We talk with Michael D’Alessio founder of The Atlantic City Boardwalk Con

Atlantic City Comic ConThe Atlantic City Boardwalk Con is coming to Atlantic City, New Jersey, May 14-17th 2015. Featuring publishers such as Marvel Entertainment, BOOM! Studios, Aspen Comics, and Top Cow; celebrity guests such as Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Dead) and Manu Bennett (Arrow, Spartacus and The Hobbit); comic artists and writers like Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman, Fables, X-Men, Wolverine), Humberto Ramos (Amazing Spider-Man) and Frank Tieri (Iron Man and Wolverine) and comic book legend Stan Lee as a Special Guest of Honor during a one-on-one on-stage interview by New Jersey native, Kevin Smith, this first-ever full comic con in this famous east coast city will merge copslay, comics and “All Things Geek” in a one destination experience.

I got to speak with Michael D’Alessio, founder of the ACBC and CEO of the NJ-based marketing agency, Promoguys Marketing Group. As a NJ native just like Mr. D’Alessio I am thrilled to celebrate this first-ever true comic convention taking place at the world famous Atlantic City Convention Center.

How does one get into the business of putting on a comic convention?

I have owned my own marketing agency for nine years now, been in the business for 22 years actually and have run and developed Marvels’ booth at the NYC Comic Con, to name just a few of my marketing endeavors in this specific business. I am also a massive geek, I have a fan page even and somebody just said, why don’t you put on a show…so I am.

Atlantic City has received some hits of late-casino closings, the usual reports of city wide economic decline, etc.-playing devil’s advocate for a moment, I have to ask…why Atlantic City?

Yes, the city has gotten some bad press lately, but in a way I feel things are even better now for a convention of this sort in A.C. When I first lit on this concept I was looking farther afield than my own home state for site options. I was considering Austin, Houston, but then my lawyer suggested Atlantic City. Of course as our convention took a year in the making we could never have predicted what would befall the city, but our audience is coming down to attend a convention in a great spot. It’s wonderful Atlantic City has the casinos, I am a gambler myself, but what makes this convention at this place so attractive I feel is having a site merely four blocks from the beach, being able to walk the boardwalk, having attendees able to experience such a great grand unique city.

That’s interesting you say that, my biggest complaint about lots of events I have attended is that quite often there isn’t anything close enough to the facility or its surrounding area that one can either walk to our wants to walk to. Here you can stroll a famous boardwalk.

Exactly…or hit the beach. It will be about 70 degrees that weekend. So you can shop at The Tanger Outlets or any of a number of little shops, hit the historic Steel Pier. You’ll have cosplayers riding Ferris Wheels, gambling, a whole boardwalk turned out for a good time.

Speaking of cosplayers, they are such a big part of comic conventions these days, people dressing like their favorite characters, and doing so expertly. What can they expect, especially at your con?

Right on the convention center floor, cosplayers will have their own space to meet, take pictures against great backdrops, just hang-out and show off to one another. Of course people who aren’t dressed up can come in and have a great time as well. It’s not like you have to step out of the convention, walk over to some other area to partake. There will also be a cosplay “War-room” that features costume changing areas, costume repair stations, costume creation stations, body paint stations and more and we will be crowning a Miss and Mr. Cosplay USA with Manu Bennett, and where else better than the city where the Miss America pageant has its home-and hopefully taking this competition on a regional level, picking individual winners at other cons, then again next year coming back to Atlantic City and this con to pick our winner for the year.

And for the attendee in general, this is not just a con for vendors or autographs, you are presenting some real possibilities for networking in the business, correct?

Yes, we’ll have master level classes in sculpture, rendering Lycra for costumes, sewing, how to draw sequential art for comics. There will be plenty of artists and writers on hand to give advice and their time to the people who approach them. As we get closer to the show we will also be opening up a submission process where people cans submit their work and then if chosen, can come for direct one-on-ones with industry professionals.

It sounds like it’s going to be full of events.

Yes, and let’s not forget Kevin Smith’s Q&A with special guest Stan Lee on Saturday! I didn’t want to make an event that was simply one row after row of comics, where every ounce of floor space has to be sold to make every dime I could make. I love the genre and I want to show fans a really good time.

ACBC takes place May 14-17, 2015, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. For more info, visit www.DoACBC.com

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