By Ruth Johnson
The show floor at New York Comic Con was so crammed with goodies and people that it was hard to see it all…or, if you have an aversion to crowds, any of it. I have that aversion, and I might have a little PTSD after this event (not a joke, very serious), but I still tried to see as much as I could, within reason. The crowds made it difficult, though. But here, to the best of my ability, is my second recap. It will cover the remainder of the con — my first coverage of the show floor was just my first day, and I spent the majority of the day on the show floor. The rest of the weekend I spent running to panels, especially at the Hammerstein Ballroom, which is a good four or five blocks away from Javits.
The first thing I’d like to feature is just how unorganized it felt, until you realized that sections of it were, in fact, organized. The booksellers and publishers had their own section, and that was fairly well laid out, with plenty of room to move around and look at the books that were being sold. The comics companies and comic sellers, oddly — for a convention very much focused on comics — seemed much more crowded space-wise, but maybe that speaks to the dedication of the comics fans. I found the Midtown Comics booth to be totally inaccessible, always packed to the gills. In a lot of ways, it was not unlike the store itself in Times Square during its busiest times (usually the holidays).
However, book publishers like HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, TOR and Penguin Random House were well attended, despite the fact that they had more space in their areas. One of them even had, to my pleasant surprise, a plush carpet, which was a nice release from the hard show floor. All the publishers were offering pretty good deals by Sunday, too, with lots of BOGO free deals or the chance to get an advanced copy with any book purchase.
I wanted to get a copy of Leviathan Wakes, the first book in The Expanse series. After seeing the Season 4 premiere at The Expanse panel, I was interested in learning more about the hard sci-fi series. However, they were all sold out of the first five books in the series, with only the 6th and 7th books left, which was kind of disappointing. But it was nearly the end of the con, and with the excitement surrounding The Expanse at Saturday’s panel, I suppose I shouldn’t be totally surprised.
There was a cute Disney Pins booth, which was surprisingly massive, and included some exclusive and out-of-print pins from the Disney Parks. I was drawn to an “Elevator Operator” pin from Disney’s Tower of Terror ride, one of my favorites for its theming, if not the actual ride. I fully intended to go back and buy one, but never found the booth again after that. That’s how much of a maze the show floor was. As this is my first NYCC, I don’t know if every year is always maze-like, but this year certainly was. In comparison to one of my favorite cons, Rooster Teeth Expo (or RTX), NYCC feels more packed than RTX, even though they’re both very well attended conventions. It was interesting to see the difference.
A lot of very good if obscure cosplays were always catching my eye, even if it was mildly infuriating how many people clogged up the various levels of the convention floor for sudden photo ops. NYCC staff had specifically designed signs saying, essentially, please do not stop in the middle of the show floor to take cosplay photos. That guideline wasn’t followed. However, I saw the following cool cosplays: a Mr. Rogers carrying Steve Rogers’s shield; Anastasia from the 1997 animated movie of the same name; Zoya the Destroyer from Netflix’s GLOW; lots of RWBY characters; Bob Ross; and even some Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan officers! I took no photos, mainly complimenting the cosplayers, not wanting to clog the already clogged halls.
The artist alley this year was…varied in how many space certain aisles got over others. I met some great artists, though, who were good natured by the whole thing, even offering to sign pieces and do little doodles for those who purchased pieces. There were two pieces I couldn’t pass up—one of Peter Parker and little Morgan Stark sharing cheeseburgers, just like Tony Stark would’ve wanted, and another very sad Morgan Stark piece. Clearly, I like sadness, as I said to a friend I messaged after I found the pieces. The art was by the outstanding Lord Mesa: check out his stuff on Instagram and Twitter!
There were a lot of great artists this year at NYCC, with some beautiful work—it’s a pity, personally, for me, that I wasn’t able to get through the crowds more often to see some of the excellent work on display. Beloved artist Jen Bartel had an awesome piece I wasn’t able to get back to: Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel telling men not to ask her to smile.
NYCC’s show floor and artist alley may have been a mixed bag because of the size of the crowds, but certainly not because of the quality of what was being shown off and sold. The panels were my favorite part, though—there’s nothing like being in a room full of fellow excited fans ready for an hour or more of thrills and chills.
New York Comic Con returns to the Javits Center and other venues October 8-11, 2020. I hope to see you there, especially if you’ve never been before.