Should we DoACBC?: Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention in Review

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Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention Cosplay Comics

I’m a Jersey girl, through and through, born, raised and passionate. I defend my state like it’s my job. I love that we are right in-between everything. NYC is right there, a quick jaunt up the Turnpike leads to Philly, we have mountain, beaches, farms, and cities. Everything you could possible imagine within a few hours. But the issue that arises from being so close is sometimes we get left out. NYCC is a huge convention in the Javits Center and Wizard World Philly has been popular for all of my adult life, in fact it’s where my romance with my husband blossomed, but I digress. My point is the one thing New Jersey doesn’t have is our own BIG con. We have plenty of little shows, like Chiller Theater and Monster-Mania, that are great and attract some awesome celebrities, but they aren’t comic conventions. ACBC strives to make that right. The Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention wants to be the show that can’t be missed. So, did they accomplish that?

We bucked up, put on our favorite geek attire, which in our case included STAR labs and Flynn’s Arcade t-shirts, strapped a Super Grover cape on our toddler and headed out to what could be the con of the year. After sitting in traffic on the Expressway and getting a late start, we missed as the doors open, but just looking around they were ready for a huge crowd. I hadn’t been inside the AC convention center. It’s definitely big, four floors and a big open convention floor. My initial reaction was signs, signs, signs! Once inside, there weren’t enough signs or people to point us in the right direction and we just lucked upon the right spot. Badge pick-ups were a snap and finally onto the floor.

What a pleasant surprise! The floor was big, with a nice layout and actual space to walk. Since adding our smallest geek to our family, these events have been difficult to navigate. It’s just not feasible to negotiate a full day of walking, browsing, and queuing with a two-year-old sans stroller. But sometimes the cons are so incredibly crowded that strollers are a no-go. This definitely wasn’t the case here. There was a central path that ran through the entire floor, only interrupted by the Marvel booth. Everything else branched off of there. Most shocking was upon entering, there were actual comic booths! Comics have become such a rarity at comic conventions, so I did a double take. The shopping and vendors were varied enough to make you want to stop into each booth and peruse.

Passed the shops were the autographs. I was impressed with the array of people they snagged for their first year.  Currently, I’m obsessed with the CW’s Flash and was super excited Tom Cavanagh (Reverse Flash) and Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow) were scheduled to attend with a Flash Panel at 4 o’clock on Saturday. Also scheduled were the voice actors from Animaniacs and the Terror that Flaps in the Night, Darkwing Duck! Frankly, these guests were made for me! On the trip down, while sitting in traffic, my husband broke the news that Cavanagh canceled and, because of that, the Flash panel was dropped off the schedule. My spirit was dropped right along with it! Damn! But this is the case with cons. People drop out and get added, left and right. We still made our rounds, but I griped about my loss of Dr Wells all day. Ms Panabaker was very sweet and enjoyed interact with our little one. When asked, she confirmed that if we wanted more info on Killer Frost, we needed to watch the finale. Like that wasn’t going to happen!

On the opposite side of the con was this wonderful Stan Lee Museum and a little setup for Wonder Woman through the years. Stan the Man’s area was awesome. Great statues and tons of comic pages showing off the variety of characters he’d created over the years. One issue of contention was every page was boldly signing in big, black Sharpie by Stan Lee and finding the actual artist names were not easy. I get that Stan created these characters, but, as an artist myself, pretty sure the people who drew the pages deserved more credit. At least make small labels for each one. On the other hand, the Wonder Woman area was small, but covered the years. A lot of throwbacksand a nice variety of merchandise. Very tiny area though considering how long the Amazon Princess has been around.

Overall, ACBC had a good inaugural year.  Of course, there is room to build on it, but they have the space and the organization to do that. I see this show being a huge draw in upcoming years. The variety of entertainment was impressive, not limited to panels, autographs, shopping, stage acts, cosplay centers, or meet and greets. AC has had a hard time as of late with casinos closing left and right, Hurricane Sandy stomping on the shore town, and the threat of bankruptcy looming over the town. This staple of the Jersey shore could definitely use the good press and the draw of people. Hopefully the ACBCon can do its part to help.

The TL;DR: Totally worth it. Make a weekend out of it next year and buy the three-day pass. You can definitely do more at this con in a day then you can do at NYCC all weekend because of the crowds. Great first year and only see it improving from here.

Grade: 
3.0 / 5.0