This past weekend, I had a chance to visit the Long Beach One Day Comic Expo. This is sort of a ‘mini-me’ of their larger LB Comic Con in the fall. I was anticipating this to be a pretty small scale experience based on the talent and panels represented. It was a good thing too because small is exactly what I got. However, I don’t want to be too harsh on them since it is only their 2nd year to do this. Here are a my pros and cons:
The prices on the comic books were quite good. All the trades were discounted with sets were priced dirt cheap. You could find recent print comics and back issues as low as $1 and entire story arc sets for $8-14! One vender gave me 33% off for a book even though the sign was for only 25%. You could definitely clean up if you are had money to blow. There were plenty of young artist to connect with and to buy sketches. No one too impressive but they all seemed eager to interact with fans. They were also shooting an episode of The Guild there so there was a wing set up with fake (and funny) panel signs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see Felicia Day :(.
The problem with this event was that it was definitely less Comic Con and more ‘Expo’. However, it used the same branding and logo as their official ‘Comic Con’ so there was expectations hyped in my mind. I knew it was doomed when walking in, I overheard people complaining about the small-scale experience. When you attach the name ‘Comic Con’ to an event, you can’t avoid building expectations. There was very little cosplay with it being the typical smattering of Imperial forces and Jedi. Panels were not that interesting and I heard a some complaints about the content. The only booth that was close to the level of ‘Comic Con’ was the WoW/Guild Booth which was closed- I assume it was only going to be open for the filming. There was also very, very few toys or collectibles which did not make my son very happy. I think my biggest complaint was the price of $15. Even though I got in for free (Press Pass), I felt this experience didn’t justify the price of admission. I would say maybe $5 instead. The floor took about 10 minutes to walk and there was nothing else to do after that. I saw a few people leaving disappointed.
I’m not really sure what the purpose of these One Day Expos are. In general, I am all for more gatherings in the name of comics, sci-fi, and ‘geekdom’, but I can’t help feel this hurts the brand of Long Beach Comic Con. It’s underwhelming and that feeling could affect the perception of a young LBCC. I know that the name ‘Comic Expo’ is being used but people come with a Comic Con expectation. I actually enjoy the larger version in the fall and plan on attending- however, I don’t think I will be returning back to this Expo anytime soon.