Christine Harges cosplays as the character Mercy from the video game Overwatch while standing in front of a photography background set up at the entrance of Long Beach Comic Expo 2020. (Kristen Naeem | Signal Tribune)
Christine Harges cosplays as the character Mercy from the video game Overwatch while standing in front of a photography background set up at the entrance of Long Beach Comic Expo 2020.

Kristen Naeem | Signal Tribune

Fans and creators gather at Long Beach Comic Expo 2020

January 15, 2020

Cosplayers, actors, comic writers, artists and more gathered over the weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center in downtown for the annual Comic Expo, held on Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 12.

Fans of comics, video games and anime came dressed as characters from their favorite franchises, including Marvel, Star Wars and Overwatch to name a few.

Cosplayer Christine Harges, known online as Mooncatcosplay, dressed as two different video game characters on Saturday and Sunday, first cosplaying as the character Junko Enoshima from the franchise Danganronpa, and then as Mercy from the popular Overwatch. Attendees snapped photos with Harges in front of different backdrops set up outside of the entrance to Comic Expo.

Harges has been cosplaying for about four years, but this was her first year attending Long Beach Comic Expo.

“I like how it’s more lowkey than Anime Expo,” Harges told the Signal Tribune. “I like lowkey conventions, so that’s fun.”

Harges puts together her own cosplay costumes, which can take anywhere between a week to a month to complete, depending on the complexity. Besides just clothing, her Mercy cosplay included the character’s gray and pink wings and large caduceus staff.

Both established professionals and newcomers in comic-book publishing were present to talk to comic enthusiasts about their work and sign copies for fans.

Ray Anthony Height, a freelancer who works primarily on Marvel comics, displayed books he had worked on, which included Spiderman and X-Men comics among many others, as well as his own creation, Midnight Tiger.

Height told the Signal Tribune that he loved watching superhero cartoons as a child, and after he learned they were based on comic books, he began reading them and was inspired to pursue art ever since.

Indie comic writer, Mike Ahn, was also present among the multiple rows of creator tables, promoting the comic series he began with his wife, Out of Order. While Ahn handles the writing his wife, Seol Young Lee, does the series’ artwork.

Out of Order is based on the true story of the effects Ahn’s schizophrenia has had on their lives and marriage, with four out of five comics in the series being released already.

“I’ve had this mental illness now for about 20 years,” Ahn told the Signal Tribune. “It’s schizophrenia, and it’s a pretty big one. And it’s been rough, really, really, rough. Our lives have been just so difficult for a very long time. So we wanted to make something positive out of something very negative.”

Curtis Clow, another indie comic book writer, talked to attendees about his fantasy comic series, Beastlands, and its online Kickstarter campaign. As of Dec. 16, a total of $12,198 dollars had been raised for the first three editions of Beastlands by Clow through Kickstarter, with 460 donations being made on the crowd funding site.

Clow began writing Beastlands in the fall of 2018, and found Korean artist Jo Mi-Gyeong and letterer Toben Racicot to help complete the project.

“It’s about a boy who has to save his companion beast and friends after a king outlaws all the beasts,” Clow said. “It’s a world where some people have companion beasts.”

Carlos Ferro, voice actor for the character Dominic Santiago in the Gears of War video game series and Leonardo Da Vinci in the Assassin’s Creed video game, was located in Comic Expo’s Social Square, where fans can meet with professionals who worked on their favorite franchises.

“This time it just feels more artist oriented,” Ferro said of this year’s Comic Expo. “There’s more artists from comics. I’m a big comic fan. [For] those of us here in Social Square, it’s a good place to be. We all know each other for whatever reason, doing shows. […] I was here before, but this incarnation of the Long Beach Comic Expo is just a lot of fun.”

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