On September 9-11th I had the pleasure of attending Cincy Comic Con located at the Northern KY Convention Center (don’t worry, it’s basically Cincinnati). This was my third con of the year and 6th con overall in the past three years. Having attended and enjoyed this con last year my expectations were very, very high. The guest list alone was enough to get any comic fan excited. Well, my hopes were fulfilled and then some. For ease of review the con will be rated on 3 separate categories and then given an overall rating at the end. Let’s jump right in.
The Northern KY Convention Center is a beautiful facility nestled next to the river and the football stadium. The outside is impressive with beautiful views of both the city and the river. Located just 10 minutes away from downtown Cincy, it’s also not as congested as downtown would have been so it is a superb location for the con. The buildings absolutely sparkle in the sunlight
The inside of the convention center was just as nice, with plenty of floor space for all of the artists and vendors. Cincy Comic Con did a great job of straddling the line between having it in to small of a room and it feeling claustrophobic, and being in to big of a room and it feeling empty. The con never once felt either claustrophobic or empty, but rather a perfect blend of busy but not hectic. The convention center also offered very affordable parking as all day parking only cost $5. This was a very nice change of pace from other cons I have been to this year that charge an arm and a leg for parking, leaving you cash strapped for the actual artists you came to see. They also had a parking garage option if you wanted a covered option for your vehicle.
This years guest list read like a who’s who of the comic book world. It included Jason Latour, Rico Renzi, Robbi Rodriguez, Skottie Young, Kate Leth, Brian Azzarello, Brian Level and too many more to count. I could go on and on but for the sake of brevity I’ll stop (If you’d like the full guest list of this years con then click here). All of the creators that I interacted with were an absolute joy. Jason Latour took time while he was signing my copies of Southern Bastards and Spider-Gwen to have a discussion on religious fanaticism in the south. Rico Renzi remembered me from the interview that we did together back in March (if you would like to check out that interview then click here).
He and I spoke for awhile about the process of coloring comic books and he gave me some great advice. Brian Level was very kind and interactive as well, despite me not having any money left to spend. I commissioned a Starman (JSA era, not the steampunk version) from the spectacular Matt Horak and he certainly delivered a great sketch for an affordable rate.
The indie creators that were there were all very interactive as well. I spent quite a bit of time with Bob Frantz who writes Monty the Dinosaur (available from Action Lab comics, check it out here), who it turns out is as hilarious in person as his comic book is. Another great indie creator is Andy Eschenbach. He writes the anthology series Strange Crimes (available from Challenger comics, click here) and the new series Red Shoes! His comics are excellent and you really should check them out. In fact everything that comes from Challenger Comics is top notch. Overall the talent level of both the guests of honor and the indie comic guys was first rate. The commitment to comics and comics first is very evident in who they invite to the con and how the show is handled. That’s one of the things that sets Cincy Comic Con apart from other cons.
For a weekend pass Cincy Comic Con checked in at $50. This is a very competitive rate to other comic cons of it’s size, and for the creators that it draws (pun intended) rather cheap. The only other con in the Midwest that can really attract those big of names is perhaps C2E2 which goes for $65-$75. Granted it is a much larger con in a bigger city, but you really lose the chance to interact with the creators like you have at Cincy Comic Con. What’s more they had a deal with Cincy Savers where you could get a ticket for half price. I took advantage of this deal so I only paid $25 for a Saturday Sunday pass. This is astronomically low price for the value I got. Add in the cheap parking and you have a very very low cost for such a high quality con. None of the creators I got autographs from charged a fee so there was no added cost there. The price of a sketch ranged from $30 to $200 depending on who you commissioned it from. The food vendor on site were pretty expensive though. I paid $13 for a pop and a burger. This is to be expected from a convention center. The second day I went off campus for lunch and was able to save money that way. All told I spent maybe $150 and that includes gas and the sketch that I commissioned. This comes in much lower than the average all in price of many cons in the general area.
Cincy Comic Con was an incredible experience. With first rate talent, that you could actually interact with more than just for the 10 seconds while they sign the comics you brought. It was apparent that everyone involved liked being there and loved comics. The location was beautiful with just the right size convention floor to where it felt large but not empty. There was plenty of parking options for a good rate. The price was very affordable, especially if you took advantage of the Cincy savers deal. This was the third comic con of the year for me and by far my favorite. If you live in the Midwest and love comics and the comic book community then going to Cincy Comic Con next year is an absolute must. Below I have included a picture of how Cincy Comic con made me feel.
Overall Rating: 5/5