Monday, July 27, 2015

Geek on the Street: Reporting Back from Garden State Comic Fest 2015

Official GSCF Posters
 As an official “Geek on the Street,” I decided to put my nerd powers to good use and head out to support one of those regional conventions that we talked about in my earlier blog post (see “Geek on the Street: Five Tips for Regional/Local Conventions” dated July 20, 2015).  This time, I landed at the Garden State Comic Fest, a two-day event in the Mennen Arena in Morristown, NJ.  For first-time convention-goers, this may be the sort of event to seek out; it may not have the scale or celebrity presence of New York Comic Con, but it allows you to get the flavor of the larger conventions without the price, hassle, or crowds.

Conventions, much like geeks, come in all shapes and sizes.  Therefore, a convention site might be anywhere.  Garden State Comic Fest was able to turn the gymnasium portion of an arena into the geek Promised Land: filling it with Artists’ Alley and the always awesome Show Floor.  In general, when hitting up a con of this size, it makes sense to keep an open mind about venue; not every convention demands a Javits Center-sized convention center.  Often a cool smaller space can be transformed into the nerd mecca we all hope for when attending a show.
The view from above of the Show Floor at GSCF

Garden State Comic Fest, or GSCF for short, really had all of the elements that you look for at a regional show: a bustling show floor full of vendors; a full schedule of panels, including Arlen Schumer’s always popular “Presentation on the Silver Age of Comic Book Art”; a costume contest and a healthy showing of original and unique cosplay creations; and, my favorite at small shows, an Artist’s Alley that features once-in-a-lifetime up-close-and-personal interactions with at least one major art icon.  In this regard, GSCF really did not disappoint: they offered comic book legends Neal Adams, Adam Kubert, Walt Simonson, as well as Greg Hildebrandt, who along with his brother, Tim, had created the original Star Wars movie posters.[1]

The view from above of the Show Floor at GSCF
This convention was a great experience.  We scored some reasonably priced merch, including items that had been exclusives at San Diego Comic Con earlier this month, interacted with some pretty cool fellow nerds, and got to enjoy the full convention experience without the convention headache. For those of you about to set off from your hobbitholes for your first Geek on the Street experience at a con, I strongly urge you to see what similar events are in your area. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find there—we sure had an epic geek experience at Garden State Comic Fest!
This Greg Hildebrandt print was part of our VIP package.
He signed it for free!

Until next time, this is your official Geek on the Street Dr. Kelly wishing you a Glorious Geek Day!

Article by Kelly I. Aliano, PhD

[1] For more on the Hildebrandt brothers, visit:

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