This past weekend I attended quite possibly the best comic book convention ever, and really, I hesitate to even call it a convention – this was an event. I’m talking about the Camden Comic Con. You’ve read and heard me talking about this convention for a while on The GAR Podcast featured here at Biff Bam Pop!, now it was time for the real thing, and it rocked. I’ll tell you more after the jump.
The Set Up
I was hipped to the Camden Comic Con by my good friend and fellow member of the South Jersey Writers’ Group, Robert Repici. A writer, screenwriter, teacher, and comics historian, he also conducted a couple panels at the Con. Through him, I got in touch with Miranda Powell and Bill Haas who put this baby together. Plans were made for Ray Cornwall and me to record The GAR! Podcast at the Con.
Held at Rutgers University Camden Campus, this was a first for the city. For those not from here, or familiar with the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, Camden does not have a very good reputation. For several years it has been called the worst and most dangerous city in America by several media outlets. The city is trying to make a comeback however. Over the last few decades there has been the Adventure Aquarium, the USS New Jersey, the Susquehanna Bank Center, Campbells Field, and of course, Rutgers University has always been the jewel of the city. Now we have the best comic con.
When we arrived Saturday morning, Donnie Treadwell of WCCR, the university radio station, set us up, and even sat in for a two-sided interview. This was just the beginning of a terrific day. We said hi to former GAR! friends/guests Rob Kelly and Bryan J.L. Glass and were dazzled by how many folks had come in costume, and also how many folks period. The event, held at different levels of the Campus Center, was packed, hundreds of comics loving folks had shown up. And they were all happy for the most part.
This was what separated the Camden Comic Con from all the ‘real’ and ‘professional’ conventions that both Ray and I have attended in our lifetimes. Everyone was having fun. This was a party. I know that Miranda and Bill had had reservations about this as they’d never done anything like this before, but let me tell you, the Camden Comic Con was a rousing success, and these folks know how to throw a party.
Knuckle Puck Time
A lot of the party atmosphere was brought on by the band Knuckle Puck Time, whose name is derived from the Mighty Ducks films. These guys rocked with a nineties surf ska sensibility that rocked the house. Their set list included a cover of “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger, and the themes to “Duck Tales,” Ghostbusters,” “Power Rangers,” and to close, a song we all knew the words to – “Batman.”
Some of the best parts of their set was the cosplayers who joined in dancing in front of the stage. Venom and Future Foundation Spider-Man, along with a proton-packed Ghostbuster stole the show in that way. The latter was the winner of the costume contest by the way. Other entries included the Punisher, Sailor Moon, Scarlet Spider, USAgent, Doctor Who, many Batmen and Iron Men, among others. My Power Girl costume went unnoticed under my clothes thankfully.
Guests and Interviews
Ray and I got to interview many terrific guests, including Justin Piatt from Unlikely Heroes Studios, Gigio Longo of G. boTiC Productions, Mark Poulton author of A Cat Named Haiku and Koni Waves just to name a few, David Rondinelli and Dennis Knight of Pronto Comics, Ryan Brady and Hong Nguyen of Camden’s Comics, and artist and illustrator Mike Pagdon. Also being at the side of the stage, we got to enjoy the full glory that was the band and the cosplayers.
Additionally we had great discussion with Robert Repici on the ages of comics and comics on television, we talked Daredevil and Captain America The Winter Soldier with Gigio Longo, and just generally had a terrific time. This was an awesome comic con, and I’m not kidding when I say it was the best I’ve ever attended – this was fantastic. Plan to be here next year!
Experience It ‘Live’
You can experience the Camden Comic Con ‘live’ in the next three episodes of The GAR! Podcast, both here at Biff Bam Pop! and at the GAR! website. And rumor has it, WCCR may also be streaming all three Camden Comic Con episodes as well. Enjoy!