We were excited to attend the New Jersey Comic Expo 2015 this weekend and besides the show being small, it was a fun time for the whole family. From the grab bag of Dynamite comics for early ticket purchasers to the Kids section full of free books, they were serious about attracting in fans. Also having Jim Lee headling as well as a few other first timers in New Jersey like Ivan Reis and Garth Ennis helped as well.
Because of the large space afforded to the convention and limited amount of booths and attendees compared to the likes of a New York Comic Con, it was easy to move around. Deals were plenty even given the amount of retailers that they had, like $2 sketch cover comic books. And if you are a fan of entertainment vehicles, they had plenty like various Bat-mobiles, as well as replica vehicles from Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and Scooby Doo.
As far as celebrities signing and doing photo-ops their two biggest names were Amy Acker (Person of Interest, Angel, Dollhouse) and Drea de Matteo (Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy). It's unfortunate Amy was only available Saturday. Hopefully they can get more big names next year.
As mentioned before, artist alley and the exhibitors had something for everyone. Not too many free sketches around, but there were also deals to be had. Walter Simonson did free sketches, though a lot of fans paid their respect in the form of tips. I had artist C. P. Wilson III do the below Hulk vs Thor sketch below for a nominal fee. You may know him for his art in The Stuff of Legend.
As far as Cosplayers go, there were plenty of good costumes. A group dressed up as different members of the Justice Society of America was cool to see.
On Sunday, the big event for me was the Jim Lee VIP session. I had paid for the second session which was the lighter attended crowd. Even actors Tommy Walker and Peter Shinkoda, both super friendly showed off their geek side waiting for Jim Lee to sign their Uncanny X-Men comic book.
During the Jim Lee event, fans got to each ask him a question which ran the gamut from "What does a Co Producer do?" to "How do you know that she (his wife) is the love of your life?" He drew by lottery system two winners in each session to receive a free sketch which you can see below. Unfortunately I didn't win. But everyone that attended did score a limited edition Superman variant as well as getting up to ten items signed and well as pictures with Jim. The personal interaction with Jim was also very fun.
Overall, a fun experience, and I hope to see them grow more next year as far as guests and exhibitors. The area around the convention center is pretty dead, so if they can get some food trucks over there during that week, that would be nice. One interesting question that was posed to Jim, was why did he chose New Jersey Comic Expo, with which he replied family. His sister lives in Jersey for which he was coming over for Thanksgivings. As well, he has an old and close relationship with the founder of the con, Martha Donato from when she worked at Wizard magazine.