In regards to Allentown, I would make a Billy Joel reference but I don’t think most of you listen to his music. But I do know that the bulk of your skulls would appreciate a convention with a little power behind it, like The Great Allentown Comic Con! While getting to and navigating Allentown can be as convoluted as a long comic book metaplot, I made the trip because, Hey! A Con!
Calling your comic-book-themed convention held in Allentown “The Great Allentown Comic Con” is quite convenient. The name explains it all as clear as Superman’s origin. While renting convention space is expensive, I have to say that The Great Allentown Comic Con’s size is not so great. The whole event is basically jammed into the common room of a small mall. The lone panel room this con had was in the back storage area of a gaming shop. I’ve seen video rooms bigger than this con.
Like Spiderman, what it lacks in power, it makes up for with heart. How many conventions do you know that host weddings as part of their schedules? I’m not talking about a wedding being held in the same area of the con, I mean two people are getting married to each other as a convention event. I am completely serious about this! The Great Allentown Comic Con had a wedding and I attended it! I even have the pictures to prove it. The cleric was even in freakin’ costume! How many conventions can say that?
I also have to commend the quality of the cosplay. Considering the amount of people who attended, I would have to say the ratio of cosplayers was quite high. While the majority were comic based, there was a good variety with Star Wars, video game, and even anime themed costumes. There were a lot of kids in costume as well. They were all so good that all of them won prizes in the costume contest! If you needed a reason to go wear a costume somewhere, The Great Allentown Comic Con is the perfect excuse. If you don’t know how, there was a panel all about how to make your own costume. They gave good advice, like learn to sew and wear spandex if you plan on walking around in it. I, however, will commission a costume should I ever decide to wear something that can’t be taped together.
There was also the standard dealer’s hall full of things to buy. I bought a bottle of sauce, because how many times can you buy a bottle of sauce at a con? If you wanted comic books and pictures drawn by people who draw comic books, then you are totally covered. Having no expertise in the field of comic books, all I can say was that there was a lot of them and it a good portion of them were sold on discount.
There were also plenty of people there who draw comic books, making it a good event for socializing with artists. If you want to meet big stars, you could say hi to the likes of Bonnie Piesse who was in the new Star Wars films, Veronica Taylor who voiced Ash Ketchum, and Walter Jones, the original Black Ranger. Of all the guests, Mr. Jones was clearly in his element. He had a nice banner, lot of people lining up to see him, and a fine selection of pictures for him to sign. If you wanted an autograph from these big stars, it would cost you some money. It was one of those conventions where the guests made their paycheck by charging for autographs instead of getting paid by the convention directly. This type of structure does have it’s drawbacks, such as no guest panels, but I imagine the budget can’t be that big if you’re only charging eight dollars a head.
If you wanted a break from the convention, you could wonder the Merchants Square Mall. It’s the place where the con is being held, and it’s a destination in it’s own right. The place has its own comic and merchandise shops, and they had enough stuff to equal what you find in the dealers’ room. They also have some unique things like a wrestling memorabilia store and a model train exhibit. Model train exhibits aren’t usually worth mentioning, but this one is noteworthy due to the sheer size of it. It has more square footage then many apartments. The place really is worth checking out.
That concludes my report of The Great Allentown Comic Con. Normally I would have more to say, but it’s a one day show that ends at 6 pm! Don’t you hate events that end too soon? While it was a short but sweet affair, those who were eager for more action could have gone to the after party being held at a place called “The Cigar Factory.” It’s good that they had something for people who wanted to keep the party going, but I decided to bow out. Sometimes, you have to know when to walk away…