From its modest origins as a small, single-day show in Asbury Park in 2012, East Coast Comic Con (normally spelled as Comicon) has expanded to a three-day festival held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ.
While the historical strength of show has been comic book artists and writers, in recent years the fan fest has featured an increasing array of celebrity guests. This year’s show, held past weekend, included autograph opportunities with Val Kilmer and other celebrities, as well as TV and movie automobiles, cosplay events, and an exhibition hall with vendors of comic books and various pop culture paraphernalia.
Some of the longest lines, however, were for comics creators, including Infinity Gauntlet artist George Pérez and writer Jim Starlin. This year’s show allowed fans to get their copies of the book signed by the entire Infinity Gauntlet team of writer Starlin, pencillers Perez and Ron Lim, and inker Joe Rubinstein.
Saturday’s programming included a strong line-up of comics-related panels.
The largest panel of the show celebrated the official launch of Jon B. Cooke’s The Book of Weirdo, a comprehensive history of R. Crumb’s Weirdo magazine. (Full disclosure: Cooke is my editor at TwoMorrow’s Comic Book Creator Magazine.) Cooke moderated the panel session brimming with writers and artists who worked on the magazine: Carol Tyler, Peter Bagge, Drew Friedman, Mark Newgarden, Glenn Head, Kim Deitch, Kaz, and John Holmstrom. Providing additional recollections were audience members David Carrino, Stephen Blickenstaff, Elizabeth Fiend, and Paul Karasik.
Saturday included a raft of other comics-related panels.
“Writing Comics Like a Pro” featured Ann Nocenti, Carl Potts, Jim Scalicrup, Danny Fingeroth, and moderator Rob Smentek.
Ernie Bushmiller’s quirky Nancy comic strip was explored in the “Why Nancy” panel with Paul Karasik, Mark Newgarden, Carol Tyler, Denis Kitchen, and Kaz.
The work of Drew Friedman was examined with the artist in a discussion with moderator Danny Fingeroth.
Black Panther writer Don McGregor discussed his career in “Don McGregor: The Man Who Molded Black Panther,” moderated by Peter Melnick.
The always entertaining Howard Chaykin held court in a candid and rollicking solo session.
Denis Kitchen discussed the life and work of Will Eisner, with brothers Jon B. Cooke and Andrew D. Cooke moderating the session.
While most of the celebrities remained at their autograph signing tables for the bulk of the day, a few were featured in panel sessions.
On Saturday afternoon, P. J. Soles discussed her career in pop culture films including Carrie, Halloween, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, and Stripes in a lively panel session.
As in previous years, a highlight of the show floor are the many tables of comic book creators willing to sign autographs and converse with fans.
The show’s major cosplay events closed the conference on Sunday with a kids’ cosplay contest at 4:30 and an adults’ contest at 5:00 PM. Saturday’s panels included a session on “Cosplay in 2019: Kings, Queens, and Everyone In Between” with Chris Calfa and Barbie Chula.
And, of course, fans in costume were found throughout the exhibition hall.
For a gallery of 200 photos from the event, see the Flickr album East Coast Comic Con 2019: