Let’s All Go To The Con: Lehigh Valley Comic Convention (With George Travlos)
I go to a lot of comic book conventions. There are so many things I like about shows. Probably first and foremost is the opportunity to meet the creators of the comic books I enjoy so much and getting my books signed. I’m a big autograph collector, but even more so, it’s hearing the personal stories about what went into the creation of each book. Those are the moments I really cherish at these conventions.
I also enjoy shopping for comic books. I love discount bins, and digging through hundreds or even thousands of unsorted comic books is something I find fun and relaxing. Finding a rare or sought-after comic book in those bins is a great thrill. It’s also great to see some rarer wall books on display for sale.
What can I say? I really do like comic books.
Even though I am not a cosplayer, seeing the incredible costumes that fans come up with never ceases to impress me. It’s always fun to get your picture taken with cosplayers. I can tell how much work and passion goes into creating these elaborate costumes, and I do my best to appreciate them.
In saying that, I thought it’d be fun to start writing up my experiences at some of these shows. I’ll break down the shows into categories, and just provide my experiences with each. The first show I chose was the Lehigh Valley Comic Convention (LVCC), which is held in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania. I chose LVCC because I have never attended it before and I found very little information online regarding the show’s layout or attendance. I thought if I was interested in a comic fan’s opinion that I may not be the only one.
So here are my thoughts on this year’s LVCC.
Convention Location and Basics
The LVCC is self-described as “the biggest / longest running convention in the Lehigh Valley, PA.” Held on the main campus of the Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, it was a beautiful venue for a convention. The grounds were immaculately landscaped, and the area was quite scenic.
The show itself was held in the Community Services Center, which contained ample room for all of the goings-on of the show, of which there were plenty. Along with a generous smattering of vendor tables and a section for artists and celebrity guests, there was an entire wing devoted to cosplay and an entirely separate room for panels.
The show was only held one day, Saturday October 1, 2022, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. I was there from 10:45 am up until roughly 2:45 pm and did see a few vendors starting to break down their tables at that time. One vendor was completely gone by 2:45 pm, but more on that later.
It’s worth noting that there were no COVID restrictions advertised, and none were enforced upon entry. There was no need to bring proof of vaccination or wear a mask. That being said, at a con expect to see plenty of masks, albeit the cosplay variety.
The show is held semi-regularly at multiple times per year. There is already a 2023 schedule with five dates planned for the show to be held. There were also several door prizes, none of which I won. Overall, the venue itself was ideal for a show, and the atmosphere was great. I was quite pleased.
The admission price is listed on the LVCC website as $14, but there are plenty of opportunities to get a discounted price. First of all, children ages 12 and under get in free. You can get $1 off with any college ID, and the LVCC website mentions $1 off for those in costume, active duty/veterans of the US Military, current firemen, policemen, nurses, teachers, or doctors.
I am none of those, but there was one last opportunity for a discount. The day I visited the show they were offering $2 off admission if you brought in an item for a food-drive benefiting the Parkland Cares Food Pantry. I brought in a few boxes of cereal and mac and cheese and was profusely thanked and was indeed given $2 off my admission for a final cost of $12. I was provided with a VIP wrist band, now able to walk the show floor and exit and re-enter with ease.
As I mentioned above, I arrived at the show at 10:45 am. The show opened at 10:00 am, and the line was still out the door when I arrived. This was partly due to the fact that the admission check-in is literally the first thing you seen when you walk into the building. Adding to the bottleneck was the large number of those in attendance and the various happenings upon entering, including providing identification for discounts, or food donations, or signing up for the LVCC newsletter. I waited roughly 10 minutes to enter, but at least the line was constantly moving. I got lucky that the weather was nice outside, so I didn’t mind. If it was storming and I was carrying a backpack full of books, I may have felt differently. Wet, for starters.
Overall, I was content with the admission process and prices, though I don’t know if I’d be willing to pay $14 to enter for each of the five shows held throughout the year. If the right guests were in attendance however, I could justify the cost.
When I walked into the show, there was a large front hallway filled with all of the celebrities and guests for the day, including multiple artists such as Khoi Pham, Chris Ring, Darren Auck, and Uko Smith, and celebrity “Scream Queen” Genoveva Rossi. There were also several cosplay groups and artist alley-type creators and vendors. Despite all of this, there was ample room to roam the hall, and it made it easy to interact with the guests.
The main floor is unsurprisingly occupied by vendors. The show had all of your standard table setups, including boxes and boxes of comic books, rare wall books on display, toys, vintage video games, and trading cards. Some common collectibles I did not see were posters, drinking glasses or statues, the latter of which I found surprising as I know comic book statues have a huge following.
