2013 Asbury Park Comicon
I grew up reading superhero comics. I used to be a real fanboy. John Hulme and I used to walk to the Rt. 1 Flea Market every Sunday, buy our comics and a small paper bag full of greazy French fries, walk back to his house, and then read that week’s pile of books while eating our fries and watching NFL football. Inevitably, I would get kicked out of John’s house because the Jets had lost in some painstaking way or because I had told John the ending of a story before he had even read the comic (the worst example being when Guardian was killed off in Alpha Flight #12). Despite growing up a fanboy, I never really got into going to comic book conventions. I do remember going to two small local cons at the Travelodge in Somerset, NJ where I purchased a Keith Giffen drawing of Polar Boy from the Legion of Substitute Heroes for $10 and a drawing of Cyclops from the X-Men by Dave Cockrum for $25 (that was a lot of money for a 13-year-old!). Despite buying those drawings and the wonderful experience of talking to the artists that drew my favorite comics, comic conventions were weird to me. I just couldn’t get into them; they just seemed kind of depressing.
Why am I writing about this? I’m not really a fanboy anymore but I still love comics (with the hope of someday doing my own). Show me a cool indie graphic novel and I’ll eat it up. Anyway, it’s been a little over a week since the first really big version of the Asbury Park Comicon was held at the Asbury Park Convention Center (the first two cons were much smaller and held at the nearby Asbury Lanes) and I’ve been thinking about my experience ever since. When I attended the Asbury Park Comicon my primary mission was to learn more about working on a professional video shoot with professional video gear at a live event with the guys from Core Studios and in the process, get footage of the con for my buddy and one of the co-founders of the Asbury Park Comicon, Cliff Galbraith.
Two things ended up happening at the con. First, the mission to learn some new techniques about shooting with a professional camera and how to deal with the audio and lighting issues was accomplished (though there’s still SO much more that I need to learn). The Core Studios guys were great to work with and very patient with all of my questions. The second, and more surprising thing was that I realized that this wasn’t a depressing scene like I remembered from when I was a kid. In my wanderings around the con shooting B-Roll video, I don’t think I saw one unhappy person. It seemed like everyone was having a good time – not only the fans but the vendors and the publishers too. Towards the end of the con, while I was shooting video of Cliff interviewing the artists, I realized that the happiest people at the con that day were probably the artists themselves. Cliff and Robert Bruce, the other co-founder of the con, did something that other cons don’t usually do – they celebrated the older artists. The vets were the stars of this con, not a WWE wrestler or a Playboy Bunny or a TV star from when I was a kid. The comic book guys were the stars! Wow! What a concept! The other thing that I realized and that I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere was that this con was affordable for almost anybody to attend. The cost was $12 if you bought a ticket from the con’s site before the con and $15 at the door the day of the con. I don’t think that you can really beat that entertainment dollar. How much does it cost to go see a 2 hour movie these days? $11 dollars? I think that an all-day event like the Asbury Park Comicon for $15 that features the comics of my youth and the kind of comics that I read now can’t be beat and because of that I will be back next year even if I’m not shooting video for the con.
The Core Studios team interviewing the Imperial Guard. For more pictures of the 2013 Asbury Comicon please visit the Meat+Potato Brand Graphics Facebook page.