As you all know, we go to plenty of conventions and even though we dropped three this year, we picked up a few to replace them. In this area you would be hard pressed to find a comic book convention that's top focus is actually comic books. Most are more of a pop culture nature with more celebrity guests and toy vendors than artists, writers, and comic vendors. That's why when New Dimension Comics announced their first ever honest-to-goodness comic book convention to be held at the Century III Mall, comic book nerds wept tears of joy. Finally a comic book convention with actual comics, the way it should be and has always meant to be. Now, don't get me wrong, I love meeting celebrities as much as the next person, but there's just something about the classic nature of a true comic convention.
New Dimension Comics has been around for 30 years and have quite a few stores in the Pittsburgh area. To say that they know comics, is a vast understatement. As a matter of fact, their Century III store is the largest comic book store I've ever laid eyes on (and shed a few tears of joy over).
Quite honestly, these pictures don't do it justice. You really have to see this store in person. There's a whole other section of table top and card games to the right of the last photo that is about as big as the section in the second photo. At any rate, the convention was held just down the hall from their store in an area that is just as big as their store.
We pre purcahsed the 2 day VIP passes which included entry into the convention for Saturday and Sunday, goodie bags with two comic books, a tee shirt, and two free graphic novels each, as well as entry into the special beer release party held after the convention on Saturday night and a bottle of the beer for each of us for only $40 per ticket. That's cheaper than a one day pass to Wizard World and when you factor in all the free stuff and the special privilege of entry into the release party, it's a much better deal than a one day ticket to the "convention that shall not be named".
This is the first convention I've been to in a long time that had an impressive amount of comic book vendors, which reiterated the fact that it's an honest to goodness COMIC BOOK CONVENTION. As a matter of fact, each general admission ticket got you one free graphic novel as well. I think it's been a good 5 years or more since we've been to a convention that did anything like that.
My husband was excited to meet his favorite artist, Joseph Michael Linsner, and got a pretty good chunk of his comics, art books, prints, and figures signed by him, all for free. Yep, that doesn't happen to often in the world of cons either! Linsner is popular for his Dawn series and did the label for the special beer, named Darkest Dawn Stout, that they released at the party. he also was present at the party and signed the bottles, which were limited, for free as well. We met so many amazing artists and vendors, a few of which I connected with enough to hopefully make life long friends. After-all, that's what these conventions are all about. Meeting like minded individuals that share the excitement of a fandom and who you can geek out with, without judgment. Not only were all (okay not all... all but one) the vendors and artists very nice and excited to be there, but the promoters and convention staff were an amazing bunch. All of them were there to make sure vendors were well hydrated, well fed, and just very well taken care of in general. And they treated the attendees just as good as their vendors and artists. All were very helpful and I was impressed to see that they actually had signs up not only pointing you in the right direction when approaching the mall, but they had signs up inside the mall and down the hallway to let everyone know where the restrooms were. Which, of course, are right beside their huge store. It was a win/win for everyone really.
There was a really good turnout on Saturday and there seemed to be a pretty good turnout on Sunday for the time that we were there (we left at 1:30 to head home).
The beer release party was held in the panel room after the convention ended and while I had expected more people to have been there, the turnout was still pretty good. We showed up a half hour late, so I imagine more people did show up earlier and then left after sampling the beer and getting a slice of pizza and some wings. We met up with some guys we knew and chatted for most of the night, having a really good time. The beer was delicious! I noted that it had a slight citrus after taste, sort of like a grapefruit taste to it, but my husband had about 7 "samples" before we left (Hahahaha!).
Hilarity ensued halfway into the party and continued well after we left and made it back to the hotel room, where I passed out the moment I saw the bed and hubby took full advantage of the hot tub in our room (the lucky jerk).
One thing is for sure, when we left the convention, we could both agree that it was the best comic convention we have ever been to. I am highly impressed. They pulled off an incredible 1st show and they certainly showed attendees, artists, and vendors a good time and true hospitality, in my opinion. Actually, it's not just my opinion. Everyone we spoke with agreed.
You can read what author Spike Bowen had to say about his experience on Irregular Mischief Publications.
We've decided that we are definitely going to be purchasing VIP tickets to this convention every year and will support the heck out of it. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, stop by Century III Mall and check out New Dimension Comics, and definitely make a trip out for next year's convention. You really won't regret it, I promise you!
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Stay tuned for my highlights of Sci-Fi Valley Con June 10-12th.
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