In what seems to be an annual tradition, Twitter was ablaze this week with a flurry of tweets from artists lamenting being denied tables in Artist’s Alley at New York Comic Con. It’s no secret that demand far outweighs supply when it comes to NYCC Artist Alley tables. And this is especially true ever since the Javits Center reconstruction began.
Another reason for the lack of available tables is that while NY Anime Fest is returning to being a part of NYCC again this year, there will be no separate Anime Fest Artist Alley. The NYCC Artist Alley will house both artists targeting NYCC con-goers and Anime Fest attendees.
It shouldn’t be surprising that when scrolling through the list of denied artists, many unfamiliar names present themselves. NYCC thrives on booking top names, and sadly that pushes others to the sidelines. Unfortunately for those trying to break into the industry and make a name for themselves, the outsized demand for tables has left them out in the cold. But it’s not just the unknown and up-and-coming who are being denied, as established professional comics creators with a slew of industry credits were denied as well.
One particular standout is Ryan Dunlavey, a longtime NYCC Artist Alley presence. In his tweet, Mr. Dunlavey points out that he tabled at NYCC every year but one since 2006. It seems jarring that a longtime NYCC Artist Alley resident and local New Yorker with a bevy of professional credits would be denied.
For the first time ever I didn't get into NYCC's artist alley.
It's my home town show and I've had a table there every year since 2006, (except 2018 due to a family commitment)
I mean, it's totally fine, I'll probably just table with @fredvanlente but it just feels weird.
— Ryan Dunlavey (@RyanDunlavey) May 29, 2019
Some creators are brainstorming possible solutions, like MAD Magazine writer Matt Cohen. The 2019 Eisner nominee suggested people use the hashtag #LetsShareATableNYCC to get together, help each other out, and defray costs in the process.
I'm seeing a lot of people tweeting about not getting a table at #NYCC's Artist Alley. If you have a table you want to share or if you're looking for someone to share with you, use the hashtag #LetsShareATableNYCC.
(I'm not going–I'm just putting it out there in case it helps.)
— Matt Cohen (@mattcohen2) May 29, 2019
Sadly, searching that hashtag on Twitter only brings up a couple of tweets from Mr. Cohen, but hopefully his idea catches on.
I don’t think anyone can argue against the notion that Artist Alley coordinator Mike Negin and his staff care for Artist Alley and its residents. Any time I’ve seen Mr. Negin at NYCC, he was walking Artist Alley and checking in with creators tabling there. I don’t know of a comics creator who has ever said anything bad about Mr. Negin. I attempted to reach out to Mr. Negin for a comment for this article, but received no reply.
And it’s not just Artist’s Alley. Legitimate industry professionals found denial letters in their inboxes for NYCC Pro badges. One of those was Deadpool The Duck writer Stuart Moore. He posted about it on Twitter.
Huh! I got turned down for a #NYCC pro badge.
— Stuart Moore (@stuartmoore1) May 4, 2019
Mr. Moore appealed the decision and it was quickly reversed.
I was going to email them on Monday but based on some other people's experience, I sent them a note today. Twelve minutes later, this epic saga reached its Endgame. pic.twitter.com/y2fcrL0ZMy
— Stuart Moore (@stuartmoore1) May 5, 2019
NYCC is one of the two biggest comic book and pop culture conventions in the country. It is easily the biggest comic convention east of the Mississippi. The Artist Alley table denials seem to come from a perfect storm of three things: less space due to construction, high demand, and available Javits Center floor space being allocated to huge corporate vendors (think Chevy, Geico) as opposed to Artist’s Alley. I miss the halcyon days of Artist Alley’s location in the airplane hangar-esque North Pavilion. Hopefully NYCC can house a bigger Artist’s Alley than we’ve seen in the past few years once Javits Center reconstruction is complete.