Such was the case at North Bergen's first annual Comic Book and Toy Show, which filled the town Recreation Center with comics, action figures, video games, and other collectibles Nov. 4 and 5. Proceeds from the event went to the town’s annual free Christmas Party for kids.
Vendor Tony Ditizio, who sells games independently, was hawking classic gaming consoles at his table.
Next to him was friend A.J. Maltese, who runs ASAP Retro Games & More. Legendary gaming consoles such as Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, and Sega CD lined their tables.
Maltese held up a copy of the “Lords of Thunder” video game for the Sega CD, as his rarest item on sale.
“This is one of the rarest Sega CD games,” he said. “This is worth about $100.”
Though turnout was light for the event's closing day, vendors enjoyed participating and a new avenue to promote their offerings.
“I don't want to complain,” said Ditizio. “It's our first year. We made some money. It's alright.”
The pair consider themselves “game hunters,” and can be found most Saturdays at the Meadowlands Flea Market in East Rutherford.
Nearby, vendor Abel Cabrera was selling Funko Pop action figures. He opened the Honest Abe Pop Nation Facebook page for fans to sell and trade the items.
“This morning was kind of slow compared to yesterday,” he said on Sunday. “We were hoping for an after church crowd, but a couple of people came in.”
Still, he added, “I am not complaining. I did well. I'm very happy. It's a great start, for this being the first time that the town has hosted a comic con.”
Cabrera described how popular the Funko Pop figures have become in geek lore. “They make a figure out of everything imaginable,” he said. “Any movie you name, they made figures out of it.” He was also selling Funko patches, pins, and other accessories they make.
Sam Cornielle, a vendor for Union City's Thought Bubble Comics, also oversaw Funko Pop figures at her table.
She called them the hottest items the store sold for the weekend.
“We've met some pretty amazing people and gotten to know other vendors,” Cornielle said, of her experience at the event. “It's definitely been a networking opportunity for us.”
“Everybody's into the pop culture movies, into the TV shows; you see how popular New York Comic Con is,” said John Ayazian, a vendor and the event's organizer. “We’re trying to bring something to the community.”
He was selling WWE action figures from Toys R’ Us, and a few comics on the side.
“Everybody's into the pop culture movies, into the TV shows; you see how popular New York Comic Con is.” – John Ayazian
A few months ago, Ayazian, who works for the town's Public Safety Repairs and Transportation division and sells collectibles on the side, approached local commissioners about his idea for the show. They were highly interested, he said.
Though most vendors were optimistic, one vendor said there should have been more publicity.
“I don’t think it was promoted well enough,” he said. “If I ran this convention, I would've been outside months in advance, just pushing and pushing it in newspapers, TV, in the schools.”
Vendors paid $50 to participate both days. Admission was free for kids ages 12 and under, and adults and teens paid $5 for entry.
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org