Long Beach Comic Con has come and gone, and all in all it was a fun time once again. As always the best part of any Comic Con, I have attended, is of course the other attendees. I got the chance to hang out with a lot of old friends and make new ones in the process. Artist Alley had to be the largest one I have seen at any Con since NYCC, from when I lived on the East Coast. Majority of the Con floor was Artist Alley with only a couple vendors lining the walls and front of the floor. The Cosplay corner was a little small as well, but at the same it is was enjoyable. Among the attendees were some well-known names in the game and some newer ones as well, which I thought was a great mixture. I did have a fun time while on the Con floor, but Long Beach Comic Con was not without its issues.
Let’s begin with the new entrance at the Long Beach Convention Center for the Con, which is completely different than anything that they have done before. By making attendees go through the back entrance it was far less organized and and accessible. I am hoping it was because they had to share the venue with another convention that was going on at the same time, LBCC staff if you read this, I suggest if this occurs next time you do your best to accommodate all participants. I suggest you do everything you can to bring the entrance back to the front, and have the parking available for every one. If you are familiar with any of the previous Cons held at Long Beach Convention Center you will recall walking up to the front and having a good selection of food trucks and movie cars parked right in front of the beautiful Wyland Marine Art. That access was not available to Comic Con goers this time around and as a matter of fact once inside the hall you could not even get to the front entrance to enter or exit as they had to blocked off. There was also garden side food truck and smoking area which provided NO food truck options on Day 1 but was utilized as an area to take pictures of cosplays, socialize, to smoke. Come day 2, that very same area was locked down and each door had an “EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY. NO RETURN ENTRY.” I found this to be extremely inconvenience and uncool.
There were two new entrances this year one upstairs with plenty of security and ticket booths, and one on street level. Early in the morning on day two, we attempted to go through street level but were turned away due to the fact that we were not exhibitors. There were no signs posted anywhere explaining the entrances. This is odd considering that the street level entrance was the only one with access to the movie cars and very few food trucks. If we were allowed to use that door to exit, would we not be allowed back in to the Con?
One of my biggest complaints with Long Beach Comic Con is the security and inconsistencies that ensued. I asked the security members several questions, and not a single one had an answer for me. I do understand that LBCC doesn’t provide the security, but maybe the convention hall staff should be properly trained, on the same page, and far more knowledgeable than they were. Why would you set up a meeting area with food trucks and movies cars, without having the ability to use the exit as an entrance as well? Later in the day I did witness some attendees walk back into the Con through that entrance but there were still no signs posted anywhere about the entrances/exits.
Once you made it through security and received your wrist bands you were asked to present said wrist band 4 different times before getting to the con floor. We weren’t randomly asked, no, they practically had us stick our wristband up from security, through the first door, through the hallway, and then through the final entrance to the hall. One was right after getting your wrist band 10 ft. away from the ticket booth, second one was literally 30 ft. away from that person, third security guard was posted in the hallway on the way to the entrance, and the final one was in the doorway. They were rude, unorganized and continued to scream at all guests no matter the age. By that time you have walked maybe 2 or 3 hundred feet but where asked to provide proof of entrance 4 different times. I’m sorry but that is major over kill. Take a que LBCC staff, LA Comic Con nor Wonder Con does anything like that and I would say they are your major competition in the So Cal area.
The next, and the most frustrating, thing I would like to talk about is also probably the most sensitive subject that needs to be addressed. Prop weapons, firearms, and their guidelines. LBCC rule clearly state NO FIREARMS of any kind, a detailed description was even posted on what “any kind” means. Whether fake or real looking plastic, ANY KIND means any kind. My prop NERF guns with no projectiles where not allowed in and that’s fine those are you rules. The larger gun was painted realistically, so I understood why it was turned away. But even my prop guns with orange tips were turned away, which my six year old even stated was wrong. But did you really enforce that rule on everyone? NO. No you did not. It was very selective, as on both days people were walking around with prop firearms tagged with the weapon wristband as if they were allowed. But your rules clearly state NO FIREARMS of any kind. So what gives? If a Prop weapon of any kind has been check by security, the security you have hired for this convention, and deemed dangerous, all should be banned. Why was the bending of rules for some but not all?
Why should exhibitors, let’s say those with the STAR WARS booth who are there recruiting and spreading their message, be allowed to have blasters for their Storm Troops if NO FIREARMS of any kind are allowed at your con. I know this is all coming off that I am just bent out of shape due to my prop NERF guns not being allowed in, but I assure you that is not the case. I live by rules everyday as I am in the military and have no problem with rules. I do have an issue with rules not being forced on all when we have all been told the same thing? Hell, why just stop at firearms. I assure you a 3D printed, foam or plastic STORMBREAKER (THOR’s new Hammer Axe) can do a lot more damage to a person then my plastic NERF gun without projectiles. I would like to see a con goes as far to say NO WEAPONS OF ANY KIND. Why should some people be allowed to complete their cosplay and not all. We are a community of “One for all, All for one” are we not?
There was a few other things I could touch but really don’t have enough information to speak on, for instance the lack of Handicap access into the con, no signs for panel rooms ANYWHERE, and I’m sure there are things that I missed that were just really really wrong with LBCC this year. Hell I’m sure that maybe someone who reads this and has no clue what I am talking about had a great time and I’m happy for them cause this is what it is all about. Every Con will be what you make of it and I didn’t let the things I complained about above stop me from having a good time. But I’m sorry I couldn’t just bite my tongue here. There were good things that Long Beach Comic Con had provided their guests with, but there seemed to be a pattern with these cons with them all being very repetitive. Lets hope we can only go up from here.
See you all at NERDBOTCON in 2 weeks.