Photos by Stephanie Rivera.
Your local superheroes descended onto downtown Long Beach over the weekend, suited up from head to toe, looking to entertain—rather than fight crime—at the Long Beach Comic Expo.
The two-day event brought in a multitude of fans in various intricate costumes (which some said took months to create), from favorite shows and movies, such Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dragon Ball Z, Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland.
Comic enthusiasts, really more like addicts, were also seen methodically thumbing through rows and rows of comics in search of prints to complete their collections.
One man who was there in search of Star Wars comics said he currently had 16 long boxes, that hold about 300 comic books each, back at home. When asked about how many more comics were needed to complete his list, he couldn’t remember but said he had a list of about 70 to 80 pages on his computer that he was working on.
German national Kira Schmidt said the amount of sales coming out of California surpassed those from her homeland, leading her to pack her bags and settle in Southern California where she’s been living for a few months. Her clothing and accessories are anime-inspired, she said.
Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) illustration student Alexandria Kaylor, 21, was at the comic expo to sell artwork and offer to commission pieces that usually fit within the realm of Sci-Fi and fantasy.
“I like drawing girls, so it’s everything from heroines to superheroes to like protagonists of video games,” Kaylor said. “It’s a lot of fan art definitely and then some original.”
The 21-year-old Long Beach native—who goes by the name Allie Jean—said she gets her inspiration from other artists like Dustin Nguyen of the Descender comic series, her professors, fashion and pop culture.
Her passion lies in strong, cool and stylish female characters, though.
“When I was growing up, I played a lot of video games, and back in the day most of them were you had to play as a guy,” Kaylor said. “Shortly after, as I started getting older, there were more girls, so I realized I don’t have to draw guys or just play as a guy. So I really latched onto that and decided that I really like that—but I draw guys too!”
The city has also played an important role for the Long Beach resident, citing the pop up of more mural art and the recent POW! WOW! Long Beach event.
“I like all the alternative culture and I definitely think it has an influence,” Kaylor said. “Being part of Long Beach is like part of my art.”
Kaylor said she hopes to do storyboarding for film or television after she graduates from college. In the meantime, she’ll look toward conventions like these to find collaborators on comic books and more.
Stephanie Rivera covers immigration and the north, west and central parts of Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.
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