THE GEEKY REDHEAD REVIEWS THE FIRST NJ COMIC EXPO

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KATE THE GEEKY REDHEAD 03-DEC-2015 Sadly, I was only able to attend this con one day, on Sunday. Generally I prefer to go on Saturdays if I have to only attend one day, but sometimes life just doesn’t allow that. I’ll likely only be at the upcoming Winter Con Sunday too. Sad panda!

Anyway, this con was a blast. It was fairly large for the price (about 30 at the door) and included a lot of great vendors and artists. Garth Ennis, from The Boys and The Shadow, was there – much to my boyfriend’s delight. I was the clueless one who didn’t even know he was on The Shadow till I got to the booth and saw his name on the cover. I really don’t know who does what at all in the industry….. >.<

Accessibility/Safety

Pretty good! The con is one level, in a warehouse type setting, but well lit as opposed to NYC:SE. You definitely had a feeling of safety there. The aisles were wide and not overly crowded. This would be a con I would feel comfortable taking someone using a wheelchair or other mobility aide. That said, there were not really any spots to sit down and rest other than the food court on one end so those who need to rest frequently will find themselves sitting on the floor. There aren’t any stairs, even getting into the building so assuming this is at the same location next year I would give this con a shot on that front.

In addition, it was well-attended without being crowded so those with anxiety issues about crowded should also be covered. You could certainly find a quiet corner to regain head space if needed while there still being enough people to run into old friends unexpectedly (HI JESSE! HI CAROLINE!) or strike up conversations with strangers and make new ones.

12240075_10208407315520657_5847124825285542542_nMy group didn’t encounter any issues that required us to need con staff, however it’s worth noting that a staff member kindly let me hover near the entrance before I had my badge. The others in my group were still getting dressed in the parking lot and I, dressed as Black Canary, was freezing my tuckus off and wanted to stay warm.

Vendors

Oh. My. God.

I loved it. Sadly, I had no disposable income to spend but I loved it all. There were vendors doing surprise boxes. Amazing art of all varieties, including but not limited to cut paper chibi’s and pin-ups from Hidden Talent Illustrations. I love her art, her sense of humor and her bubbling personality. You’ve got to check out her booth. PS – She also has a cosplay repair station at her booth and is a safe zone for gals getting harassed at cons. Bottom line – she’s your gal.

There was a corset vendor at this convention, which is always nice, though it was one I haven’t had positive experiences with. I did have an amazing experience with Dress Your Dreams though! I tried on this beautiful dress and just adored it. They have a nice variety of clothing at reasonable prices and their customer service was simply excellent. Despite that I warned them there was no chance of me buying anything that day, they were more than happy to dress me up and let me twirl in this gown.

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I also fell in love with the art by CJ Oech! He has amazing pieces from many fandoms – I will definitely be looking for him at future conventions when I have money to spend on art again.

Food

The food court wasn’t bad. Your typical prices and fairly typical fare. There was some fruit cups and salads, which were nice. The lines also weren’t terribly long and it was very credit card friendly for those of us who don’t like to carry cash. Still, I would bring snacks if you are have specific food needs however. This con isn’t in an area of town where food is easy to get to – at least if you aren’t familiar with the area – so if you strike out at the food court you are pretty screwed.

Cosplay

So awesome, even on a Sunday. The con wasn’t overwhelmed with cosplayers but the folks who were there were awesome. There were some cosplay guests, who all seemed quite nice and were chatting happily with folks. The DC Cosplayers East were there, which is always a great time (I’m biased – I belong as do several of my friends).

Overall

Things were a blast. I heard a prominent artist (who I will not name) make a very poor joke about domestic violence which bummed me out a bit as I had been eyeing their works and enjoying them. That was the worst thing that happened to me all day though. I felt safe, both when I was wandering with my group and alone. No area felt secluded enough to be unsafe and everything was well lit and the con staff accessible.

Attendees were largely having fun, making friends and generally creating a pleasant environment. I never felt creeped on or weirded out. I would definitely attend again next year. This is a con that I feel good about suggesting for both seasoned con folks who are looking for a more relaxing event as well as con newbies who are looking to get their feet wet, at least for Sunday.

Kate Foil is a giant goofball who loves pecan pie and frequently forgets to create her own sign-offs because she is too excited about getting back to Dragon Age!