5 things to check out at Winterfest of Garden State Comic Fest 2022

We got to see the Garden State Comic Fest Winter Slate at the Rockaway Mall

The congress circuit starts again in 2022. This time, at the Garden State Comic Book Party at Rockaway Mall. With the omicron cases finally disappearing in The Garden State, it’s a great time to get out there and support your local comic artists and conventions. That’s exactly what we’ve done at The Workprint.

Now, having attended this convention in the past for a few years, I have to admit that this relocation was refreshing. Smaller, although I really liked the quaint atmosphere. You can meet the artists, talk with the talent, try out the foam LARP weapons and collect all the loot. All without feeling overwhelmed by the right amount of convention.

This GSCF was more intimate, with smoother foot traffic and accessibility for people in wheelchairs, with crutches and canes. While it wasn’t too full compared to previous years, it certainly wasn’t empty. It’s also conveniently located across from the mall’s food court, with plenty of tables and places to eat.

We had the chance to cover GSCC this weekend and we’ll have some insight into the experience. Although for those attending tomorrow, the last day of GSCC (12-5pm EST), here are five things I would highly recommend anyone check out.

The Here Comes Calico!

Image Credit: Sigma Comics

Probably the first thing most people will see when they enter the lower floor is this stand, right in the middle, dedicated to this ‘This is the Calico comic. Not only was it a surprise, but the art is fantastic and interesting enough to attract visitors. The comics, surprisingly, were on sale for around $2 per issue.

So what’s the problem ? Well, buying a copy also lets you be a superhero. Because every issue sold is partially donated to help fight animal abuse. Calico is basically what happens if the Punisher dresses up as Black Panther and then beats the tar on animal abusers.

Worth buying. Worth the detour.

The creators’ stand

fantasy monsters logo art for creators

A graphic novel and apparel company inspired by the awesome power of imagination. what’s cool The Creators as a comic is its premise. Where in the near future, young people around the world will have the opportunity to bring their imaginations to life through their art.

Driven by the power of adolescent emotions, this power can be as impressive as it is terrifying, depending on who uses it.

What’s great about talking with Michael is that he told us that a lot of his comics are inspired by teaching art full-time to college kids in Baltimore. The concept: what if the imagination ran wild and creativity had to be protected; is strongly inspired by the time he spent working with students and wanting to help them develop their creativity in a positive way.

MagCon Gaming Booth

This odd little gem is in the corner of the lower convention area, in an area where you least expect it. Magcon Gaming builds custom rare earth magnetic thumb extensions and thumb stick covers. With light, medium and strong connectivity. It’s oddly comfortable while still allowing for great tension. A very suitable product for players who like high intensity fighting games, and above all, first person shooters.

Now I have reviewed a lot of games professionally. Personally, I hate FPS games for a multitude of reasons. Mostly, because of how bad my hand cramps were when I was playing games at 30. This product, I actually think, could help solve that problem and give me back that flexible, non-arthritic edge that kids have the edge on. So I would definitely check.

Painting by Jason Baroody

What really sells conventions is talent. That’s why, I thought it was dope, to have by Jason Baroody stand right at the entrance to the second floor. What I loved about meeting Jason was how friendly he seemed to everyone who passed by. Not just on the job but also just in conversation. So much so that when I first passed by, I kind of read intently while he was talking with kids.

When I finally had a second to approach when they weren’t busy, we barely talked about comics. We mostly talked about things like… Star Wars. And had a fun chat about establishing the exact timeline for Boba Fett’s age. To be honest, given the Sarlac Pitt, the lack of a calendar, and the idea that time is irrelevant in a space opera that’s less about science and more about sorcery, none of it really had any d ‘importance.

To top it off, Jason was also the designer of Combat Jacks. A product of both him and our friend, Marc McKennahad worked.

Amy Chu’s painting

I am a strong believer in serendipity. And how sometimes it’s when you’re not really paying attention, that the most important things are kind of right in front of you. In this case, that something is Amy Chu. As I had recognized its logo almost immediately on the Internet.

When I talked to Amy, we talked about how to break into comics because I had a hard time figuring that out on my own. With my first two graphic novels fully underway this year. I was given great advice on the difficult reality of breaking and entering, and I had actually bought her first book to sort of see what she did for her first big project.

What I didn’t realize about Amy, besides giving fantastic advice and being pretty warm with the fans, was that she had worked on pretty much everything for the big publishers . Had the kind of career any writer would dream of. Amy has written for Poison Ivy and Red Sonja. Rick and Morty. Dead Pool. The ant Man. She frequently talks through all the downsides of comics as a moderator. Oh, and she also wrote for Dota: Dragon’s Blood. A show i have covered on other websites and even tweeted about it.

You should visit Amy’s Booth and say hello and buy all the comics and if you’re lucky like me, learn from her. It’s kind of the quirk of the more local downsides… you really get to know the artists and writers.

Garden State Comic Fest takes place at Rockaway Mall from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 7, 2022.

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