Well boys and girls, another comic convention has come and gone. As we all take time to assess how much of your hard earned dollars you flushed down the toilet on cool art/comics/or toys, I thought it would be a good idea to jot down a couple of the things I liked about this year’s New York Comic Con and a few things I didn’t like.
Like: The set-up
Now I am not sure about you, but I actually quite dug the new convention set-up. The folks at Reed Expo really used their nearly two-year absence effectively, crafting a new layout for the convention floor. Using basically the whole Jacob Javits Center, the convention was actually separated into two areas. There was the all-things-comics portion of the convention on the end of the convention center (Artist Alley, comic book store booths, etc.) and the entertainment portion (video game company booths, comic book publisher booths, etc.) on the other, all connected by one man-made tunnel. The result? Happy fan boys and girls. Those who come only for the comics can stay on one side, and those who want to see everything less can stay on the other. Plus, people can actually get to places they wanted to go with little to no traffic…
Dislike: The set-up
…more or less. There was still a lot of traffic in the entertainment portion of the convention floor. I have no clue why that is. Perhaps because the majority of the convention goers are not a fan of the funny books. All I know is that the convention floor felt very crowded at times. And don’t even get me started on the various attendees who feel the urge to stop suddenly in the middle of an aisle to stare aimlessly at nothing.
Like: Meeting awesome creators
I have been to my fair share of comics conventions, and one of the things I really love about it is the connections you make during the event. Whether it is getting a chance to say hello to a writer or artist you have already met or meeting them for the first time, the Con is a great place to let these creators know how much you like their work and chat it up with them. My personal favorite creator at the convention this year was artist Khoi Pham. Not only is he a great artist but the man is one friendly guy. He always chats with everyone who comes by his table and has an uncanny ability to remember the names of fans he has met from previous conventions. Pham along with the other artists at Artist Alley this year were amazingly friendly bunch. A true convention highlight.
Dislike: Who are you again?
Let’s face facts: unless you are Stan Lee, not a lot of comic fans, casual or hardcore, are going to recognize all the comic creators. So exactly why Reed Expos decided to leave the creators name off their badges is beyond me. Some creators resorted to writing their names on the badges with their Sharpies while other left them as it, resulting in many confused comic fans. The badges had names on them last year and the year before. Why take them off now? Hopefully, they will wise up and put them back on for next year.
Like: Sketches and commissions prices
Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than a nice commission from a comic artist. The work is always amazing, but man have they gotten pricey. When prices for a single character hovers around the $200-$300 price range, there is definitely something wrong with this picture. Weren’t commissions created for the purpose of providing a comic artist some extra cash to cover travel expenses and give the casual comic fan a cheap alternative to expensive published art? It seems nowadays, commissions and original art are running neck and neck in terms of price range. Some artists go even a step further and won’t even do quick little head sketches for free. Yes, in the age of eBay, artists need to make sure that the art they work so hard on doesn’t get resold with a higher price tag, but I think there is a middle ground. Along with the higher priced commissions, why not offer the buyer an option to buy a reduced priced commission of the same quality, if the buyer allows it to be personlized? This way, folks who actually want to keep their art and not re-sell it can get art at an inexpensive price.
One of the best things about attending conventions is the chance to see the costumes worn by comic fans and the NYCC does not disappoint. From Captain America, Mary Marvel, Mario, and the Ghostbusters, fans come decked out in some pretty sweet looking costumes derived from comics, video games, and even manga. My personal favorites were a man dressed like the eco-friendly cartoon character Captain Planet and another dressed as Dr. Strange. It is these costumes that are most talked about and the most reported by various news outlets.
For every creative costume like a woman dressed up like Mario (Maria?), there are at least three people running around dressed like Spider-Man or Joker. Yes, I know they are popular, but would it kill you to change it up once in a while in the character choice? I swear, I saw two guys dressed up as Blade talking to one another. Granted, one was the Wesley Snipes version and the other was the TV show inspired version, but couldnâ€™t they have chosen another black character? How about Black Panther or Luke Cage? You canâ€™t possibly believe that a Black Panther costume, which is basically a black unitard with a mask, is more expensive to make than a costume with bulletproof vest and trenchcoat? And yes ladies, while I do enjoy watching you all parade around in skimpy, skintight costumes, there are more characters than Harley Quinn and Powergirl.
Like: Behaving like a spidey-gentlemen
So here is a true story: A girlfriend of mine went to the NYCC for the first time and as soon as she steps foot into the convention center, a rather robust gentlemen crept up behind her and whispered â€œHey Sexy.â€ Her response? She ran off, of course. Now guys, I am glad you’re super confident at these conventions and you should be. You are dressed in your finest wares and according to the NYCC, what happens there stays there, but that is no reason to throw manners out the window. Some of these women might not be use to such forward behavior, so it is a good idea to keep your cosmic rods in your pants, lest you be banished to the Fourth wall.
Dislike: Can you hear me now?
Donâ€™t let the network bars on the cellphone fool you, the connection at the Javits Center is terrible. On some days, I got perfect service and on other days, I couldnâ€™t receive a phone call from a person directly in front of me. If there is a way to increase the service in that area, the Reed Expo folks should definitely look into this for next year.
Like: This celebrity, This fanboy
If the NYCC has taught us anything, it is that if you put a comic convention in the city that never sleeps, the celebrities will come. I am not talking about those coming by to promote their movie, but actual fans of the comic industry. From Jon Stewart, Scott Adsit (Pete Hornberger from 30 Rock), to even Bodie from The Wire and Hip-Hop artist Ne-Yo, these celebrities are fans just like youâ€¦ except they make millions of dollars.
Now I can go on and on about the New York Comic Con, but what do you guys think? Tell us what you liked or didn’t like in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.