Over the Weekend: Long Beach Comic Expo

Albert Ching
And the award for "best iconic comic book convention photo" goes to...

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Four-and-a-half months after the inaugural Long Beach Comic Con, the organizers of the event (check out our interview here) saw fit to whet comic book fan appetites with the one-day Long Beach Comic Expo this past Saturday at the Long Beach Convention Center. It was one-third as long (the proper LBCC, returning the last weekend of October, is three days long) and about one-third the size, but at least three-fifths of the fun.
Though small, the Long Beach Comic Expo had lots of the usual stuff you'd come to expect at comic conventions--lots of comics, toys and assorted other bizarre ephemera for sale--but none of the stuff that comic conventions have come to attract recently, like relentless plugging of movies, TV shows and video games. The focus was on comic book themselves, fitting in nicely with the Long Beach Comic Con's motto of "love comics more."

The Expo managed to squeeze in typical sights like people selling comic books:

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People selling toys:


And people selling buckets of once-coveted Star Wars action figures, now nothing more than Darth Maul-shaped clutter priced to sell. Ah, the circle of life.

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A few big-name comic book professionals were in attendance, like Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai (left) and Hellboy mastermind Mike Mignola; meeting fans, doing sketches and selling their latest wares.


"Artist Alley" is a comic convention staple, where established and up-and-coming artists alike show off their creations, sell sketchbooks and prints, and solicit commissioned sketches from the populace.


The Long Beach Comics Expo Artist Alley attracted Image Comics co-founder Whilce Portacio:


And current Batman: Streets of Gotham artist and former Long Beach resident Dustin Nguyen, seen here sketching frequent Batman nemesis Poison Ivy, played terribly by Uma Thurman in an infamously bad 1997 film entitled Batman and Robin.


Though Marvel and DC didn't have an official presence at the Expo--both held panels at last year's LBCC--Top Cow, a popular branch of Image Comics responsible for Wanted, Witchblade and others, was representing with a booth.


As was Golden Apple, one of the country's most famous comic book retailers; located on Melrose up in LA. They were selling two Archie comics for $1, a swell deal in any economy.


Veteran comics writer Barbara Kesel was giving portfolio reviews, seen here either bolstering or dashing the dreams of this young bearded fellow.


More pics on the next page!

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