls Zero Matter, a destructive energy force (just visible in the form of the jet-black scar). She’s adapted from the comic book villain Madame Masque. Like the Once Upon a Time Alice, she doesn’t seem to be a commonly cosplayed character.

The plan was to debut the costume at Long Beach Comic Con this weekend, but for various reasons, Katie couldn’t make it. We did the full makeup and hair anyway, and found a suitably art deco-looking building nearby to do a quick photoshoot on the public sidewalk.

With any luck, Comikaze will work out.

Update: We all made it to the renamed LA Comic Con!

Wandering WonderCon in 2016

Last year’s WonderCon went well enough that when our five-year-old said he wanted to go both days this year, we figured sure, let’s do it! Famous last words…

(TL;DR: full photo album)

We had another thing going on Saturday morning, so we got in around noon and went to get lunch as soon as we had our badges. Then we stood in line at the food trucks for over an hour. By the time we made it into the convention proper, it was almost 2:30pm. On Sunday, we brought sandwiches with us, though we did wait in line for cotton candy shaped like Baymax’s head (cotton candy being the exception to the rule about not eating things bigger than your own head).

Baymax Cotton Candy

Unfortunately things didn’t work out as well as last year, kid-wise. He’s old enough to find cool things to do at a con — meet the Ninja Turtles, check out toys, play retro video games, stuff like that — but hasn’t quite mastered the art of “let someone else have a turn” or “let’s start walking so we can get to this other thing before the room fills up.” The first day of a con is overwhelming for anyone, and that goes double for kids (and parents). Saturday was so exhausting that we left early and I dropped into bed fully dressed.

Crowds, Cosplay & Events

As many people as there were, I never felt crowded. We didn’t have any problems with the RFID badges either. They had a new system where you had to tap your badge on a scanner to enter or leave the main hall, or one of the areas where events were being held. Our badges scanned just fine. J. insisted on tapping his as well, and was disappointed that the scanner didn’t respond. (He really likes the idea of having his own ticket to things, even when children get in free.)

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Long Beach Comic Con Hits its Stride in 2015

Deadpool ReadingDeadpool's Light ReadingI’ve liked Long Beach Comic Con since it started, but this year was something else. They doubled the amount of floor space from previous years…and filled it. I think they doubled the number of programming tracks as well. And the fans came: I’d swear the place was busier on Sunday afternoon than it was last year on Saturday, and I had trouble finding parking for the first time ever.

TL;DR? Skip to the photo gallery if you must!

Last year I went with very specific goals in mind, because I’d been so aimless the year before. This year I wasn’t sure until Friday whether I’d be able to make it or which day, so I held off on planning, but it worked out.

Keeping Artist’s Alley as the centerpiece of the show has broadened it a bit into a show about comics and art. Continue reading