Asbury Park Comic Con: Like MTV When They Still Played Music Videos.
As if you needed another reason to love Asbury Park.
Cliff Galbraith, creator of Rat Bastard, father of the Partysaurus, and self-made deranged millionaire, has summoned the nerdilicious subculture of the comicon and forced it to make out furiously with the edgy, artsy, and sometimes sticky, Asbury Lanes. It’s like when you were a kid and you made your mohawk-barbie marry your Wolverine action figure.
Anyway, the point of the pairing was this: Comic book conventions, if you can believe it, have become less focused on the comic books themselves, and more about the rabid fanboys/girls that dress up in thousand-dollar costumes to chase the sweet, sweet dragon of internet fame. That’s not what the Asbury Park Comic Con is about. Or this, or this.
This might be ok.
Between moving tectonic plates with his mind and his new project to rid the world of poverty using only pixie sticks and a can-do attitude, Cliff’s a pretty busy guy, but I took it upon myself to interview him date-rape style: Don’t ask permission, just do it before he can scream, and I was able to ask a few questions about the experience before he pulled out his can of keychain mace. Below is a word-for-word transcript of our little “interview”:
TA: Did you put this together by yourself or did you collaborate with other parties to make it happen? Shh…it’s supposed to feel like that.
CG: Lots of people helped — I’m so lucky to have so many friends in the neighborhood and in the comics community. I had a lot of old friends in comics who took a chance on a con that nobody knew if anyone was going to show up. And of course, the mighty Rob Bruce, who became my partner somehow around three months of me launching the con — Rob was the key to getting it done. I couldn’t have done it without him, well I could’ve and then I would’ve passed away.
TA: What the hell were you thinking? Don’t make it weird.
CG: Crazy shit – like how much a record fair at the Asbury Lanes looked like a comic con. I saw people rifling through boxes and I thought it looked very similar to collectors looking through long boxes at comic cons. So I asked how many tables there were, and could we throw a small comic con. Jenn Hampton of Asbury Lanes was really supportive — the venue was so important to the success.
TA: Are you averse to being referred to as a “self-made deranged millionaire”? And remember, this is our secret, so don’t. Tell. ANYONE. I’ll be watching.
CG: Well, I must be deranged, because I was very successful when I was in my late twenties, and then I managed to squander much of it. Maybe I didn’t squander it, but I took chances on projects that didn’t pan out — I had a store in Laguna Beach, CA, a sunglass company in Los Angeles, a screen printing business in NJ, a publishing company, probably some other ventures — but I’m no millionaire these days. I am still very entrepreneurial, and I’m back in publishing of my own comics and just made a deal for an enhanced comic app with company in Italy. But this convention promoter thing is new to me — I never saw myself doing this, but it’s actually fun.
The great thing is that I get to create a comic convention that I would want to go to, one where comics are the most import aspect of the con. Many of the bigger cons are more about TV and movie celebrities — to me that’s no longer a comic con and it disrespects the people who created the whole history of comics. So artists and writers are treated well at my cons.
I’m really lucky to get to do all this kooky stuff — I feel as if I never go to work. There’s a lot of effort that goes into writing and drawing a comic or putting on a convention — but I enjoy the whole process.
TA: I bet you do…whore.
The AP Con is about getting back to basics. It’s about appreciating the art and the artists that pour their entire lives into their craft. Little artists, big artists, and artists in the middle. Much like herpes and basic arithmetic at the cash register, the comic con is the great social leveler, the lunch table where everyone can sit and get along. On top of that, the tickets were free, the art was incredible, the food was delicious, and the beer was cheap. And it’s happening all over again on September 29th, 2012.
For a list of the main artists and vendors at the Asbury Park Comic Con, go here, and if you’re interested in a couple of the comics and artists I became obsessed with after attending, go here, and here.
See you in September!