By Ivan Cazares
Prop cars, replica cars and tribute cars lined up in front of the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday summed up what Long Beach Comic-Con is about, and that is fandom.
This was the seventh annual LBCC, and it featured a variety of guests. It’s an annual event that evolves every year and is worth attending. Attendees had the opportunity to meet celebrities such as Chloe Bennet from the TV series Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and John Barrowman from “Arrow.” Barrowman is a fan favorite, who hosted an energetic panel that gave fans the opportunity to ask questions.
Hundreds of comic book collectors, cosplayers and a garrison of Star Wars stormtroopers gathered for a small fan convention in comparison to the San Diego Comic Con. The convention is very accessible to children as well.
There were several cast members of different seasons of the Power Rangers signing autographs. Voice actors such as Loren Lester who voiced Dick Grayson, better known as Robin in the Batman animated series, was also signing autographs.
For the first time LBCC partnered with the Columbia Memorial Space Center located in Downey to present programming centered around space exploration. LBCC also included a panel focusing on the New Horizons space probe which recently revealed that Pluto has a complex surface and atmosphere.
Members of the Planetary society were talking to attendees about their Lightsail project. The Planetary Society is the largest non-profit space advocacy group, and their Lightsail is a small spacecraft that uses a reflective sail to gather solar energy for propulsion. The group is lead by scientist Bill Nye, and successfully completed a test flight in June.
Comic publishers Marvel and Dark Horse comics hosted panels, and their product could be seen all over the convention floor, aside from the big names there were also several independent comic books being sold such as such as B-Squad: Soldiers of Misfortune and Silver, published by Dark Planet Comics.
The Southern California Garrison of the 501st Legion showed off their detailed Star Wars costumes, while a cosplay group known for their charity work showed off Star Wars inspired Steampunk cosplay. Steampunk is a subculture that romanticizes the idea that technology never advanced past steam power. Star Wars Steampunk Universe was given an award for best costume group at SDCC, and donates to charities such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
“It’s a good opportunity to connect with the local community,” said Ryan Liebowitz owner of the local comic book store the Golden Apple. The Golden Apple has been in business since 1979, and has been an exhibitor at LBCC since its inception.
LBCC featured a section for tabletop gaming, as well as a laser tag arena. LBCC is a destination for comic book and science fiction fans of all ages.