50 reasons to go to the Long Beach Comic Con

Long Beach Comic Con is ideal for Halloween
For fanboys and -girls, there’s nothing trivial about their passion
By Robert Meeks, Staff Writer for Mercury News

(Stephen Carr, Staff Photographer)

If storm troopers or Princess Leia slave girls aren’t reason enough to go to the Long Beach Comic Con this Halloween weekend, then how about Mark Waid from BOOM! Studios? The comic book writer promises to answer 50 questions in 50 minutes during an afternoon session on Saturday.

When it comes to comic book trivia, writer and BOOM! Studios chief creative officer Mark Waid is tough to stump.

Who wins, Superman or the Hulk? Advantage: Superman.

Or where were the minorities on Krypton? Easy: Vathlo Island.

And you better know the year on the giant penny in the Batcave.

“1947! Come on, what do they teach you, nothing?” Waid said jokingly during a recent interview at his Los Angeles home. “And you call yourself a journalist?”

Fans will get their chance to quiz the BOOM! Studios’ “Irredeemable” writer during the “50 Questions in 50 Minutes with Mark Waid” panel at the second annual Long Beach Comic Con Friday through Sunday at the Convention Center.

Waid, who has written numerous titles over his 25-year career featuring popular characters such as Superman, Spider-Man and the Flash, will appear this weekend along with more than 200 guests, exhibitors and artists, including comics legend Stan Lee, “Tron: Legacy” actor Bruce Boxleitner and “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola.

Show organizers plan to kick off the event’s first day Friday with artist Tim Bradstreet and actor-director Thomas Jane from “Dark Country” and the HBO series “Hung.”

On Saturday, Bradstreet and Jane will present a live commentary during a 3-D screening of “Dark Country.”

Last year, more than 6,300 attended the inaugural event. Event planner Martha Donato said this weekend’s convention will be in an even larger

exhibit space and that she’s looking forward to a bigger turnout.A potential scheduling conflict with some exhibitors also attending the New York Comic Con opened up the idea of setting this year’s show Halloween weekend.

Donato polled exhibitors and the response to having the Long Beach Comic Con during Halloween weekend was positive. Many saw it as an opportunity.

“People come in costume anyway. Now’s the time to have the excuse to wear it the whole weekend,” she said.

There will be a costume ball to benefit the Hero Initiative – a nonprofit that provides financial aid to comic creators – will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Rock Bottom Brewery on Pine Avenue. There’s a $10 admission charge.

On Halloween, artists and exhibitors will pass out candy to kids in costume at the convention. Admission is free for children ages 10 and younger.

Friends of Lulu, an organization that recognizes work by and about women in comics and cartooning will present their 2010 awards 7 p.m. on Friday.

Long Beach Comic Con’s appeal to many fans and guests is the emphasis on comics and creators.

This year’s guest list includes “Ultimates 3” writer Jeph Loeb, “Batgirl” artist Dustin Nguyen, “Jonah Hex” writer Jimmy Palmiotti, “Power Girl” artist Amanda Conner and pros from Aspen Comics and IDW Publishing.

Raw Studios co-founder and “Punisher” cover artist Bradstreet, who was also a guest at last year’s event, said planners sought to emulate a more “traditional” comics show like Heroes Con in Charlotte, N.C., or Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon.

“The atmosphere of a show is one of the most important things,” he said. “They wanted to kind of pattern their show after those successful shows that stayed with their roots in the comics industry.”

Donato said the event’s popular Artist Alley will be center stage, once again placing the creative talent in the center of an even larger exhibit hall. Last year, more than 200 artists were there sketching and meeting fans.

For aspiring artists, veteran comics editor Barbara Kesel will conduct portfolio reviews at her booth.

For collectors, guests who buy advance weekend passes will have a chance to score one of a 1,000 variant covers of No. 78 of “The Walking Dead.”

Waid, who’s also writing “The Traveler” with Stan Lee, said a show the size of Long Beach Comic Con enables creators to interact with as many fans as possible.

“As professionals, you know, we’re there to pimp our wares, it’s true. But more than that, we’re there to talk to the fans, that’s the fun part,” Waid said. “It’s fun to sit there and talk to people whose lives have been affected by your work or who are really interested in what you have to say and what you do.”

Long Beach Comic Con

When: 1-8 p.m. Friday; 10a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., 562-436-3661
Admission: $25 for single-day pass; $30 for single-day pass on Saturday at the door; $45 for three-day pass; children ages 10 and younger are free. Tickets available at the Comic Con website or participating comic book stores.

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