New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


NJPAC Announces 7th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition Finalists Click here for the story!

Celebrate Geekdom at Camden Comic Con

By Gary Wien, JerseyArts.com

originally published: 04/11/2018

Celebrate Geekdom at Camden Comic Con“If you feel you are geeky about anything in pop culture, you will find something here for you,” said Miranda J. Powell, talking about Camden Comic Con.

The fifth annual Camden Comic Con will take place at Rutgers University – Camden Campus on Saturday, April 14 from 10 AM to 6 PM.  The annual convention is about much more than just comics.  As Powell states, it’s all about pop-culture and geekdom, and is a great event for the entire family.

Unlike most comic cons, the Camden Comic Con is completely free (both free admission and free parking).  Its goal is to provide a fun all-ages event that links and introduces the community of Camden and South Jersey to comic creators, writers, artists, dealers and fellow enthusiasts.

Powell, the Arts Education & Community Arts Program Assistant at Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, and William Haas, owner of Secret Origins Comics & More in Barrington, N.J., are the team behind the Camden Comic Con. This year’s event includes food trucks, cosplay contests, vendors, live entertainment and programs on topics ranging from how to write graphic novels to Dungeons & Dragons; panels on the power of fantasy and reactions to the blockbuster film “Black Panther;” and offers attendees the opportunity to meet and talk with artists involved with the creation of their favorite comics.

“We’re over the moon about bringing in Gail Simone, she’s definitely our headlining guest,” said Powell.  “Gail is probably one of the most influential female creators and writers in comics today.  She’s been dedicating herself to helping other females break into the industry and kind of guide them on their journey as well.”

Celebrate Geekdom at Camden Comic Con

Simone’s appearance at Camden Comic Con will be one of only two east coast appearances for her this year.  Based on the west coast, Simone created “Leaving Megalopis” and has written for titles like “Wonder Woman,” “Deadpool,” “Birds of Prey,” “Secret Six” and more for both Marvel and DC Comics.  She is currently working on “Domino” for Marvel Comics, “Clean Room” for Vertigo Comics, “Crosswind” for Image Comics and the new “Plastic Man” series for DC Comics.  Fans can enjoy a special Q&A session with her at 4 PM.

In addition to Simone, guests scheduled at Camden Comic Con include Adam McGovern, Anthony Spay, Bryan J.L. Glass, Christine Larsen, Daniel Horne, Dorian Vallejo, Erica Schultz, Jamar Nicholas, Jeff Shultz, Mark McKenna, Kristen Gudsnuk, Liana Kangas, Mike Capprotti, Matt Triano, Ryan Browne, Mike Manley, Neil D. Vokes and Mark Poulton, who graduated from Rutgers-Camden in 1995.  Poulton is best known for his children’s book series, “A Cat Named Haiku.”  He has worked for DC Comics, Image Comics and Arcana Studio.  His latest book is an all-ages graphic novel called “Pizza Tree,” which was co-written with his 7-year-old son, Chase.

“Mark was one of the first guys to sign up with us in the beginning and have faith in us,” added Powell.  “Of course, it’s his alma mater and he was happy to do it.  We’ve just grown from there.  Word spread among comic creators that it isn’t a fly-by-night thing.”

Celebrate Geekdom at Camden Comic Con

Since most admission to most comic cons run from $25 to $60 per day, people sometimes question Camden Comic Con until they see it for themselves. The truth is that the event is also an excellent way to attract people to the city of Camden and the Rutgers campus, while showcasing the work at the Center for the Arts.

The event has grown from dozens of vendors in the first Camden Comic Con to more than 150 for this year’s event.  Attendees now come from Camden and beyond, including South Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware.   Not bad for something that was originally conceived as a one-time event to help support an exhibit of independent comic artists on display in the Stedman Gallery on campus.  That first Comic Con went over so well, people began asking when it would happen again.

As Camden Comic Con has grown, the amount of time spent preparing the event has increased as well.  Plans for the next year now start immediately after the current event ends and run throughout the year.  Powell says planning gets serious in November and December and they truly buckle down in January and February after returning from holiday break.

Every year features a kids zone and this year’s event contains several workshops that are great for the entire family.

