Cincy ComiCon is still a very new convention, only celebrating its second year after having been first created in 2013. It has the unique distinguishment of coming to the city of Cincinnati just two weeks before the much older convention, Cincinnati Comic Expo. In a contrast to the older convention, Cincy ComiCon strives to be just what the name implies, a convention that puts the comics first and foremost. You will not find guests from the television or movie industry here, and that it by design. It is strictly for comic fans and creators to come and enjoy themselves. In this, and many aspects, it easily hits its intended mark and more.
Before you even arrive at the convention, one of the most important determinants for attending is ticket price. The tickets could be purchased in advance for $20 (and a service fee of $1.49.) If you waited until you arrived at the convention, the price at the door for any day is $25. While this is still fairly cheap for a convention, it is still higher than some. It is also hard not to ignore that the Expo following it in two weeks and larger and still charges the same price.
Easily the highest point of the convention, as small of a detail as it can seem in the larger scheme, was the parking. Driving up to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, traffic was very light. It was possibly the lightest we had seen going to almost convention, especially of this size. There was plenty of parking, and the area actually has a large free parking lot just down the street from the convention. Finding free parking at any convention is very rare and made up a bit for the ticket price.
Once inside the convention center, they could not have found a better spot for the con. Once inside there is not a large amount of space for the ticket lines, but plenty for their attendance. We did not have to wait in line at all and were quickly inside. The convention floor itself was quite spacious. The aisle ways were large and never felt over congested, and during the peak hours of Saturday. One odd layout issue that presented itself with the aisle ways was on the vendor side of the room. While one aisle would be very large, it seemed at you moved towards the right side wall the aisles began to get more narrow. The floor placements were typically good for the comic guests, but there were a few instances where placing a specific artist or writer in a different spot would have been preferable as their lines would get a little to long for the area.
As for the guests, they had several big names from the comic industry in attendance. One of the biggest names as a veteran in the industry they had in attendance was Kelley Jones. Most notably, comic fans will remember him from his work a Batman, such as creating the cover to the Knightfall issue where Bane breaks Batman’s back. Seeing him at a convention is a rare sight and was very welcome. There were several big current creators such as artists Chris Samnee, Ryan Stegman, and Chip Zdarsky with big name writers such as Matt Fraction, Dennis Hopeless, and Gerry Duggan. Of course fan favorite artist and local Tony Moore was on attendance for signings at preset times when he was not running the convention. If you were looking for a good independent book, there were plenty of local and out of city creators showing off their fantastic works as well.
What we were ultimately surprised with was the amount of vendors, or to say how few there were. We do not mean to say that the vendor side of the room was barren, but some of the smaller conventions we have been to have had a bigger comic vendor presence. There were still good deals to be had on comics and graphic novels, there were just not a large amount of options. For variety in types of vendors though, there were plenty. You could find vinyl toys, action figures, some sculptures, and even signed music memorabilia.
For its second year, Cincy ComiCon came out strong. Are there some things that it can work on in future years? Of course, no convention, no matter how much it gets right is absolutely perfect. Yet it is one of the biggest conventions you can find that successfully manages to hang on to what a comic convention used to be about, the comics. If you want to meet the cast of the Walking Dead, this convention might not be for you. If you are more excited about meeting the co-creator of the Walking Dead comic and other amazing creators while not being overwhelmed by large swaths of media fans, make sure to attend Cincy ComiCon 2015.
Ticket Price: ★★★☆☆