Garden State Comic Fest is a multi-event comic book & pop culture gathering. And this summer GSCF took over the Mennen Arena in Morristown, NJ for their main event from July 7-8, 2018!
Filling up an entire ice rink, GSCF 2018 boasted featured guests such as voice actors Keone Young & Mary McDonald Lewis from G.I. Joe, and countless comic book creators like Walter & Louise Simonson, Adam Kubert, Marv Wolfman, Greg Hildebrandt, and so many more! We’re talking about meet & greets, vendors, cosplayers, panels, and a full weekend’s worth of content more than words & pictures can convey! So be sure to check out the video at the end of this post as well!
What I love about Garden State Comic Fest is that there are no gimmicks or tricks up their sleeves – what you see is what you get! With amazing admission prices, you’ll have opportunities to meet some of your favorite artists, find really great merchandise through the vendors, and even make new friends with similar interests!
Right off the bat, one thing that makes Garden State Comic Fest stand out from the rest is Greg Hildebrandt’s Spiderweb Art Gallery! Greg doesn’t make many appearances throughout the year but he has graciously made consistent time for GSCF over the years.
Greg has been around the comic book & art scene for decades, having worked on so many iconic images we still recognize today (perhaps you’ve seen the theatrical poster for Star Wars: A New Hope by the Hildebrandt Brothers)! So it was an absolute pleasure to speak to him for a few minutes about some of his pieces, how his style is so widely recognized, and how much the culture of comics has evolved over the years. Truly an experience you can’t get anywhere else but GSCF!
On top of offering limited edition prints, signings, and in-show commissions, Greg also has a show ritual of live painting his next Marvel variant cover. In the past he’s worked on Star Wars, Thanos, and here he is working on Conan.
Artist Alley is also a fantastic place to meet other artists who have made their mark on the industry, both near & far, and big and small. One of my favorite artists, Chris Campana, had a booth at GSCF and I was able to squeeze myself into his commissions list for a custom comic book cover of The Despicable Deadpool!
Plus, if you already have comic books in your possession, it’s the perfect time to get them signed or even graded by companies like CGC or CBCS! I had 3 of my Jan Duursema books witnessed, signed, and slabbed by CGC Facilitator “Surreal Comics & Cards” from Albuquerque, NM. I can’t wait to get them back!
But if you aren’t into meeting the creators and are more into strictly collecting, don’t worry!
There are always amazing comic book vendors with everything from vintage to modern books.
Local comic book shop favorite Zapp Comics was in attendance with unbelievable deals on wall books, slabbed books, and more!
I even know that they sold a 4.5 restored Amazing Fantasy #15 (which is timely, since Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko passed away just days before… RIP). But you wouldn’t believe what Metropolis Comics & Collectibles had just in the next aisle over… a 7.5 graded Amazing Fantasy #15 for $195,000!! Are you in the market for an Amazing Fantasy #15?
Or maybe you’re interested in some original art!
I was happy to see some returning vendors at GSCF like 3D Printing by Muckychris, who custom designs one-of-a-kind pop culture statuettes, keychains, and lightswitch covers… and Jackie Stier’s Copper Creations – some of the coolest copper art featuring your favorite comic book and pop culture logos & quotes!
But Sean Carlson‘s booth caught my eye with his splash art, featuring some really clever alter ego / arch nemesis crossovers. Check out some of his work below, like Captain America/Red Skull or Batman/Joker:
Sean is from the Kubert School and actually there were many Kubert artists present… including Adam Kubert himself!
Though his line was long, as expected, it’s totally worth it to meet this legend! I had met Adam once before and each time he’s been so fun & kind with his fans. During his stay at GSCF, he even offered the first autograph for free!
On top of that, I got to meet one more special guest, prolific voice actor Keone Young, who’s provided voices for hundreds of titles. But I was particularly excited to meet him because he recently portrayed Commander Sato from Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD:
I brought a couple items to get signed, and we even got a moment to chat! Not only was he a blast to talk to, he had great stories to share regarding his experience of working with Lucasfilm, and even remembered my name when I said goodbye to him at the end of the show. What a class act! If you ever get a chance to meet him, don’t miss it!
You also don’t want to miss all the stellar cosplay GSCF brings in! With a cosplay competition on Sunday, multiple photo shoots outdoors, and fun backdrops all around the show floor, you’re bound to run into at least a few characters that’ll make your jaw drop. Check out this amazing DC Comics Hawkman (with opening/closing wings) & Star Wars young Rey cosplay!
And lastly, what would a Garden State Comic Fest be without some exclusives?
This year was no different and the exclusives were really top notch! On top of the exclusive prints for the VIP attendees, there were also several posters given out for FREE on the way out: Netflix’s Voltron, Troll Hunters, and a free version of the G.I. Joe poster that was available for purchase (which made for a great item to be signed by G.I. Joe voice actors Keone Young & Mary McDonald Lewis)!
The Morristown Police Department and the Morristown PBA also collaborated with artists Bella Rachlin and Idan Knafo Kerbis to create an exclusive Batman & Harley Quinn print – only to the first 150 people!
Not only that – GSCF also had pre-autographed items from their previous show available for sale (which worked out for me because I was able to score an autographed 8×10 I missed out on last time)! So like I said, tons of exclusives and limited edition items, which means you don’t want to miss out!
But don’t worry, Garden State Comic Fest will be back soon! Be sure to check their website for more information! And in the meantime, here’s a video recap of GSCF 2018 at the Mennen Arena: