While everyone we know is in a tizzy getting ready for New York Comic Con — and the certain to be epic drinking fest surrounding NYCC — the Wizard Big Apple Comic-Con was held this weekend, and nobody really noticed. You may recall that there was outrage and anxiety last year when Wizard announced it would hold the show the very same weekend as New York Comic Con. However, in the spring it was announced the Wizard show would move to the week ahead of NYCC, and also change venues from the huge Pier 94 facility to the much smaller Penn Plaza Pavilion, traditional site of the Big Apple Con.
We stopped by for a few hours on Saturday, mostly to catch the panel with Mark Millar, Bill Jemas, Leinil Yu and JG Jones. This show was exactly like every other Penn Plaza Pavilion show we have been to, although the seating plan had been adjusted somewhat: dealers were on the top floor, nerdlebrities were on the main floor, and comics folks were moved down to the basement. Take that as a metaphor for whatever you will.
Post-con wrap-ups were mixed. This fellow had a horrible time:
I got through the vendor in under 1 hour.(Leisurely I might add)
I was able to walk through the star area (Again, Leisurely) in under 20 mins.
The entire artist area was visible from where you walked in (really,walking through the areas without stopping would take you like 5 mins if even that)
Signage was CRAP; unless you were told you did not even know there was a bottom floor.
Not sure you can decipher, but I have to say they did a horrible job with the show.
There were no major or minor companies at the show that would warrant your attendance.
Opinion: Big Fail; Would not attend ever again.
The VIP did get me 4 autographed lithos, but I’m really not into them.
Did get a limited edition Michael Turner Fathom comic, but not that impressed with that either.
I’m going back on Sunday to see what kind of deals I can get at the close of the show.
So this past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 Wizard Big Apple Comic Con as a member of the press… yeah, I know, I can not believe it either! They should have never let us in the door, cause we used this full on access to interview tons of celebrities, comic book artists, and living legends that we look up to as idols and inspirations. It was so great to see them welcome us in and gladly allow us access into the world of real press coverage!!! I am super excited to share all the pics, videos, and swag that we acquired over the weekend all week this week, so I hope you are ready!!! Enjoy all the great content, and a special THANK YOU goes out to Jerry Milani, PR genius from Wizard and man that made our access possible… hope the posts we make this week do you proud and not regret letting us in!!!!
At it’s core (see what I did there? ) the Big Apple Comic Con desperately WANTS to be this. But Wizard keeps telling everyone it’s bigger than that. It keeps telling everyone it’s AN IMPORTANT NOT TO BE MISSED EVENT; when in reality; it’s just a comic book show.
We tweeted some of the quotes from the panel, but the one that stuck with us was Mark Millar saying that it’s desperation that creates innovation in any medium, and he’d like to see comics more innovative. I don’t see the industry as being anywhere near desperation — yet. I had a really nice talk with Jemas, who is considering getting back into comics in some capacity. I also met his wife, Jane Milrod, who is an ADHD coach and she told me some very alarming stuff about how it’s been proven that using the internet mimics the brain functions of people with ADHD. “Is there any hope?” I asked. She suggests walks, fresh air and books, advice which I hope to put into practice one of these years.
I also caught up with Billy Tucci, Rob Liefeld and Chuck Rozanski — this was a low-key show where you could have nice long conversations, provided the ADHD didn’t kick in.
Unfortunately, the Penn Plaza hotel itself is just…..nasty! The place looks so bedbug-y I was afraid to put down my bags on the floor. The carpet in the basement room must have been a livestock pen at one point, and one professional creator told me that his room was so skanky that he had been putting his luggage on the TV. I hate to agree that a Stanford White building should be torn down, but this one is in such a state of disrepair that it’s a scandal.
No one we talked to thought that Wizard Big Apple was going to impinge on NYCC. And despite the people standing outside yelling “Comic-Con!” I don’t think attendees were persuaded much, either. While last year’s show at the vast, drafty Pier 94 had a novelty factor, local comics fans and autograph hounds know all about Penn Plaza Pavilion. When they saw the show was being held there they knew exactly what kind of show they would experience. There was dealer support but many held out for next week’s big show at the Javits.
The Big Apple show is traditionally a throwback to the olden days of comics, and this show was so old skool that even Chuck Rozanski, the head of the huge online retailer Mile High, was back behind the counter selling $1 books. Chuck told me that his business had slowed a great deal, and he says it isn’t price point or anything of the kind — it’s just that “When people don’t have any expendable income, they can’t buy anything.” Chuck was full of fascinating opinions and insights– I’m hoping to get him to share a few of them here at The Beat,
In the end we don’t begrudge anyone who had a good time at Big Apple. But trying to compete head to head with a real comic-con is just out of the question.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.