This weekend’s New York Comic Con isn’t all about capes and tights and summer movies. Far from it: The programming is refreshingly diverse, with plenty of panels and events geared toward manga and anime fans, educators and librarians, children, aspiring creators and others.
I won’t be in attendance, unfortunately. But throughout the day I’ll spotlight some of the programming I’d probably check out if I were at the Javits Center.
First up, what those fans of anime and manga should check out:
1. Find out what the publishers have planned: Most of the major U.S. manga publishers have a presence at Comic Con, including panels that spotlight new acquisitions and their releases for the rest of this year and beyond: Viz Media (11 a.m. Saturday); Del Rey Manga (noon Saturday); Yen Press (1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday); Digital Manga Publishing (3 p.m. Saturday); CMX (7 p.m. Saturday); and Tokyopop (2 p.m. Sunday).
Also, “nouvelle manga” publisher Fanfare/Ponent Mon is making a rare U.S. appearance as an exhibitor, with new titles in tow.
Fans of Marvel’s X-titles may want to swing by the Del Rey panel, because the publisher will reveal the final character designs for the X-Men and Wolverine manga.
If you’re extra sneaky, or charming, you might make your way into Friday’s press-only event showcasing Ultimo, the new collaboration by Stan Lee and Shaman King creator Hiroyuki Takei for Shueisha’s Jump SQ.II spin-off magazine. Viz Media promises to announce “exciting news” about the title. If I were a betting man, I’d wager the publisher has licensed the manga for release in North America.
2. Check the pulse of the industry: The programming schedule includes several panels devoted to retailing and publishing: “State of the Manga Industry” (1 p.m. Friday); “Mobile Comics and Manga” (2 p.m. Friday); “Emerging Trends in Manga Retailing” (3 p.m. Friday); “Beyond Shounen and Shoujo: Japan’s Indie Manga Scene (4 p.m. Friday); and “Why Manga? Trends in Teen Graphic Novels” (1 p.m. Sunday).
That indie-manga panel, in particular, looks interesting. If I were going to the convention, I’d definitely check out that panel.
3. Visit the new Kinokuniya bookstore location: This requires you to actually leave the Jacob Javits Center, but it’ll be well worth it. Walk a little over five blocks down West 34th Street and take a left on Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas). Then stroll just past West 40th Street to 1073 Sixth Ave., where you’ll find the new, three-story Kinokuniya bookstore, which overlooks Bryant Park. There you can browse aisles of Japanese-language novels and magazines, manga and anime, and eat at the Japanese-style pastry and sandwich shop on the second floor.
Plus, you can take in the mural by Slam Dunk and Vagabond creator Takehiko Inoue.
4. Check out the AnimeNEXT Manga Library: The mobile manga library pulls in for a third year, bring with it hundreds of titles. You can kick back and relax with the books in Room 1E01.
5. Attend an anime premiere: The weekend features screenings of Lucky Star (6 p.m. Friday), Emma (noon Saturday), CODE GEASS (1 p.m. Saturday), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (5 p.m. Saturday), and Amuri in Star Ocean (noon Sunday).
Note: I totally stole that Kinokuniya photo from Chris Butcher. You can see more photos from the Takehiko Inoue in-store appearance at Chris’ blog.