Albany Comic Con November 2012
The first article I ever wrote for Comic Attack was on the Albany Comic Con. At the time it had been around for a few years, and though a small convention, it showed steady growth with each and every show. As of November 2012, that fact still holds true with the Albany Comic Con having a record breaking attendance of 1200 fans. That’s pretty impressive for a show that started out as a handful booths, and a small assortment of local creators.
This show was certainly the most impressive out of all previous. A spike in the amount of cosplayers, as well as a spike in the quality of costumes (someone was wearing a super-detailed Alien costume), a hell of a lot more vendors, and a healthy collection of artists made the day a bit more hectic, but also more fun.
This year the show hosted Albany Comic Con regulars like Mathew Dow Smith (Doctor Who), Ron Marz (Green Lantern), and Paul Harding, as well as a bevy of newcomers including Bill Walko, Ben McCool, and Matthew Petz. I was happy to see that they added so many new creators this time around, because the previous line ups were getting a bit repetitive. I love that all these writers and artists keep returning, but it’s definitely good having new additions to the guest roster (you can only ask the same guy for a Rocket Raccoon sketch so many times before someone accuses you of being a furry). Smaller shows like these are obviously, for many reasons, different than the big cons. But when it comes down to it for me, the big difference is manageability. The bigger shows have way more to do and way more you want to do; it’s certainly more exciting, but also more stressful. The Albany Convention has always felt like a hangout. I get to spend time with a lot of friends I don’t get to see very often, I get to bullshit with my friend Darren from the Comic Depot, I get to be tortured by Ron Marz’s relentless (but awesome) kids as they make fun of me and tell me my girlfriend is going to dump me. It’s less of a convention and more of a weird, geeky, communal get-together.
This is why I have never missed a single Albany Con. You get the geekgasmicly cool things like vendors with original Jack Kirby art, a collector who has the first issue of Batman, and some guy in a creepily, screen-accurate alien costume; while at the same time you don’t have to battle your way through a sea of overweight and overtired nerds while trying to nab a coveted “one in one hundred” Stan lee action figure variant (for those of you wondering if that exists, it doesn’t, unfortunately).
But of course the Albany Comic Con’s gradual growth is slowly changing the show’s vibe. In part it’s a bit bitter sweet; I’m overjoyed to see the show shaping its way into a bigger convention each year, but at the same time I hope it doesn’t get too big and lose it familial sense. Every year I look forward to New York Comic Con for all the amazing movie panels, signings, variants, and exclusives. But twice a year I look forward to the Albany Comic Con because I get to bullshit with some really nice, funny guys, like Matthew Dow Smith, Paul Harding, and Ron Marz. I hope the
Small Comic conventions across the country never die, because they are just as important if not more so than the bigger shows. I’ve met half of my friends I have now at the Albany Comic Con, and I have just as many stories from attending those shows as I do New York Comic Con. It’s a big geeky world out their, sometimes you just need a place to call home.