I’ve now had a full week to mull over the experience of New York Comic Con and almost completely recover from the cold I contracted. I was able to attend all four days and witnessed the Javits Convention Center at its highest capacity on Saturday, somewhere in the neighborhood of 110,000 eager geeks. I could talk about the best Cosplay outfits or the awesome panels but I really want to comment on the layout.
This year it seemed the Con was split up into separate areas, the artists/writers/creators were located in a totally different wing from the main floor. There were grumblings at first due to the fact that it seemed disjointed from the main hall and there might have been confusion on how to find it. I assure you, it was located by fans and at times the hallway was at an absolute stand still with people trying to get in and out. But I digress, here are my thoughts on the matter; I thought it worked perfectly and here’s why.
When you say Comic Con most people immediately reference San Diego, which the largest at around 130,000. It’s a sheer spectacle for movie, television, gaming and celebrity, which is one of the reasons most within the “industry” begrudgingly attend. Comics take a backseat, how soon we forget the reason for the extensions from this. The people who create the source material are often asked to step aside to make space for what’s really going to make money and it’s not prints or books sadly. And don’t even get me started on photo ops and autographs from the celebrity guests; you want to talk about “cash grabs” that is the appropriate conversation to have.
NYCC might have accidentally gotten how to do a Con like this right, by putting the creators (Artist Alley) in their own space. In doing this they created an environment solely for comics. Essentially if you wanted to avoid the noise, folly and hordes of the main floor you could literally skip right by it. Sadly, there was a whole other section on the opposite end from the Alley. It took me until Sunday to find it since two Artists I really wanted to see (Phil Barbato and Tara MacPherson) had in ‘The Box’, which was difficult to navigate once inside. And there were some small press/publisher booths (ie: 215 Ink) that are located in the extreme corner of the main hall that also got lost in the shuffle.
I will say this; Artist Alley contained a really nice level of talent in the room, creators at all different stages of careers but all with a wealth of knowledge. You’ve the hottest commodity Fiona Staples on one side to the refreshing indie Yale Stewart on the other. I would recommend going on Thursday or Friday if your objective is to talk to creators, it’s just a little more relaxed and there’s more time for a one on one conversation, and most are incredibly generous with their time.
It seems that the creators’ voices get lost in all the hoopla but this set up was impeccable even if it seemed at first to be a blunder. Rumor is next year everyone will be in one big space once construction is complete. My vote is to keep it this way, but only time will tell.
Keep an eye on their website NewYorkComicCon.com for news and updates. Remember book early and plan wisely.