KNOCKED OUTTA THE PARK BY THE CON: THE BALLPARK COMIC CON REVIEW

“What? A Convention at a Base-Ball game? I never heard such a thing!”. Clearly, I was skeptical when Will sold me the idea of Ballpark Comic Con. But I have to say this: the event, that took place on June 24th, 2017 was one of the best con experiences of my career. Let me tell you why…

I’m standing right outside of Newark Penn Station. Phone buzzes. It’s Will: “Can you buy me a coffee? I’ll pick you up in 8 minutes”. It”s a good thing that, for once, I left my luggage and banner in Will’s car. I rush to the Dunkin Donuts inside to buy coffee (an awful and expensive one by my French standards) and meet Will outside. We are already late. We joke that, that same day, in Newark, there was also a con… KCon. But it was definitely not about comics. It was a K-Pop celebration. But there’s no time to waste, we have to fly to Bridgewater, New Jersey, where the 5th Ballpark Comic Con takes place.

Is it a con or a game?
A comic book event taking place during a base-ball game is quite unusual. We arrive 20 mn before the doors open. We quickly set up and get a warm welcome from Marc Russinoff, the promoter and his brother Keith. This is where the truth appears right before our eyes: this is not a regular comic con. There’s only one vendor (Keith Russinoff and his long boxes) and one team of artists: Will, William Olmo (who joined us at the last minute) and me. So it’s basically a Base-Ball game hosting artists rather than a full fledged con, but it’s certainly not a problem: we had to compete with the players on the field. They were very inspired that night. So were we!
In the end, the Somerset Patriots, the home team, won the game and we made lots of people happy with our drawings. Marc is not only a wonderful host but he also has a big heart. Welcoming us (it was the third year in a row for Will) and putting together a silent auction which we both contributed to with Wonder Woman pieces allowed to bring extra money for charity. He also had us draw a Guardians of the Galaxy exclusive piece that was given away for free for the first 200 people who bought a ticket.

If all comic events could be as warm and welcoming as the Ballpark Comic Con, our convention circuit would probably be in better shape than it is right now. The event was perfectly organized, with lots of trained and responsible volunteers. Everyone involved had a smile on their face. When we left, we were exhausted by the 5 hour drawing marathon but so happy to have been involved in such a positive event. Great sport and great comics… That’s the perfect combination, folks.

Here are a few pics from the even which concluded with fireworks!

To be continued

F.

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