Reflections on New York Comic Con

After a year and a half hiatus, New York Comic Con (NYCC) returned to the Big Apple, beckoning crowds of fans to visit the 3-day exhibition featuring comic’s finest artists, writers, celebrities and more.

As a long-time comic book fan, I could not avoid the temptation of being at NYCC. I attended all three days of the con, visiting exhibitors’ booths, seeking autographs from artists, and grabbing free stuff for my students. Needless to say, I had an excellent time.

Furthermore, I enjoyed the opportunity to help with the comiXology booth, where I was able to speak to other comic fans, creators, and people who have enjoyed using comiXology’s digital comics readers.

 

Dr. Doom (me) and Red Hood at the comiXology booth

 

After much thought, I decided to write about my experience of NYCC. As a result, here are some of my observations from the con: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Some of the best aspects, a.k.a. “The Good”

1. Artists Alley – This is my favorite part of any con. Hundreds of tables set up so artists can sign autographs, draw new sketches, sell prints, and more. I always enjoy meeting artists such as David Petersen (Mouse Guard) who really take the time to interact with fans and sign books. Artists like Petersen, knowing that their salary is derived from their fanbase, seem to enjoy spending time with fans.

2. Free Stuff – There’s not many things better than hundreds of booths giving away free merchandise. DC and Marvel especially made my con experience a great one by offering free copies of some of their most popular books from this last year. I was pleased to also get plenty of buttons, cards, bookmarks, and other free swag. Finally, two book publishers impressed me by giving me free graphic novels and books for my comic book club at school.

3. The Exhibitors – There were so many cool exhibits, I simply cannot mention them all. However, I must mention comiXology and their Jim Lee iPad giveaway (which was awesome), the Aliens movie booth, the Green Hornet booth which featured the car and motorcycle from the upcoming movie, and The Walking Dead booth which featured a huge promo backdrop of the upcoming TV series.

4. Celebrities – Only at NYCC can you stand feet away from Stan Lee, Robert Kirkman, Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Morgan Spurlock (from “Supersize Me”), and others. Furthermore, the con floor seems to be the great equalizer, allowing fans the boldness to approach their favorite celebs and for celebs to take the time to interact with fans.

5. Sales – Yep. At NYCC various comic book stores had some amazing sales, my favorite of which was ZAPP Comics from New Jersey which had a 50% off trade paperback sale.

Some minor issues I noticed, a.k.a “The Bad”

1. Crowds – There’s really nothing that can be done about this except saying that the crowds were intense – especially on Saturday. For anyone interested in attending next year, go early on Friday or late on Sunday. At those times the crowds are easier to manage.

2. Floor placement – NYCC could have done a better job with the way they organized the placement of booths at the con. I understand that marketing and money plays a big deal in making such decisions, but I was really frustrated that some very large and very attention-seeking booths were placed right at the main entrance, causing crowds to gather right in the entrance. For someone trying to simply get in the door and see the exhibits, this bottleneck was frustrating.

3. Costumes – While there were some awesome costumes, I get tired of seeing Harry Potter and other non-comic related costumes at comic con. Why is Harry Potter here? Does Harry even read comics? Whatever happened to dressing up as the Flash?

My Problems at NYCC, a.k.a. “The Ugly”

1. Ivan Reis (Green Lantern artist) – I don’t normally speak ill of others, but this guy was a jerk to his fans. Reis, who is currently one of DC’s most popular artists for his work on Green Lantern, walked up to his table where fans were waiting for his autograph, signed one book and then told everyone else that he “did not feel like signing books.” Then, he looked down at his sketchbook and ignored his fans. Obviously this guy does not understand that the people he ignored allow him to put food on the table. I am going to do all I can to avoid buying his work from now own.

2. Celebrities – I think it stinks that celebrities featured at the show (Lou Ferrigno and others for example) charge for their autograph or picture. Don’t they make enough from me already through my watching their TV shows or movies? Asking for me to pay for your picture is simply pathetic and an example of extreme arrogance.

3. The Media – I got so tired of watching the local network coverage of NYCC. Rather than mentioning the great exhibitors, panels, artists, and writers, the local networks instead featured the 300lb, 35 yr old, single, weirdos who only come out of their mother’s basement for the 3-day opportunity to dress in spandex and dance to Michael Jackson tunes with other weirdos. Such is the reason I sometimes hesitate to tell people I went to the con because I don’t want to be labeled as the “comic book guy” from the Simpsons.

4. Costumes – Some people should never wear spandex, body suits, or bikini bottoms – EVER. Enough said. I would elaborate, but I would rather purge my mind of such occurrences.

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