What I learned at NYCC ’07

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Yes it is the latest and lamest con report ever after hundreds of bloggers have already had their say. What can we say? We’re old and sick and we just couldn’t hack it. But there are a few points that no one has brought up(!) that we thought were still worth mentioning.

CROWDS CAN BE CONTROLLED: As just about everyone has noted, the rioting and roaming death squads of last year were done away with this year, and people went about their business peacefully for the most part. The biggest problem seems to have been long waits in line outside in the cold, but next year’s move to April should fix that. True, Artists Alley was a miniature of last year’s show, crowded and slow moving. Ironically, there had been many worries that the crowd would not find its way to the off the beaten path Galleria space where the artists were located. Instead it was like what happened when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste: everything goes into the cap. Luckily, this problem is easily solved with next year’s floor layout reuniting eveyrone in one happy room.

CROWDS DIDN’T SPEND THAT MUCH MONEY: I’ve read a lot of stories about NYCC, but I don’t think anyone has actually talked to the vendors who were there, and saleswise, it was a mixed bag. A few people were effusive about how much money they made, but otherwise it was all over the place, including some big exhibitors who depend on shows for a living. This reaction was widespread and covered both large and small companies. This will be the biggest problem moving forward: As the show doubles in size again next year prices for booths are going to go up, and if people aren’t going to make money, they are not going to exhibit. Artist Alley prices went up to $400 for early registrants, according to a commenter here. Many would say that if you can’t make $400 at a huge show like NYCC you shouldn’t exhibit, but this is still a nickel-and-dime flea market for lots of folks. With next year’s big floor we’ll probably see the giant booths from the toy, video and movie companies that go to other shows. It’s incumbent on the smaller retailers to get their sales pitch out, but the show needs to support the consumer/collector part of the show.

THE OTHER PROBLEM THIS YEAR WAS COMMUNICATION AND THE WEBSITE: Reed really needs to improve the website. A single page where you could see all the panels, like every other convention does would be a good start. There were a lot of minor, annoying snafus this year: Several panels were canceled because none of the panelists showed up because they never knew they were on panels. AA exhibitors were given pro badges instead of exhibitor badges which meant they couldn’t get to their booths. The system for who gets a pro badge needs to be rethought. Etc etc etc. These were all relatively minor problems given the size of the venture, but they need to be addressed for next time.

INDIES WERE GIVEN LITTLE ATTENTION: This is really my biggest disappointment. Without Fantagraphics and D&Q the whole “bookstore” vibe of the show is missing a big component of what has been driving the success of the graphic novel category for the last five years. More worryingly, guests from the indie field were treated like second class citizens compared to superhero grunts. In the short term this is great news for the MoCCA Festival — everyone will continue to set up there and make lots of dough at a show that is proven to target their demo. But if there was one show that had the potential besides San Diego to be a big tent happening, it was NYCC, and it looks like that won’t happen. Too bad.

IF YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP DON’T GO TO THE SHOW: Really, if you feel sick just stay in bed until you feel better, then go to the show. On Sunday I made the mistake of dragging myself to the con to have lunch with a bunch of fabulous lady cartooners, only to find when I got there that I was sick to my stomach and missed out on lunch anyway. I actually found a big Anvil case behind the PW booth and lay on it for a little while, trying to catch up on the missed sleep. Of course by 3 o’clock I felt way better, but by then the damage was done. Anyway, as we all get older, we need that sleep. I was sick as a dog going into the show and gutted it out on sheer heart for most of it, but missed so many things… lunch with Carla Speed McNeil, breakfast with Wes Craven, the DC party. Likewise…

HOMETOWN SHOWS ARE THE MOST GRUELING OF ALL. With so many people living in NYC, the nighttime events were spread out all over town, so it was an endurance test just to hit a few of them. Also, two nights in a row I came home to find cat puke where I didn’t want to find it. That never happens at the Hyatt.

I’M SORRY IF I DIDN’T SAY HI: With my energy issues and multiples duties, I had to concentrate on getting the things done that had to be done and missed out on talking to a million people. But that’s how it is, I guess.

I PAID A TERRIBLE PRICE AT THE SHOW: Dude, I lost one Batman glove. You know how when you buy nice cashmere or leather gloves you are bound to lose one in about five minutes? Well my Batman gloves cost $2 at the salida store, but I couldn’t lose them. Three winters they lasted, and got compliments from everyone from gay waiters to nerd homeboys.  Three years is a long time to own a $2 pair of gloves but I will miss them forever and ever and ever. And of course I still have one to make me remember how much I loved them. Oh well.

NYCC IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO LOOK FOR AN INTERNET DATE: Remember The Hey Lady, who went to the show hoping to score a cute nerd boy? It didn’t turn out so well.

