This was one of two articles I did on the 2011 Long Beach Comic & Horror Con- this one’s a preview, the other, a recap. I had attended the Con last year after winning a pair of weekend passes online, but this time I went as a writer.

Originally published on Greater Long Beach- 10/28/2011:

October 28, 2011|BooksMoviesVisual arts
Look up in the sky!

It’s a ghetto bird!
It’s a banner-towing plane!
It’s … the return of Long Beach Comic Con!
For its third year, Long Beach Comic Con returns to the Convention and Entertainment Center this Saturday and Sunday with a slew of artists, writers and filmmakers from all over the—
Wa-wa-wa-wait! What? No! No, dude, not that over there! Jeezus, you were looking up in the wrong part of the sky! Yes, what you saw is pretty-darn-clearly the return of the Long Beach Comic Con! I don’t believe there was ever any question about that!
Well … then what?!
Look up in the sky … over there! See that other thing? No, no, no! OK, let’s start over! First look at Long Beach Comic Con! Then slide your eyes over! No? Really? Dude, stop making this so hard! Just follow my hand! Alright, again—up in the sky! And over!
Yeah, I see it now!
Got it? OK! Now … what the hell is that thing?
Wow … what the hell is that thing?
Oh! My! God! The horrrror!
Long Beach Comic Con is back again, and this time it did not return alone. In a move that’s fitting, given its tradition of being held at Halloween, this year’s event has added an element of horror. Now they’re calling it Long Beach Comic & Horror Con.
The draw of any decent comic book convention is the big name writers and artists. They are featured in specially scheduled panels, where they discuss their recent and upcoming work, perhaps showcase some of it, field questions and sign their names over and over during  limited-time autograph sessions.
This year’s double-con—presented again by MAD Event Management—features a slew of artists, writers and filmmakers from all over the country, some faces that are familiar from previous years, but plenty of new ones, too. From a look at the lineup it appears organizers are trying to deliver something for attendees of all ages and across a wide span of interests.
 The cast and crew of the popular web serried “The Guild,” which filmed at the Long Beach Comic Expo in April, will be hosting a walking tour of their recent filming locations, a screening of the entirety of the show’s fifth season, and a $30 autograph session.
• Seth Green and company will host a Robot Chicken panel on Saturday to preview season five and take questions from the audience. The popular Adult Swim show was featured at Long Beach’s first Comic Con in 2009, and this year’s panel promises to fill quickly.
• Horror legend John Carpenter (yes, the John Carpenter) will sign a preview issue of his new comicJohn Carpenter’s Asylum. He’ll sign  on-comic items, such as DVDs from his extensive horror career, for those who make a small donation to The Hero Initiative charity.
• Actor Thomas Jane and his collaborator and comic icon Tim Bradstreet return for special career retrospectives. Bradstreet will host Jane’s panel and vice versa. Last year, the duo was here for a screening of Jane’s independent film Dark Country, for which Bradstreet served as a visual consultant.
• Shane Black, the director of Iron Man 3 (due in 2013) will host a special Q&A session on Saturday to talk about his career in film and his upcoming projects.
Purchasing a pass grants its holder access to an enormous exhibit floor, including an “artists’ alley”—the centerpiece of the convention—where dozens of writers, pencilers, inkers, vendors, publishers and comic book personalities from here to New York set up shop for a weekend of fun.
Many artists apply their talents in the form of quick sketches to fans who drop by their booth. Comic book sellers always bring out their best merchandise. Larger retailers sell anything from t-shirts to action figures to art prints to handmade crafts.
Follow the schedule off the main exhibit floor to corners of the convention center where a wide range of comics-related topics are addressed all weekend in panels, seminars, screenings, Q & A’s and artist signings. Feature guests who have come to Long Beach before and are back for more include Thomas Jane (Punisher, Hung), Tim Bradstreet (Punisher, Hellblazer), Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Family Guy), a portfolio review session with Barbara Kesel, J. Scott Campbell (Ultimate Thor, Danger Girl) and Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex, Freedom Fighters).
The addition of Horror Con has brought an increased emphasis on film. The Might & Fright Horror Film Festival and American Horror Screening Room will screen films the entire weekend, and the festival will feature the West Coast premier of the Spike Lee-produced You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Kills You. Jon Shnepp, best known for his work on Adult Swim cartoons The Venture Brothers and Metalocalypse, will show his new short horror films. The film fest is rounded out with a handful of independent horrors and documentaries.
Although a Masquerade Ball in the Promenade Ballroom supposedly replaces last year’s costume contest, it includes a costume contest of its own—judged by Mike Shields, Shawn Crosby and Wendy Pini—but the deadline for entering has passed. Sorry.
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About STLtoLBC

Recently moved from St. Louis, MO to Long Beach, CA. Interested in art, music, food, urban issues, design, and architecture, education, fiction, technology, and getting to know and love my new home.
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