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.
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.

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.

Mr. Moore appealed the decision and it was quickly reversed.

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.


  1. Any updates on when the construction will be finished? Will it be in time for the 2020 or 2021 NYCC? Because I’ve been giving that con a wide berth until it’s completed.

  2. The fact you said that both nycc & anime can get to the artist alley sounds like it’s NOT going to be at javits but the new location anime is at nearby on the first floor as that’s the ONLY area that comes to mind both passes can get access.

  3. I heard that part of the table shortage is due to the FBI reserving some as part of a sting operation to capture anime fans.

  4. Actually it can’t be on the 1st floor at Anime since that’s a free area. But the part you said about both anime and Nycc artist alley being together means there has to be a place where both pass holders can get in. I’m not seeing the nycc pass site say anything about it working for anime enterance. Anime had a small artist alley last year. It was around 4 short asles.

  5. What I think would be great is if comics professionals committed primarily to conventions that exist solely to promote comics over celebrities or other pop culture obsessions. Imagine if major publishers set up at and made major announcements during a convention that isn’t pumping out movie and video game news and isn’t obsessed with toy exclusives and celebrities so that their newsworthy items actually get news coverage that doesn’t fall off the main page of a website an hour later. There’s a convention that fits that bill this month, actually.
    Sorry you didn’t get into NYCC, folks. Maybe you oughta dance with the one that brung ya instead.

  6. Just saw this article and I shouldn’t comment but here goes:
    Sinjin: Anyone that thinks NYCC doesn’t have a comic focus has probably never actually been to the show or just isn’t paying attention. Yes, the celebs and costumes and big media grab all the hype and headlines and attention, but comics are there in force, the publishers do make major announcements there and the comics panels are always packed. Comics are a HUGE part of NYCC, it’s just not the only part or the one that gets a sexy sound bite on the evening news. Having a table there and networking with other pros at that show, specifically, has become a cornerstone of my career. I’ve most of my collaborators and clients from the last decade through that show.
    The positive side of me not getting a table for NYCC 2019 is that a lot of creators who are earlier in their careers than I am DID get tables for the first time – it’s going to be a big boost to their career and I’m really happy for them. Lucky for me my creative partner Fred Van Lente did get a table, so I’m not shut out entirely, I’ll just be sharing space with him.

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