First a quick note about the registration and check-in process. (Boring, I know, but important.) The on-line registration process was easy and so was the check-in process. The staff member who checked me in was friendly and courteous and it took all of 30 seconds to check in and obtain my badge. The security staff and event staff throughout the show were also all very friendly.
The NJ Expo Center in Edison is basically just a big, wide-open space. It's up to each show to decide the layout. The setup of NJ Comic Expo is basically the same as other conventions that take place in a similar space. Aisles of vendors, artists, dealers and others, separated with tables or "pole and drape" type setups. There were separate sections called "Artists Alley" and "Cosplay Corner" (more on that later), which I thought was a good idea, and there was also a separate area for the celebrity guests that were in attendance.
OK, that's enough about the celebrity guests!!
The array of artists, authors, comic vendors, toy dealers and other vendors at the show was amazing. I walked the entire show floor multiple times, and spent a lot of time talking to many vendors that caught my eye. Everyone I spoke to was very nice, but there is something very important I want to point out.
At every convention I go to, there are always a few vendors or artists or dealers who are sitting behind their table, playing with their phone. I get that there is some downtime if there's a lull in traffic, but that is the EXACT time you should be standing up, making eye contact, and engaging with people!! Why should they stop at your table if it seems like you're bored and don't want to be there? I just don't get it. I made two purchases for no other reason than the people were friendly and engaging, and they drew me in, told me about their offering, and convinced me to make a purchase. THAT'S the way to work a convention!!
I know I'm all over the place, but I just want to make a note about the attendance at the show. I thought it was well attended, but not so busy that you couldn't take your time and see everything, and there wasn't a huge crush of people in the aisles, which was great. As I said, I was able to spend a good amount of time speaking with everyone. People ask me how it compares to New York Comic Con and the answer is, there really is no comparison. That does not mean I am saying NYCC is better, it's just different. That show is so huge that it can be overwhelming. A show like NJ Comic Expo is great in that you're not shoulder to shoulder with everyone. There's plenty of room to stop and chat or to take pictures, which is a welcome change from some of the "giant" shows that are out there.
There were tons of other artists there, with an dizzying array of offerings. New comic book characters, new graphic novels, creative interpretations of exiting characters. It was fantastic.
The merchandise vendors were great as well. Tons and tons of interesting finds if that's what you were looking for!
I had a great time at this show, and I can't want to go next time!
-The Horror Nerd