Tag Archives: LBCC

Zooming through Long Beach Comic Con (2016)

lbcc-outsideI only made it to one afternoon at Long Beach Comic Con this year, so my experience was really rushed. Even so, I managed to attend a panel on the Lawyers of Hell’s Kitchen, caught up (briefly) with several artists and writers, picked up some toys for the kid and checked out a ton of artwork. This is the con’s eighth year, and they’ve moved to a bigger section of the convention center. That involved moving the entrance to the other side, which had a bigger impact on the feel of the show than you might expect.

zoomNo Flash news, unfortunately. There was a DC panel the previous day, but not the day I was there. And while I did meet Brett Booth (he had set up next to Norm Rapmund’s regular table in Artist’s Alley), I had to cut the visit short in order to make it to the one panel I mentioned. He was telling a story about having to redo covers and redesign characters at the last minute during the Rebirth launch.

There was some impressive cosplay, including this Zoom. I’ve seen photos on Instagram, but his costume is even more impressive in person. (Staying in character, he leaned toward me after the photo, pointing an intimidating finger at my Flash T-shirt, and growled menacingly.)

Photo gallery at Flickr and full writeup at K-Squared Ramblings.

Running Through Long Beach Comic Con 2015

Running with the Flashes

I ran out to Long Beach Comic Con over the weekend. It’s really grown. The floor was twice as big as last year, I could swear they doubled the tracks of programming, and there was a great crowd even on Sunday. It’s a great con for comics and art especially — this is the one I’ve mentioned where Artist’s Alley isn’t just off in a corner somewhere, it’s the centerpiece of the main floor.

Norm Rapmund was there, selling a new print from the current Flash art team featuring all the New 52 Flashes, including one I don’t think we’ve seen yet. I don’t know where I’m going to put it, but I couldn’t pass it up. (Though I did pass up the metallic edition. It was very shiny, both literally and in the Firefly sense, but it was also 3x the price.)

Update: It turns out the day I didn’t go, there was a Rogues cosplay meetup!

Full photo album on Flickr, featuring meteorites, Deadpool doing some light reading, Spider-Everyone, a tricked-out Star Wars car, Harley in Wonderland, and some Pizzazz. Update: Full write-up over at K2R.

Norm Rapmund

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.

STAR Labs truck

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.

Bulletin

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.

Flash Fact: Long Beach Comic & Horror Con 2013

Mark Waid at LBCHC 2013I spent Saturday at Long Beach Comic and Horror Con, which despite its name is still, five years on, one of the most comics-focused “comic con” events I’ve been to. Among other things, I caught the Young Justice Voice Acting panel with a dozen cast members and Greg Weisman, a discussion panel between Marv Wolfman and Scott Lobdell and a spotlight on Mark Waid (see photo). Wolfman and Waid are always fascinating, and Lobdell turned out to be really interesting as well. Brian Buccellato was supposed to be there as well, but I never saw him. Artist’s Alley was huge, though, and I never quite managed to do the full systematic pass that I intended, so it’s entirely possible that all my trips through the area missed him.

Some interesting Flash-related bits:

Jason Spisak, when asked about getting into his character, remarked that Wally West’s lines in the script always look like he’s a “total douche,” but what he had to do was think: His friends keep him around. There’s got to be something endearing to him that they want to have around. He’d find that and make it come through in his acting.

Speaking of Young Justice, the game studio that did Young Justice: Legacy still has the license. If the game does well enough, they’d like to do a sequel…set during what would have been season three.

Young Justice Cast at LBCHC 2013
Mark Waid, when asked what story felt like he’d finally made it, said “The Return of Barry Allen.” That’s interesting, since the story was about Wally West reaching the point where he felt like he’d finally made it. He also said that his record at making good cliffhangers is due to the fact that he writes them before figuring out how the character’s going to get out (which makes for a few stressful days at the beginning of the next script). If he doesn’t know how, the audience isn’t going to guess!

Scott Lobdell compares the New 52 Kid Flash’s personality to Woody Woodpecker.

Check out my full write-up at K-Squared Ramblings or go straight to the photos.

WonderCon 2014 and Long Beach 2013: California Comic Con Plans

Cosplay Crowds.WonderCon has officially announced that they’re returning to Anaheim in 2014 for a third year, from April 18-20. It’s turned out to be a good venue for the convention, especially if they can work the remaining kinks out of parking next year, and it means it’s easy for me to attend, since it’s close enough for me to commute. (That really takes some of the pressure off of trying to get tickets for San Diego, too.)

Still, I hope they find a way to move back to the Bay Area soon. I attended three years at the Moscone Center when it meant traveling (it probably helps that I have family and friends in the area to visit on the way up and back), and while the show still feels very much like part of the same family, it does feel like a slightly different show. I was in San Francisco on a business trip last week, and when I realized I was in the neighborhood, I just had to stop by Yerba Buena park and the Moscone Center for old time’s sake.

Long Beach

Brian Buccellato at LBCC 2012.Coming up sooner, though, is Long Beach Comic and Horror Con, next weekend (November 23-24). This will be the fifth year of the convention, which was started to fill the gap left when Wizard World canceled their Los Angeles convention in 2009, and I’ve been kicking myself over not buying the lifetime membership they offered in year two. It’s a great local convention, and it’s very focused on comics. To give you an idea how focused, the main floor is built around Artist’s Alley as its main feature. I’ll definitely be attending Long Beach this year, and plan on posting photos to my Flickr stream and Speed Force’s Instagram feed.

ComiKaze!

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t attend Stan Lee’s ComiKaze Expo last weekend. I went the first year and enjoyed it well enough, but it’s always within a few weeks of Long Beach, and if I have to choose just one, it’s going to be Long Beach. (Plus I had that business trip to prepare for.)

It doesn’t help that ComiKaze’s promotion is off-putting, the way they puff up their own importance and act as if other local cons like LBCC (and for that matter WonderCon) don’t exist. In good traffic, the Long Beach, Los Angeles and Anaheim convention centers are less than half an hour from each other. People here spend more time than that commuting to work.

Cross-posted at K-Squared Ramblings.