“One of our creators is doing a comic mad-lib thing,” said Powell.  “You can make up a comic with your family or group and it’s silly and fun.  Other workshops show how to cartoon, how to make your favorite cartoon characters and how to make an original character.  There are some teen graphic novel writing workshops and a lot of hands-on demonstrations where people can watch or draw along with them.”

They’ve also brought back the Elegance String Quartet, a Philadelphia-based band that was such a huge hit in 2017 that they had to turn people away.  The band performs original arrangements from movies like “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars,” along with games, and anything related to pop culture.

Celebrate Geekdom at Camden Comic Con

Of course, there will be people dressed in costume and a cosplay costume contest.  Last year, about 50 people entered the contest in categories like Best In Show, Best Group, Best Male, Best Female and Best Interpretation of an Existing Character.  The competition is open to all aged 14 and up, while those 13 and under can get a prize of their own for participating in the children’s costume parade.  Prizes are compiled from the Camden Comic Con vendors.  Attendees can even learn how to make their own cosplay props without breaking their budget during one of the event’s workshops.

Outside of the pop culture is the food.  Attendees won’t have to go far for lunch or dinner with a plethora of food trucks at the show.  Options include Loco Gringo’s Street Taco Express, Blendlife, The Original Weenie Man, Dan’s Waffles and The Pop Shop a GoGo!

Celebrate Geekdom at Camden Comic Con

“This is a really welcoming environment,” adds Powell.  “I’m someone who did not know much about comics when we started and I still wouldn’t call myself an expert or anything, but I always have a good time when I’m here.  If you haven’t been to Camden or haven’t been here in a long time, this is an opportunity to come.”

Camden has been steadily improving over the years, but still fights a negative image.  Camden Comic Con is hoping to help change that perception of the city. This is one of the signature goals in producing the event. In the beginning, people told Powell and Haas to call the event Rutgers Comic Con, but they have been adamant about keeping Camden as the focus.

“It’s more than just Rutgers,” explains Powell.  “There are many people in North Camden that walk to the event and we want them to have ownership over it as well.  It’s really a joint effort between the Rutgers community and the Camden city community.  We had an artist once who said, ‘In the beginning, I was uncomfortable with going to Camden.  Then after I heard such good things about it, I felt a little more comfortable.  And now I would imagine coming here every year.’”

That’s the type of response Rutgers and the Camden Comic Con hope to hear.  See for yourself on April 14th.  Check out the mix of artists, peruse the comics for sale, watch the folks dressed up as their favorite characters and celebrate the love of all things nerdy!




About the author: Gary Wien is a music journalist from Belmar, NJ. A three-time winner of Asbury Music’s Music Journalist of The Year, his writing and photographs have been seen in publications like Upstage Magazine, Backstreets Magazine, Gannett Newspapers, and Princeton Magazine. He is the also the author of two books: Beyond The Palace (about the history of rock music in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? (his picks for the Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists) and is the publisher of New Jersey Stage magazine.

Content provided by Discover Jersey Arts, a project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.






Walsh Gallery Presents Exhibits of Tom McGlynn and David Freund
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Walsh Gallery presents two new exhibits: “Tom McGlynn: Standards,” a new series of paintings comprised of permutations of shape, color and the interplay of these elements, and “Gas Stop: Culture,” black and white photographs by renowned photographer, David Freund.  The exhibits will be on display from Monday, November 5th through Friday, December 14th.
Masters of Illusion: The Legacy of John F. Peto At Morven Museum & Garden
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- Morven Museum & Garden hosts Masters of Illusion: The Legacy of John F. Peto from November 15th through May 12, 2019. Morven has partnered with the John F. Peto Studio Museum,  to present a new look at trompe l’oeilart in New Jersey.  Trompe l’oeil, pronounced “tromp loi,” is a French phrase meaning “to deceive the eye,” which is used to describe paintings that create the illusion of a three dimensional scene.  There will be an Opening Reception on November 14 at 6:00pm.
ArtsBergen Hosts Connect The Dots Networking Event On November 5th
(HACKENSACK, NJ) -- If you enjoy creating art, designs, inventions, woodwork, crafts, or other products, come to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's (NNJCF) ArtsBergen next Connect the Dots event, Makerspace Expo, on Monday, November 5.  The hands-on networking event takes place at Bergen Makerspace in the Bergen County Technical Schools Adult & Continuing Education Building, located at 190 Hackensack Avenue in Hackensack, New Jersey from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  The event is free and open to the public.  Good-will donations are welcome.
Nikolina Kovalenko’s Artwork on Display in Watchung
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Artist Nikolina Kovalenko is interested in humanity’s vanishing connection with nature and the consequences our everyday actions have on the environment. That fascination provides the inspiration for her new exhibition, Reclamation, which will be on display at the Watchung Reservation’s Trailside Nature and Science Center, in Mountainside, NJ. Presented in partnership with the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, this show will be on view from October 12, 2018–February 12, 2019.
Artist As Entrepreneur: Business Skills For Artists
(HAMMONTON, NJ) -- Creative Capital and South Jersey Cultural Alliance in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts presents The Artist as Entrepreneur Series from October 2018 through April 2019. The series includes 8 sessions to provide the business skills, tools and networking opportunities to artist so they may build financially healthy and sustainable careers.  It is sponsored by the Thrive South Initiative of New Jersey Community Capital.


