Another East Coast Comicon is in the bag, with fans from the tri-state area heading to Secaucus, NJ this past weekend to check out everything from up-and-coming artists and writers to one of legendary artist George Perez’s last convention appearances. The vibe of the show was the perfect mix of big show excitement in an intimate, easy-to-navigate setting, which is why I personally enjoy attending these smaller cons.
The talent present was quite impressive. The guest list featured top names in the industry such as Bob Camp, Howard Chaykin, Dan Fraga, Larry Hama, Scott Hanna, Larry Lieber, Ron Lim, Don McGregor, Al Milgrom, Fabian Nicieza, George Perez, Jim Starlin, and many more.
Many fans showed up specifically to meet retiring Perez, with lines for signings at his booth quite lengthy all three days of the show. Perez also participated in a panel with the creative team on The Infinity War and The Infinity Gauntlet including Jim Starlin, Ron Lim, and Joe Rubinstein, during which he revealed that he did do a page for the upcoming Marvel #1000, a request that came in right as he announced his leaving comics due to health concerns. Perez’s other planned panel was meant to also feature long-time collaborator Marv Wolfman, but the acclaimed writer suffered an injury just before the show and had to cancel his appearance at the last minute. Perez, however, manned the table alone with his usual friendly, optimistic demeanor.
Black Panther writer and Killmonger co-creator Don McGregor kept the audience laughing throughout his discussion, but also gave some fascinating insight into the early days of Marvel and their handling of multi-racial casts. McGregor shared stories of how editorial often questioned choices in the comic and how he stayed true to the nature and characters depicted in the books despite the adversity. It obviously worked out since much of his run influenced the Academy Award-winning MCU film.
Fans also flocked to the Batman: The Animated Series panel that reunited some of the main cast members: Kevin Conroy (Batman), Loren Lester (Robin, Nightwing), John Glover (the Riddler), and Diane Pershing (Poison Ivy). The discussion also featured Andrea Romano (Voice Director) and Kevin Altieri (Animation Director) and a live performance of the actors reenacting a scene from the 1960s campy Batman television series.
The cosplayers brought their A-game all weekend, with a very heavy Avengers leaning, most likely influenced by the recent success of Avengers: Endgame. Multiple Captain Americas floated around along with other impressively detailed costumes for Spiderman, Thor, and Iron Man. The Star Wars reenactment group 501st Legion was also present and charming fans with their detailed costumes and theatrics throughout the exhibit floor. Darth Vader scared many a young child.
As far as smaller cons go, East Coast Comicon is one of the best. Fans are able to meet some of their favorites in an intimate, friendly environment. For those looking for must-have issues, there are plenty of vendors with an extensive inventory of comics from Golden Age forward, and indie creators and publishers are mixed in with more mainstream talent so everyone gets noticed. If you are in the New York/New Jersey area next May, make sure to stop by.
If you are not local to the area, this show is a great example of why you should support the smaller cons near you. Besides having a better shot at meeting and chatting with your favorite creator, you also have an easier time uncovering a new indie book or finding a piece of art for your walls that you may not get to find at a larger show.
Deanna Destito is a writer and editor based in New Jersey. When she is not writing about comics or scripting her own stories, she’s watching the lowest budget horror movies available.