Garden State Comic Fest has finally returned for their main event, this time at The Mills At Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth, NJ! From June 4-6, New Jersey’s Coolest Comic Con filled the old Century 21 department store with nearly 150 booths consisting of various vendors, comic book artists, and media guests like Loren Lester (Batman: The Animated Series), Vic Mignogna (Fullmetal Alchemist), Tony Daniels (X-Men The Animated Series), and a mini reunion for The Warriors (1979)!
If you’ve never attended Garden State Comic Fest before, each day is filled with new surprises (so be sure to check out the full photo album as well as the video recap at the end of this article!). You never know what kind of amazing cosplayers you’ll see or what unique sketches all the artists will be working on:
Legendary inker Keith Williams (above) drew me a one-of-a-kind Phantom on an Australian sketch cover variant, which is on its way to CGC for certification & grading. And in fact, at GSCF this year there were 2 options for fans to submit their books for grading: Agents Of Slabs (an authorized CGC facilitator) and CBCS. It’s been a while since either option has been available for in-person submissions so it was great to see them at the con!
But on top of all the other mainstream creators in attendance like Scott Hanna, Howard Mackie, Jim Calafiore, Tom Raney, and Reilly Brown (who was a fan-favorite all weekend long because of his involvement with DC’s Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point), there were many indie creators present as well.
Fans were able to see inked original pages (above) of Nick Justus‘ upcoming book Serpent Handler, Len Danovich‘s impressive gallery of sketch cards, and Chris Campana‘s latest installment of his creator-owned book The Adventures Of Parker Reef. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the show floor was Enrique Lopez who was promoting his involvement in a fairy tale anthology Kickstarter, as well as Phillip Russertt of Legendary Illustrations who was promoting his own original comic book series Tragedy on Kickstarter in addition to selling original art by Henry Martinez, Ron Wilson, Ricardo Silva, M. Zapata, and Will Pleydon.
And it wouldn’t be a proper Garden State Comic Fest without the fantastic comic book vendors that always bring the best of the best! With the hobby becoming more & more popular with each passing day, it’s no surprise that many vendors like Metropolis Comics and Sword Of Truth Comics brought some of the hottest & most in-demand books to the con. Not only did they have endless long boxes of vintage & modern comics, but also walls of key issues, first appearances, CGC slabs, and autographed books!
Speaking of signed & slabbed books, comic book & sports illustrator Brian Kong brought an incredible display of his own CGC & CBCS graded sketch covers and published works. But aside from comics, at Garden State Comic Fest you can also shop for some of the most creative pop culture items around: 3D Printing by Muckychris was back with a huge assortment of his mini statues, lightswitch plates, keychains, and other accessories:
Copper Creations by Jackie Stier was rocking some awesome handmade Godzilla vs. Kong pieces, Codakhrome’s framed 3D comic art was popping out at you, and of course so many collectibles: from Funko Pops to Lego Minifigures, from action figures to statues… Garden State Comic Fest had a special place in every collector’s heart!
All the while, you get to enjoy the con in the midst of some really well done cosplay! Professional cosplayers Father Evil and Barbie Chula (Harley Quinn, above) were posing for pics with fans & signing prints, charity cosplay group Mandalorian Mercs were tabling each day, and tons of fans represented their favorite fandoms all weekend long. Check out this Iron Man, inspired by Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
So whether you love meeting celebrities & comic book creators, or just want to add more items to your collection, Garden State Comic Fest has got you covered! Being back at one of the best conventions (and around fellow fans again) was such a great feeling and if you’ve been missing it too, you’ve got to check out their next event! Be sure to visit their website for upcoming announcements, and stay tuned for a video recap below.