Tag Archives: LBCC 2014

Flash Photography: Long Beach Comic Con 2014

Double-Flash Photography Captain Cold (New 52)

I didn’t see a whole lot of Flash costumes at Long Beach Comic-Con last weekend — which was kind of surprising, seeing as how the TV show starts Tuesday! — but I did spot the Golden Age Flash couple who made a splash at SDCC, and a New 52-style Captain Cold. (Also: two or three Elsas and at least one Jack Frost. I hope they all ran into each other at some point.)

I also got to visit the S.T.A.R. Labs Mobile Research Unit promoting the TV show, which was fun, both for the exhibits and for the Allen case bulletin board. Check out Monday’s article for photos and a writeup of the exhibit.

Finally, Norm Rapmund was selling these prints by Brett Booth and himself, featuring the major players in the current story arc. He was selling a limited edition (as in 25 copies!) of the uncolored image, and I was tempted. It looked really striking in black and white as well, but it was also twice as much, and I liked the way the present/future Barrys split the image into red and blue.

Head over to K-Squared Ramblings for my full con writeup and photos!

Norm Rapmund will be right back

Touring the Flash’s S.T.A.R. Labs Mobile Unit at Long Beach Comic Con

One of the attractions at this year’s Long Beach Comic Con [see my LBCC article at K2R] was the S.T.A.R. Laboratories Mobile Research Unit, a traveling exhibit promoting the upcoming Flash TV Show with vaguely scientific exhibits relating to super-speed.

Overnight, they drove a truck onto the convention floor and took over most of the Laser Tag arena from the day before. Pods opened to the side like a vacation trailer. Two TVs ran the trailer for the show on repeat, between them a bulletin board…well, we’ll get to that.

Waiting for STAR Labs

The wait was about 30-45 minutes when I got there shortly after the floor opened, but it put us right next to a booth for a scooter company (there’s always one or two sponsors that I just can’t quite see the connection to comics). Their reps were going up and down the line trying to get people to sign up for their sweepstakes/mailing list. The one I talked to had no idea what everyone was waiting in line for, just that it was a good chance to sign people up.

They let in about 5-7 people at a time, giving each of us a card with the show logo on one side and a sticker with a unique bar code on the back. Each exhibit was triggered by scanning the bar code, results or video available at starlabsresearch.com.

On the Inside

STAR Labs falling waterThe first I saw on stepping in was a dripping faucet, lit by a strobe light and timed so that it looked like the water droplets were falling incredibly slowly. (You can do really fun things by hooking up a hose to a speaker and timing the sound with the camera’s shutter speed. Be sure to check out that video sometime.)

Next up was speed reading. One way of reading faster is to cut out all the eye movement: Instead of sweeping your view across a page, an app flashes words at you one at a time. You can read really fast, though if you get distracted, you’re completely lost (and some studies suggest it’s not great for comprehension). So they took a bunch of monitors, loaded up parts of the Flash’s backstory, and set each to run at 200 words per minute, 400, 600, all the way up to 1200 words per minute. I managed to at least catch the gist of Barry’s history with Iris at about 800 WPM, but faster than that I couldn’t follow at all.

Inside the STAR Labs Mobile Unit

I got the impression that they were still figuring out the exhibits a bit. One that didn’t quite come together was moving around in front of a camera, and waiting for it to process the video. I never saw the result, and they said it would be available online afterward, but I just see a blank space on the website.

One that just seemed out of place was a chance to watch your pupils contract in response to bright light. OK, it happens fast, and they had some writeup on how metahumans’ pupils react faster than normal, but I wonder if they were out of ideas and someone made a pun on “Iris.”

Test Your Reflexes

STAR Labs strike speedThe most fun parts involved testing your reflexes. One was sort of a radial Missile Command game: Lines would move out from the center indicating an “Attack” and you had to hit the button corresponding to that sector. [Edit: Mashable’s right: it was more like Tempest.] It was harder than a similar game I’d played at an arcade once, which was more like a vertical whack-a-mole, because you couldn’t just strike where you saw the light, you had to trace it outward and hit the right button.

The highlight was trying to dodge or catch a nerf bullet, fired by your friend if you had one with you or one of the attendants if not. Well, it was more like a nerf arrow. I’m sure they had their reasons. And no one managed to dodge or block it while I was in there.

There was supposed to be video on that too, but as with the slow-mo, only a blank square shows up on my results page.

STAR Labs hand tap resultsFinally, next to the exit, was a chance to see how fast you could vibrate your hand, repeatedly tapping a metal plate on the table. Supposedly I did better than 89% of people who had tried it so far. Not bad.

They didn’t rush us while we were inside, so we all got to try out everything before leaving. That was nice, and in keeping with the easy-going feel of the convention.


Oh, I mentioned a bulletin board outside. It was covered with newspaper clippings, photographs, police reports, letters, receipts, and string connecting them all. The case: The murder of Nora Allen, and the framing of her husband. Barry Allen has been working this case for a looong time. Click through to Flickr to download the full-resolution version, or check out my full set of LBCC photos.

Case Board: Nora Allen

The Flash TV series launches on CW on October 7 (but if you’re a regular reader, you already knew that). The S.T.A.R. Labs Mobile Research Unit will be traveling around Los Angeles until then.