Comic convention season is definitely upon us. While the big ones like San Diego Comic-Con in July and New York Comic-Con in October tend to draw the biggest crowds (and media attention), there are tons of smaller shows that are just as fun. Let’s break down why you shouldn’t forget about these. 
It’s Easier
As exciting as NYCC or SDCC can be, there’s just so much happening at once. You often have to make choices, and even if you buy the VIP pass for the entire four-day experience, it is impossible to see it all. With smaller shows, you are likely to see everything and even uncover some treasures you weren’t expecting along the way. 
Lots of Creators
One of the top reasons more intimate shows are great is that artists and writers who live nearby may show up. This can mean top names in the industry or an independent artist who just has cool, unique work unlike anything out there right now. I’ve found writers with both novels and comics you can’t find anywhere and have discovered some awesome reads. I’ve also sat in on panels that would have been impossible to get into in the big ones. I got to see the late George Perez in one of his final con appearances at East Coast Comic Convention. 
Whether they are doing signings or they have a table in Artist Alley, it’s a fantastic way to meet some of your favorites without the massive crowds of the bigger shows. You can also get some sweet deals. For example, this weekend at Garden State Comic Fest in Morristown, NJ, Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza will have exclusive con prints, Deadpool autograph cards, reasonable signing prices (including some freebies!), and other discounts. 
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Family Friendly
Yes, there are family-friendly events at the big daddy cons and many have a kids’ day, but as a mom of two young kids, thinking about hanging onto them while traversing the NYCC exhibit floor gives me heart palpitations. Walking them through Garden State Comic Fest or Super Jersey Comic Expo feels safer. It also lets my kids see more and take pics with cosplayers of their favorite characters. 
Lower Costs
The price of admission alone is significantly cheaper, which puts more cash in your pocket for fun purchases and autographs. If the show is within driving distance of your home, no need for hotels either. And it is so much easier to park and carry your stuff to and from your own car! And, man, do I love a good parking situation!
My example shows are all in New Jersey because that’s where I live, but a quick Google search will pull up what is happening in your neighborhood year-round. Let us know in the comments what some of your favorite local comic conventions are!


  1. Yep, gonna make my way to Morristown on Sunday. Some creators I’ve always wanted to meet, like Howard Chaykin, Joe Staton and Ron Marz. Made sure I only bring one thing to sign!

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