Garden State Comic Fest wrapped up its 2019 Morristown, NJ show this past weekend. The two-day event featured two rooms inside the Mennen Sports Arena, aptly named The Heroes Rink and The Villains Rink. Both rooms offered guests an array of vendors and creators, including comic exhibitors with Golden, Silver, and Modern books for sale and indie writers and artists sharing their self-published titles or taking commissions.
This show in particular is incredibly family friendly. Not only do kids 11 and under get in for free with a paying adult, but the show offers an array of activities to engage children all weekend. From drawing lessons to lightsaber classes, there is something exciting to do both days besides walking around and shopping for a cool new action figure. There were also cosplay contests for both kids and adults, rewarding top costumes for their time and detail.
Exciting panels included appearances by Allen Oppenheimer (Skeletor) and Michael Bell (Duke from GI Joe) who shared their long history in the business and offered tips for audience members looking to break into voice acting. Aaron Ashmore of Smallville fame gave a panel and took photo ops for his fans while Gwar, along with writer Matt Miner, talked about the band’s transition from music to comics.
Miner shared details about the new Gwar comic coming out this year written by him and Matt Maguire. Artists for the book include Maguire, Liana Kangas, Lukasz Kowalczuk, Matt LeJeune, Katie Longua, and Jeff Martin. Colors will be handled by Josh Jensen and letters by Taylor Esposito. The writer explained, “The new book is coming out at the end of this year around October/November. It’s called The Enormogantic Fail. You can still preorder it at Gwarcomic.com and you get free stuff if you preorder.”
Another interesting find was at writer Erica Schultz’ (Charmed, M3) table in the Villains Rink—Twelve Devils Dancing. Featuring artist Dave Acosta (Doc Savage: Ring of Fire) and colorist Andrew Covalt (Courage, the Cowardly Dog), the graphic miniseries announced at last year’s New York Comic Con is now available through Action Lab this month. The 64-page book collects the first three issues of the series and is described as “a frightening and entertaining cat-and-mouse thriller” perfect for “fans of Criminal Minds and The Following.”
“It’s about an FBI agent diagnosed with Parkinsons,” Schultz explains. “Retires and is taunted by the one serial killer he never caught.”
Cover artists for volume one and two include top names like Kelly Williams, Maria Laura Sanapo, Adriana Melo, Natasha Alterici, Michael Montenat, and Kevin Maher, with the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz taking on the cover for the trade paperback edition.
The writer also had a more lighthearted book for sale called Strange Tails, featuring three stories, one of which stars intergalactic lobsters. The collection drawn by Claire Connelly was a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign that is now available for purchase.
“Thank you to everyone who funded our kickstarter,” Schultz added. “We really appreciate it. I sent out all the rewards. Claire and I were stuffing envelopes like mad!”
Overall, the weekend was a fun, laidback experience with a lot of hidden treasures in each area. Every creator I spoke with had nothing but good things to say about their experience on the show floor and meeting fans. If you are in the Tri-State area next June, be sure to put Garden State Comic Fest on your list. Learn more about the show here.