ATLANTIC CITY BOARDWALK CON
A LOOK AT THIS NEW COMIC CON
THE GEEKY REDHEAD 19-MAY-2015 This past weekend I attended the first Atlantic City Boardwalk Con with a few friends. First year conventions are always a little dicey – sometimes they are great, sometimes… not so great. I was already intrigued by the guest list which included Stan Lee, Adam West, Grant Imahara and Kevin Smith. I’m not really a ‘meet and greet with celebs’ type of con-goer. I live under a rock and typically don’t even know the names of actors I like. So when a small/new con has a list of celebs who I actually know, I notice. While Stan Lee ended up canceling due to health reasons, given his age and health it’s not fair to hold that against ACBC so I was disappointed but understanding. I did actually pay to get a photo with Grant Imahara because one of the perks of new shows is that the lines are usually shorter for the celebs. The majority of the celeb lines were quite reasonable, even non-existent. This also led to me briefly meeting Michael Rooker when my con mate paid for a photo and Mister Rooker decided Scarlet Witch needed to be in the photo too. No regrets.
When I went to collect my badge I had a minor issue with the volunteer who was handing out badges – I had purchased two badges, one for me that was the whole show and another for someone who would only be attending the last day. The volunteer didn’t quite seem to understand that I was trying to find out whose IDs would be needed to pick up the badge on the last day. There was also a small hiccup with a friend who had listed their con name when buying the badge online and not their legal name, thinking that whatever name they gave would be printed on the badge. That said, these were minor and the badges do not have our names printed on them.
I love cons that either A) print your nickname or B) don’t print your name at all. The badges, by the way, were pretty reasonably priced at around 65 for a weekend and 33 for a single day.
Almost immediately after hitting the con floor I wished I had more money to drop. The vendors and artists were just amazing. From Castle Corsetry to Charles Thurston, who makes geek themed children’s books. There were several comic book vendors, a number of memorabilia, prints, autograph dealers, retro toys, unique gift and geek themed merch, tattoo artists, a number of geeky vehicles like the Ecto-1 and even a chocolate vendor who had ghost pepper chocolate! Which I am currently munching on as I type. Don’t care if it isn’t ‘geeky’ – it’s amazing.
(By the way, I am incredibly silly)
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS OF THE SHOW
Speaking of the vendors, the vast majority were just as sweet and friendly as they could be. It might be a minor thing but I hate combing through the vendor area, spending a lot of money and be smartmouthed by vendors. This is something that particularly happens to be me as a female. The staff of the convention center were also friendly and excited to see everyone so everything had a cheerful and pleasant atmosphere.
There was also a diversity booth, featuring information on upcoming GLTBA events and cons. The folks staffing it were fantastic and just a blast to talk with – it was one of my favorite stops throughout the day. There were several GLTBA panels and a fun passport game that encouraged people to keep stopping by throughout the day.
The cosplay was great at the con – there were a number of cosplay guests who were all very polite and fun to talk to. There were a lot of children and families at the con, and the kids in costume were fantastic. I adore conventions that have a heavy family attendance – I’m the type of cosplayer who will always stop for a child. Always. It was great to talk with families who were dressed up together and enjoying their fandoms.
CONVENIENCES AND INCONVENIENCES
There was an ATM… somewhere. I suspect it wouldn’t have been too hard to find but my group never ended up needing it since the only people who didn’t take cards were the special guests. Even ‘small’ vendors were using Square so I didn’t hear any fuss about needing cash or ATM issues. That said, if you go next year (and you should) I would bring some cash for celeb photos, signings, parking and just in case.
Since I wasn’t sure what the con would be like, I opted to travel in every day trying both train and car. I preferred car by far since I discovered that the trains into AC only run every two hours. Which is fine for getting there but I had to cut my day a little short and miss dinner with friends in order to catch a train at a reasonable hour. However, the train is extremely affordable. That said, and maybe it’s because I’m female and like direct control over when I can leave, I still prefer car.
The parking situation was a little confusing – there was a parking garage for the convention center but having never been Atlantic City before, I had trouble finding it and ended up with another paid lot that was only 15 dollars for the whole day. Another lot was 20 and both were in easy walking distance to the convention center.
The food situation this year was a bit lacking so if you are on a restricted diet of any kind, I suggest bringing your own food. I got by on a stand that was selling Philly pretzels but there are the con food staples of pizza, boxed salads, soda and beer at inflated prices. Nothing really out of the ordinary there in terms of con foraging.
It being Atlantic City, there are a lot of restaurants nearby if you are willing to pop out for a meal during, or for dinner afterwards. There is a McDonald/s close by if you want cheap, and are ok with fast food. There is also an Applebee/s just across the street and a variety of other chain restaurants. We went with Longhorn Steakhouse one night and they were very chill with us being in costume.
That said, the only downside of this con is that I experienced harassment from the locals while walking on the street in costume while trying to get food two out of my three nights there. One woman asked about my breasts while nearly grabbing them and another man screamed at me quite luridly from his truck, far more so than what I typically experience. While the con was excellent and I experienced no harassment inside the con or from con folks, the locals are another matter entirely. I will be at ACBC next year but I will either be changing after the con, throwing on some kind of long coat, or simply not eating outside of the immediate convention center area.
And yes, it was not all locals™ . The majority either didn’t care or were simply curious and fun to talk with. In fact some of the bars and businesses had already set up con friendly programs such as unlimited buffets for the whole weekend at Harrah’s and other places. Some of the bars did cosplay discounts (I didn’t check those out since I don’t imbibe) so overall I would say that Atlantic City was receptive to the con and will continue to be more so as the convention goes forward.
On the whole, the convention was simply amazing. I would highly suggest that everyone check out Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention for 2016. There was anime, comics, media, even charity groups like Pinups for Pitbulls – I was only disappointed that they didn’t have some pibbles I could love on! This was a great con and I am already looking forward to next year. I brought one person who had never been to a con before and they had a phenomenal time.
Kate Foil is a dedicated chocolate and coffee addict, lover of comics, John Wayne movies and fuzzies of all sizes. If she is not sewing a ball gown or cape, she is probably immersed in Dragon Age. She has been cosplaying since 2009 and can be found at: @GamerNationGirl on Twitter or TheGeekyRedhead on Facebook.