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Long Beach Comic Expo Kicks Off Con Season

Written By: Abel S. Pinedo

February 18th, 2017

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This weekend I made my yearly pilgrimage to the Long Beach Comic Expo. This convention puts a strong focus on comic books, artwork and the creative forces behind them. That's a great thing for anyone who loves comics as much as me. So on a stormy Saturday morning I got up early and made my way to Long Beach. As I approached the convention center the first thing I saw was a collection of famous vehicles from movies and TV. It was pretty cool to start the day by seeing KITT from Knight Rider, the Blues Mobile, as well as vehicles from Jurassic Park. After snapping a few pics and securing my badge at the entrance, it was onward to my weekend of fun.

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As is my tradition, I made my first stop to visit my friends at Golden Apple Comics. Every show, they feature various artists signings. Artist David Mack was signing his exclusive variant cover of Champions #1. A portion of the sales of the comic is being donated to the ACLU. The other big draw was the ever popular Golden Apple Raffle. For only a buck you got the chance to pick a mystery envelope. The contents could be anything from a small toy or action figure, to a comic book or graphic novel, all the way up to one of the major prizes. Some of the big prizes included statues and other various convention exclusive merchandise. The best prize (in my opinion) was two park hopper tickets to Legoland in Carlsbad!

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Next I made my way through artist alley. I cannot express enough the importance I place on visiting this area. For me, smaller shows like this are all about the artists and the creators. It's also great not having to deal with the jam packed crowds of the larger Cons. This gives you the opportunity to talk to the creators about their art. If you have questions about their process or if you are a budding artist yourself, many of them will take the time to talk to you. A few that I want to point out are the watercolors of Geoff Pascual. I loved his Joker done in a splatter style. Another I liked was Christopher Stuart Wilson's General Leia and Admiral Ackbar paintings. Finally, it's so hard to single out a favorite piece by Brett Bennett, so I'll mention two; his Spider Kitty and The Girl with the BB-8 earring were nothing short of stunning. I already know when I see him next at WonderCon that I'll be adding more of his work to my collection.

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No convention is complete without a panel or two. In my case, I hit up three. First was The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? If you're not familiar with this documentary then go seek it out. Jon Schnepp and Holly Payne have put together the definitive story behind Tim Burton's never made Superman film that would have starred Nicholas Cage as the titular hero. Schnepp is full of wonderful stories about the making of this film so if he's at a convention you're attending, give him a listen and prepare to be fascinated.

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Supernatural fans were definitely jazzed about the next panel I saw, Supernatural's Ghostfacers Reunion. All six cast members shared stories about how their side characters from the hit show have spun off into a cult following of their own. The big reveal is that yes indeed, the Ghostfacers will return once more. Probably not in the current season but Travis Wester confirmed that it will happen. Finally, I listened in on a panel while writer Frank Tieri talked about his long career working for both Marvel and DC. While he couldn't go into specifics, he did share that he is writing for the upcoming video game Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite.

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Celebrity wise, the big draw on Saturday was for Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa. His autograph line was consistently packed with people, as was his line for those who had paid for a professional photograph with him. What could possibly outdraw him I thought as I noticed another much longer line. None other than legendary creator George Perez. His line stretched throughout a good portion of artist alley yet he never stopped sketching and signing all day. People who visited him definitely walked away happy. I also noticed that despite the weather, the show floor was still packed, especially with kids. And so many of them were cosplaying, too! I love when the next generation of fandom gets into the spirit at such a young age.

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I really had an amazing time at the show. I left the convention center with a sack full of comic books and and cool swag. I even scored two free pases to the Lego Batman movie! I'd say my trip to the Long Beach Comic Expo was a rousing success. I'm already looking forward to the sister show, Long Beach Comic Con, which comes up this Fall. See you soon!

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About the Author: Abel S. Pinedo a.k.a. "Honest Abe" has written reviews for Dark Horizons, JoBlo and MusicTap.  He has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He can usually be found at his keyboard ranting and rambling about the human condition or watching Beavis & Butthead.

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