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Asbury Park Comic Con: Burgers, Bloody Marys, and oh yes, Comics.

6 Oct

Mike & Ming at Asbury Park

After hitting a dozen comic book conventions this past year I thought I’d seen it all. That is, until about a week ago when I headed to the Jersey Shore to check out Asbury Park Comic Con. It was an hour’s drive but I was curious. I had already taken a pass on the glitzy and expensive MorrisonCon at the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas that weekend. APCC by contrast, was in an old bowling alley in a town that had seen better days.

I knew something was different as soon as we walked in. The smell of sizzling burgers filled the air. There was a grill in front of the room. And a bar. No, wait, two bars! And there was music in the background. Turns out the bowling alley Asbury Lanes has been a club for several years now, and a popular venue for punk bands like Butthole Surfers. We were, in fact, just down the road from the Stone Pony of Springsteen fame. Organizer Cliff Galbraith (Rat Bastard) paid homage to Asbury Park’s music heritage with an impressive playlist ranging from Dwight Yoakam to Alex Chilton.

The featured guests were particularly entranced with the venue. Creator Larry Hama (G.I. Joe, Bucky O’Hare), who has seen his share of conventions, marveled at the presence of a bar right on the con floor. The stiff drinks were widely praised – Bloody Marys were a popular choice. The omnipresent Emmy Award winning artist Dean Haspiel (didn’t I just see him in Baltimore?) cheerfully informed me he had four root canals the previous day as he ordered a Coke and a shot of Makers Mark from the pink haired bartender. A bemused artist Reilly Brown (Cable, Deadpool, and the creator owned Power Play) said it felt just like a Springsteen song as he sat in front of the empty bowling lanes. In the corner by the bar I spotted Mike & Ming, otherwise known as Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen, reality show stars of AMC’s Comic Book Men. They were live podcasting their show I Sell Comics sporadically throughout the day. Super friendly, both were much more real in real life and chatted amiably with everyone who passed by.

Larry Hama sketches for fans

And then there were the comics. Enough to attract roughly 600 people over the course of the day, according to Cliff. He and comics dealer Robert Bruce (also a familiar face on AMC’s Comic Book Men) managed to cram 40+ exhibitor tables in and around the bowling lanes. The result was a marvelous and eclectic mix of indie, minis, superheroes and vintage. The vibe was laid back and natural – I chatted with several creators including aspiring penciler Javier Cruz Winnick and Jersey guy Joe Martino, cancer hero and creator of Ripperman and the Kickstarter funded The Mighty Titan.

The Mighty Titan Joe Martino

By late afternoon Comics Beat editor and man-about-town Torsten Adair sat in the corner of the bar/lounge gleefully showing off his stash of quirky finds to Hannah Means-Shannon and myself. Reilly Brown finally took a break from his table balancing what appeared to be two beers and a shot or ginger ales – I didn’t ask back to the space he shared with artist George O’Connor and photographer Seth Kushner.

I ‘m glad I decided against spending the almost $800 plus airfare for MorrisonCon. Asbury Park Comic Con was a gem of a con, and only cost a whopping $6, $1 of which went laudably to the comics charity Hero Initiative. The burgers were shockingly excellent and the drinks cheap and strong. People showed up, browsed, hung out and enjoyed the fun and kitschy vibe. Sorry, Grant Morrison, but by the end of the day, my mind was blown. I left feeling like I had just crashed the coolest college party on campus.

The Beat editor Torsten Adair shows off his loot


MoCCA Fest Features International Publishers

1 May

I had a wonderful conversation with these fine gentlemen from Accent UK. They filled me in on the differences in physical format between American and European comics ( European ones are slightly smaller because of the paper size.) They had several great looking perfect bound books including one which had won an Eagle award.

Coast City Comic Con

12 Nov


Alpha Girl Comics Takes Manhattan

13 Oct

A banner day!

Look at this wonderful banner pic taken by Comics Experience member  George O’Conner.  If you are on your way to Artist Alley we will be just around the corner from David Finch, Greg Horn and fellow Harvard alum Cliff Chiang.  Browse a wide selection of offerings from our friends including:

Gutter Magic by Rich Douek swords, sorcery and sixguns. 3 one shot stories.

SkyGirl and the SuperHeroic Legacy by Joe Sergi. Young adult novel coming of age story involving capes, apes, and Aliens.

Awaken by Janine Frederick. BFF, boys, world domination. What’s a young antichrist to do?

Meridien City #1 sci-fi mystery by Georgia Lee.  A hard-boiled police inspector discovers strange beings in the outer reaches of her planet, and in the process unearths something shocking about her own path and destiny.

I will be at the booth #2939 on and off Saturday and Sunday with Georgia so stop by and say hi!

Meridien City #1 Debuts at New York Comic Con

8 Oct

A 24 pp. full color sci-fi mystery adventure by Alpha Girl Comics. Cannon Hunter is a tough chick on a tough planet looking for a mystery killer and in the process unearthing something strange about her past. Written by Georgia Lee director of “Red Doors”, lyrical pencils & inks by Silvio dB, and gorgeous colors by Cabbral. All lettered and edited by me.  We will be at booth #2939 with Elevator Pitch Press and across from GeekChic Daily.  $3.99.  Stay tuned for the digital download release!

My Baltimore Comic-Con Reading List

22 Aug

Some of my purchases from Baltimore Comic-Con 2011


One of the best things about walking the floor is meeting so many creators.  I had some fantastic conversations with Ron Marz, Brad Guigar, Scott Kurtz, Ivan Brandon, Reilly Brown and Terry Moore.  Go forth and buy their books!

Swag from the Harvey Awards 2011

22 Aug

loot from Saturday's Harvey Awards at Baltimore Comic-Con


The bonus part of attending the Harveys (aside from hanging out with exceptionally cool people, and sitting like 10 feet away from Stan Lee) is the incredible swag bag.  The published price on all the loot totals more than the ticket itself.  Of course it was heavy as heck, but fortunately I drove to Baltimore so didn’t have to worry about luggage space or weight.

Tr!ckster Brings the Comic Back to the Con

21 Jul



So San Diego Comic-con was rad in a monstrous blockbuster Michael Bay sort of way, but if you don’t follow me on twitter, I can’t gush enough about Tr!ckster that was happening quietly across the street during the day, (and not so quietly at night.) If you are any sort of creator, wannabe or indie fan this was the place to be.

Big Apple Comic Con

21 May

The sun finally came out of hiding for the opening of the Spring Edition of Wizard World’s Big Apple Comic Con. Fernando Ruiz of Archie and The Kubert School gave an intimate talk on breaking into comics.




Free Comic Book Day Hits Midtown Manhattan

10 May

Thankfully Saturday May 7 was a glorious day as we hit Midtown Comics in Times Square NYC. Arriving promptly at opening 11am my son and I were dismayed to see the line stretch all the way down the block. Apparently people started lining up before 8 am.




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