Comic Con Long Beach is the annual event that brings together creators, cosplayers, programmers, fans and the ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’ of the world over every type of comic. It took place at the Long Beach Convention Center on Sept. 8 and 9.
Walking into the show floor, I was immediately greeted by a long row of booths selling rows of boxes of comic books. Walking straight ahead, I explored Artist Alley, Cosplay Corner, and Social Square. It was clear to see the passion within each person, whether they’re in costume or behind the table, selling paintings, bookmarks, merchandise, or just showcasing their work for the public.
Below the show floor lays six panel rooms, covering every fandom, from DC comics to Black Panther. One of the first panels was DC Nation, led by DC Publisher Dan DiDio along with Bryan Edward Hill (Detective Comics), Adam Glass (Teen Titans), and Christopher Priest (Deathstroke). They began their panel discussing “Batman and the Outsiders,” by Bryan Edward Hill, launching in December.
Commenting about his plans for the comic, Hill plans to write “the absolute best book he can do” for the audience, as Batman may be one of his last statements in the DC Comics Universe.
Not only do they talk about their characters, they relate their story to politics. Glass compares our world to some comics, where one author “can write one version of Batman, and another can write another Batman, but still be able to go out and get a cup of coffee. Why can’t our world be like that?”
As for Priest and his ventures with writing about the infamous super-villain Deathstroke, he said, “I’m not trying to challenge DC but I am tired of reading the same book every day so I am trying to look for new ground…it’s all about clarity. I’m just trying to tell stories that feel right to me and work for everybody else.”
DiDio talks about one of his first experiences at DC Comics, when the company required only 10 thousand comics to be sold. As a result, DiDio’s office decided to create more profit when selling at a higher price. He argued, would anybody in the office ever buy a comic book at that price? From that silence, those comic book creators decided “to make comic books that [they] would buy [themselves],” in order to create the best comic content for their readers.
The enthusiastic responses and questions from the fans created an apparent, strong culture of appreciation for the comic books and characters at each panel. It was incredible to see everybody come together over a singular subject, bringing their own views to the table.
Besides the panels, the Cosplay Contest draws the attention of the fans. With over 50 of the best cosplay costumes of all ages in Southern California came together to compete head-to-head. Different awards included Best in Show, Best Hero and Best Kid. All over Comic Con, you can see fans dressed as Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and DC characters.
There’s also an array of events from the GeekFest Film Festival, featuring horror, fantasy and fan films to satiate every fandom, as well as the KnokX pro wrestling, which brings live wrestling to the show floor as part of Long Beach Comic Con’s epic 10th edition show.
Up above in the showroom is the Space Expo, bringing together space and entertainment to create interest and even future scientists and engineers. At the same time, the Space Expo panel, The Science of Black Panther’s Baadasssss Arsenal, invites the fans to explore and break down all the Vibranium-based gadgets of the Marvel Universe. Moderated by Daniel J. Glenn and accompanied by Dr. Michael Dennin and Ben Siepser, the panel dives into the Black Panther suit, the Panther Habit.
“One of the things we have to think about in all these situations with technology enhancing particularly strength is that you want to generate a greater force and support that greyer force. A suit like this has to have that interesting interactions with you too,” Dr. Dennin said.
They break down the science behind Black Panther’s noise-cancelling sneakers and EMP beads, and theoreticized if the creation of this technology is actually possible. Is it possible? “With unlimited energy,” Siepser said, “yes, it is possible.”
“Energy is always the problem, everything else works,” Dennin adds on.
The scientists also reveal that Black Panther’s suit was inspired through graphene, a very real material-one of the thinnest yet strongest materials ever. The Space Expo panels were definitely a fascinating addition to Comic Con, as science is a prominent and interesting, yet overlooked aspect of comics.
Comic Con exhibited a total of 34 panels on their Saturday event and 22 panels on Sunday. Their seemingly endless amount of booths and activities created an interactive environment for both the fans and the exhibitors. If you missed this weekend’s event, Comic Con will return on Feb. 16-17.