Debuting in October 2006, the New York Comic Convention has been organized by Reed Exhibitions to offer New York fans (as well as fans willing to travel to the east coast) a con nearly on par with the San Diego Comic Con in the summer. Boasting an over 100,000 attendance last year, this is the third straight year I was able to attend as a professional Examiner and offer all sorts of snaps, scoops, and reviews of material at the con. Armed with a sports bag full of comics to be signed and a digital camera, I dove into the con this weekend.
The attendance last year was reportedly bolstered by an epidemic of fake or resold badges and tickets being offered on the Internet and other "free market" sources. This created an additional crush of attendees which bordered on scary at moments in 2012. In order to combat this as well as even the playing field for paying customers (as well as professionals, exhibitors and the press), the badges this year were upgraded to include a cyber chip which had to be activated upon entering, with guards more involved in that process. Thus, while the attendance on Friday and especially Saturday (the heaviest day of the con) was always a feat to behold, it didn't reach the heights of absurdity from 2012 in which any forward progress was halted by a crowd. There were legions of cosplayers; whether more so than last year is debatable. As usual, the most common characters donned by fans were Deadpool, Batman (and related characters) Wolverine, Spider-Man, some Lantern, or characters from Naruto. "Where's Deadpool?", a variation of "Where's Waldo?", could be played with any snap shot of a cosplay crowd.
The large publishers such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Valiant Comics, Archie Comics, and Dark Horse Comics all had major announcements and major panels. There was a heavy presence of media which isn't about comic books or even manga, such as video games, TV shows and films. However, the New York Comic Con is still a con which remains focused on comics, from many retailers selling plenty of the actual books to dozens of smaller publishers and creators trading their wares. These include creators whose works will be reviewed in the very near future: John Lees and "The Standard #4" and "And Then Emily Was Gone #1" from ComixTribe, "Rex: Zombie Killer #1" from Rob Anderson, DaFu Yu and Big Dog Ink, and "Battling Boy" from Paul Pope and First Second.
There were countless creators there who were available and terrific for fans seeking signings and sketches, but this column needs to give a special shout-out to Kevin Eastman; co-creator of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" as well as the current co-writer, layout specialist and occasional artist for IDW Comics' current revamp. Only appearing on Saturday, Eastman stayed until past closing to make sure everyone on his line got at least their comics signed, not to mention free sketches for dozens of other fans. Reed Expo was all but shutting the lights on him and yet he stayed behind for his fans.
Stay turned for a week (as well as weeks) of news announcements and reviews from the con!