§ Paul Levitz:
The best part of the con, as always, was simply hanging in the DC booth and walking the halls, talking to old friends from the 95 year old Joe Simon to the 9 year old Nick Pappas Jr., and hearing how people feel about the work I’ve done or that DC’s doing today. Very few people have the good luck to keep in touch with as many folks as I’ve had the privilege to have in my diverse professional life, and cons serve me as a sort of perpetual high school reunion: who’s doing what, how life’s treating people, and how people feel my team’s treating them. We had more people at DC’s main talent party than were working in the entire comic book business when I started, and it’s incredible to hear about all the projects in motion either with us or elsewhere in the field. We got some good press on some of our announcements (I’m still checking the web to find out what we broke at the show—the gang doesn’t always tell me), and I met some of our newer contributors and touched base with some of the veterans.
I had no trouble getting in, at any time. No wait whatsoever. There was a very healthy mix of genders, and a solid diversity of race. There was no more odor than I’d expect from a ton of people stuffed into a single space. There were a lot of young people of obviously varied interests, although you’d also spot the occasional 50+ year old wearing a Yancy Street Gang sweatshirt. There was not much in the way of sensory overload. I wouldn’t call it cramped, but the show floor was a bit smaller than I’d expected. I’ve never been to San Diego, which is the gold standard for this type of show, but I kept hearing about how New York was the new 2nd place, so maybe my expectations were out of whack. The presence of non-comics media was obvious, but not overbearing; it was clearly a comics show, with some video game and movie/television stuff tossed in. I’d say manga alone wasn’t a big presence, but ‘overall J-culture’ definitely was. Neko hats were fucking huge.
In a final note, as some exhibitor’s in our vicinity learned because I filed a police report: a mysterious fellow exhibitor stole a 72″ x 30″ white table from our booth during set-up (I had borrowed it from a friend’s construction site on the UES).
Juggling a booth and four young children for three days was hard enough, but then to have another exhibitor take our table was really disappointing. The comics industry is small, so if you took the table (or know who did), thinking that Javits provides them (they don’t) kindly replace it and I will cancel the police report. Thank you.
The Sunday “Kids’ Day” outreach effort seemed to pay off with lots of parents taking their kids to the show. But, as a Nickelodeon co-worker pointed out, there still wasn’t much for kids to actually do (besides a few panels and workshops), and the convention floor is too disorganized and intimidating. She did not feel comfortable navigating past booths of horror, mutilation, and Playboy models with her daughter. She gave up, before finding me at The Comics Bakery booth, and was completely surprised when I told her there was a booth called “Kids Love Comics” deep within the small press area. But that’s an ongoing issue that will probably always plague any big convention that wants to cater to both families and hardcore genre fans. Perhaps they could organize the layout by theme?
*Overall I have to say this is the best con experience I ever had. It was intense and busy but still low key. It didn’t feel like a circus. There wasn’t an overwhelming rush of indifferent or rude con goers who had no idea what we are and what we were doing, like we’d get at San Diego. There was the one who of course hated everything we were doing but I thankfully wasn’t there when he stopped by. Had some productive meetings. Met a lot of new talent I wouldn’t have met before and who I’m actually eager to hire. It’s the happy medium I wish San Diego settled for, though I fear as the NYCC grows in stature it’ll aim to be just as large as San Diego with far less convention space. I can see a day when NYCC grows to the point it’s split, perhaps between the Javits and Madison Square Garden or the Manhattan Center since they’re all within five blocks of each other on 34th St.
§ MK Reed
On Saturday afternoon at Comic-Con the crowd was growing so vast outside the room where the Venture Brothers panel was to take place that my manager said “This is gonna end up like the Who in Cincinnati.” But only spirits were crushed: even after a last-minute upgrade to a larger auditorium many fans still ended up being turned away. Enough. Next year we’re playing Shea.
§ Finally FACTS: a list of the licensing announcements by company