PW’s annual New York Comic Con issue is online, and in an exhaustive main story Rich Shivener details the good the bad and the I’m going to cry. We all knew that losing the airy clime of the Javits North Hall for Artist Alley was going to hurt, but according to show runner Mike Armstrong, the new space won’t be ready until 2021! Although they’ll be spreading panels out over the local neighborhood and the new Hudson Yards construction project over the next four years, it’s still painful.
And the new Artist Alley – which I’ve been told will be in Hall E – sounds pretty crowded:
“There’s a wrench thrown in the works every once in a while,” says Armstrong, describing construction prompting the relocation of Artist Alley, a popular space where individual artists exhibit at the show. ReedPop is working around a construction project that will close and demolish Javits North, a separate 80,000-sq.-ft. structure abutting the north end of Javits, where Artist Alley used to be held each year.
This year, Artist Alley will move to a downstairs hall within the Javits Center proper, which is much smaller, at about 45,000 sq. ft., and will have 50–75 tables fewer than in years past. ReedPop accepted 422 creators for the Artist Alley this year, as opposed to 460 in 2016, Rogers says.
To save you from doing the math, in the old space, each table had an average of 173 sq. ft, while in the new one they’ll have a mere 106 sq. ft. To be clear, this isn’t an actual metric – the tables will be the same size, but the aisles and buffer space will be way, way smaller. Back to the crowded, neurotic corridors we go. But several artists interviewed in the piece agree that being close to “the action” is a good idea.
One of the most anticipated events will be the relaunch of Milestone Media, the pioneering African-American–owned superhero comics publisher originally founded in the early 1990s by Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, Derek Dingle, and the late Dwayne McDuffie, which shut down operations in 1997. Lee says the line will be “unveiled” at NYCC this year as part of a panel that will include Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Kirkman is featuring Milestone’s pioneering line of minority superhero series—among them Static Shock, Icon, Hardware, and Blood Syndicate—in a segment of The Secret History of Comics, a documentary on comics history he has produced for AMC that will debut in November. The episode will be previewed during the panel. And look for appearances by Cowan, Reggie Hudlin, Kirkman, and Greg Pak.
Despite the loss of Artist Alley, New York Comic Con is spreading out, according to the piece. Hudson Mercantile will see a bunch of separately ticketed but top level talks, like Jason Reynolds (Ghost) and Ta-Nehisi Coates in conversation. John Leguizamo and Robert Kirkman are also on tap.
NYCC is what it is – and it’s often exhausting and panic attack inducing. But nearly 200K people go to have a good time, too. See you in the scrum.
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.