Contributed by collector and Overstreet Advisor Art Cloos
Photos by Alice Cloos

On March 12, the New Jersey Comic Art Con held their first convention of 2023, returning to the Holiday Inn in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. Billed by show promoter Joe Veteri as the tri-state area’s premiere event to buy, sell, and trade original comic book art, this was the 28th edition of the show. The con was moved back to its former venue to be closer to Manhattan, which is a short bus or car drive from the Big Apple and is near Teterboro Airport.

There were no comic books for sale; they are not allowed and never have been. This is strictly a comic art show. Veteri is proud of the fact that some of the most prolific comic art dealers and collectors in the nation choose NJ Comic Art Con as their exclusive comic art only convention to attend.

The dealer list included top comic art sellers from across the country and many of the show’s regulars were there including Albert Moy, Will Gabri-El, Hans Kosenkranius, Anthony Snyder, Nathan Rose, Paul Blaise Marino, Ben Bressel, and Rich Donnelley. Auction houses ComicLink and ComicConnect were there, along with writer and artist J.M. DeSantis (creator of Chadhiyana). Works of fantasy, horror, and humor was also in attendance along with the artist Nazar R. Loun. As with past shows this one was a hot topic in the various Facebook groups devoted to collecting original comic art.

One of the things that I thought was very cool was seeing groups of collectors around the hotel lobby discussing their buys of the day, debating the merits of one artist from another, and negotiating deals with each other for trades or cash. This is part of what makes The NJ show special. In the past Veteri has commented on that part of his Comic Art Con’s unique value. Many deals get done collector to collector and no show has more true original comic art collectors walking around than the NJ Comic Art Con.

There was a strong showing of Silver, Bronze, and Modern comic art to drool over and while I did not see a lot of Golden Age art there were some pieces. As at every Comic Art Con, there was a good amount of comic book covers, and dealers had portfolios full of original comic book pages including splash pages. This show had an increased number of commissions, sketches and paintings than in earlier shows. Over the last few years, in both vintage comic sales and original art, Marvel has tended to dominate. Having said that, neither Allie nor I walked out of there with empty hands and we were very happy with the day.

Allie and I got to the show before it opened and there were already collectors checking out the vendor displays and going through art portfolios on the various dealer tables. There had to be almost 40 tables with a wide variety of original comic art with much more then what one would find at a traditional comic convention. As he does at every show, dealer Anthony Snyder had a significant wall display and tables filled with items for sale. His booth is never one that a buyer could go through in a few minutes.

We ran into a lot of familiar faces at this show, like Frank Giella, the son of comic artist Joe Giella, who was surrounded by buyers looking to sell or trade with him. Our longtime friend Ankur Jetley who was also selling art, told us that “the market is healthy, but buyers are in search for fresh art that has not been on the market before.” He noted that, “many new faces are entering the hobby which bodes well for its longevity.”

I got to meet fellow Facebook Original Comic Art Group member Joseph Shaffer who flew in from Saint Paul, Minnesota for the show. Dan Gallo, who was the co-creator of the NJ Comic Art Con with Joe Veteri was in attendance and looking for items to buy.

The hotel has undergone an extensive renovation and with Covid restrictions ended, the onsite restaurant was open once again. It offers breakfast for guests and dinner as well, and kids 18 and younger eat for free. However it is closed for lunch and does not serve dinner on Sunday nights. There are eateries within a short drive.

The show hours ran from 9:30 AM to 4 PM, admission was $15, and children got in for free. For those with mobility issues the hotel is very accessible throughout the building. There was plenty of parking available on the hotel grounds.

The fall edition of the NJ Comic Art Con will be held Sunday, August 27 at the Holiday Inn located on 283 NJ-17, Hasbrouck Heights in NJ. The fall edition will be open from 9:30 AM to 3 PM.

Veteri can be reached at jveteri@coopmail.net or by calling (973) 768-6649 to enquire about vending at his next show. Professional artists are encouraged to apply for a show table. For more information on dates and attending future shows, check his website at www.VeteriProductions.com or his Comic Art Con Facebook page.

For more photos from New Jersey Comic Art Con, jump to our In the Limelight coverage.