Heidi has the reporting on ReedPOP’s new “Special Edition: New York City” show next June, where a small comics show will be held in the North Hall of the Javits convention center.
But then a Facebook friend, who is also a comics professional, posted about the show, and it got me thinking about what might develop from this experiment.
As it stands, SE:NYC (SpEd:NYC?…spednick?) is renting the North Hall of Javits. This is a massive space, and in my opinion, the best space at Javits. Almost brand new, with no columns, numerous bathrooms, close to a 7-Eleven…
The square footage is equivalent to that of the first NYCC, and it seems likely that an equivalent attendance of 30,000 will appear.
So if it’s successful (and I suspect it will be), what does the future hold?
One possibility: Artists Alley is split off from NYCC as a separate event.
ReedPOP has very nearly maxed out the space at Javits. Hall 1C is the only space left, and that is used as a queue line (AKA Stockyards) for attendees in the morning. NYCC could make people wait outside, or institute a timed entry ticket, and while New Yorkers might grumble, they rival the Soviet in perseverance. I predict numerous event tents placed along the east side of Javits, all sponsored by various companies who will sell stuff to the captive audience while they wait to cross the river Jordan.
With proper curtains, the well-lit North Hall could become the perfect media hall. No columns to block sightlines, a separate entrance to facilitate crowd control, ample restrooms… Many graduation ceremonies have been held there, so it has been proven as an auditorium/ballroom space.
Artists Alley gets reduced or eliminated. Yes, there will be some grumbling about the marginalization of comics at NYCC, but that would be offset with a SE:NYC show. Picture it growing like NYCC has, albeit a bit slower, given the lack of a razzledazzle hook. Could a comics-only show fill up the entire Javits center? I’d say: No. But… if you expand the parameters a bit, then perhaps you could! Maybe it’s not just comics creators. Perhaps the show becomes the “Art Basel” of illustration and popular art! The North Hall would host the artists alley, the lower levels would host panels and general retailers, while the third floor would host the high-priced artwork and dealers. (I recall one NYCC… first or second year… where the third floor was being set up for an art dealer show while NYCC was downstairs.)
Spektrum Fantastic Art Live 3 (staged by the same people who publish the annual) will host a massive gathering of illustrators and artists in Kansas City in May. New York already has numerous auction houses and dealers selling mass produced and highly prized artwork. Add in the dealers already at NYCC selling antiques and collectibles, and it would be quite easy to sell space. Partner with area galleries, museums, and cultural institutions for a “comics month” of exhibitions!
You could even host a craft show at the same time! Etsy sellers and other small dealers… like a cheap artists alley/garage sale. Call it “Hobbyists Hall”?
Or… perhaps… ReedPOP partners with Reed Exhibitions and uses the artists alley as the grain of sand to produce a different pearl… a showcase of popular literature! Book Expo America, held in late May, is trying to add a public component to that show, similar to what the Frankfurt Book Fair does, allowing the general public to attend on the weekend. Comic-Con International started as a science-fiction convention with an emphasis on comics. SF cons include fantasy and related genres. Now widen that tent to include romance! mystery! horror! poetry! westerns! Imagine Javits filled with thousands of passionate readers! And then you spin it off into regional shows… and genre-specific shows…
Or maybe it becomes a little bit of everything… part Angoulême, part comics trade show, part fan fest, part art show…