Thursday, October 20, 2011


Yes, I’m hopped up on Amoxicillin and Vicodin as I write this blog.
Yes, root canal surgery is in my future. But will I let that stop
me from writing about the New York Comic Con and my adventures
at that event?  I say thee...nay!

For the record, I rarely say “thee” or “nay” when I am not hopped
up on Amoxicillin and Vicodin.  On the other hand, I’ve been known
to toss off a “verily” now and then.

The New York Comic Con was held October 13-16 at the Javitz Center.
That venue was less than adequate for the event’s crowd of over one
hundred thousand attendees.  It was often difficult to get around
the convention, though this was equally the fault of the promoters
putting the aisle-blocking electronics and video game exhibitors in
locations too small for them. Such exhibitors should be spread out
in the future.  That said, one of these exhibitors had an enormous
display and presentation area next to Artist Alley and designed it
perfectly.  It was definitely a good neighbor.

DC Comics did a great job keeping their considerable traffic within
their space.  I passed by their area several times - a restraining
order prevented me from actually entering it - and it never caused
any traffic jams outside its space.

Marvel? They managed their space well, but their pumping up of the
volume and their constant exhortations to their audience to shout
at their stage was annoying and borderline dick-ish.  Honestly, the
“cocky bad boys of comics” routine is wearing thin.

The further area one got from Marvel and the video games, the more
interesting the convention became.  Lots of merchandise variety.
Lots of terrific comic book and original art dealers.  Lots of book
and comics publishers.

Archie Comics had a nice display and, though I never got the chance
to visit them, Dark Horse and Image were looking mighty good, too.
Organizations like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Prism Comics,
and the Hero Initiative were also on hand.

Artist Alley was amazing.  I’m told it was much bigger than the one
at San Diego, which tends to pander to its Hollywood exhibitors at
the expense of the comics crowd.  There were literally hundreds of
comics and other artists in the hall.  I could’ve spent the entire
convention there, visiting with old friends and checking out some
new talents.

Overwhelmed as I was by the size of the convention, I never got to
any panels or screenings.  Even worse, though I never made it up to
the anime-centric fourth level of the show.  Next year, and there
will be a next year for me and this convention, I’m going to plan
my schedule in advance and try to see more of this impressive con.
It’ll be good practice if I get to San Diego again.

Moving on to a few more complaints...

Though I love cosplayers - note to self: buy a digital camera - I
was appalled by two costumes.  As best as I can determine, one
was a pair of hairy testicles and the other was a vagina.  I saw them
three times during the show, usually in the passageway leading to
Artist Alley.  Each time, there were kids in the vicinity of these
two morons.

I don’t know if these crude idiots were trying to make a statement
of some sort.  I don’t know if they were promoting something.  But,
in either case, I don’t care.

Their costumes were monumentally inappropriate for the convention
and the younger attendees.  Were I the promoter of the convention,
I would have booted them as soon as they were spotted.  As long as
a convention is open to fans of all ages, including children, there
is no place for louts like these. 

Moving right along...

While there were many food choices in the center, there weren’t
enough food places and there wasn’t near enough seating.  I don’t
know how the convention or the venue can correct this deficiency.
I don’t know if they can correct it.  I hope they can come up with
some solution.  In the meantime, packing one’s lunch seems like a
good way to go.  

The restroom situation was far worse.  There weren’t enough of them
and they were poorly maintained during the convention.  Heck, some
of them were downright filthy.  Even back in 2003, the last time I
was at the San Diego Comic-Con, that show was much larger than this
one.  I never had any trouble finding clean restrooms and I never
had to stand in line to use them. 

I think parts of the Javitz Center were being renovated during the
New York Comic Con.  Hopefully, those areas will be open next year
and lessen some of the food and restroom problems.

Digression. This has nothing to do with the New York Comic Con, but
the Vicodin makes my attention wander from time to time.

I have just now experienced profound disappointment.  A Federal
Express truck pulled up to the front of my house.  From my office
window, I saw the driver bringing some boxes to the front of said
truck.  I went downstairs to see what wonders were being delivered
to me.  Alas...

He was only rearranging packages for his next stop.  I got bupkis.
Bummer.  End of digression.

That’s the big picture New York Comic Con stuff. Come back tomorrow
and I’ll talk more about my own con experiences while dropping more
names than a drunken census taker.  

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. I've never been to the NYCC, though I have attended computer shows at the Javits Center, so I know what you mean about the facilities.

    I planned to go on either Saturday or Sunday, but I waited too long. I checked the website the day before and it said that all the one-day tickets were sold out.

    But yesterday morning I got an e-mail from a friend who just decided Saturday morning to go. He didn't check the site. He just took the train into the city, and got in. He sent me photos of himself with various cosplayers.

    Next year, I'm going to plan early. But I should've just gone and taken my chances.

  2. FYI: Artists' Alley tables at NYCC are $500 (although I imagine they are also comped to special guests). Artists' Alley tables at San Diego are free, and they are only for artists (no Hollywood people), which is why the AA area is smaller there.

  3. Free tables for artists is a commendable thing, not that it was what I was discussing.

    Isn't it true that San Diego's artist alley gets a little smaller every year as the various media companies (like Warner Bros) ask for more space?

    I was told by several people that the 2012 artist alley will be smaller for just that reason.

  4. Tony,

    It was fun to see you at the con. It's so crazy busy in Artist's Alley, which is really encouraging for indy creators.

    I think NYCC gets better every year. And I think you're right about SDCC. They have focused on Hollywood and celebrities, which is great. I love the NYCC has kept it focused on comic book creators year after year.

    Here's a photo of us together

    Great to see you again, Tony!

    Buddy Scalera

  5. Restraining order? THAT would make an interesting blog post.

  6. Tony--whoever was telling you about San Diego's Artists' Alley was just making stuff up. The Exhibit Hall floor plan is laid out by the Exhibits Department, and I don't think they're even thinking about it yet.

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  8. For now, I'm standing by my comment. If Artists Alley 2012 turns out to be the same size or even larger than 2011, I'll happily issue a retraction of my comments. If it's smaller, then no such retraction will be necessary.

    I think Comic-Con is a great and wonderful thing. If I were ever invited to be a guest, I would accept in a heartbeat. But it is what it has become and that's not going to please all of the people in comicdom.

    I believe, as does Mark Evanier, that you can find you own Comic-Con at Comic-Con. That is what I've done when I attended back in the days before I was putting two kids thorough college at the same time.

    But the influence of the Hollywood media on the show is undeniable. Just look at all the news stories that never mention actual comic books in covering the event.