ReedPOP is launching a new annual convention in Philadelphia named Keystone Comic Con. Scheduled to debut September 14 - 16, 2018 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Keystone Comic Con is described as similiar to ReedPOP's New York Comic Con, C2E2, and Emerald City Comic Con, but with "a local twist" for Pennsylvania.
"Philadelphia continues to be a strong market for pop culture and comic book sales, and we are very excited to bring a ReedPOP experience to this region,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Head of ReedPOP. “We are talking with local fans and retailers to find out what they are most excited about so we can create a show unique to this market that will provide fans with the ultimate destination to come together for a world class celebration of pop culture.”
Newsarama has learned that ReedPOP has been talking internally about a Philadelphia convention for at least five years, and Keystone Comic Con will follow in the company's PAX Unplugged which takes place in the same convention center this November.
"In conversations with publishers, retailers and artists, Philly kept coming up as a city that they see a ton of opportunity in," ReedPOP Event Director Mike Armstrong told Newsarama. "We have also developed a relationship with the convention center and the city at large through our launch of PAX Unplugged which is coming up this November. It’s been a perfect storm of opportunity, interest and availability."
ReedPOP plans to hire three staff members exclusively for the Keystone Comic Con launch, and they plan to do "a deep dive into the community and figure out exactly what the local fans are most interested in."
"Having a dedicated ReedPOP team working on this event year round, we are going to work hard to develop partnerships and collaborations with local businesses, fan groups, retailers, breweries… you name it," Armstrong said. "I’m looking forward to spending a ton of time in the city, personally, if not just for the Bieler’s donuts at Reading Terminal Market."
While it's too early to give predictions about attendance, ReedPOP anticipates matching C2E2's recent 80,000 number by the fifth year of Keystone Comic Con.
"We want to make the same kinds of investments in experience, so that regardless of the guest list, you know that you’re going to be able to spend a weekend at the show and have an amazing time," said Armstrong. "We also understand that we’re new in town and that we are going to need to build up some trust amongst the fan and retailer community. We’re totally dedicated to making that happen and turning Keystone into an event that the city can really be proud of."
ReedPOP has reserved four of the Pennsylvania Convention Center's five halls for Keystone, as well as numerous meeting rooms for panels and programming. Another event, Veeva Systems R&D Conference, has overlapping dates at the convention center during the September 14 - 16, 2018 window.