THE ULTIMATE COMIC BOOK TRADE SHOW & EXPO
KATE THE GEEKY REDHEAD 11-AUG-2015 I really wanted to like The Ultimate Comic Book Trade Show and Expo in Poughkeepsie NY. I really did. It’s a brand new con, I almost always love to support those. It’s close enough for me to drive to and close to friends. I was excited about it.
My first sign of trouble was how difficult it is to locate their webpage. Even now, after the con, it takes some Googling to find. The listed contact information for the con is incorrect – when I sent advance emails I got error emails in response.
At the door, it was $16 to get in. Reasonable, but somewhat annoying since I dislike being charged a fee to use my credit card when at a venue that is clearly set up to take credit cards all day long. When I spoke with con staff about the broken emails, I never got an answer. They handed me a press badge and seemed to feel that solved all the problems. Since I was more curious about why the emails hadn’t worked and less about having the press badge, that really didn’t answer my query. In addition, even if I was only after a press badge, they didn’t refund my money so handing me a badge that said press really didn’t accomplish a darn thing.
In addition, the staff needs to either post signs or have a staff member at the back. My group had trouble figuring out if we were allowed to just walk up on the stage to meet Sam Jones. There wasn’t any line to follow and we didn’t want to go somewhere we weren’t supposed to.
I ended up having to leave early for medical reasons (part of why this review is so late!) and had to leave a ticket for another friend at the will call window. The staff did seem receptive to this and were friendly during the process. The friend ended up not being able to attend, so I have no idea if they would have been able to pick up the ticket painlessly or not.
The feel of the con was pleasant! It was in one large room and well lit. There was a stage in the back that was used to for the costume contest and as the walk of fame. The stage worked well for this purpose since you could see the costume contest from nearly anywhere in the room but, as noted, there needs to be more signs explaining when you are allowed to enter the stage to meet the guests.
At least on Sunday, the day I was able to attend, the cosplay scene was small. Which that in mind however, it was lovely. There was a contest that day, which I was able to watch. Many of the cosplayers were clearly new to the hobby. I enjoyed watching the contest and seeing the clearly enthusiastic and happy cosplayers.
There less con food than usual at this event so I would definitely suggest that anyone attending bring some snacks or a light lunch. There was a vendor selling cupcakes that were tasty, but not a great deal else. Sadly, due to having to leave early, I am not sure what sort of local options are around.
Once you get to the con, things are flat and easy to move around in. Because the con is very small, there aren’t a lot of people crowded into the aisles. Things are open and spacious so this so good for folks who use mobility aides or who have social anxieties with crowds.
There is a nearby lot that is fairly easy to walk from if you are able bodied, but there is a steep slope to get down that will be frustrating for people with mobility issues – I meant to check to for another entry/exit point but was unable when I had to rush out.
While there weren’t a ton of vendors, there was a selection of fun things to look at. There were comics and toy vendors. A few local jewelry and craft vendors, as well as some vendors who were selling things like Star Wars jewelry. Which I nearly succumbed to buying…
There weren’t any cosplay props or apparel this year, but it will be interesting to see which vendors attend next year.
Regretfully, I have to say that I wouldn’t suggest traveling to this con – yet. I hope that it will be held again next year and I hope that I will be in attendance again. I hope that it will have a better web presence and that it will be easier to figure out who is going to be there. I hope that they will have better advertising – most people at the Garden State Comic Fest in NJ the day before didn’t even know this other nearby con was happening. Even those who would be local to the Expo. Several commented that they would have attended if they had known.
I do want to stress that word ‘yet’ though. The energy at the con was warm and positive. The issues of advertising, bad website, and inexperienced staff are fixable problems. I will be looking to see how they are handled next year.
I do, however, suggest attending this con if you are local. If you are wanting to get started in cosplay, but want a quiet con without ‘big name’ cosplayers. If you want a small con without crowding. There are perks to this little con!