Heather Ujiie Explores "Terra Incognita" At Rowan University Art Gallery
“My life’s mission is to challenge myself to go to new places,” said Heather Ujiie, a Bucks County, PA, multimedia artist whose latest work, “Terra Incognita,” is on display at the Rowan University Art Gallery now through November 17, 2018.
Kevin Sampson: Solo Exhibitions In New Jersey and Beyond
“I’m a Civil Rights baby. I grew up laying across picket lines and blocking traffic.” Artist Kevin Sampson’s father, Stephen, was a well-known Civil Rights leader in New Jersey, and he instilled a commitment to community that his son still honors.
Basking Ridge Resident Returns to Matheny to Help Assist in Strategic Planning for 'This Amazing Place'
When Ellen Lambert was director of development at the Matheny School and Hospital in Peapack, NJ, from 1993 to 1995, one of her major achievements was the formation of a fundraising plan for what would eventually become the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center. The concept of Matheny's Arts Access Program  -- which enables people with disabilities to create art, assisted by professional artist-facilitators  -- was emerging in '93, and the arts center was eventually built in 2000.
City Without Walls and Aljira To Shine At Newark Arts Festival
Two long-running art spaces, City Without Walls (“cWOW”) and Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art (“Aljira”), will house pop-up exhibits during the Newark Arts Festival, October 4-7, 2018.  Though both spaces are now in a period of transition, through the support of Newark Arts, they will activate with fresh exhibits during Newark’s citywide annual festival of the arts. 
The Healing Power of Art
Entering the office to see a neurologist can be a terrifying experience.  I know because I’ve had to do it for years.  Thankfully, when I see my doctor I am surrounded by his photographs on the walls. It’s more than a hobby for Dr. Noah Gilson, it’s a lifelong passion.






Event calendar
Sunday, Oct 21, 2018


MUSIC

DiTrani Bros: Folk, Swing, Jazz, Ragtime!! @ Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen - 7:00pm

Jazz Guitarist Abe Ovadia @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Gypsy Jazz Brunch with Pyrenesia and Max Hansen Buffet @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

Dryden Ensemble: Bach Cantata Fest @ Miller Chapel (Princeton), Princeton - 3:00pm

Suzzanne Douglas @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 7:30pm


THEATRE

The Ghost Princess @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm

CDC Theatre presents A Few Good Men @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 2:00pm

Wait Until Dark @ Somerset Valley Playhouse, Hillsborough - 8:00pm

World Premier of, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, A Horror of a Play @ Forum Theatre (Metuchen), Metuchen - 3:00pm

The Color Purple @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

Almost, Maine @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Black Tom Island @ The 1882 Carriage House, Liberty Hall Museum, Union - 3:00pm

*Uncle Vanya, Scenes from a Jersey Life in Four Acts @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 7:00pm

Black Coffee by Agatha Christie @ Westfield Community Players, Westfield - 2:00pm







DANCE

DRACULA - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 4:00pm


FILM

A conversation with John Cusack Following a screening of Say Anything @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:00pm


KIDS

Summit Farmers Market Pumpkin Painting @ Summit Farmers Market, Summit - 10:00am


POETRY

The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 9:00am


MISC

HAUNTED ILLUSIONS LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 3:00pm

THE MAGIC OF BILL BLAGG LIVE! @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 2:00pm

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.