Conventions

NYCC 2014: We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat…

Hello Everyone! My name is Raphael, and I’ll be a regular contributor here at The Nerds of Color! New York Comic-Con may have ended a week ago, but here are my thoughts after attending my eighth NYCC.

I’ve been going since its inception, but this was my first as a civilian — working the Midtown Comics booth for the last six years — and it’s definitely a different experience (the lines). The one positive is that since they decided to stick to the current layout (with the Show Floor on the main floor, autographing and panels downstairs, Artist Alley in Javits North) for the last couple years.

The show floor had all of the familiar exhibitors: retail vendors (Midtown, a couple of toy guys, comics guys, and toy/comic guys), publishers (Marvel, Dark Horse, IDW, Valiant, etc.), and pop culture product people (Kotobukiya, Good Smile, etc.), with a smattering of other pop culture/video game stuff. The people at Reed have done a pretty decent job grouping booths together, with sections such as “The Block” and the center floor usually being the big publishers. Whereas San Diego may feel like a multimedia experience, NYCC still feels rooted in comics, and as a comic book guy, this makes me very happy.

Probably the biggest change in the con for me are the congoers themselves. There was a large female presence at the con, and I am glad to see it. Kids Day was always an element of the show, and while it’s good to see kids, it’s good to see their older sisters, moms, aunts… it’s just good to see diversity at a con. It means that it isn’t just for middle-aged Caucasian men, this website is evidence of that as well.

The other thing is cosplay. If 5% of people dressed up for the first NYCC, that number is now 20%. The wide variety of costumes and the people that wear them is stunning and impressive. Buzzfeed did a piece where they had cosplayers hold up a notepad with their real life job written on it: the variety of occupations and people is dizzying.

Artist Alley is probably my favorite place of any given con. Sure, the dealer’s room is great for picking up comics, toys, and the like, but I’m all about getting to meet the people who work on the comics. I love the movies, I buy lots of toys, but I am a comic book guy at heart. I would be a comic book guy without movies, and I will be a comic book guy if and when Hollywood decides to stop doing movies.

I love meeting established creators and relative newbies. My time in and around the industry — working for Midtown and doing a podcast — has afforded me the luxury of having interviewed and made contact with creators such as Declan Shalvey, Adam Withers and Comfort Love, Bryan JL Glass, Mike Norton, Jamal Igle, and many more. Some of them are people I regularly say hi to at conventions, some I can dare to call “friend.” It’s a rewarding experience for me, especially to learn about the industry from the creative end, as I do want to write a comic one day.

If you’ve been to NYCC, you know Javits is too small to hold the show. After the debacle of two years ago (where people were sneaking in), Reed Exhibitions has done a great job with the RFID passes and with controlling the crowds, but even then, we are hitting critical mass. If there were a way to build another level onto the Javits or expand across the street, I’d be all for it. I’d love to see the day where we could have a quarter million people at a con, and have a venue that could fit it. New York should be that place.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed within are those of Raphael Soohoo alone, and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of any organization he represents currently or has represented in the past.

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