Gallery and Review: Long Beach Comic Con 2015

Hey guys, thanks for dropping by! I wanted to take a moment to talk about this year’s Long Beach Comic Con (2015). It’s a great little convention held annually at, you guessed it, Long Beach! The convention center itself is very nice, very clean. I am especially impressed with the bathrooms and the way the staff is able to maintain them so well! It’s a far step above both the San Diego and LA convention centers. There is a downside to the location, however. A problem faced by most conventions. And that is the issue of parking. While it’s not the nightmare that larger cons have, it can be tricky to find a good spot for a good price that’s within walking distance of the con. It was made especially tricky this year with another convention of some sort held in the other wing of the Long Beach Convention Center coupled with the masses flocking to nearby Lobster Fest. My group and I left on time (for once!) but spent a while driving around looking for a space. It seemed every parking garage we turned to was full or reserved for another event. We eventually made it around to the other side of the convention center and parked on a grassy hill near the beach. The walk wasn’t far, but it felt like miles with the summer heat and full costume weighing heavy.

Once we actually got into the con we were mildly disappointed to find it back on the smaller side of the convention center. Last year’s Long Beach ComicExpo had been held in the larger half of the center which gave it both more room and put it closer to the parking lots.

The booths and artist alley held many of the familiar faces and wares that we are used to seeing at the other local cons. There was a space exhibit near the front of the hall but it was a tad crowded and my group didn’t linger long to find out more.

In the far back corner was a section devoted to cosplay. I was unsurpised to find a *ahem* certain cosplay group was as rude as always, not just to me but the rest of my party as well. A photographer was set up in the way back taking professional pictures for various magazines and there was a small collection of well known cosplayers with their own booths. Some booths had makeup and prosthetic demos but it seemed like every time we walked by the demo was either still setting up or had just ended.

I’m not one for celebrities or panels, but based on what others have said the celebrity guests this year were fantastic. The panels too were great, the only downside being the organization of them which made them difficult to find.

Speaking of organziation, this gets me to the main focus of my convention experience… the costumes! But what does that have to do with organization? Well, I will get there in just a second. First, I want to talk about how amazing all of the cosplays were this year. I mean everyone really went all out and brought their best to the con! There were people and characters from almost every genre imaginable and the quality seems to be getting better and better each year.

The best time to see all of the fantastic costumes in one place is the costume contest. Here’s where my tangent of organization comes in. The costume contest itself was extremely unorganized and a disappointment overall. I signed up a week ahead of time on the website. Didn’t get a confirmation email until 2pm the day of the convention. I don’t have a data plan so I didn’t even see the email until I got home that night. Asking around, I found most people were in the same boat as me. We had no idea where to go for prejudging.

As it turns out, there was no prejudging. It had either been cancelled or never planned for. Prejudging to me is a hugely important part of a costume contest. It gives contestants a chance to shine for the judges, to speak proudly of their work, and to show off everything they’ve made.

What we were given instead was a quick glance by the judges backstage and no more than a few words from them. They skipped over some people entirely and were also heard by some complaining quietly about the amount of people they had to look over. I’m sure this was partially due to the time constraints and I don’t blame the judges at all, but had there been prejudging this would not have been an issue.
Let me step back just a moment to the start of the contest. After having no clue and no direction, we finally found the small room hosting the contest. The event organizers lined us up by a numbered list of people who had signed up ahead of time. I wasn’t on the first list, but a second volunteer found my name and gave me a number. We were all then directed to stand behind the tiny stage. It got more and more crowded and eventually we were moved into the back hallway.
There was a lot of down time here. It gave me a chance to say hi to some familiar people, as well as meet and talk to new ones. The children in the contest began to get restless and were exhausted by the time the contest actually started.
Going up on stage went well and smoothly, but they had a large projector shining on stage that washed out the costumes in the pictures so my boyfriend didn’t get many good shots.
The winners were announced, prizes given out, and everyone had a good time overall, but had the event organizers made a few key changes, the event would have been tons better.
1. Pre-judging, both for the judges to get an accurate read of the quality of the costumes and also to help build up the contestant’s confidence and pride in their work.
2.  Line up the contestants in a different room and bring them up on stage from the back hall. That’s where we all ended up anyway, we should have gone there from the start so the audience could be surprised by the cosplayers and no just stare at us awkwardly shuffling along the side walls.
3. Send the children up on stage first. LBCE did this last year and it worked out great for both the tired kids and the equally tired parents.
In all LBCC is a wonderful convention that I am sure will continue to grow. The price is great, the convention center clean, parking is reasonable (but you should leave early to avoid the hassle), and the costumes are fantastic! Thanks for reading all that! On to the gallery…


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