Thanks in part to blockbuster film adaptations, comic books have gone mainstream throughout the 21st century. As the popularity of the books and their characters rose, so did the prominence of comic book conventions. At one time, such conventions were single-day gatherings of only the most passionate fans in small hotel conference centers. Today, they are multi-day events at huge expo halls, attracting tens of thousands of people, not to mention A-list celebrities.
In recent years, smaller and more intimate conventions have risen, as a result—or possibly even a protest—of their larger counterparts. One such local gathering is the Camden Comic Con, which will take over several buildings on the campus of Rutgers University Camden on Saturday, April 8.
“I started Camden Comic Con as a bit of a dejected attendee of large scale cons,” co-organizer William Haas says. He adds that, while the larger conventions are no doubt enjoyable, their “massive size” and “celebrity-heavy nature” tend to turn off longtime fans, especially those on a budget. Thus, Haas and fellow organizers Miranda Powell, Alexis Weaver, Patrick Wallace and Chrissie King are dedicated to bringing a successful—and free—show to local fans.
So, what can passionate comic book fans expect to experience at Camden Comic Con?
Fans who dress as their favorite comic book character are welcome to participate in the highly popular Costume Contest at the convention.
In keeping with the convention’s educational theme, a number of industry-themed workshops will be offered to fans. According to Haas, highlights of these workshops include “How to be a Professional Geek” and the Puppetry workshop, run by Noel MacNeal of “Bear in the Big Blue House” fame.
Personalities representing all facets of the comic book industry will be on hand to meet and chat with their legions of fans. “Nowhere else can you meet the likes of [comic artists and writers] Amy Chu, Dean Haspiel, Larry Hama, Carl Potts, and Fred Van Lente without waiting in a long line and for free,” Haas said.
Guests are encouraged to grab a bite to eat from one of several vendors taking part in the convention’s Mini Food Truck festival, including Wahlburgers and the Pop Shop.
The “Elegance String Quartet” will be performing numbers from popular “geeky” favorites, including Star Wars and The Legend of Zelda.
If you go:
Camden Comic Con
Saturday, April 8
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
301 Linden St., Camden