This day started at 7 am, for a 7:45 arrival at the Javits Center. Was I insane? No, just dedicated. Diamond Books had arranged a meeting with publishers to discuss trade journal review procedures. Myself, and Henrietta Thornton and Martha Cornog from Library Journal were on hand to school representatives of Archaia, Image, Dark Horse and Top Shelf on how to submit books for review, in my case in my role as Graphic Novel Review Editor for Publishers Weekly. I think it is a miracle but somehow I think I was somewhat coherent for the whole thing — which I ascribe entirely to Diamond’s Brooke Borneman bringing coffee and donuts. Thanks Brooke! You are faboo.One of my pet peeves mentioned on the panel is that I don’t like NetGalley. At the risk of interesting only book industry wonks, I’ll only say if you want to know more, ask me in person.
Following this triumph of the human spirit, it was across the hall to the Diamond Retailer breakfast to enjoy the Hobbit tradition of Second Breakfast — this time eggs and bacon. Rich Johnston was cosplaying as Peter Pan, and if I hadn’t been awake before…I was now.
I’ll have to write up a bullet points of all this later on but the biggest news was the addition of Dynamite, Boom and Valiant to final order cut off. Reportedly several more publishers will be added to the program soon—who else publishes periodicals? Archie? Avatar? More and more retailers are signing up for Diamond’s POS system—which will soon be available on an app—and more accurate orders will be the reward.
Dark Horse also announced they’re bringing back several of their “Comics Greatest World” superhero characters—such as Amazing Grace and Titan and Warmaker— in a new 8-issue series called Catalyst Comix, to be written by Joe Casey. The art is by Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury and Ulises Farinas. The above cover is by Rafael Grampa. Casey delivered a bit of one of his characteristic blunt statements at the breakfast.
“They’ll put Paul Pope on Batman 100 but never on Batman,” he said. “He’s a visionary and I would read it. Hopefully this will be a fresh take on superheroes. It’s an experiment and I hope you like it.”
To deliver our own blunt statement, Catalyst is very much in the spirit of the well-received Brandon Graham-led Extreme revival at Image…and another sign that the house style is changing. All three artist are fresh and modern, but I’m particularly happy to see Farinas get a regular assignment. He’s been knocking it out of the park with his pin-ups
After breakfast it was off to the press room for a combined Beat/PW staff writing meeting. We have a good crew this year, and it was as much fun just hanging out as on the floor. While I charged my phone and answered some emails, I caught up with my old friend Martha Thomases, who is focusing on doing writing these days, good news.
I had a panel at 4 and decided to hang out at the PW booth — #3157 please stop by! — for as long as possible before hand. I have to admit this was a good hide out, but as time passed, the clangor of very fresh dubsteb filled one end of the room. Despite my love of electronic music and IDM I haven’t made peace with dubstep yet, so this weekend will be my date with destiny.
I made a few runs into the hall for this or that—Thursday was busy, but not insanely so. As you can see from Torsten’s photos, there was a huge line to get in, but the floor is pretty big and the crowds spread out nicely.
New York Comic Con is really more like a county fair than a comic-con, and I think most people are amenable and/or resigned to this. The “Turtles Tunnel” is quite a spectacle, and there were incredible costumes and senses-shattering Lego statues EVERYWHERE.
I’m still not sure if all three of the creatures in the above photo were alive or not.
Despite all the video games and hoohah, there is a BIG section for mainstream publishers as well: Macmillan, Abrams, HarperCollins, Disney, even Taschen. All the booths are selling books however…it’s notable that so many book publishers are making the move to a consumer show. At BEA I heard a lot of people saying that that show needs to be more like Comic Con in terms of excitement and consumer interest. There does seem to be room for growth on that end at NYCC.
At 4 I moderated “Publishers Weekly Presents: How to Edit a Graphic Novel” which featured Callista Brill, Carol Burrell, James Lucas Jones , Ju Youn Lee and Karen Berger. I tried a bit of an experiment for this panel by throwing up slides of books these editors had worked on and having them talk about the process a bit, and mixed it up with a few questions from myself and the audience. The hour seemed to pass quite quickly — to be honest I could have listened to these five incredibly smart and passionate people talk for much longer. Editing comics is a lot of things, English major, art director, story editor, and as one panelist put it “I’m sure we’ve all put in enough hours for several psychology degrees.”
Following the panel I raced upstairs for a press event in the Legendary booth featuring Grant Morrison, Bob Schreck, Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham, with the peripatetic Chris Hardwick kicking things off. More smart passionate people! I guess it does take a movie company to throw a comics press event that’s like a movie press event, and del Toro’s involvement made it kind of a movie event but I thought this was a good way to give press outlets a distinct opportunity to cover the news that Legendary wanted to release. Certainly I enjoyed having the chance to chit chat a bit with Grant Morrison and Guillermo del Toro.
Del Toro kind of echoed some of the things that hardwick and Fred Siebert said on Wednesday about finding opportunities. “I wanted to do The Strain at Fox but they rejected it, so I wrote the novels, and now Fox is doing it,” del Toro chuckled. Of course it is easier to get opportunities when you are a Hardwick, Siebert or del Toro, but when you believe in your projects, you find a way to get them done.
Legendary also released the WWII inspired poster for the Pacific Rim graphic novel, above.
Amazingly, after al this I was still awake! But for how long??? I fanned the dying embers of consciousness to check out the most controversial part of the show: Artist Alley.
This year AA has been moved to its own hall—and it’s probably not much smaller than Heroes Con all by itself. It’s in the North Hall, which is a newer and much nicer space than the often oppressive Javits, but it is very separate. I heard that there were many grumbles about the location, but I saw the artist Buzz leaving and snagged him to see how he was doing. You won’t find an artist alley vet more seasoned than Buzz. To my surprise he said he liked it fine, and his sales were good so far. There were definitely people in the room, as you can see in the above photo, but you wouldn’t call it “jammed” either.
The show is opening earlier tomorrow in expectation of vast crowds, and we’ll see how it goes then. Badges for the show are apparently in very high demand (Check out Craigs list or StubHub.) so there’s a lot of pent-up longing.
If you’ve been following along with my NYCC diary, I’ve been chatting and moderating and reporting nonstop since Tuesday night, and I still feel very enthusiastic about it all. As I remarked to someone (the faces are blurring to be honest) for three days I’ve been surrounded by smart, creative people in an industry that seems to be hitting its stride. Nothing tiring or boring about that. It’s been downright pleasant.
But we’ll see what the next three days bring.
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.