Twice a year those of us lucky enough to be in Upstate NY are treated to one of the best comic conventions in the country: the Albany Comic Con. That’s right people, twice! One in the Spring and another in the Fall, and those of us in the Capital District couldn’t be happier. Aside from NYCC, this is the con that I look forward to every year, and if you’ve ever been, you know why; since this is a smaller con it’s a bit more intimate, and feels more like you’re getting together with a great group of friends that you haven’t seen in a while. Plus, the smaller cons put much more of the spotlight on comics and the people that create them, as opposed to Hollywood, and for six hours we get to dive into the greatness that is Albany Comic Con.
Please welcome guest writer Grady Dixon as he takes you around the con floor of Albany Comic Con 2011!
Big conventions are like Fireworks at Disney world; they’re big, loud, fun, and overwhelming. You can’t seem to pick just one place to focus on, and at the end there’s always at least one thing you missed, but all in all, it was a ton of fun.
Small conventions are like getting drunk, going out in the middle of some field with a bunch of your friends, and setting off fire crackers, roman candles, and probably a few things not legal to sell in some states. They may not be massive spectacles, but they’re fun, manageable, and you are surrounded by friendly faces.
Albany Comic Con is the best small convention I’ve ever been to, and with each con it keeps getting better and better…this year was no exception.
Throughout the whole day, booths and artist alley alike were crowded with many collectors and fans either waiting to get something signed, [do some] purchasing, or just there to hang out. All-star creators such as Matthew Dow Smith, Dick Ayers, Ron Marz, Paul Harding, ETC, rocked the Holiday Inn, showcasing some of their awesome talent and meeting fans. Vendors also brought their A game, with tons of toys, memorabilia, and of course, comics.
I personally got some of the best deals of my life at this con. That is not an exaggeration, or an attempt at ass kissing. There were seriously some books I thought had to be mispriced. I got a bunch of stuff I wanted, and stuff I didn’t even know I wanted until I saw it. Like the Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver? Yeah. It’s awesome.
Costumes were in full force at this Con, including my own (Dex-Star). Whether you were a member of The 501st with an ultra-cool movie realistic costume, or if you just threw together a costume made from a t shirt, blue gloves, and cat ears (once again me), the fun of dressing up was enjoyed by both the con goers and cosplayers who stopped to pose for pics. You may have even met a female Robin if you went anywhere near the fantastic “Comic Depot” booth.
Unlike most small conventions, this one actually had panels, and several of them too. For the past couple of years now the Albany Comic Con has had a variety of panels, some featuring the likes of Joe Staton and Ron Marz. But until this year I had never been to one of Albany Comic Con’s panels. After a long day of flipping through long boxes, perusing artwork, and scouting out action figures, I decided to check out the Con’s final panel: partly because it was about prop making and cosplay, and partly because I had no money left to spend on the floor.
I went into this panel, located in another area of the hotel, not knowing what to expect. But as soon as I entered and saw the replica of Prince Nualas’s spear from Hellboy 2, I had a feeling my interest would stay piqued. As I looked around me I saw Spider-Man, a Tusken Raider, and a scout trooper. Most of the seats were taken so I just leaned against the wall and waited for the presentation to start.
The panel was led by Jennifer Wicks, as well as some members of the 501st legion. They showcased a vast array of their props and how they made them out of simple everyday items. Almost like the Martha Stewarts of Geekdom. The panel was very informative, interesting, and downright entertaining. Full of droids, superheroes, and bounty hunters, just like some of the best (and worst) dreams I’ve ever had.
The Convention was just wrapping up when I left the panel room. I’ll admit, I had a slight sadness having to go, and seeing all those comics getting packed away. Fortunately, though, I won’t have to wait too long until the next Albany Comic Con, considering they have two a year (the next one is in October), plus a toy show in the summer.
Small cons are great because you can interact with fellow fans in your community, and make new friends you didn’t even know were right around the corner. If not for the Albany Comic Con I probably would have never met Matthew Dow Smith (who is one of the nicest, coolest guys you will ever meet).
But this con has something to offer that other smaller events don’t, too. While you still get the great experience of meeting local creators, dealers, and fans, you also are delivered a vast array of dealers with merch to kill over, whether it be original artwork, or Golden and Silver Age comics. Albany Comic Con is a haven for the avid collector, crazed fan boy, or even the casual browser checking in to see what the nerd world has to offer. So whether you’ve been collecting all your life, or never even heard of Hal Jordan, the Albany Comic Con is a great time with great people!
For more first hand accounts of Comic Cons from across the world, click here!