As conventions return to the Long Beach Convention Center in the aftermath of COVID-19 over the past year, the question loomed of whether the labyrinthine halls would once again be crammed with droves of body-suited Spidermen, hammer-fisted Thors and pigtailed Harley-Quinns rifling through crates of comic books, posing for photos and waiting—eternally—in lines for their favorite creators.

Well, grab those capes, slap on the body paint or get to hot-gluing because Long Beach Comic Con is officially back for the first time since the pandemic put a stop to the fun in 2020.

Granted, the organizing company MAD Event Management are still working to re-build from pre-pandemic pains, so for returning visitors, it might not feel like the same frenzy in past years—2019 saw hundreds of artists and vendors—but the line-up for the two-day convention still holds up to the creator-focused identity that it has developed in its 10-year run.

Over 50 illustrators and creators are slated to show, alongside well-regarded publishing companies such as Aspen Comics, Prism Comics and Top Cow. Attendees who want to shop can check out over a dozen vendors with comic books, figurines, art and a variety of pop-culture goods and memorabilia.

In this file photo: A writer showing her comics to a family at the Long Beach conventions center Saturday August 31, 2019. By Luis Sanchez.

And this year’s special guest lineup features industry heroes Gabriel Hardman, whose works include “Hulk” and “Agents of Atlas,” Ron Marz of “Green Lantern” and “Silver Surfer,” and artist Denys Cowan who penciled for Marvel Comic’s “Black Panther.” This year’s celebrity guest features actor Lou Ferrigno, the Mr. Universe-winning bodybuilder who was, for decades, the defining pop-culture figure of the superhero Hulk for his roles in the 1978 TV series “The Incredible Hulk.”

The popular cosplay contest on Saturday will also return with trophies awarded to categories like “Best Hero,” “Best Anime” and “Best Villain.”

Weekend passes are $65. Saturday tickets cost $45; Sunday tickets cost $25.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

The Long Beach Convention Center is at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.