This past week, I went out to LA for the first time. It was primarily to attend fellow ComicMix movie reviewer Arthur Tebbel’s wedding, and he had even movie popcorn as a snack during the cocktail hour.
I flew in on Thursday where I spent most of the day either meeting or hanging out with queer comics creators. They like The Golden Girls out there too. Sidenote: that was also the name of the cheerleader squad where I went to high school. And no, they were not senior citizens.
The second day I was there was the kickoff of Long Beach Comic Expo. While I wasn’t able to go during the show proper, I did have the time this past Friday to attend their first ever Comic Creator Conference organized by Wannabe Press. This was an event for comics professionals and those trying to break in to learn the ropes from professionals. It had an impressive line-up: Joe Illidge gave the keynote speech, and Beth Scorzato from Lion Forge, Amy Reeder and Mark Waid were among the other speakers.
What was equally impressive was the rain. I rode up from West Hollywood with some other comics creators and it took about two and a half hours to get to Long Beach while going over flooded roads and hoping for the best. As a result we missed Joe Illidge’s keynote speech, which was quite disappointing. The harsh rain kept more than a few people at home as well.
Additionally, some people ran late who had every intention of being early and the torrential downpour adversely affected the sound equipment. And to make up for some lost time at the Comic Creator Conference, the panels were cut in half to about 20 minutes or so.
I originally thought it might have been nice if they were the original length, but after talking to The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, she sold me on how it ended up being a real positive. Having the shorter panels kept them concise and got people the time to see them all if they wanted. As soon as we arrived and got to the panel room myself and most of the attendees stayed until they wrapped up the last panel. While this format was made to accommodate an unforeseen situation, it’s something the organizers should consider repeating next year if they do this.
Before Arthur’s wedding on Saturday I took a trip over to Meltdown Comics. I’ve heard a bunch about it and it wasn’t too far from where I was staying so I felt I owed it to myself. It’s a big shop with a nice, diverse selection. What I was most attracted to was the indie comics and zines from local creators section. I made it a point to pick a few up.
One of them is called Low Light by Tristan Wright. It’s a 28-page oversized comic about a young woman who misses what she thinks is her last train home only to discover a strange train pulling into the lonely station. From there she meets some interesting characters that flesh out a bizarre world that we can only happen upon through the odd hours and happy accidents that ever-so-rarely crash into each other. I definitely recommend you check out Tristan Wright’s work. You can check out a preview of Low Light on the website under Late Night Special in the comics section.
I also picked up one of the Melt-thology zines; number 28 to be exact. This is a series of in house zines made up of one page comics drawn by dozens of creators in one day then made available at Meltdown. The one I picked up was mostly dedicated to sending off 2016, and it was the send off it deserves. I think this is a pretty great idea that other stores like Carmine Street Comics here in New York City should be doing. Or maybe Desert Island.
Another one of the comics I picked up, The Mad Mind Of Anton Sebaum, was drawn by Jude Vigants, one of the creators I rode up with to the Comic Creator Conference. Small world. Check out his stuff.
It was a really nice trip and I’m looking forward to going back and discovering more. Hopefully it will have stopped raining by then.