I was a five year attendee when I reported on my first Wizard World. This helped me know what to expect and what to look for. At my first NYCC I was in awe and if my life was a musical I would morph into Jack Skeleton and sing “What’s This?” Never being at a WonderCon I was happy enough to read the articles of my fellow contributors. Between extra hours at work, sleeping, preparing for my first vacation in over ten years, and treating myself to the Philadelphia Comic-Con, there wasn’t much else I could do.
The major companies running these multi-million dollar conventions deserve our praise and our coverage but what about the little guy? What about the conventions that are held at Hotels and Inns, packing the rooms with dealers and collectors. The Philadelphia Comic-con is one of those events that only charges three dollars for admission, a bargain by today’s standards. I hated paying these fees when I was younger, but over time I realized that this is part of what this hobby is about and without it these conventions would not exist.
I have begun spending more money on the internet than I have at conventions but I still find good deals, specials, and rare items that make me part with my cash, not to mention I don’t have to wait for it. The first comic convention I was ever at was just like the ones I currently attend. This was on City Line Avenue run by a company called Great Eastern Conventions. I don’t remember how I got there but considering how far it was I imagine it started out with “Please Dad”.
The Philadelphia Comic-Con has been around for almost twenty years. They started back at the Holiday Inn at 4th and Arch, moving to 10th and Packer before finally settling in at their current location at the Ramada Inn on 76 Industrial Highway, Essington, Pa. Three years ago I started to attend on a religious basis. This past Sunday, March 18, 2012, I arrived fifteen minutes before opening. When I got there I saw Rick, a dealer that I have talked to many times and have enjoyed conversing with him on numerous subjects, especially CGC. We chatted while he smoked and when he was finished he invited me in with him. I love being able to walk into a convention before it opens. But business had already begun as dealers were buying from other dealers.
Rick asked for my help watching his booth when he needed to step away, whether it was to look for what he wanted to buy, a small bathroom break, or another cigarette, not to mention he gave me a really good deal on a couple of books. The major conventions are a spectacle to behold but don’t forget the small ones because more often than not, this is where the love for our hobby grows. I might not be able to wait until Wizard World 2012 (especially with Stan Lee attending) but when April 29th comes around it is a sure bet that you will be able to find me at the Philadelphia Comic-Con.
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