Keystone Comic Con 2019
What a difference a year makes. Last year, I was new to the whole Convention thing, but now I’ve gotten my bearings and have a better idea what to expect after a few. Granted I am by no means a seasoned vet. I’m definitely still wet behind the eras when it comes to bigger cons, but now it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
Now I am still not ready to dive into NYCC, but shows like Keystone, East Coast Comic Con, and even Wizard World definitely manageable. Maybe NYCC next year.
That said, I am still not a fan of the big crowds. I much prefer to do my digging in quiet solitude if possible. Block out the noise and let my eyes filter out the garbage books from the prizes in my mental rolodex.
But we play the hand we are dealt. So, I raced back from my vacation in Deli-where (Hot & Cold viewers may get that reference) and hit up Keystone Comic Con this past Saturday.
This year I travelled light. No snacks or supplies, just my CBSI swag t-shirt and my comic hunting bag loaded with my BCW Stor-folio.
STAFFING & ORGANIZATION
The staff was helpful and I was able to where I needed without delay. The Security Check was very quick and didn’t have much back up despite the full body cavity searches. Just kidding.
But the crowd wasn’t bad. Definitely not overwhelming. Plenty of room to move around and I was able to navigate the room pretty easily. They moved the location inside the Philadelphia Convention Center this year to the Broad Street entrance, which was the same location as the Wizard World Philly show back in June.
Everything was laid out pretty clearly. There was even a helpful little App you could download onto your phone. It gave you schedules, and reminders, and maps in case you wanted to know where to go. They even had a little scavenger hunt you could do while at the con, with things like stop by the such and such booth, and attend a panel, etc. I didn’t partake because I knew my time was limited as I didn’t get there until late afternoon and I really wanted to hit the John Carpenter Panel. More on that later.
CGC was doing on-site grading this year. I really wanted to bring a stack of books I’ve been meaning to send in, but a low balance of disposable funds and a later arrival due to my vacation nixed those plans. That said their booth was pretty empty when I got there, but I’m not sure if they were still accepting on-site submissions on Saturday. But I didn’t bring any books with me so it didn’t really matter all that much if they still were.
The vendors were front and center and seemed to be spread out pretty well. It wasn’t like all of the comic vendors here, and all of the cosplay accessories here, and the knick knack guys there. There was a good flow through the vendor area in how they had them all laid out.
So I made my rounds throughout the 1st hour there seeing what they had to offer. There was an entire Wrestling ring setup like last year and they had a couple matches go off while I was there. I didn’t watch much but they drew a crowd. I could hear the slams like thunder as I made my way through the con.
GUESTS – CELEBS & ARTISTS
Unlike last year, you could see the Celebs signing. They were out at their tables with organized lines of towards the back section of the con. I took a stroll to see who was out signing. I knew Spidey wasn’t there until tomorrow, but I did see the Weasley Twins doing their thing.
I didn’t grab any pics of this area as there was a sign specifically asking that no candid shots be taken in that area, so I thought since I was covering this event, and folks from Reed Pop might read this that I better be a good boy and follow the rules.
But they had a pretty decent lineup of celebs there over the weekend, but I’m not a signature guy so I did not partake in this portion of the convention.
So, Tom Holland was obviously the big ticket of the weekend, but he wasn’t going to be there until Sunday; and I was up in the air as to whether I wanted to try and come back for that. While the crowd was manageable for me even on a Saturday, I had a feeling that Spidey being in the building would bring more folks out.
As I said, James and Oliver Phelps were there signing away, but I must’ve missed Bonnie Wright as I arrived later in the day. So no Ginny Weasley sighting for me.
I also just missed out on Gina Torres who I heard announcements that she was doing photo ops while I was strolling through.
The Comic Talent in Artist Alley was also pretty interesting. I saw Buzz whom I remember most from the Vampirella books from the 90’s. Jim Steranko was there and I had a clear shot to go up to him, but I chickened out and snapped a quick pic and scurried off like frightened bunny for some reason. We will speak no more of this.
Also, in attendance were Amy Chu, Denys Cowan, Jim Cheung, and Larry Stroman.
John Giang seemed to have one of the biggest crowds around his booth while I was there as he had an impressive array of prints. He’s done a few of those Dceased variant covers that are pretty interesting.
But my favorite sighting was Darryl McDaniels “DMC” who was promoting his comics. He was very friendly with the guests just chilling out front of his table taking pics and chatting with whomever stopped to see him. I loved Run DMC growing up. They were my absolutely favorite as a kid. So, I was again too star struck to go say hello.
Now apart from the potential Spider-man crowd on Sunday, I also wanted to make it on Saturday if possible to go to one panel. I wanted to make sure I saw John Carpenter.
Now the signs said no video or flash photography during the presentation, so I thing my candid shots here were ok and within the letter of law.
The man is a legend. From all of the classic films he’s done over the years from Halloween to Escape From New York to The Thing. He’s a Hollywood icon who also is a very talented musician. His scores are the stuff of legend. When you hear that Halloween theme start going, tell me you don’t still get goose bumps.
But he also directed one of my all-time favorite movies. I don’t often throw that qualification out there for just anything, but I literally went to the theater 7 times in my youth to see this movie, and that was Big Trouble in Little China.
Now he only talked a little about Big Trouble in Little China during his panel as that wasn’t one of his original creations. So he didn’t have much insight on the rumored sequel/reboot that potentially could involve the Rock. But he’s open if the studio wants to cut him a check.
He’s a very laid-back guy and talked a bit about his involvement in the new Halloween movies. While he’s not directing, he’s still scoring the film and is there to be a cheerleader and collect a check as he put it. But seriously, he’s an interesting cat and I’m glad I made it to that panel.
So after the Panel, I decided to hit up the dealer booths. The most impressive set up and selection had to be Torpedo Comics. They had some insanely big books on hand. Old school keys like you wouldn’t believe. The below show was only a portion of the books they had on hand.
They had an Amazing Spider-man #667 Dell'otto in CGC 9.4 on the wall. I had never actually seen on in person until then. Knowing I would probably have to sell a kidney to buy it, I decided to ask how much it was…$15k.
Looks like I didn’t even have enough kidneys to sell. Anyone know the going rate on the black market or dark web these days? Someone call Craig Robinson’s character from Mr. Robot.
But anyway, the Torpedo books were definitely out of my range. So I walked about seeing the wall books up at places like Zapp Comics and saw that folks were on the D23 news as plenty of Moon Knight’s and She Hulks prominently displayed.
I saw one of my favorite LCS’s had a booth. Stormwatch Comics had a crowd every time I walked by. And Bob was chatting them all up, so I threw a wave and let him do his thing and kept moving. It’s ok, I will be in there on Wednesday to get some books.
So I made my way over to Welcome Back Comics booth and started to engage in one of my favorite past times, Dollar Bin Digging. I was only planning on seeing what was there and maybe picking up a few books, but before I knew it, I had a healthy stack forming. And once I saw the Buy 20, get 20 free sign I knew I was in for the long haul and made my way through every dollar box they had. I already posted these on Instagram, but if you’re not following me @dresden_files, then here’s most of what I dug out of those bins.
Plenty of Cosplayers walking around, doing their thing. I snapped a few candid shots while strolling around, but that was mostly to show my son when I got home. But in case you were interested, here are a few of the things I saw there from a whole gaggle of Avengers to a walking Dragon.
Oh, and they had Christine there as well as a Jurassic Park Jeep which was also pretty cool.
THAT'S A WRAP
All in all it was another pretty good show for the limited time I was able to go. I feel it offered a lot to do and see and I wish I was able to make it back for Spidey on Sunday, but what can you do. I didn’t know my vacation plans would interfere with the con schedule.
Last year this show was in September but it looks like next year’s will be at the end of August as well. Well, that’s all the time we have with this Con Recon, so until I get up the stones to go to NYCC I’ll probably do more midsized cons like this one in the meantime. I didn’t get to see Lavar Burton at the show, but I’ll let him sign us off…