Anyone who is familiar with any sort of “Comic Con” is probably aware of San Diego Comic Con, the largest entertainment and pop culture event in the world, where new movie trailers are shown and A-list celebrities arrive to discuss their new work with their fans. I’ve been to Boston Comic Con a couple of times, and although it’s smaller than that, it’s still a large event featuring announcements in entertainment with some pretty big names. I recently attended Buffalo Comicon, and it was a very different experience.
For one, they misspell “Comic Con” as “Comicon.” Second, it’s a lot smaller than other conventions I’ve been to. There were a lot less people in attendance while I was there. There were not many panels. There were a handful of special guests, and none of them were names you’d immediately recognize. One could visit every booth on the show floor within less than a day. However, don’t let the small stature of this con fool you. Buffalo Comicon packs a punch.
Buffalo Comicon contains a lot of features that make it unique from other conventions. For one, the price of admission is a lot cheaper than most cons. Guests can visit the Anime Room to relax and watch some of their favorite anime. A treat for gamers in attendance is the VR Gaming Room, where guests can experience the world of virtual reality first hand with games like “Beat Saber”.
One major aspect of Buffalo Comicon that make it stand above the rest is the encouragement for people of all ages to be excited about reading. There was a dedicated library room where the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library gave away free comic books and novels, handed out forms for people to sign up for a library card, and had activities like story time readings for children and arts and crafts. In the main expo hall, Roselyn Kasmire, a Buffalo school teacher, had her own booth where she sold children’s books that she wrote about anti-bullying, being healthy, and facing fears. Another booth had stacks of free comic books to choose from. Hopefully this effort is successful and it gets kids reading more and expanding their minds.
Cosplay was in full force here. There were multiple cosplay groups in attendance, including the 501st Legion Star Wars cosplay group, WNY Justice League, and Superhero Alliance of Western New York. Countless amazing cosplays were seen everywhere at the con. The biggest event at the convention was the exciting cosplay contest. Contestants put their hearts into their cosplays for the weekend and it showed. Cosplayers, dressed as their favorite characters like Doctor Strange, Mad Max, and Eleven, crossed the stage and posed to show off their hard work as the crowd cheered and judges took notes. The one downside was that even though there were categories for different age groups and genders, there was no category for group cosplays, which some people work hard to put together. It’s exciting to see people celebrate what they love by bringing them to life. It was definitely a spectacle worth seeing.
By venturing out onto the main expo hall, you’d find comic writers and artists, along with vendors selling collectables, prints, and more, which is always exciting, but typical for most conventions. What you’d find at the Buffalo Comicon expo hall that differs from other conventions is incredible. Domino’s was there with a wheel that guests could spin to see what coupon they could get. What could be better than potentially winning free pizza? Both Buffalo’s Best Batman and Brampton’s Batman handed out free comics to celebrate Batman Day on September 15th. There was even a booth showcasing and selling hand-crafted horror props like disembodied heads.
Buffalo Comicon may not have had a large variety of panels this year, but they did have excellent ones. The American Force Academy put on a lightsaber and martial arts demonstration, showing the audience what a real life lightsaber battle would truly look like. Conventions often have Q&A panels for various special guests, but this one contained Q&As for local comic artists and creators and for the Fantastic World of Autistic Authors. Of course, there were the typical Q&A panels for the celebrity guests, one being for two actors from Power Rangers. Both the pink and yellow rangers enjoyed interacting with fans just as much as the fans were excited to meet them. There was also a panel with Jim Shooter on comic book writing.
Buffalo Comicon may be on the smaller side, but it definitely has room to grow, which I’d love to see. It may have many similarities to other conventions, but it still has a lot that makes it stand out. Free comics, one of a kind panels, encouraging people to be excited about reading, and a huge cosplay contest all make this convention special. I suggest more people attend in future years and help it grow.