The terrible news is that I’ve arrived in New York, and have been stumbling around your lovely American sidewalks for just over a day now. The good news is that I’ll be writing about my experiences around the city and in the convention hall right here on The Beat! This is also terrible news for some of you, meaning you just got a double-dose of terrible news to start off your morning. Bad luck!
– Wednesday may not have struck you as an actual day for New York Comic-Con – and it wasn’t. The convention itself doesn’t start until Friday. But Wednesday DID see the ICv2 Conference take place in the far corner of the convention hall, on the lowest floor somewhere beneath a large Pete Holmes poster. And it turned in quite the crowd – Heidi MacDonald and Calvin Reid were there of course, as the conference was sponsored by The Beat and Publishers’ Weekly. Torsten Adair also showed up, all 9 foot of him.
– The conference split into four parts – an introductory talk, and three subsequent panels. Heidi or Torsten will probably be reporting on most of this, because it was about direct markets and sales and distribution and all kinds of words which don’t make sequential sense to me. So instead I’ll let you know that there were cookies during the interval! Cookies! The last time I went to a conference, we got half a Tesco quiche and grapefruit juice.
– You know what’s TERRIBLE? Grapefruit juice. It’s like drinking concentrated fire, designed to flow through your entire body and poison every organ through direct contact. Why do people drink grapefruit juice? WHY
– Simon Fraser, Jamal Igle, FirstSecond’s Callista Brill, ComiXology’s John Roberts and Diamond’s Dan Manser had a panel talk called ‘From Creator to Consumer’, in which the panellists talked about how creators are getting their work seen and distributed. Igle, whose series Molly Danger has been an internet-raised success story over the last few years, spoke at length about building an audience, keeping them, and then getting them interested in buying the comics.
– There was a general agreement that having work up online for free hasn’t really affected sales of the subsequent print comics. Fraser noted that several of his free comics (hosted on act-i-vate) showed up on torrent websites for some reason, but it didn’t seem to be having any negative affect upon his sales.
– The rise of ‘insider knowledge’ of the creative process is starting to tell, the panellists said. Now readers can follow projects from start to finish – and thanks to social media/projects like Kickstarter, see the creative process behind them all – there’s a greater interest in creators in relation to the product they make. This has helped self-publishers and small press – it’s also caused problems as this openness spreads to major publishers, like DC, whose editorial process is bumpier and more brutal.
– Anyway, after the ICv2 Conference I went off to Midtown Comics, to see what comic shops are like in the US. Luckily I have a well-loved copy of Spider-Man 2 for the Gamecube, meaning I have the rough map of New York already stuck in my head at all times. Unlike the game, Midtown Comics is on the second floor rather than the first, and if you head up the stairs you’ll find a HUGE range of comics around. The comics are arranged in a number of intriguing and mysterious ways, which I didn’t understand at all.
– Still managed to pick up copies of Hoax Hunters, Half Past Danger, and Lil Gotham though, so all was well.
– If you were wondering what happened to Orlando Bloom? He’s apparently made it to Broadway! So that’s where he vanished to.
– Then it was over to Shake Shack (the original one, in Madison Square Park), as was recommended to me by Brett White. Once again I had no understanding of what was going on, but luckily Dan Slott appeared and joined the queue somewhere behind me. He was joined by a friend, who was in a similar position to me, so Dan Slott explained what you should buy at a Shake Shack and how it works.
Naturally I listened in on the conversation like a creep, because I guess that’s what I am nowadays, and subsequently followed his instructions to the letter. Erm, sorry about that, Mr Slott.
– They were good instructions! The burgers at Shake Shack are faaaaaaantastic.
– This was followed by a quick trip up the Empire State Building, before walking home. On the way home, what happened? Well, there was a SHAKIRA CONCERT HAPPENING.
Right there in the middle of a park, for no apparent reason! Is this the sort of thing which happens all the time in America? People didn’t seem fazed by the fact that one of the most famous women in the world was bending herself over double and singing songs at them.
– And that was Wednesday! If I manage to remain standing over this weekend, hopefully I’ll be bringing you a con report every morning from here onwards.