This weekend marks the seventh anniversary of the New York Comic Con as it exists in it’s full glory and spectacle at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, NY. Although there have been cons run by other companies before and since (such as “Wizardworld”), ReedPOP has easily become the company to beat when it comes to putting on a convention for fans and general masses alike. And so on the second weekend of October, with fall still fresh and Halloween ahead, it seems that the New York Comic Con is all anyone can talk about. This year, ReedPOP expanded to hosting a smaller convention, “Special Edition NYC” in June which was enough of a success that one’s already been scheduled for 2015. Throughout the week leading up to October 9th-12, there were a host of “super week” events leading up to it throughout the city. General newspapers such as the New York Post or the New York Daily News, as well as CBS2, covered the convention. It has quickly become the biggest convention on the east coast, with crowds which totaled over 100,000 people last year and likely rose again this year.
Calling it a “comic con” sometimes seems a bit disingenuous as much like San Diego’s big con, it’s really an “everything” con. Video games, films, and TV shows which have nothing to do with comic books have long had a presence at the NYCC, either through third party sellers hawking merchandise, or the companies themselves. Chevy, for instance, had a large presence at the convention shilling some cars, and both Samsung and Geico had their own booths on the “show floor” as well. Not only do comic book companies make big announcements involving not only their actual comics but TV and film franchises as well, other studios and companies use the con to promote other things as well. Thankfully, one thing which keeps the New York Comic Con apart from it’s west coast competitor is a continued presence of actual comic book stuff. Not just the “big two” and well known “third party” companies like Image Comics, Dark Horse, Archie Comics, IDW and Valiant Entertainment, but a smattering of larger and smaller publishers from across the country (if not the globe, such as the British based Titan Comics). In addition, there is a continued presence of “small press” booths where creators can showcase their smaller works. In fact, this year it seemed as if the “show floor” (the main floor where most of the buying/selling/walking of the con is done) devoted more space to small press booths. They were kept mostly apart from the bigger corporate booths, but they still had a huge presence on the floor.
ReedPOP also gets to improve their handling of the con every year. From keeping track of their passes (to cut down on fakes) to posting large signs about their zero tolerance harassment policy to keeping booths far enough apart that hordes of traffic can (for the most part) come and go without as many “traffic jams” as in previous years, ReedPOP has been working hard to make everything as smooth as possible. For the most part, all convention staff were friendly and knowledgeable, ready to hand out schedule booklets at a moment’s notice from marked sections on every floor. The amount of cosplayers – people dressed in full costume of various characters – seem to increase every year to the point where it is harder to find someone not in an spandex outfit (and where police officers and janitors seem to blend right in with the Stormtroopers, Deadpools, or Sailor Scouts). The final day (today) did see one blemish; an overzealous security guard seeking to clear out “Artist Alley” (a section designated just for comic book writers and artists) by closing time quickly became a spectacle with his ever louder shouts to “Get out!” or “Go home!” at both fans and professionals present. Thankfully, a ReedPOP convention staffer eventually happened on the scene and urged him to tone it down a bit. Not even a bossy rent-a-cop can ruin an experience as senses shattering as the New York Comic Con. Whether one was attending panels, walking the show floor, seeking photo ops with legends or just shooting the breeze with friends, this year’s New York Comic Con was a satisfying experience – perhaps even more so than last year.
This year, this column became privy to even more material from various publishers than usual. Not only was there free material from Marvel Comics on hand, but fresh and new comics from companies such as “Big Dog Ink”, “ComixTribe”, “And…Action Entertainment” and “First Second” offering things for comic book readers of all ages who want something more than the same ancient superhero franchises hitting each other. As a result, stay tuned all week for a smattering of news stories from across the comic book world as learned exclusively from the sources at the con as well as a smattering of reviews from across the comic book landscape. The New York Comic Con may be over, but it’s effects on the Brooklyn Comic Book Examiner column will be felt all week! Stay tuned!