Convention: New Jersey Comic Expo
Location: Edison, NJ
With comic convention season traditionally coming to an end around this time of year, comic fans in or around the tri-state area were treated to one final hoorah this weekend with the 1st annual New Jersey Comic Expo (NJCE).
PRE-SHOW: Probably the strongest attribute of the show, the NJCE marketing team did a great dob promoting the show. Most major comic convention outlets were made aware of the event. Social Media was flooded with show updates, guest list updates and general information about the show in the months leading up to this past weekend’s events.
THE VENUE/STAFF: From online communications to on-site assistance, the staff at NJCE was top-notch. I had questions about entry pre-show that were handled directly by the Director of Media Relations, and once I was on-site the show staff was more than helpful. Fans that showed up early were neatly organized and filed into the convention center without delay at the advertised showtime. The volunteers walking the floor were very knowledgeable, and at one point even escorted me to the destination I was inquiring about.
GUEST LIST: NJCE went all out putting together the guest list for their first ever show. Headlining the show was none other than Jim Lee himself. Mark Bagley, Rags Morales, Ivan Reis, Peter Tomasi, John Cassaday and Chris Claremont were some of the other highlights of a guest list that really offered something for everyone.
EXHIBITORS/VENDORS: I would have to give my lowest mark to the vendors on site for the show. While I appreciated the show’s focus on comics over other areas of pop culture, the show was pretty light on comic vendors. I know there needs to be a balance for what is offered at a comic convention for business reasons, but for every booth raffling off free lasik procedures, there should be 2 booths selling comics and I just didn’t see that at NJCE. Most of the comic vendors there offered a pretty good selection of books, were friendly, and when speaking with them seemed generally happy with the weekend’s outcome.
FINAL VERDICT: The cosplay wasn’t great, and the shopping could have been better, but for a first year show I was highly impressed with the New Jersey Comic Expo. I saw enough that was good out of this show to make me forget the not so good, and I will be in attendance at next year’s show.