When most people think of a “Comic Con” they usually think of long lines, A list guests, huge movie panels and a Hunger Games-esque battle to claim tickets. Well if you went out to NJ Comic Expo this past weekend at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison NJ you saw none of that – and that’s a great thing!
As a newly created Con, it makes sense that they wouldn’t be able to have a multitude of A-List attractions. But what they were able to bring was a convention that actually focused on the “quality of time” rather than the “quality of name”. It was a weekend where there was no need to meticulously calculate Plan A, B and C plans; but rather just walk around and make it up as you went along. With dedicated talent, tons of fans like you and incredible cosplayers – both independent and guest – NJ Comic Expo made its mark as genuinely friendly Con.
So in case you missed it, here are a couple highlights from the weekend!
The Cars Of Your Dreams – Batmobiles, Delorean & The Jurassic Party Jeep:
Upon entering the NJ Comic Expo, you were immediately greeted by an epic playlist of music. But it wasn’t just any playlist, it was all 80s hits. Where would this be coming from? Well to the right was the source, the real life model of KITT from the show KnightRider. Look a little further and you’d find an assortment of Batmobiles from Adam West to Christian Bale eras; but that wasn’t all.
Any vehicle that held importance from your childhood was there: Flinstones, Ghostbusters, Back To The Future (with real Doc and Marty stand ins). Though the best had to be the Jeep from Jurassic Park which was provided by Troy and Michelle of Jurassic Party. From the music playing in the background to the wide assortments of props they had (raptors, clothing, weapons, etc), they came fully prepared to put smiles on people’s faces – no matter the ages. Whether 5 or 55, kids of all ages lit up with excitement for a chance to put themselves in Jurassic Park.
I’ve seen ‘iconic car’ displays like these before, but this is probably the first time it ever seemed exciting to me. Even thought cars were provided by different groups, there was no competition in ‘who could get the most people’. Much like the rest of this convention, everything here was all about a fun and friendly atmosphere. We even got a chance to do some ‘crossover’ photo shoots… because where we’re going, we don’t need “continuity”
Old & New Shopping Favorites – TeeTurtle, Captain Canuck & More:
Like other Comic Cons, there were obviously a fair amount of comic and toy vendors. The difference this time is that since the con wasn’t hundreds of thousands of people, you could actually walk around and see what each vendor had to offer. Sure there would be the “usual stuff”; but what about the local talent or lesser known, up-an-coming gems. Well, NJ Comic Expo had all those and then some.
Artist Alley had a nice cast of talent and there were tons of prints and shirts available at independent vendors. Although the true highlight had to be Big B Comics booth where I discovered the wonder that is Captain Canuck. The booth heads were really outgoing with fans and took the time to explain Captain Canuck’s long history. He’s actually been brought back recently in animated series and now a new modern comic series, the first 4 issues of which were available at the booth. I of course picked one up and will probably be writing a comic piece or two about them shortly.
Though beyond all these smaller scale publishers and talent, it was nice to see some familiar faces at NJ Comic Expo as I bumped into the TeeTurtle team – a group I’ve worked with and fan over a lot in the past. With the holiday season approaching it’s always nice to pick up some gifts and with them now expanding to shirts, plushies, socks AND prints, there was a lot to scope out!
Cosplayers Big & Small:
In the end, the best thing about NJ Comic Expo was the laid back yet dedicated nature of everyone there; and this is perfectly demonstrated by the cosplayers that attended. Many were of course attendees who just wanted to be a hero for the day and show off their work; but NJ Comic Expo also got a bunch of Cosplayers to attend as their own personal guests. It’s Raining Neon, Ms Rae Cosplay and a handful of others were able to attend, meet fans and make new friends at the convention.
Sure other conventions do this too; but the overall laid back nature of this con actually allowed cosplayers of all skill levels and notoriety to interact with each other and have meaningful conversations. That’s right, this was a convention where you could actually have a conversation and hear what the other person was saying!
This was a weekend of fun and laughs for people of all ages and fandoms. There was no pressure or reasons to be anxious. Instead, there was just a bunch of fun activities to do and kindhearted people to meet. This Con has no where to go but up; and I’m eagerly looking forward to NJ Comic Expo 2016.
*For more photos, check out my album on Facebook!