The comics world is girding up its collective loins for next week’s New York Comic Con, and here’s a quick peek at what’s new and just how hellish* it will be.
Hellish? Okay we all love NYCC, but it is crowded, and the Javits sucks. Let’s get that out of the way.
Oh also, protip: the NYCC website can be a bit hard to navigate but the sitemap is actually pretty helpful!
• Newsarama scored an interview with event director Mike Armstrong and he revealed that 250,000 souls are expected to attend, up from 227,000 last year. Where will they all go? Well there are many outside venues to soak them up, see below. But recall that ReeedPOP counts a ticket as a person, so it may not be the horde this seems. Also:
Armstrong: We’ve really spent a lot of time and money focused on technology this year. It might be hidden to some fans, but a lot of work goes into the features that exist within your badge. We’re continuing to test some virtual queuing with exhibitors so that we could keep people out of lines as much as possible. We’re also using that to help facilitate enhanced fan experiences and exclusive content. We’ve also launched the Studio @ NYCC this year, which features a selection of workshops, master classes and conversations with some talent that might not normally participate at NYCC. There’s a whole lot of great stuff that’s open to ticket holders and non-ticket holders.
• PW also had a well rounded preview of the event. Among the big imporant things: Artist Alley will be bigger! It is moving to Hall B, instead of being crammed into Hall E which was very very very crowded last year. Hall B is bit more spacious but people will most likely still have to stand in line for the bathroom.
• Oh no Comixology is sponsoring Artist Alley!!! I guess they are trying to destroy Marvel, DC and everyone else and not just small presses.
• You might be able to see the show floor below:
A big presence for She-Ra! But my attention is riveted firmly on booth #166 Java Monster – energy drinks? Will there be giveaways? I’m aiming to find out. Also 5 Hour Energy at booth #551. So many energy drinks! You will need them all.
Okay now those offsites!!
• The biggest offsite is a separate show, the unwieldily named ANIME FEST @ NYCC X ANIME EXPO, a separate anime/manga event held in conjunction with Anime Expo. It’s a bit of a con war with the one year old Anime NYC, which will be held again in November at the Javits. Anime Fest will be held at Pier 94, home of Special Edition a few times, and a hike up the westside highway. This is a separately ticketed event. Tickets are cheaper than NYCC but one doesn’t get you into the other although if you have a NYCC badge you can get a discount for Thursday. However Anime Fest has a whole track of programming, guests and more.
• Once again a full day of programming will be held Thursday at the main branch of the NY Public Library at 42nd Street. There is a HUGE emphasis on diversity programming this time out, but the whole slate is really excellent! I would love to attend all of these panels. It isn’t really spelled out, but it appears you will need an NYCC badge to attend.
• NYCC Now! is a ongoing series of events that are nerd-centric. A few signings before the show this time out.
• And this year The Studio @ NYCC is the latest version of separate, exclusive offsites. These are all events that
require purchase of a separate ticket, well now it seems SOME require a separate ticket and some a regular NYCC badge will get you into. They are all high end events including Travis McElroy, Raina Telgemeier, Alex Ross and so on. These events will be held at Shop Studios at 528 W 39th St.
• HONEY NUT CHEERIOS FAMILY HQ – ROOM 1C02 – not entirely sure what this is, but you will be able to meet Buzz the Bee there.
• Slebs – NYCC has a lot of signings and nerdlebrities, but they never seem to create as much buzz as at some other shows, I guess because of the general hub bub. That said there are a lot of signings and autographs this year including Jason Momoa, wrestlers, Dr. Whos and so on.
• Artist Alley – will be huge and amazing as usual. The NYCC site includes a gallery of prints and comics available in AA, so make your shopping lists.
• The Harvey Awards – but that will get a separate post I’m sure. But it is invite only at this point.
• Looking at programming, a lot of it is devoted to topics regarding queer, POC and other often marginalized groups, which is awesome. Also many many streaming services. And TV. It’s actually pretty tight, but since Hall A is the only area devoted to panels there are not as many this time out. Big entertainment panels will once again be held at the Hammerstein and MSG theater, so people will be streaming up and down 34th Street once again.
• And so on. I hear Torsten is working on his detailed instructions so be on the look out for that in the next day or so.
• I’m sure Torsten will cover it, but a reminder that the 7 subway stop that is very convenient for getting to the Javits also includes a very, very long and steep escalator and diagonal elevators. These can cause dizziness even for the able-bodied, but if you have vertigo you’d be better off taking the 34th Street crosstown bus. Not kidding. One year the escalator broke and people had to walk down and I saw someone having a panic attack in the middle.
• NYCC – a true adventure!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.