Medium at a crossroads: A guide to the Long Beach Comic Expo

Many fans of the comic book medium grew up reading about larger-than-life, muscle-bound heroes throttling diabolical villains, but now those titans now seem more tied to the silver screen than the ink-stained page. So what has this done to the comic book? Has the writer, the artist or the creator ever been closer to their reader?

On Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16 and 17, Long Beach Convention Center will host the Long Beach Comic Expo, which regularly attracts one of the most diverse cast of voices and talents in the industry. This year is no different, and those voices will be asked to consider exactly what is the comic book medium today?

Sure everyone knows the Big Two—Marvel and DC—when it comes to comics, but how many character reboots can you take?

The Expo will host several rising and established indie publishers such as newsprint publisher Alterna Comics, Aspen Comics—celebrating 15 years of independence—as well as the self-described “Comic Shop to the Stars” and crispy publisher Golden Apple Comics. Attendees will meet some new voices and artists and maybe even find a new story or find some answers. Speaking of which…


Are comics more personal now? Are people turning pages to see imploding planets or something more intimate? The Expo explores that question with a spectrum of talents including English literature luminary Margaret Stohl, an author who brings her Ivy League savviness to the gaming world. She’s decorated for her design lead on the computer game ‘Zork Nemesis’—yep, that Zork—as well as pages on the “Life of Captain Marvel”, the lead-up to the upcoming cinematic feature.

If you’re all about the business, then you’ll likely find the bold mind of Joseph P. Illidge fascinating. An executive editor with more than 25 years deep in the industry—from Valiant to Lion Forge—the visionary Illidge turns an eye to comics’ future as well as his next move.

Or maybe you just want to get animated, then you may find yourself chatting with Canadian animator/voice actor Eric Bauza whom you may remember from Adult Swim’s surreal/ultra-violent “Superjail” or the fan-favorite and criminally underwatched “Scooby Doo Mysteries Inc”. So you may just enjoy that creative banter.

Passion, skills, hype. What are these without good company?


The Expo presents panels for a variety of tastes including the return of the GeekFest Film Festival panel. Join the buzz with Jackie Dallas of “Stranger Things” as she frames rising GeekFest talents and tomorrow’s genre movie shakers. Catch the panel on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Are you looking for a Real American Hero? Drop in on the Expo’s first G.I. JOE Fandom panel and live podcast recording led by Joe Slepski of the JOE on JOE podcast. He’ll be chatting up one of the most enduring fan communities in pop-culture. The panel starts at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The Long Beach Expo takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb 17. Tickets are $45 for Saturday and $35 for Sunday. A weekend pass goes for $65. Children ages 10 and under are admitted free with adult admission. For more information click hereThe Long Beach Convention Center is located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

Curtis Herod is a Long Beach transplant, an obsessor of pop-culture trends and a podcaster on “30 Minutes of Diabolical” as well as a contributor to the “G.I. Joburg” podcast/Youtube community. You can find him on Twitter at @86cujo and on the Expo floor enjoying the festivities.


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