Buddy: It’s cool that someone came to the show dressed as Wonder Woman.
Me: I wonder how hard it was to find parking for an invisible jet around here.
“I’ll get to it sooner or later”
“There’s always next time”
“I’m feeling too lazy today”
“Eh, it’s not going anywhere”
Pick whichever quote above you’d like. I’ve probably used one or two of them.
Living in a busy part of New Jersey has it’s perks. One of which, is not being far from a comic book store or show of some sort.
For about 20 years, I’ve lived in New Jersey. For the same amount of time, the ‘Monthly Comic Book Expo’ has been running. What does this all mean?
It means I seriously dropped the ball on this one.
Luckily, I didn’t screw the pooch, and checked out this amazing show.
On paper, the Clifton Comic Book Expo seemed too good to be true. It was an easy 20 minute drive, free parking and free admission. If that doesn’t send up a red flag of awesomeness…I don’t know what will.
Yes, those are some great selling points about the ‘Clifton Comic Book Expo’, but there’s something better that no one told me about...
It’s not advertised on any site, or flyer, but this show has a great family atmosphere. The vibe that you get at this show is second to none.
For starters, it feels like everyone is walking around just genuinely having fun.
There’s no attitudes …There’s no narcissism … nor will you find any real problems with people.
Well, outside of the two or three people who don’t know how to properly shower.
One aspect of the show that stands out amongst everything, are the kids running around having a blast.
It’s not a Chuck E. Cheese type of kid crazy. It’s kids checking out comics, reading and being truly into the hobby and skill behind comics. These are kids being introduced into a whole new world. They’re enjoying comics at their purest, and best, level.
They’re enjoying collecting the way it was before the internet spoiled people.
They’re being introduced into a fun fantasy world.
They’re hearing stories about the skills that go into creating comics.
Most importantly, kids now see a reason why they should read.
Overall, it’s just fantastic what you get to see and experience at this show.
Now yes, it’s nice having these warm fuzzy feelings at a show like this.
But you’re probably wondering….HOW GOOD ARE THE MUTHA F#&%ING COMICS?!?!?!
Bottom line…The comics for sale here are the shit!!!
My first time at the show I bought two comics. Probably doesn’t sound like much, but what if I told you I spent over $2,000 on these books?
I was able to get a CGC 8.0 of Daredevil #1 1964 & Near Mint Daredevil 131 (First appearance of Bullseye). Some great books that would be a corner piece of any collection. You can click on this link to see some of the books the seller has in his inventory.
I’m extremely thrilled to have these books. What’s even better is the fact that I was given a great deal, I didn’t feel like I was in a pressured situation (like from a used car dealer) and I had a variety of books to choose from.
Seriously, how many sellers can give you FOUR Daredevil #1’s to pick one you’d like?
In case you were wondering.
That’s the definition of sweet.
I had a much lower budget my second time at the show. The only merchandise I was looking at consisted of dollar bin books and comics being sold from independent writers/artists.
A good chunk of sellers have a variety of current books, sets and graphic novels that you can buy. As a bonus, they either have free goodies for kids, or extremely inexpensive items for them to take home.
Last, but certainly not least, are the independent writers and artists.
You can pick up a comic from a local writer, or you can get some custom artwork done.
I always feel like independent comic dealers really take shows up a notch.
There’s just something about knowing your money will go to local people, instead of mega corporations. At the same time, I feel like the comics are a little higher quality. Not because I’m tired of reading Marvel or D.C., but creators put so much blood, sweat and tears to pump out high quality material.
- The crowd is what makes this show so special. Yes, it’s great to see an Amazing Fantasy 15, but that’s not what makes this show so great. Okay, maybe a little, but it really comes down to the family atmosphere. People I just met, were suddenly calling me by my first name, and we talked as if we’d known each other for years. I know for a fact, that the next time anyone visits this show, they’ll get the same warm welcoming.
-The crowd and staff goes hand in hand for these reviews. The personality and salesmanship is second to none. People were beyond helpful, and what’s important to point out, is that I never felt pressured to buy something. Doesn’t matter if someone was trying to sell me an independent book, recent comic or something that’s 50 years old. Everybody was a pleasure to work with, and they were more than willing to give me a deal. I need to point out John Paul (A.K.A. JP). Words can’t express what this man is doing for local vendors, and for the industry. On a monthly basis, he creates a great atmosphere for people to simply enjoy comics. Vendors likely make more money than he does, and he’s more than okay with it. Meanwhile, kids are getting into reading and collecting the way it should be. Truly an unsung hero.
SIZE OF SHOW: 5
- Don’t be mistaken with this rating. A ‘1’ rating would be a bunch of comics being sold at a garage sale. A ‘10’ would be more like a San Diego or New York comic con. So in all reality, this ‘5’ is truly perfect. The Clifton Recreational Center is an ideal place to hold a comic or toy show. It’s easy to move around, and the giant skylight makes the place feel great to walk around. You never feel like you’re in a florescent hell hole.
VENDOR QUALITY: 9
- I was able to get good deals on a 1964 CGC Daredevil #1, a bunch of independent comics & even the album ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by Pink Floyd. This place has variety written all over it. Hell, I found boxes upon boxes of recent comics for a buck! How could anyone bitch or complain about that?!?!
GETTING IN/OUT: 10
- From Newark, I was able to get to the show in about 15/20 minutes. Would’ve been even easier if people knew how to drive around here (angry rant for another day). The show is easily accessible from several major highways, and has a bus stop right upfront. So you have a lot of easy options. The fact you have free parking makes it that much sweeter, and probably more deserving of an ‘11’.
- This show is held at the town’s recreational center. I was surprised how cool the exterior of the building look. It definitely has that old rustic feel with the brick exterior. I also wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a bomb shelter underneath. There wasn’t much to the interior, but the gigantic skylight was nice to have.
WORTH TIME: WELL THAT’S A STUPID F’n QUESTION TO EVEN CONSIDER!!!
- It may seem a bit harsh, but I pity the soul of any comic collector who doesn’t give this show a try. That may sound harsh, but it’s the damn truth. This one show should be a role model to any other comic show. It’s everything that’s right in the comic book industry. More importantly, kids really get to experience comic books at their purest form. So clear your calendar, make sure you pack people into the car and go see a comic show for the ages!
***CHECK OUT MY VIDEO REVIEW ON YOUTUBE FOR THE CLIFTON SHOW***