Long Beach Comic Con Notes: Funny Book Fest & going down memory lane at the dollar bins…

I attended Long Beach Comic Con this last Saturday and it was fun! Here’s a few personal highlights:

Funny Book Fest – It was bitter-sweet to pickup an advance copy of the final volume of The Devastator, an excellent series of satirical comics and picture stories, but, as explained to me by co-founder/managing-editor Amanda Meadows, this is not the end of The Devastator brand, as they will continue to publish more original humor/comedy books in the future. This change will give them more time to focus their full attention on the kinds of stories that used to be featured on the flip-side of The Devastator anthology.

The Devastator #13: Space Epic is perfect for all of you Star Wars/Star Trek fans & haters out there! Some highlights include A Field Guide to Alien Genitals by Shing Yin Khor & Joey Clift and Swear Like a Spaceman by Asterios Kokkinos.

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I also picked up Michael Aushenker’s crazy & colorful new funny book Trolls about partying, slacker air traffic controllers, and Galactic Breakdown #1 by Drippy Bone Books purveyor Keenan Marshall Kellar. I’ve enjoyed Kellar’s work with artist Tom Neely on Image Comics’ The Humans, but this was my first taste of the full KMK experience and I have to say it was an amusing/enjoyable one that probably won’t be my last.

There were a lot of talented artists tabling at the first Funny Book Fest. You can see a full list here: Funny Book Fest event page

I hope this event continues to grow, whether it’s at future LBCC’s or maybe, even it’s own separate show!

Spooky dollar bins..- Forgive me, but I’m going to go on a little M. Night Shyamalan style tangent here.

A few days ago I had a dream about this one comic book shop I used to frequent back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. It was Superior Comics in Costa Mesa, CA and I used to spend way too much time there in between flower deliveries(usually, while on the clock..).

The owner of the shop, Josh Leto, was a really great guy and he knew his stuff. He turned me onto a lot of cool books, including Optic Nerve and Preacher. He actually had the original cover art to Optic Nerve #1 in his collection(it was an earlier version–apparently, Adrian Tomine wasn’t happy with the placement of the 2 characters kissing on the cover, so he drew the whole thing over–BUT, it looks almost identical to the final art–a true rarity!). I wonder if he still has that piece…

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He had this short box in the back of the shop which was full of amazing treasures, like some of the original Optic Nerve zines and other small press priceless objects. Sadly, the shop closed in the early 2000’s and Josh moved onto greener pastures. After that, I’d occasionally see him at Comic-Con and it was always nice to say hi and share some of my latest finds/convention sketches with him.

So, this is where it gets a little weird.

Just days after having that dream, what do I find in the first dollar bin I flipped through at Long Beach Comic Con?? Why, a little obscure zine from 1996 called Swipe Comics, written, drawn & edited by no other than Josh, the owner of Superior Comics! I asked the seller if he knew of Josh and his shop(probably overkill, but I’m nosy!), at first responding with a vacant stare, but then it clicked,”Oh, yeah! I bought a bunch of his comics when he closed the shop”. Awkward silence ensued after that.

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Swipe Comics is a 12 page zine with a mix of original comics and “stolen” or re-purposed comics(like Archie, Jughead, etc.) One of the stories is a charming Kirby-esque strip called Gilrex in Space by friends of Josh, Al Pruett & Eric Miller. Printed in 1996, it’s a signed/numbered edition of 400.

Although, I already own a copy, I couldn’t just leave that zine behind, and a buck is a small price to pay for a piece of my comics past!

Cosplay Corner – I only strolled through the Cosplay Corner briefly, and I’m not going to talk shit about cosplayers here, oh no! I value my health more than that, but I just found it curious as to why you’d want to see a cosplayer standing behind a booth, instead of just out walking the convention floor, taking pictures. I suppose they still get out from behind their tables and stretch their legs, but it just made me wonder things like…

Who’s actually buying these signed photos of cosplayers? Do they collect them in albums or do they have their favorite Harley cosplayer framed & mounted above their bed?? I’m just curious! No hate, no hate.

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I actually feel bad for the average person showing up to these shows dressed up, because I assume, in many cases, their friends/family are doing it, so it’s just a thing to do, and they’re standing in these long lines, hot & uncomfortable–is it really worth all the trouble? Hey, if they’re having fun, more power to them, I guess. I must sound like such an out of it, old fart with this “rant”! 🙂

Overall, it was a great time to be had at Long Beach Comic Con and the show continues to get better each year! It’s a nice, smaller alternative to SDCC & WonderCon, but I did notice a fairly long line to get in(even hours after the doors opened), and I wonder if fans will feel it’s worth it, if they have to wait too long to get in.