This past Saturday in Lake Worth was the 2nd annual PalmCon Palm Beach County Comic Book and Collectibles Show. Martin Pierro of local comic publisher Cosmic Times, created PalmCon to bring comic shows back to Palm Beach County. The area used to be the host of frequent small shows in malls & hotels in the past but started getting skipped for larger areas like Orlando, Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Before PalmCon, the last show in the area was at the Fairgrounds back in 2008.
Unlike the other local shows that are primarily anime, it’s comic books that are the focus of PalmCon. With the local community in mind, there were plenty of area comic artists and writers and some of the best comic book stores in the Tri County as vendors.
PalmCon’s guest of honor was José Delbo, who has been drawing comics since the 60′s. He is well known for his long run on Marvel’s Transformers and also did work for DC. There was a large amount of local comic artists and writers in attendance selling their books and doing sketches. Amongst the many artists were Manny Aguilera who designed the PalmCon t-shirt, Greg Kirkpatrick whose work included Savage Dragon, Tampa-based publisher Naughty Bicycle and sketch card artist Banky.
There were some non-comic book guests such as the 501st Legion. The 501st is a large group of Star Wars costumers who have made many convention appearances promoting interest in Star Wars while also doing a lot of work for various charities. Also no stranger to dressing up for charity appearances were the Miami 305 Ghostbusters and the Palm Beach Ghostbusters who were at the show. I believe this is one of the first times the Miami & Palm Beach groups were at a show together and all of them had great costumes.
Also in attendance was representatives from the Palm Beach County Library System, promoting the use of comics to get kids into reading. South Florida based comic book & movie podcasters Nerd Nation were also in attendance.
Local filmmakers were also in attendance showing their creations in PalmCon’s Indie Film Lounge. I watched Planet X Part II: The Frozen Moon by Ginnungagap Filmwerks, a funny sci-fi short film with a lot of over the top CGI effects.
For the costuming attendees there was some fun events. Nerd Nation hosted a costumed sing-a-long which was followed by the costume contest. The costume was split into kid & adult categories. The kid costumes were fantastic, with Boba Fett, Wild Thing & Flash getting the top picks. The adult costumes were also great with an amazing Doctor Doom winning the top choice. The prizes for the costume contest included Manny Aguilera sketches and Tate’s Comics gift cards.
I was surprised by the large amount of costumes at the show. A lot of great ones like the Crimson Bolt & Boltie duo from Supercon, Hit-Girl & Terminator. My top pick was definitely the guy dressed up as Wilfred, a hilarious choice and well done. Overall i’d say there was way more comic & movie characters instead of the usual anime costumes.
PalmCon 2012′s location was the same as last year, Lake Worth’s American Polish Club. Last time the show used only one of the halls but this time the second hall was added in addition to the bar which was converted into the Indie Film Lounge. With a nice amount of parking and a snack-bar so attendees don’t have to leave the site, it’s a nice choice for smaller shows.
Since it was a smaller show they had a smaller staff and fewer volunteers but they were all friendly and organized. As far as I can tell everything at the show went smoothly and that was probably due to a lot of behind the scenes preperation. The show has more of a family feel to it, instead of a large amount of confused volunteers trying to help.
One of the best things about PalmCon was the large amount of quality vendors. All of Palm Beach & Broward County’s best comic stores were set up at the show. Coconut Creek’s Docking Bay 94, Oakland Park’s CJ’s Comics (who brought an insane amount of toys) & Lauderhill’s Tate’s Comics (great seeing them in the area). And it wouldn’t be a Palm Beach County show without West Palm Beach’s own Past, Present & Future Comics (my LCS). In addition to comic & toy vendors, the Fine Print Shoppe was printing shirts at the show (including the official PalmCon shirt). Always great seeing them at Florida’s various conventions (i’m pretty sure I end up buying one of their shirts every time).
I picked up a shirt, a whole bunch of graphic novels and some figures at the show. If you’re a geek looking to spend some cash, this was the place to be.
All in all, PalmCon 2012 was a blast. I especially liked seeing the large attendance even though it was raining badly all day. This show was proof that Palm Beach County and the surrounding areas have a passionate community of comic fans. It’s a small show with a lot of heart and I have a feeling it’s only going to get bigger. My only concern is that the show might be getting too big for the Lake Worth location. With rumors of moving to the Palm Beach County Convention, that concern might be quickly fixed.
I was at the first PalmCon, I was at this one and I will definitely be at the next one. See y’all at PalmCon 2013!
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