Last week’s look back at the comics industry of 1992 got a LOT of comments. One of them was from Milton Griepp, the organizer of the all white, all male 1992 industry conference I looked back at.

Milton wrote to point me to his first ICv2 Conference in 2006, which was held as part of the very first New York Comic Con, which was then held in February.

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While many photos are missing from the listing, the lineup of this conference is quite different from 1992.

Milton Griepp, President, ICv2
Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly
Karen Berger — Vice-President / Executive Editor of Vertigo, DC Comics
Daniel Frank — Editorial Director, Pantheon Books
Katherine Kan — Librarian, Columnist, Brodart Co.
Denis Kitchen — Agent, Editor, Publisher, Denis Kitchen Publishing Co, Kitchen & Hansen Agency, Inc.
Terry Nantier — Publisher, NBM Publishing, Inc.
Mike Bailiff — Senior Vice President, ADV Films
Liza Coppola — Vice President, Viz Media
Al Kahn — CEO, 4Kids Entertainment, Inc.
Mike Kiley — Publisher, Tokyopop
Dallas Middaugh — Director of Manga, Del Rey Books
John O’Donnell — CEO, Central Park Media
Tomoko Suga — Senior Manager, Foreign Rights Department, Kodansha
Pat Kearney — Graphic Novels Site Merchandiser, Amazon.com
James Killen — Graphic Novel Buyer, Barnes and Noble
Jim Mortenson — Owner, Comix Revolution
Bill Schanes — Vice President of Purchasing, Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc.
David Webster — Graphic Novel Buyer, Midtown Comics
Jeannine Wiese — Graphic Novel Specialist, Ingram Book Company

The lineup includes five women,  one of them Asian, and three Black men. Not spectacular, but better than in 1992! (Note: When this piece ran in the Beat newsletter I incorectly stated that the conference had only two Black participants. In fact there were three: Calvin Reid, James Killen and David Webster.)

Manga, totally absent 14 years earlier, is now well represented, although you’ll note that today the players have completely changed, aside from Dallas Middaugh. And veteran publisher Terry Nantier of NBM, whose absence I noted in 1992, is now on the roster.

I remember this 2006 conference pretty clearly, as I covered it for both Publishers Weekly and The Beat. I would guess that around 100 comics professionals attended, and I don’t think most of them had ever heard directly from people at B&N, Amazon, and Ingram. It was an eye-opening session, as they say.

One of the programs was called “Graphic Novels–the New Literature?” and featured Karen Berger, Pantheon’s Dan Frank, librarian Kat Kan, Denis Kitchen (the lone holdover from 1992 aside from Griepp), and Nantier. All are still active in the industry. And I even have a photo from it, above!

Fourteen years after that panel, we really don’t need that question mark in the title.

Anyway, respects to Milton for reflecting the more diverse comics industry that had developed in the interim, something he continues to do to this day. And I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that it’s this very diversity that has helped the comics industry grow to be a $1 billion a year business.

BTW, I have shockingly few photos from the first NYCC in 2006, all bad, but here are a couple more.

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A “State of the Industry” panel, moderated by Calvin Reid, with Diamond’s Bill Schanes, late Archie publisher Michael Silberkleit, DC’s Paul Levitz, TokyoPop’s Stuart Levy, and Marvel’s Joe Quesada.

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A blurry view of the concourse, not nearly as crowded as it is now, but enough to get the scanty single hall that was used for exhibits closed down. It was all bigger and bigger from then on! For those who weren’t around in 2006, the first NYCC famously got so crowded on Saturday afternoon that the exhibit hall was shut down for hours. and the state police had to be called in, leading to a few “state troopers meet storm troopers” headlines.

Ah those were the days.

(An earlier version of this appeared in the Comics Beat Newsletter. ) 

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