Caveat: I am not a journalist. What little journalism training I have was learned in the Eighth Grade, and all I really remember is the inverted pyramid. My observation skills are easily distracted, and my people skills will never be healthy enough that I can ask strangers pointed questions. I bury ledes like Montresor.
What follows is my experience today at the New York Comic Fest. I had specific reasons for attending, which will differ from others. Reportage was not one of those reasons.
So, let’s break it down:
WHO: Me, a middle-aged comics fan of 30+ years, with eclectic tastes.
WHERE: Westchester County Center, a 1930s arena located near the White Plains Metro North train station.
WHEN: Today, Saturday, June 14, 2014, 10 AM – 6 PM
WHY: Robert Bruce and Cliff Galbraith host amazing comics shows with amazing creators from the entire comics spectrum, with a wide variety of retailers and small presses. I go to chat with creators, find crazy stuff I didn’t know existed (or had forgotten about), have a good time, and support a show that serves an important niche.
HOW: I took the subway to Grand Central, then Metro North to White Plains.
The gist: I had a good time, bought way too much cheap comics on a budget of $100, attended one panel, chatted with friends new and old, and look forward to their next show in the Meadowlands next April!
The nitty gritty:
The Westchester County Center is a small arena. The show floor was placed on the ground floor, filling what would normally be a basketball arena (or concert seating). The aisles were easy to navigate, while being intimate.
The one panel I attended, on writing comics, was spacious with ample seating.
Bathrooms were accessible and clean.
The gold star? Nathan’s. Yes, the hot dog chain from Coney Island. The menu was limited (eight combos), but for $9, I got a medium soda, the deluxe hamburger, and fries. FAST, DELICIOUS, FILLING!
Because this was an arena, attendees could relax in the second floor seating overlooking the show floor.
Specifically purchased to get an autograph: Hembeck #6 ($10, September 1981) A cast of thousands!
A nice discovery: Josh Neufeld’s The Vagabonds #3: The Journalism Issue. Eight years since issue #3! Is that a record?
The Unexpected: Two four-page giveaways, featuring Popeye telling kids how to study better. ($10 each, 1974, 1975)
From the same vendor: Alien Worlds #1-6 ($15) and The Masterworks Series of Great Comic Book Artists #2: Frank Frazetta ($4)
The Bargain: The Very Best of the X-Men ($25, Marvel Limited, 1994 slipcased hardcover, in original shrinkwrap with Direct Market UPC on wrap)
The same retailer sold me a second printing of The Man of Steel trade paperback for $3, and from the huge pile of $1 titles:
- Babe #4 of 4
- Bone 10th Anniversary Special Edition Comic Book and Collectible Figurine (sans figurine)
- Realworlds Batman
- War Picture Library Holiday Special (224 page digest from the UK, 1972)
- True Classroom Flubs & Fluffs (Scholastic Book Services, 1970, Jerry Robinson)
- “Just shake the tambourine, please!”: More Best Cartoons of the Year (Dell, 1968)
- Mom’s the Word (Signet, LCCN: 68-13707)
Quantity and Quality: One vendor had an amazing selection of vintage bubble gum cards (packs and cases!), but instead, I hit the dollar bins, and found a good selection of comics! For $5 each, I bought the 1992 (#2) and 1994 (#4) annual reports of Marvel Entertainment Group. (1994 is when it begins to go south… Heroes World is purchased, Toy Biz enters the picture.)
For $1 each, I purchased Zot! #11-15, 14 1/2, and 17-36!
Last but not least: The last vendor of the day, a warehouse from Massachusetts, didn’t have anything I was specifically searching for, but they were nice to chat with. I discovered their $1 bins, and acquired:
- Quincy R-05 (King Features)
- Blondie R-03 (King Features) (Both were part of a supplemental reading program for schools, printed by Charlton in 1973)
- Superman Annual #10
- Detective Comics #526 (anniversary issue)
- Angel Love #7
- What if Conan the Barbarian …were stranded in the 20th Century? (#43)
- Walt Disney Showcase: Mickey Mouse Surprise Party (#47)
- 1st Issue Special #10 (The Outsiders)
Plus, a lot of other cool stuff either outside my budget, or too heavy for my already bulging bike bag.
Tomorrow, I do it all over again, at Javits.
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!