I made a half-hearted stab at taking some photos while I was at this year’s New York Comic-Con on Friday and Saturday. If you like, I shall share them with you.
The usual rules apply however: 1) I can’t take a decent picture to save my life; and 2) my camera sucks.
So let’s begin…
Because I was covering a couple of panels for Newsarama, I didn’t have as much time to “get a feel” (if I may use a vague, hacknayed phrase) for the convention as I have in years past. Overall though, it’s hard not to regard it as a success for all concerned, especially considering the size of the Saturday crowd. Panels were packed, throngs of people knocked each other down in the aisles with their Dark Horse plastic yellow bags, and hallways had to be closed off lest the end of Day of the Locust be re-enacted. Isn’t that how we define success these days?
Seriously, I think by this point it’s safe to say that if you want to go to the con and not be jostled every two seconds, Friday or Sunday is the day to go. Unless you get there early (or late) enough, or your most favorite creator evar is doing a signing, I’m not sure it’s worth the battle.
The show space was obviously larger this year (thank god), with everything more or less kept together in one enclosed space with the obvious exceptions of the various panels and the screenings. This seemed wise considering how isolated and narrow the Artist’s Alley was last year. I liked not having to trek up and down the Javits center just to peruse the various cheesecake art on display.
Overall, things seemed to be running smoothly — certainly security seemed more invisible than they had in years past. The only glaring problem was in the panel scheduling. I heard from a number of people that they didn’t discover they were supposed to be on a panel until the last minute and many line-ups seemed to be changed a the last minute. Some moderators I talked to expressed more than a bit of frustration. I’m sure there are understandable reasons for such things to occur and you couldn’t pay me to be in charge of organizing such a monstrosity, but it does come off to the Joe Comic Fan as sloppy and needs to be tightened up considerably for next year.
Despite the fact that it made up about 95 percent of my own purchases, anime and manga seemed to have a more muted showing than in years past. Viz didn’t even bother to set up a booth, opting instead to go for a “manga lounge” that consisted of some couches and sample booklets. That didn’t seem to upset any of numerous manga fans wo made it to the show, however.
Also making a half-hearted presence at the show were the video game companies. While Konami and a few other publishers had largish booths, there seemed to be much less “technology-related media” lurking about than before. Folks like Sega and Sony had impressive set-ups last year, but were nowhere to be found this time. There was lots of tabletop gaming at the show, just not much video gaming.
I did notice a large percentage of what I would term the “Old School” or “Classic Collector” fan at the show. These were the people (usually middle aged or older, though not always) eager to have get a few words with Mort Walker or Jim Sterenko, or stop by the Classic Comics Pressbooth and gush about how much they love Leonard Starr and not so much concerned about the Secret Invasion blah de blah. There was apparently a long line for Mark Evanier’s signing of his new Kirby book, for example.
Oh, by the way, Classic Comics Press is planning on publishing the daily run of Roy Crane’s Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy, which is awesome news.
That’s not to say that the attendees were your stereotypical comic book fan in any way. Indeed there was a healthy variety of geek types and subcultures on display, not to mention a healthy assortment of women, ethnicities and families, though we could always use more of those.
My traveling companion for the show was the always charming Joe McCulloch (who by now has his own, much more interesting con report up on his blog no doubt). When we first arrived we met up with Tom Spurgeon for lunch, who looked resplendent in a white suit.
The most interesting part of the conversation? Tom talked about the ICv2 conference and mentioned that a lot of the big box book stores are openly being much choosier about the manga they stock, focusing on the big best-sellers and completely ignoring mid to small run titles. Suddenly my hopes of finding back copies of Dragon Head seem much smaller.
Best costume of the show: The guy who was dressed as the golden age Vigilante. That was classy.
Worst costume of the show: Everyone else. Though the lady who dressed in the Lois Lane superhero outfit from All-Star Superman #3 gets some bonus points for originality.
Book of show for me is probably Disappearance Diary by Hideo Azuma, though Vertical’s first volume of Tezuka’s Dororo might have taken it’s place if I hadn’t gotten a copy in the mail earlier. That First Second “How to Make Comics” book by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden looks quite stellar as well.
Speaking of Fanfare, it’s worth noting (for me at any rate) that their upcoming line-up includes of Jiro Taniguchi’s Faraway Neighborhood, which, according to rumor, is the man’s best work. Publisher Stephen Robson also showed me a French copy of the lovely My Mommy by Jean Regnaud and Emile Bravo, which he hopes to have out in English by the end of the year.
Actually there were quite a bit of foreigners at the show. Knockabout Comics from England had a batch of Hunt Emerson books, including a recolored version of Rime of the Ancient Mariner. They’re also planning a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus collection to come out by the end of the year.
There was even an assorted French comics table at the show, with various books by folks like L’Association and Delcort, though I didn’t see anything that I wouldn’t be able to delve into without consulting my massive French/English dictionary every five seconds.
All things considered, I had a fun time, despite the various heart attacks caused by making sure my report on the Legion of Superheroes panel got to Matt Brady on time (mental note: time to upgrade my laptop). For an East Coaster like myself, NYCC remains a good place to find some great deals on the books you’ve been hunting for or desperately anticipating, as well as the chance to say hi to friends and creators whose work you love and/or respect. If you want more than that from a comics convention, then I don’t think Reed Exhibitions can help you.