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[Photo by John Nee]

Don’t laugh: it was magical.

NYCC was magical. A lot of it had to do with the weather, which was completely utterly magical. A full moon, dry crisp air, flowers in bloom. Sparkling lights, a bracing breeze that promised adventure. Sunlight that promised laughter. Yesterday morning as I walked to catch a cab, apple blossoms were falling down like a warm, spring snow…it’s a magical time of year in New York City, and New York Comic-Con managed to ride the crest of the wave.

We’re working on our own wrap-up report, and catching up on 3,492 blog postings about the show. For now some of the most astute observations from other observers.

Valerie really nails the big movement in youth culture now.

If the big theme of San Diego Comic Con last year was regarding its “Hollywoodification,” this year it must have been its heavy Japanese/youth culture influence.
The biggest thing that struck me about this convention was the heavy manga/Japanese culture presence, and how successful it was. I remember seeing this gigantic line bisect the convention floor, and wondering who everybody was waiting for. Neil Gaiman? Jim Lee? Ron Perlman?

No, they were waiting for Japanese pop singer T.M. Revolution. A good portion of those in line were Japanese, but certainly not all.

This DESPITE there not even being a particularly big manga presence at the show. TPop, CMX and Yen were there, but Viz had only a lounge on the floor — although plenty of big announcements and movie screenings. No matter — there were cosplayers EVERYWHERE, and the Japanese influence is bigger and wider than it has ever been. This is the mainstream.

But there were other voices as well, Chris Mautner of [email protected] reports:

I did notice a large percentage of what I would term the “Old School” or “Classic Collector” fan at the show. These were the people (usually middle aged or older, though not always) eager to have get a few words with Mort Walker or Jim Sterenko, or stop by the Classic Comics Pressbooth and gush about how much they love Leonard Starr and not so much concerned about the Secret Invasion blah de blah. There was apparently a long line for Mark Evanier’s signing of his new Kirby book, for example. Oh, by the way, Classic Comics Press is planning on publishing the daily run of Roy Crane’s Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy, which is awesome news.

Tom Spurgeon makes a mockery of my own scrambled mental state with no less then 50 cogent observations on the show. I find Tom’s thought particular interesting since he has (rightly) been skeptical of some of the support for the show despite the disasters that befell the first year. His report is mostly positive, but it didn’t have to be. This show was relatively big disaster free although there were plenty of small ones.

Indeed, the show as a gestalt seemed to overwhelm the components. I’m not entirely sure what the big story of the con was, or even the big announcements. The news headlines on the mini sites announce panels, not what was said on the panels. If there was one big log-line for the show — and I heard this from ALL levels of the industry — it’s that comics themselves were the draw. The movie stuff was important but it didn’t overwhelm the rest of the show. I heard scattered accounts of what did well and what didn’t — a lot of people made money BUT booth costs were very high. But there were crowds, and fans and buyers and costumes for ALL kinds of material.

After my side trip to Bucks County, PA on Saturday I arrived back at Penn Station around 7:30 just as the show had let out. The train station was full of people wearing con badges, wearing costumes. As we went out on the street there were even more con related people. The Tick Tock diner was chock full of people from the show.

For the first time ever in New York, you got some of that San Diego feeling where the con takes over the town and you can run into anyone on the street. Obviously, New York is bigger than any convention, bigger than any concert, bigger than the Pope, bigger than dirt, really. But this show did a good job of ranging from the Lower East Side to Midtown to Hell’s Kitchen. It really was a New York show. And it was about comics, first and foremost.

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I’ll leave you for now with this shot of JG Jones and Grant Morrison, surely the best dressed big comics event creative team.


  1. Went over to Daisy Mae’s BBQ on 11th Ave and 46th on Sunday and was surprised to see not very many con people there. It was all very relaxed, a mostly out-of-town crowd of carnivores. I wish restaurants in that area would make a concentrated effort to attract con patrons (like the burlesque shows) because decent, reasonably priced dining establishents near the Javit seem few and far between. Must recommend Fey Da Chinese Bakery on 34th and 8th for wonderfully sweet buns and rice carryouts- they kept me alive the whole weekend!

  2. New York also offers the ability for the con to be almost a week-long event at this point, in relative terms. From the Drink and Draw Aqua Leung event last Tuesday, a signing tonight at Jim Hanley’s, and some kind of event my cough-syrup soaked mind won’t recall at present, that’s a full 8 days of comics related throw-down to be had just due to the number of venues available peripheral to the con.

  3. It’s totally true — there was a definite yet hard-to-define positive energy all over that convention center all weekend and everyone I know felt really inspired. I think it’s just a great year for comics.

  4. The diversity was incredible! NYCC 2006 surprised me when they had King Features Syndicate on the floor. (Comicstrip and Comicbook cultures rarely mix.) They’ve continued this strategy, although the only thing missing was the fashion contingent. Almost every other aspect of comics was here: publishers of all sorts, talent from across the historical timeline, diverse media, and all sorts of comicbook fans (some wearing multiple hats, like myself).

    There were many notable absences …Scholastic, Gemstone Publishing… but also some notable attendees, like Books of Wonder! (A children’s bookstore, at a comic-con!)

    There is certainly room for improvement (keep hoping some of the DNA from BookExpo will transfer over), but the show was fantastic!

  5. Wow. I was there all three days (Sunday until closing) and we didn’t bump into each other once. This was a huge con and a vast improvement over previous years. There’s more than a few people who I didn’t see until the last day who had also been there all three days. It was crazy.

  6. Well, I missed this year’s con due to car trouble, but I made it to last year’s NYCC. After reading news of the show, I feel I don’t ever really need to make the trek to San Diego now (I live in Massachusetts).

  7. Mike, ever since I was a wee lad, I’ve wanted to go to San Diego but never had the time nor the funds. This weekend, I told this to one artist who replied, “If you’ve got this con here, why bother going out there?”

  8. I really enjoyed this year’s show. I have already booked a hotel room for 2009. The Gild Hall hotel is going to be a neat high end hotel by next year’s con complete with a Todd English restaurant.

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