Still up and about, with only minimal cramp and voice loss, yesterday I got into the convention floor for an hour of joyous, horrifying, nicely-carpeted comics browsing. And then I realised where Artists Alley was and went there instead.
Yes, I am stealing Torsten’s photos. Here’s Artists Alley, early morning before the show doors opened
- There was a little controversy last night when people discovered that, once they had ‘activated’ their entry passes online via their Twitter or Facebook, ReedPop had used their social media accounts to write promotional spiel without warning. So several writers and members of the press found when they came back that there were three-four messages on their twitter page which they’d never written! ReedPop have promised that this won’t continue into day two.
- Once inside the halls yesterday I got over to the press lounge, where the world-famous (actually true, every two minutes somebody else seems to recognise her and walk on over) was embarking on the first of several valiant but failed attempts to get the wi-fi to work. We were shortly joined by Tripwire Magazine’s editor in chief Joel Meadows, who showed off the imminent Tripwire app which should be launching later this month. It was a very impressive thing, featuring interviews, profiles, reviews and all kinds of other things. Look out for it!
- Also at the table was one of The Outhousers, carefully scanning the room every five seconds in case DC Comics’ crack team of covert operatives abseiled down from the ceiling to shut him down. I went down to the show floor with him as soon as it opened, and we had a wander around.
- There is a LOT of stuff going on in New York Comic Con! Surprising nobody but me, I imagine. The show is absolutely huge, with all the retailers at one end and all the video games at the other. The comics booths are in the middle, with particular attention being drawn by Boom!, Image, and Marvel’s areas. Marvel have got Agent Coulson’s car ‘Lola’ in the middle of their area, which attracted a lot of attention.
- Immediately I stumbled against a long queue, which, when followed, had a man holding a “Hallmark” sign at the end of the line. I have no idea what Hallmark are up to which is making them so popular…
- 2000AD’s booth was up and running when I went over, and I got to have a quick chat with Mike Molcher, their PR Coordinator who is also around 9 foot tall and is the only man at the convention who can see from one end of the hall to the other with just a quick 180 turn. Located round the side from Marvel, they had to contend with a lot of noise and activity directly in front of them, but seemed to be handling it pretty well.
- Sgt Slaughter was walking around, staring at people through sunglasses. I’m told Hulk Hogan is also going to be around at some point, and presumably the convention will end with the pair of them fighting through the stacks, destroying everything in their wake.
- There was several very slick looking areas, including the Madefire booth which is all slinky and black and professional looking. Valiant have a tall booth with big banners all around it so it’s visible from most areas. Titan are also set up and seemed to be busy, whilst Archaia had a thoroughly classy area which somehow seemed unaffected by the chaos around it.
- Down artist’s alley, which is away from the show floor and in a huge room of its own, Rob Liefeld held court by the entrance as many creators settled in and got their stuff set up. Chris Claremont was happily signing and chatting to everybody who stopped by. As well as writers and artists, it seemed fairly busy for the various inkers and colourists – like Mark Morales and Edgar Delgado – who were set up in the hall.
- I got to speak to several people, including Greg Pak (who gave me a sticker!); Will Sliney and Stephen Mooney (two members of the Eclectic Micks collective of Irish creators which also includes Declan Shalvey – who was apparently down the pub all Thursday); Jimmie Robinson; Rachel Deering; Charles Soule.
- I also got to finally meet David Gallaher and Steve Ellis, who called me ‘the David Mitchell of comics reporting’. As a result I have immediately decided to grow a beard and become acerbic, so watch this space.
- Brett White, a writer for MTV Splashpage and CBR, was heading off to a panel and I managed to catch him just briefly. We established that neither of us can work analogue watches.
- Later that night was a party hosted by Dynamite and The Beat, where I knew nobody at the start and possibly everybody by the end. Hurrah! Lucas Siegel and Valerie D’Orazio were talking in one corner, Dean Haspiel holding court in another. I got to talk to several members of Valiant, who all seemed fairly thrilled by the positive reception the relaunched company has received. I also had a really good chat with Rob Salkowitz, the writer of ‘Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture’.
- Mairghread Scott and Jason Enright kept me company for a while, chatting about sharks and Transformers. Mairghread is currently writing Transformers: Beast Wars for IDW, whilst Jason’s company Darby Pop are about to start publishing a series of new comics later this year, also through IDW. They were both LOVELY.
- Several other Brits were in attendance, including WE THINK Garth Ennis. Si Spurrier, Al Ewing and Antony Johnston were all around, as well as Stately Beat Manor’s own Ben McCool, who is ALSO a giant. There are so many tall people in comics! Or perhaps I’m just a midget?
- Multiversity Comics’ Matt and Vince came along, and later introduced me to ‘grilled cheese’, which I’m fairly sure is just Welsh Rarebit with a blunter name. Writer Brandon Seifert also appeared, and seems to be in the middle of a very hectic schedule of meetings and appointments this weekend.
- It was a packed gathering! And one thing everybody said to me? That Thursday’s crowds are NOTHING compared to the masses who’ll be showing up today and on Saturday.