Yes it is the latest and lamest con report ever after hundreds of bloggers have already had their say. What can we say? We’re old and sick and we just couldn’t hack it. But there are a few points that no one has brought up(!) that we thought were still worth mentioning.
• CROWDS CAN BE CONTROLLED: As just about everyone has noted, the rioting and roaming death squads of last year were done away with this year, and people went about their business peacefully for the most part. The biggest problem seems to have been long waits in line outside in the cold, but next year’s move to April should fix that. True, Artists Alley was a miniature of last year’s show, crowded and slow moving. Ironically, there had been many worries that the crowd would not find its way to the off the beaten path Galleria space where the artists were located. Instead it was like what happened when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste: everything goes into the cap. Luckily, this problem is easily solved with next year’s floor layout reuniting eveyrone in one happy room.
• CROWDS DIDN’T SPEND THAT MUCH MONEY: I’ve read a lot of stories about NYCC, but I don’t think anyone has actually talked to the vendors who were there, and saleswise, it was a mixed bag. A few people were effusive about how much money they made, but otherwise it was all over the place, including some big exhibitors who depend on shows for a living. This reaction was widespread and covered both large and small companies. This will be the biggest problem moving forward: As the show doubles in size again next year prices for booths are going to go up, and if people aren’t going to make money, they are not going to exhibit. Artist Alley prices went up to $400 for early registrants, according to a commenter here. Many would say that if you can’t make $400 at a huge show like NYCC you shouldn’t exhibit, but this is still a nickel-and-dime flea market for lots of folks. With next year’s big floor we’ll probably see the giant booths from the toy, video and movie companies that go to other shows. It’s incumbent on the smaller retailers to get their sales pitch out, but the show needs to support the consumer/collector part of the show.
•THE OTHER PROBLEM THIS YEAR WAS COMMUNICATION AND THE WEBSITE: Reed really needs to improve the website. A single page where you could see all the panels, like every other convention does would be a good start. There were a lot of minor, annoying snafus this year: Several panels were canceled because none of the panelists showed up because they never knew they were on panels. AA exhibitors were given pro badges instead of exhibitor badges which meant they couldn’t get to their booths. The system for who gets a pro badge needs to be rethought. Etc etc etc. These were all relatively minor problems given the size of the venture, but they need to be addressed for next time.
•INDIES WERE GIVEN LITTLE ATTENTION: This is really my biggest disappointment. Without Fantagraphics and D&Q the whole “bookstore” vibe of the show is missing a big component of what has been driving the success of the graphic novel category for the last five years. More worryingly, guests from the indie field were treated like second class citizens compared to superhero grunts. In the short term this is great news for the MoCCA Festival — everyone will continue to set up there and make lots of dough at a show that is proven to target their demo. But if there was one show that had the potential besides San Diego to be a big tent happening, it was NYCC, and it looks like that won’t happen. Too bad.
•IF YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP DON’T GO TO THE SHOW: Really, if you feel sick just stay in bed until you feel better, then go to the show. On Sunday I made the mistake of dragging myself to the con to have lunch with a bunch of fabulous lady cartooners, only to find when I got there that I was sick to my stomach and missed out on lunch anyway. I actually found a big Anvil case behind the PW booth and lay on it for a little while, trying to catch up on the missed sleep. Of course by 3 o’clock I felt way better, but by then the damage was done. Anyway, as we all get older, we need that sleep. I was sick as a dog going into the show and gutted it out on sheer heart for most of it, but missed so many things… lunch with Carla Speed McNeil, breakfast with Wes Craven, the DC party. Likewise…
•HOMETOWN SHOWS ARE THE MOST GRUELING OF ALL. With so many people living in NYC, the nighttime events were spread out all over town, so it was an endurance test just to hit a few of them. Also, two nights in a row I came home to find cat puke where I didn’t want to find it. That never happens at the Hyatt.
•I’M SORRY IF I DIDN’T SAY HI: With my energy issues and multiples duties, I had to concentrate on getting the things done that had to be done and missed out on talking to a million people. But that’s how it is, I guess.
•I PAID A TERRIBLE PRICE AT THE SHOW: Dude, I lost one Batman glove. You know how when you buy nice cashmere or leather gloves you are bound to lose one in about five minutes? Well my Batman gloves cost $2 at the salida store, but I couldn’t lose them. Three winters they lasted, and got compliments from everyone from gay waiters to nerd homeboys. Three years is a long time to own a $2 pair of gloves but I will miss them forever and ever and ever. And of course I still have one to make me remember how much I loved them. Oh well.
•NYCC IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO LOOK FOR AN INTERNET DATE: Remember The Hey Lady, who went to the show hoping to score a cute nerd boy? It didn’t turn out so well.
As we’re waiting outside, I run into someone I actually know from another life. How exciting. For a second, I feel normal. I introduce him to the iFaboys just as some fans decide to talk up the web-famous boys once again. Ron introduces me to this one kid, and he says, “I know you. You’re the girl from Digg.”
I go completely red-faced. At this point, I’d pretty much given up my mission and was wishing I could put the whole thing behind me. “Uh, yeah.” So, there it was, I was recognized. I’m glad we got that out of the way. I mentioned the kid is young, right? Really young. Like, not-legal young.
This is turning out to be a horrible idea.
The bottom line: NYCC is here to stay and it is the #2 show in the nation. People love comics; people love cartoonists. The Nerds won out yet again.