As we’re waiting outside, I run into someone I actually know from another life. How exciting. For a second, I feel normal. I introduce him to the iFaboys just as some fans decide to talk up the web-famous boys once again. Ron introduces me to this one kid, and he says, “I know you. You’re the girl from Digg.”

I go completely red-faced. At this point, I’d pretty much given up my mission and was wishing I could put the whole thing behind me. “Uh, yeah.” So, there it was, I was recognized. I’m glad we got that out of the way. I mentioned the kid is young, right? Really young. Like, not-legal young.

This is turning out to be a horrible idea.

The bottom line: NYCC is here to stay and it is the #2 show in the nation. People love comics; people love cartoonists. The Nerds won out yet again.

Comments

  1. “Also, two nights in a row I came home to find cat puke where I didn’t want to find it.”

    Um, typically, where do you want to find it?

  2. The Beat says:

    Well, cats do puke…I like a neat little ball in the middle of a linoleum floor.

    Not on…say…a sweater that was thought to be safely stowed far away from the danger of projectile vomiting.

  3. All around good points! Longest convention ever.

    NYCC is a weird hybrid of Book Expo and Comic Con. A lot of the traditional book publishers giving everything away led to a sense of confusion amongst attendees when they realized that indy comics publishers were actually selling the merchandise on their table. I had to stop at least 10 people from just grabbing books and walking away.

  4. For cryin out loud, Heidi… didn’t you get food poison or something at another convention not too long ago?

    You have the worst luck when it comes to travelling (next to my parents that is – who have never had a vacation go smoothly)

  5. Had the same problem with some people confusing the stuff on sale as stuff for free. Understandable though… Penguin was right across from us and gave away books all show.

    I think the indy situation can be addressed with an “indy island” as San Diego has it. Keep everyone in a nice clump by an entranceway. I may be mistaken, but the Island gets a more afforadable exhibition rate, yes? With the added space next year, I’m hoping Reed can make this or something like it happen.

    That and reuniting artists alley and the show floor.

  6. Hi Heidi!

    Hope you are feeling better. Kyle was mobbed all weekend: I have never seen him so busy at a convention.

    NYCC Find-a-date Comment: we witnessed two people meet during the con, right at our booth! They have been dating ever since. True story!

  7. It sounds like you have what I have. It’s lasted about a month, and I’m still not better. I’m kind of glad I didn’t go to NY. Mixing a book expo with a comic con feels to much like trying to trick people into reading comics. I will however be at Wizard World LA. Will you be there this year?

  8. Torsten Adair says:

    As a participant, I had a decent weekend, starting with the ICV2 GN conference and ending with the jewish panel on Sunday.
    NYCC needs to segregate areas like BookExpo, but as rectangles, not aisles as was done this year, which seemed to replicate the Artists Aisle of last year.
    That said, NYCC is a big tent; how often do you see comicSTRIP creators at a comicBOOK convention, or mainstream book publishers handing out free books? (Even DC gave away galleys of Plain Janes!)
    As a young Marvel Zombie I dreamt about going to New York and attending a convention. My first chance was the notorious Colliseum Show of 1997. So I’m willing to put up with some miscues and annoyances.

  9. Kathleen Pearlman says:

    I was there last year and this year. This year seemed much more crowded and out of control (maybe it was just the security people who were out of control). I didn’t find artist’s alley and even with a banner big as Superman, I had a heck of a time finding the DC booth. I’m hoping they put the gamers a bit more out of the way, but then again, I’ve heard that they pay the bills at some comic shops, where comics do take a back seat to the games….

  10. The show was super but it is a work in progress. The floor plan for 2008 is humongous and brings everyone into the the Javits “Big Room”. We set up as Monkeyhouse Entertainment in booth 132 and had a great show. It’s unfortunate that the show is so much work that none of our team of nine enjoyed much of the city. We were at the Javits from 8 a.m. each day until after closing.

    Our three booths are paid and I know where I will be April 18-20,2008!

  11. This site is really cool.
    http://www.tcf.net/ComicCon.html

  12. Not as cool as http://www.animecons.com/
    So there.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The Beat highlights the problems at NYCC ‘07… THE OTHER PROBLEM THIS YEAR WAS COMMUNICATION AND THE WEBSITE: Reed really needs to improve the website. A single page where you could see all the panels, like every other convention does would be a good start. There were a lot of minor, annoying snafus this year: Several panels were canceled because none of the panelists showed up because they never knew they were on panels. AA exhibitors were given pro badges instead of exhibitor badges which meant they couldn’t get to their booths. The system for who gets a pro badge needs to be rethought. Etc etc etc. These were all relatively minor problems given the size of the venture, but they need to be addressed for next time. [...]

  2. Olovia says:

    Olovia…

    I was thinking the same thing…

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