The Garden State Comic Fest is happening again in 2023. We covered things to check out at this convention last year and have just returned from this year’s Winter Edition. Taking place at the Sussex County Fairgrounds from January 28th (10am to 5pm) and 29th (10am to 3pm).
This year’s winter fest is very well organized, with 2 separate sections to check out and some food trucks nearby serving both breakfast and lunch. The main building focuses in on comics and toy collectibles, especially from the 80s. The secondary building features old-school game consoles, trading card games, and other fun trinkets to take home like frost glasses. There’s also an entire Mandalorian Legion in cosplay who’ll be here at the booth and walking about the convention!
Overall, the WinterFest edition remains pretty great this year and is a great place to take your kids out or cosplay. Here are 7 particular things we really enjoyed checking out this year.
Fans of 80’s toys and nostalgia rejoice! Because Misfit Collectibles has some serious collectible figurines and trinkets up the wazoo from the 1980s. We’re talking GI Joes and Transformers, Wrestlers, and Ninja Turtles! Fans of The Smurfs? They got that. Ever wanted some rare Bionic Man items? They’ve got it too.
A great place for retro collectors, what I really enjoyed about this side kiosk is that everything is conveniently in plastic bags, to keep them clean from smudges and touches. You can check out their eBay shop with the link above, but more importantly, stop by their booth if you love the 80s and early 90s, they’ll likely have something you desire.
Stay a Night at Buffalo Bill’s House From ‘Silence of The Lambs’
Horror movie fanatics will want to check this out, recommend it to a friend, or dare I say it, maybe book a tour and stay the night?
This booth gives you the rundown on the hows and wheres with a video and epic recap from founder, Chris Rowan. For anyone who’s ever wanted to visit, this house is, in fact, the actual location where they shot the ending to Silence of The Lambs now available as an overnight bed-and-breakfast for up to 9 guests. If that weren’t enough, it also hosts guided tours and on-location film permission (for any film productions seeking to use the space).
“It’s the actual house from Silence of The Lambs. We recreated the basement to replicate the scenes of the movie, or as we call it, ‘Buffalo Bill’s Workshop of Horrors,” said Rowan regarding this incredible refitted horror rental. “We also recreated the actual well from the film in the house where special effects makeup artist, Tom Savini – involved in movies like Friday 13th and Dawn of The Dead – actually recreated the well and installed it in the house.”
The location for Buffalo Bill’s House is set in Perryopolis, Pennsylvania. For anyone who wants to rent it check out BuffaloBillsHouse.com and definitely check out the booth at the back of the convention’s main building.
To be fair, we’ve covered TheCreators Michael S Bracco’s comic in the last Winter edition. For those who don’t remember, The Creators is a comic where in the future, young people across the world gained the ability to turn their imaginations to real life using art. Which is a pretty brilliant concept given how awesomely terrifying an adolescents imagination can be.
Halted by the Bureau of Creative Enforcement, the series is about kids trying to understand their place in the world via their gifts of imagination, which is a pretty amazing concept, given that Bracco also has lots of experience in this working as an art teacher to middle school kids.
If that weren’t enough of a reason to check it out, his side company that makes graphic tees and clothing features some beautifully horrifying and appealing custom-made art shirts which you can only buy at conventions or on spaghettikiss.com. No joke, when I last ran into Michael at NYCC this past October, I immediately had to buy his custom Winnie The Pooh Crew Neck as it’s Winnie The Pooh set in a Mad Max styled universe!
Yes, with the Mandalorian cosplayers all walking about, there is also, indeed, a Dark Saber featured at this convention. Featuring custom lightsabers from across the galaxy, DXSabers is your one-stop-shop for Star Wars armory paraphernalia and custom Jedi and Sith glowing blades.
These customs come with warranties and even have Saber shop repairs. The materials are made of aluminum and steel and each, comes with the ability to change up to 11 different blade colors.
Star Wars and Superhero Lego Legion!
I feel like the picture, and the booth when you see it, kind of sell the appeal of this one almost immediately, so we’ll let you just look at… all the lego custom figures. AwesomeAutographedCollectibles deals in signed memorabilia and… well… collectibles. Along with an entire legion of Star Wars, Marvel, and Pop Culture-Themed Legos, all as third-party customs.
We’re talking Spider-Men, Black Panthers, and every sort of Imperial Clone and Storm trooper, along with all your favorite Jedis. Available while supplies last (and there are a heck-of-a-lot of supplies).
Nemesis Comics & Games
Something new that we haven’t seen before at the GardenStateComicFest, Nemesis Comics and Games is unique in that not only are they getting the entire back area of the convention’s second building, but they also, are the only ones hosting a magic-the-gathering and trading card tournament tables. Atop of this, their shop is the biggest ones selling board game collectibles and D&D dice, so fans of tabletop and cards checking out the convention must come here.
Anime Gamer Zone
The first place you’ll see in the second building, Anime Gamer Zone is different from the rest of the convention in that it actually hosts some Playstation and X-Box video games to play for any visitors, where guests can play games such as Street Fighter and Demon Slayer. They also sell Manga and some memorable comics, and are conveniently right across the retro games video game booth, so are sort of the prime hub for any video game enthusiasts visiting the convention.
And that’s it for this winter edition! Definitely drop by if you can and say hi to all the guests in cosplay.