ReedPOP is expanding its domestic comic con slate with Keystone Comic Con, to be held September 14-16 2018 in Philadelphia. It’s the first pure comics show in a new territory that ReedPOP has launched since Chicago’s C2E2 back in 2010.
It will be a full scale con with comic and pop culture guests, panels and exhibitors, and will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
ReedPOP’s North American event director Mike Armstrong spoke with the Beat and said they had been thinking of Philadelphia for a while, especially with Pax Unplugged debuting there this year. It’s a natural site for comics shows, as it’s the #7 market for comics and GN sales in America and has a top notch facility for cons that The Beat has long admired, with ample access to transportation, food and lodging.
“I’m excited to get in with there with a traditional ReedPOP show that has balanced content from different pillars,” Armstrong told The Beat. “We’re making sure we have the right balance between guests, comics, publishers, anime, gaming. That’s the secret to success, when there’s something for everyone.” Armstrong noted that they’ve been building a relationship with the PA Convention Center for a while and want to make the show unique to the Philadelphia market.
“Philadelphia continues to be a strong market for pop culture and comic book sales, and we are very excited to bring a ReedPOP experience to this region,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Head of ReedPOP in a statement. “We are talking with local fans and retailers to find out what they are most excited about so we can create a show unique to this market that will provide fans with the ultimate destination to come together for a world class celebration of pop culture.”
Of course, it’s also smack dab in the middle of fall con season, right up against SPX, two weeks before Baltimore, and three weeks before NYCC. Date conflicts are inevitable, although of course, they are aware of them. “As you’ve noted its cons on cons, now. We wanted to steer clear of other cons in the city and want to establish our timing from late August to mid September.” Any closer to NYCC and it would tax not only fans but th sanity of their staff, he said.
That said, they are hiring new personnel to work just on Keystone and help the show develop a local flavor.
The Beat has been a fan of Philly since the first few Wizard Worlds there, which were great events that were a fun getaway from NYC but only a 2 hour train ride away. The proximity of good food in Chinatown and the Reading Terminal also helped. WW Philadelphia has fallen off most people’s radar of late, but a new show there might reignite people’s interest in the city. “A lot of creators in Artist Alley like going to unique cities – that’s one of the reasons they like Emerald City in Seattle,” said Armstrong. “We really want to create a robust Artist Alley and think they’ll want to see their friends and experience a new city.”
It’s also, as noted, the first purely comics show in the US Reed has launched in a new territory in 7 years–although they’ve been growing internationally a rapid rate partnering with shows in India, China, France and Australia, among others.
Special Edition, an offshoot of the much loved NYCC artist alley, ran for a few years but coudln’t scale upwards enough. But Reed is looking at new cities and events even as we speak.
Tickets for Keystone Comic Con will go on sale in early 2018.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.