Some vendors had a hodge-podge of items, a mix of toys, and cards and comic books. Most, however, had a more definitive focus. Although I frequented the comic book vendors, I did notice a constant line at the vintage video game dealer, and another at the toy dealers. I focused my attention on the vendor that had 100 comic book long boxes priced at $.50 each. I ended up buying 12 $.50 books in total from that vendor, and one $4.00 at another, spending a grand total of $10 on the show floor.
As with everything at this time, prices of comic books have gone through the roof. I saw that on display at this show, with plenty of hefty prices on key books. Still, there was one vendor who’d I say had his books priced outrageously. He did have a sign that stated his books were 50% off, but even with that discount, it was still ridiculous. I did not see him conduct a single transaction, and yes, he was the vendor that was gone by 2:45 pm. His prices were so ridiculous that I felt bad even looking at them. He had books labeled at $100 that I saw were being sold on the show floor for $5. Fortunately, many other vendors at the show were pricing their books to move.
Next to the main show floor was another, narrower hallway, which housed “Cosplay Corner” and its incredible assortment of cosplayers. My personal favorite was Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. Of course, the cosplayers would also walk the show floor, but they this space all to themselves, allowing for photos and interaction with other attendees.
Next to Cosplay Corner was the entrance to the several show panels for the day. Sunday’s schedule included:
11:00 AM to 11:50 AM – Charity and Cosplay: Presented by the Amazing Spiderlings Cosplay group
12:00 PM to 12:50 PM – How to “Art” with Darren: Presented by Darren Auck
1:00 PM to 1:50 PM – Film, Stage, & Me: Presented by Scream Queen Genoveva Rossi
2:00 PM to 2:50 PM – Eric Mintel Investigates UFO’s, Ghosts, Cryptids, & More: Presented by Eric Mintel & Dominic Sattele
3:00 PM to 3:50 PM – Spidey & Me: Over 50 Years of Connecting and Collecting: Presented by Bruce Wechtenhiser
To be honest, I didn’t attend any panels. In fact, I’ve never attended a panel in my life. When I go to shows, my complete focus is on meeting the guests and shopping the vendors. That being said, some of these panels did sound interesting, particularly the one presented by Genoveva Rossi. I have to confess though, How to “Art” may be the single worst title for a panel I’ve ever heard. I had a hard time even documenting it for this article.
My personal reason for attending the show was to attempt to get a commission from one of the three artists I was hoping to meet: Khoi Pham, Uko Smith, or Chris Ring. I approached Chris Ring first, the moment I entered. He was friendly and kind and I was able to get my completed sketch from him in 90 minutes, which gave me time to attempt one more commission.
I then met Khoi Pham who was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about comic books and I was able to commission a sketch from him as well. Two sketches at a single show is a huge success for me. I only have one sketch book, so I need the book back before I can proceed with the next entry. Luckily, each artist was understanding and knew I was under a time crunch. I was extremely satisfied with the outcome of my visit to this convention.
One thing no one likes to talk about, but everyone thinks/worries about are facilities at public events. I am talking parking, food/water availability, and bathrooms. Certainly not a flashy topic to document, but these are things I’d be curious to know about if I was planning on attending an event. Well, if you’re worried about these types of things, worry no more if you’re planning to attend LVCC.
First of all, parking was free and plentiful. Plus, the parking was right in front of the venue, so it wasn’t much of a walk, either. You step out of your vehicle and there is the entrance.
There were vending machines for snacks and drinks on the show floor, and also outside the show was a food truck from Big Papa’s Restaurant and Catering. It was barbecue style fare, and although I didn’t purchase any, it smelled incredibly great, and I saw plenty of people enjoying their meals. The most popular dish seemed to be the pulled pork.
Finally, there were indeed bathrooms in the community center, to the far hall of the event. There were no lines to be seen and plenty of room in the facilities. I did see a maintenance worker keeping up with them, taking the trash, replacing the soap and paper towels, etc. so they seemed to be on top of things.
All of the facilities were close together, and very simple to navigate. This allowed for a stress-free attendance and allowed me to focus on what I was there for, and that’s to enjoy the con.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at LVCC. It was my first time attending, and I can say I was really glad I went. I can’t say I plan on attending all five shows in 2023, but I will definitely attend one.
How about you? Have you ever attended LVCC before? Do you plan on maybe checking it out in the future? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always…
Thanks for reading!
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