This past weekend I attended the 4th Annual Long Beach Comics and Horror Con. I’ve always had high hopes for this show since Long Beach is relatively central to LA/OC and I want to see a show in my own backyard succeed. The convention center is also in a nice area along the bay with a wide variety restaurants and shopping. From previous shows, I’ve had some great experiences like the screening and Q & A for Trick or Treat and felt LBCBC could be a major player in the modern era of Con Wars. However, I was a little let down from this year’s show. Partially since it fell AFTER Halloween, I felt the spirit of the ‘Horror Con’ was a little deflated. A couple of years back I went on Halloween and there was a great spooky atmosphere in the air that was absent from this show. As a result, I feel like LBCBC is in a little bit of an identity crisis. Since it’s opening, The Comikaze Expo and Comic-Con International’s little brother, WonderCon, have both moved into town- which is no doubt creeping into LBCHC market. This show has yet to really innovate much beyond what you would expect from a young comics expo. While the showroom floor and grown slightly each year, it seems the level of guests has dropped a bit. Fortunately, the cosplayers add a lot of flavor and enthusiasm- without them, where would any of these shows be? I still think LBCHC has a ton of potential as long as it can carve out a unique niche for itself. Perhaps, they should take a play from Comikaze’s playbook and offer tickets in the $12-15 range instead of the $20-25 price of admission.
Either way, I am glad to see the show return and hope that it continues to improve and grow.