OMG!!! I think I’ve figured why people like the mega Comic Cons so much. It’s like a four day drug trip but without the drugs, an intense, surreal experience that tests your mettle, physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually. It’s a human against themself story all the way.
I take a lot of pictures at cons because otherwise it becomes one big giant blur. People who at 9 am are your entire world have faded into memory by 3 pm. I’m not sure who all I talked to but I do remember there was talk of NYX cosmetics, comfortable shoes and unseasonable weather.
My day started with a BANG at 9:00 when I arrived at the central branch of the New York Public Library for what was not only the Keynote panel of the NYCC programming there…but the first ever panel in the NYCC/NYPL programming! And the panelists were acclaimed YA author Laurie Halse Anderson and Check, Please!’s Ngozi Ukazu. Talking to two complex, brilliant authors first thing in the morning. A Beat Challenge! And when I arrived at the library there was a line around the block of people waiting to get in! NO PRESSURE.
I’d arrived early because the central branch of the NYPL Central Library is a VERY LARGE building. I had a feeling I’d have to wander around for a while to get in and find the venue, the Celeste Auditorium, and sure enough, I ended up going in through a loading dock, convincing a guard I belonged there and then wandering through a maze of elevators and stairs.
The panel went great however; Anderson and Ngozi are brilliant authors and quickly developed the kind of rapport that leaves a moderator with very little to do. There was a full crowd as well. Anderson is a newly minted comcis author but now in love with the medium. Here’s a page from the Emily Carroll illustrated GN version of Anderson’s Speak.
Out in February!
There were a LOT OF PEOPLE at the library, even though it was only open to industry professionals with NYCC badges. They had four tracks of programming, but only one day of panels. I talked to a few staffers and they said they had way more people than they expected! This program was set up to be a NYCC version of the educators/librarian days that are held at TCAf and SDCC and I would say it was a big success.
I forgot to take a picture, but they also had free food and coffee! That was great because I forgot to bring all the survival food I brought for the show. OH NOES. I wish I could have stayed longer at the library events but I had to get to the con.
Upon arriving at the press room, at first I was all excited because the fourth floor Crystal Palace is the only calm place at the entire show and in past years has been a great place to work and recharge. However when I got there I found the wifi was crap and, most horrifically of all, the little food stand that is usually back there was gone.
I felt like Furiosa when she finds out The Green Place is just another desert.
There were only boxes and boxes of Doritos and I was hungry so I ended up stress eating two bags and that was gross. Doritos are not going to get me through this.
Then it was the NYCC/ICv2 Insider Sessions. It kicked off with Ashley Eckstein of Her Universe giving a fantastic talk about how she bucked trends to create a brand of female geek fashion. When she started no one thought women would wear Star Wars t-shirts. Now the Her Universe brand has been acquired by Hot Topic and some of their lines are among HT’s best sellers. Eckstein gave a lively talk about believing in yourself, overcoming challenges and listening to your gut. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. It is always right.
Then industry analyst Rob Salkowitz and Tania Yuki of data analysis company Sharablee went over what data tells us about pop culture engagement. This chart shows how people like Walking Dead and Riverdale and the CW.
Here’s a slide showing the pop culture events that get the most engagement. People were a little surprised that NYCC beats out SDCC but Salkowitz suggested it was because the NYCC audience is younger and not as many industry people go. That actually makes sense – there is a lot more homegrown cosplay at NYCC, and the fandom it represents is a lot younger.
I don’t actually recognize the logo of #3 so help me out here!
Jean Paciulli, the CEO of Glénat gave a presentation on the French Comics Association. Lots of numbers on slides. XIII has sold 5 million copies?!?
The traditional view of the mad crowded floor. Luffy!
Milton Griepp gave his annual white paper and as you can see, GNs in bookstores are catching up to the direct sales market. I had to eat some real food after this presentation becuase I ws turning orange from Dorito overdose so I ran out and got a chicken thigh sandwich, so I missed the digital panel. The sandwich was good.
Then Kristen McLean of NPD/Bookscan got up and just bombed us with charts. I’d been looking at charts for three hours but this was fantastic stuff! My eyes were like wagonwheels.
FINALLY some metrics on the YA/Kids GN market. And it’s all trending up. McLean noted that books like Dav Pikey’s Dogboy and Dork Diaries are huge franchises. It’s not just Raina Telgemeier.
More growth, and that BISAC code gets put into action!
Here’s that money shot, similar to Brian Hibbs’ calculations. But note, Other is huge in both.
Another money shot, which I messed up. The lighting wasn’t great for my camera phone. Really, these numbers just back up what we’ve been saying for a while, but it’s good to have back-up. These particular numbers are based on consumer surveys, not Bookscan sales numbers.
At the reception afterwards, Diamond and NPD people mingling. That’s Mclean on the left, Diamond’s Roger Fletcher, Chris Powell and two folks from NPD whose cards I didn’t get. Plans are afoot to get sell-through data for comics shops, as I toldja the other day.
WHAT IS HAPPENING.
I checked out Artist Alley Hall E Edition for a few minutes, and it’s better than I feared, but still a little tight. I talked to a few people who said it was going fine there. It’s been unseasonably hot in NYC 980 degrees) so it was a leeeeetle humid and maybe a teeeeeensy bit…whiffy. On the plus side they left a big wide center aisle so that part at least didn’t feel crowded. I’ll have more pics tomorrow.
THEN it was off to an event for Doomsday Clock, the Watchmen, um, sequel by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. I am not allowed to talk about the story, but Geoff did, walking through all 30 pages of art to explain what was happening and why he was doing it. I have never been to a press event like this. R. Sikoryak needs to get Geoff into Carousel when this is all over.
With the Robert Kirkman presser Wednesday morning and then this, comics press events are getting more and more elaborate and focused and I think it’s a good thing. Check back at 7 pm tomorrow here for the six pages of art they released.
Also these press events are great places to catch up with your fellow journos! Although as one wag put it (perhaps a wag with the initials HM) comics press events are getting good just as comics journalists are vanishing.
Anyway, I can’t say that I’m in FAVOR of a Watchmen sequel unless it’s by Eleanor Davis and Olivier Schrauwen. Johns’ passion for the project is immese however; he knows it’s risky, but he also called it the most personal story he’s ever written. So, it’s happening, and if it has to happen at least let it happen over pancakes.
BTW I totally stole the above photo from Susana Polo of Daily Dot. I have a photo of me at the blast gates but its on Clark Bull’s phone.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES: Security is high at the show. The corner of 34th and 11th, normally easy to traverse once you get off the subway, is covered with stanchions and they are queueing people down to 33rd street, otherwise known as the MegaBus stop. They have metal detectors this year…I can’t remember if they had them last year, but the seurity lines can be long, so GET THERE EARLY. Don’t think you can just dash in to you panel 10 minutes beore even if you go in the Blue etrance.
I didn’t have a chance to actually see the show today, but now that this grueling 12 hour schedule is done tomorrow I’ll have more time to take more blurry photos.
And just to see who makes it to the end of a post, so you don’t have to ask me about it, I’ll be wearing a wrist brace today becuase I also managed to go into severe carpal tunnel distress about five minutes after I got to the Javits. I blame the Doritos.
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.