Saturday, April 26, 2008

New York Comic Con Report


For the third year in a row I have attended the New York Comic Con at the Javits Center in NYC and for the third year in a row I am impressed. From humble beginnings a brief time ago, the show has grown into a giant force on the convention front. This year, however, I was not going it alone as my friend Dave was there for his first foray into NYCC territory.

We woke up before 6am so we could get out of the house by 630 to catch a 730 train from Aberdeen. From Penn Station, we walked our way down the few quick blocks to the Javits Center. Things were immediately looking up for us as the line that was wrapping around the building and stretching down the street from last year was nowhere to be seen. Quickly, I went in to the registration disk to get my ticket as it was never delivered to my residence. Then we got into the line. It was much better this year, as they used part of the Javits Center 3rd floor to snake the line around. When we got there, the line was about half the room. By the time we exited, it was spilling out onto the street, I presume. Much more comfortable than standing outside though it was an beautiful day out in April this year, as opposed to the biting chill of February from previous years and next year.

We were in line for about an hour, most of that being prior to the show actually opening. We were entertained by people dressed as Boba Fett, Storm Troopers, Belly Dancers and really stupid Jedi. Then our wave came up and we were released onto the show floor.

The enormity of the show is apparent from the first step you take into the hall. Stretching out from wall to wall are exhibitors and dealers with the booths already showing early signs of being mobbed by those who entered before us. Dave and I had a specific agenda and we made a beeline through these displays to artists alley, where you can get signatures and sketches from comic creators. We each had lists of who we wanted to see and by getting there early we avoided longer lines where we could.

Artist's Alley at NYCC is roughly three times the size of the one at WWP and probably twice the size of last year's NYCC. It's organized into rows that you can stroll up and down until you see who you want. I had a pretty small list of who I wanted to see. I got a signature from Darwyn Cooke (New Frontier) later on in the day, since his line was long early on; a signature and print of Power Girl from Amanda Connor (JSA Classified); a sketch of Starwoman by Todd Nauck
(Young Justice); an issue of Young Justice signed by Peter David and eventually a copy of Green Lantern signed by Ivan Reis. I picked up a couple of other prints as well but these were the highlights. Dave got quite a few more but that man is a machine when it comes down to Artist's Alley.

One of the highest points of the Artist's Alley was meeting Christina Strain (Runaways, Spiderman Loves Mary Jane). In addition to being a talented colorist and artist, Christina is also getting married to my old college roommate. She took the time out to talk to us several times during the day and signed our comics to boot. She's great and it's good to see her getting lots of work like World War Hulk. Runaways is always a highlight of my pull list so it'll be nice
to see it coming out more frequently soon. If you're at a con that Christina attends, go see her. She's absolutely awesome and has plenty of fantastic prints to buy. I picked up one of Molly to hang in Cassandra's room.

After Artist's Alley, Dave and I hit up the dealers. In particular, we were looking for the cheap backissue bins and half-priced trades. We found plenty. I'm about eight issues away from completing my Starman run after this con and Dave filled up a few gaps in his list too. There were quite a few more dealers than last time and we barely scraped the surface in the brief time we were there.

Once we had our fill of comic book shopping several hours later, we decided to try and check out the rests of the booths in the exhibitors section. The booths were pretty nice and DC and Marvel had amazing spreads and quite a few crazy lines too. We didn't get too deep into those. The guys from Shocker Toys were there again and had some of the Indie Spotlight line for showing off and they look great. I can't wait to see these in stores, especially the next run with
the Tick. I visited the Koch Vision booth to pick up the exclusive Galaxy Rangers badge, a show I barely remember as a kid but I wanted the badge for a Starman outfit. :)

We went between the sections quite a bit until we deemed it was time to take the train home around 430 or so. Dave and I were pretty tired at that point and we had spent all that we wanted to and seen all that we felt like seeing. Dave approved of his first NYCC con and can't wait until next year.

All in all, the NYCC is a great new convention that has had it's growing pains but seems to be taking it in stride. They have a lot of support from the creators and companies involved and I've heard it described as almost as big or at least a big as SDCC, which is pretty damn cool. It's close, it's relatively cheap with a ticket and train ride and there is plenty to see and do.

The only down side is that it does get rather packed and I think they almost need to start monitoring the selling and amount of people on the floor or get more space for people to manuever, which they could do by opening up the hall we were initially waiting in and moving the line back outside. Not the best solution but it's all I got right now. I wouldn't mind seeing more dealers too but that might just be a logistics/pricing problem to get to the city. The food
lines were pretty crazy, so Dave and I didn't eat until we got home. We avoided this in Philly by going to one of the many eateries in the area to get a decent meal for the price of a terrible sandwich in the convention hall. I'm not familiar with any such solutions with the NYCC but I'm not sure you'd want to leave the floor either if there's a line to get in.

It's well worth going back to and I can't wait until next year. Or maybe Philly. I'm feeling the Con burn now.

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