The first ever Keystone Comic Con was this past weekend in beautiful Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Produced by ReedPOP, the folks who put on New York Comic Con, the show brought a dose of that NYCC flavor to the City of Brotherly Love. I was on-site Saturday to check it out, and while it was much smaller than maybe even the Wizard World show in Philly, it packed a punch for Bat-fans of all stripes.
I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but Saturday was Batman Day, and as such, Keystone brought in a number of key figures. Perhaps the most significant was Batman himself, Kevin Conroy, who participated in a wider Batman Day Panel before sitting down at a roundtable with a few members of the press. I was one of them, and I got some decent audio—check it out here. Near the end of the interview, he said the “I am vengeance…” line, and I think my heart stopped beating for a moment. I awoke in an alley, clutching pearls and possessed with an almost irrepressible urge to make promises to my parents.
One of the major components missing from Wizard World Philly is notable comic book creators. Sure, there are odd years where someone from a major book will show up (Dan Slott and Peter David were there a few years ago), but it’s a show with a heavier focus on film and television personalities, so the “Comic” in “Comic Con” tends to feel a bit irrelevant.
Keystone had a much heavier focus on comics. The ratio of merchants selling comics to merchants selling other things was much higher than at Wizard World, and the Artist Alley had some huge names for Bat-fans. Greg Capullo was there doing signings and looking awesome, and his frequent inker Jonathan Glapion had a large table with plenty of gorgeous inks on display. Pete Tomasi—who will take the reins of Detective Comics in December, was also on-hand to sign books and chat with fans.
And, as you might expect, there were plenty of Batman-related pieces on display from other artists in the Alley, because Batman is awesome and everybody has to do their take:
From cosplayers to merchandise to artwork, the wider DC Universe was well-represented, too. Keystone may not be very large here at its beginning, but the quality and enthusiasm were there:
Should I stay or should I go?
About an hour in to my time at Keystone, I texted my wife and said “this show is lame.” It seemed so small, with large portions of the convention hall floor empty. But then I ended up staying for hours and hours more, talking with creators like David Walker, Jonboy Meyers, Kyle Higgins, Pete Tomasi, and Steve Orlando. I met independent creators, and saw some amazing merchandise from vendors I wouldn’t have heard of if I hadn’t gone to the show. I got to sit just feet away from Kevin Conroy and hear him speak live and in person. Keystone may be small right now, but it is most definitely not lame. The same quality that Reed brings to NYCC was here, too, and if they keep it up, Keystone Comic Con will only grow, as fans—of the Bat and everything else—flock to Philly to hang out with their heroes.