Long Beach Comic-Con is all wrapped up and in the books for 2016, and we’re looking back at the events of this past weekend. Come con with us!
Conventions are always full of hustle and bustle, attendees crowding the exhibit hall and the panel rooms, which was no difference this year throughout LBCC. The crowds showed their masses early on Saturday morning for both attendees and the exhibitors. Lines for badge pick up stretched out the lobby doors of the Long Beach Convention center out to the Long Beach Arena next door, and lines of exhibitors waiting in line to get their badges hugged a wall along the inside lobby. Because of this, some exhibitors were not even set up in their booths, especially in Artist Alley, at the time of the doors open! We recall this issue happening last year for attendees, with those who purchased their badges ahead of time waiting in massive lines. You would think that there would be some learned experience from the year before, no?
Once the badges were sorted out, things to flow smoothly, give or take a few hiccups. It’s always impressive to see all the creativity on the exhibit hall floor ranging from artists and creators to builders and sellers and more. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes. Everywhere you looked, you could find something that may have caught your eye. Our own Stacey Shuttleworth had a table on the show floor, selling her own fandom crafts to the masses. She’ll be writing her own experiences from behind the table soon, so keep your eye out for that! Big names in pop culture that were noticeable throughout Artist Alley and more were shows such as Stranger Things and Voltron: Legendary Defender, to gaming names like Pokemon and Overwatch. If you had something you found yourself a fan of, there was a chance that you were able to find it on the show floor.
Off the busy floor, down a hallway and down a set of stairs, the clever (or well read LBCC attendee) would find the panel rooms. The well named rooms, in theory, should have been easy to navigate. But it took a little exploring to find where each panel room was located. We were able to attend two of the panels we wanted to see this con: Battlebots and “Let’s Get Fashionably Nerdy!”
We here at Nerds Doing Stuff have always been big fans of Battlebots since its original series on Comedy Central, and have attended panels in the past (such as the panel during SDCC at Nerd HQ!) This was a fun and welcome opportunity because it was in a smaller room than we’d seen before and had more teams on the roster than before. With teams like Bad Kitty, Disco Inferno, Invader, and Lockjaw, fans in attendance were able to get a little bit of the insight into what went in to building these bots, the behind the scenes stuff TV audiences do not see, and more! What
impressed us the most was the size of the bots. Lockjaw, though we’ve seen in person before, is just a giant. Seeing bots like Bad Kitty and Invader up close just make you realize the scale of how you see them on television. So awesome, so deadly!
On the opposite side of the nerdy spectrum from Battlebots was the aptly named “Let’s Get Fashionably Nerdy!” by the folks over at Fashionably Nerdy and a slew of panelists such as the folks from Hero Within, Elhoffer Design, and Whosits & Whatsits. All of the panelists brought their views on the world of nerdy fashion from women’s clothing to menswear, to kids and just all around general nerdity. The very small room off to the side of the panel rooms was packed with fans of their brands, folks walking to learn more about nerdy fashion, and interestingly enough, a lot of the people we run into a conventions on the regular! If you have not checked out any of the designers and talent from this panel, what are you waiting for?! Go now to the following places:
We can’t talk about the positives of a con without touching on the low moments too. In the couple years we have been attending LBCC, we’ve seen what seems to be a backwards progression. We’ve already noted the lengthy process to pick up badges (which were wristbands for everyone not press, professional, and exhibitor) and the lack of guidance towards panel rooms. The panels rooms really caused a problem, especially when it came to the big talent of Saturday, the casts of Con Man and Firefly. When you have a room that is going to be packed the whole day, you need to make sure you know how to crowd control. We read announcements about that room being cleared between panels, and then a reversal of that statement, but then it still being planned. Then the Fire Marshall almost shutting the panel down. Then people in lines being told the wrong information. It all just stacked up on top of each other into a large ball of trouble. To top it all off, the room which was short of being shut down then became a standing room only room, and then threw open its doors and had people standing outside, craning to get a view from the very back. A search of the Long Beach Comic Con hashtag has views from those waiting in the back and their feedback on how the whole process went down.
That is, if you were able to see the hashtags and social media posts anyone made throughout your time at Long Beach Comic Con. We understand that internet is not the cheapest luxury a convention can afford. We understand that there are literally thousands of guests and exhibitors all using the data in the area, but there has to be some middle ground somewhere when it comes to the WiFi and internet at a convention. When exhibitors are unable to process transactions, the reason they are there, and have to struggle in paying $80 per day for WiFi…there’s an issue. If your guests cannot access social media and see your own convention announcements about room policy changes…there’s an issue. A convention can only continue when the issues are far less than the “pros” that are bringing in the crowds. We hope that LBCC and their team can pull it together so that we don’t see this again next year, or even earlier at Long Beach Comic Expo.
With all that said, Long Beach Comic Con has not passed us by as a con we won’t attend; we just want to see it do better. It’s good now, but it has the potential to grow and be great. It can be a place for those who don’t want to deal with SDCC to flock to and enjoy themselves. Let’s hope it can be.