As happens every year, Mike Armstrong, Event Director for New York Comic Con, along with selected staff, stood in front of a panel, and listened to attendees give kudos, complaints, and other suggestions about this year’s show.
Joining him up front:
Kristina Rogers, Event Manager
Fallon Prinzivalli, Senior Marketing Manager
James McNerney, Content Manager
(Lance Armstrong was excused, due to the recent birth of his second daughter.)
Attendees were encouraged to give their name and note how many years they had attended NYCC. The shortest stated period? Three years. Quite a few, myself included, had attended all thirteen shows.
First, the big news:
Over the entire “campus” of events during New York Comic Con, estimated attendance was a quarter-of-a-million people, roughly a ten percent increase over last year’s 227,000 attendees.
18,000 tickets were sold for the Anime Fest in its first year. (There was a parallel Q&A panel at AF, and it would be interesting to know what were the topics of discussion.)
In answer to a later question about the recent ruling in favor of San Diego Comic–Con, Mike Armstrong stated that New York Comic Con’s name will remain unchanged.
In no particular order:
While attendees understand it brings a more diverse audience and that space is limited, long-time attendees would like to see the return of a multi-day ticket, perhaps awarded by lottery.
Bathrooms were a problem, as Javits was not originally designed for large consumer shows. Women noted it was a 20-minute wait, and that it impacted on female attendees’ ability to attend panels. While suggestions were made, including temporary switching of mens’ rooms, it should be noted that I experienced about a five-to-ten-minute wait to use the restroom. Many embraced the idea that bathroom trailers be rented to supplement the extra demand.
It was also recommended that signage be placed in the restrooms discouraging cosplayers from using them for changing. (There was a changing area near the Cosplay stage on the fourth floor.)
The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
The Walking Dead event was the last of the day, and there was some camping going on. ReedPop agreed that it might be feasible to clear the theater before that event, as it is the last of the day.
Food options are a concern, in that it is overpriced, and not very healthy. Some attendees sneaked food inside.
Water bottles were acceptable at MSG, but this was not well publicized.
Could sign language interpreters supplement the Main Stage events. ReedPop’s policy is that any request for any panel would be accommodated with prior notice.
There was some grumbling at the media events, when attendees with medical badges were split from the waiting line, and entourages of friends would follow. The official policy is that each badge holder may have one companion.
New York Comic Con occurs during the Jewish High Holy Days, limiting some from attending. Mike Armstrong noted that it is difficult to schedule dates for the venue, and that they have reserved dates for the next five years.
How are panels chosen? Why didn’t mine get selected if it was well-attended the last time? Approximately 900 proposals are submitted each year. Of those, about 150-200 are selected.
There were multiple complaints about customer service and general communication.
Anime Fest was announced after NYCC presales, and some attendees had to pay an additional fee for the Anime Fest.
Communication was good via social media, but some don’t access that, and some information was not broadcast via email.
Family Day, and Families
Strollers are a bane for normal attendees. NYCC does have a requirement that all strollers must be of the “umbrella” variety (the basic one-seater). Better notices will be sent.
The family room, sponsored by Honey Nut Cheerios, could use better publicity. ReedPop will create a family guide for New York Comic Con.
Aside from those scheduled at the Anime Fest, there were no official meet-ups this year. This was a result of the move of autographing to 1E, with studio autographing being moved to nearby meeting rooms, which displaced the meet-ups.
Major programming was duplicated at both NYCC and AF. NYCC will continue to host anime events and programming. Mike Armstrong noted that this is the first year for the event, and that corrections will be made as the show grows.
This was a more intimate setting for major stars. Unfortunately, NYCC partnered with another company to schedule the guests, and that news was posted a few days before NYCC commenced. It was also noted that it is difficult to schedule guests that people would pay an additional fee to meet.
The acquisition of Funko exclusives at NYCC has gotten so competitive and compulsive that unlucky attendees will harass those in line, to make straw purchases.
There were long autographing lines in both Artist Alley and on the show floor, blocking aisles and other booths. Mike Armstrong noted that ReedPop tried to encourage exhibitors to use their virtual queuing system, but few did.