The New York Comic Con
The story has become legend.
You probably heard something about it already. Websites, blogs, message boards, and podcasts all over the internet have been talking about it. The event (or catastrophe to some) which is the New York Comic Con.
I must admit, when I fist heard of Reed Exhibitions (one of the most successful trade show organizers, by the way) wanting to put together this show, I immediately thought the worst. I though, "What do they know about running a Comic Con?" and "It will take a few years before their attendance grows to rival a Wizard World Con or San Diego Comic Con" Man, was I ever wrong!
From all accounts the show was a huge success. That is from accounts of the people who actually got into the show. If you haven't already heard..... let's just say, it was a little crowded. No, let's just say it was A LOTA CROWDED!
I went to the Con on Friday about 3:00pm in the afternoon and was surprised by the turnout. The lobby was completely full of fans! I immediately thought, "Great, it's a success!" Luckily I had my press pass waiting for me in the press room and walked into the con with no problem. Once inside, it was Convention heaven! All of the major companies had some kind of presence at the Con. From Marvel Comics, Dc Comics, Heavy Metal Magazine, Art Asylum, Darkhorse, Toy Biz, Dc Direct, Diamond Comics Distributors, you name it, they were there! They had an artist's alley with many of the top artists (old and new) in the field. Small companies, big companies, comic book vendors, toy vendors, and the usual "booth babes", it was a geeks paradise!
I remember telling a friend of mine on Friday, "If it's this packed today, imagine how it's going to be on Saturday." In retrospect, I should have taken the amount of people there, on a Friday, as a harbinger of things to come. Because if Friday was crazy, Saturday was INSANE!!!
Everyone there said the same thing... "They should have gotten the bigger space!" Wow, was that ever the truth! Reed Exhibitions estimated the total of attendees would be around 20,000 for the entire weekend. How about, there were 20,000 people there on Saturday alone! Talk about underestimating! It was a crowd that could even give the San Diego Comic Con a challenge. There are also many reports that they turned away 5 to 6 thousand fans on Saturday morning! The State Police were turning away fans before they even reached the building! At 12:00pm the Fire Marshall was called in and did not let anyone, and I mean ANYONE, into the Con until the crowd inside started to thin out. Not only were ticket holders stranded outside once the Fire Marshall stopped letting people in, but so were vendors, exhibitors, and guests themselves! There is a report that Frank Miller himself was stuck outside! The Eternal Collector crew and I were stuck outside the entrance for about 45 minutes until we were finally let in because we were press. We actually have some pretty funny video of the mess there was at the front of the line! In the immortal words of Charlton Heston in the Planet of the Apes, "It's a Madhouse, A MADHOUSE!!!" Because if you did not get to the con early on Saturday, you did not get in. It was so bad that there were many who did not get in to the Convention even though they were pre-registered.
It was a little frustrating waiting outside for so long, but all those feelings quickly went away once inside this great con. It was so much fun! The New York Comic Con was by far, the best convention New York City has had for a loooooong time. At least that was the general consensus from most vendors and attendees. It is the first major Convention New York City has had in a decade. I am sure you will find some who saw it as a disaster, as what happened on Saturday will be remembered for a long, long time. Did the show have its problems, yes! But who would have expected a turnout like this for their first show? There have also been some people that have been knocking the Convention, saying that Reed Exhibitions poorly managed the show. While there were many problems, I believe that they learned much from this show and will use this as a lesson learned for the future.
Comic Conventions are a different animal.
The problems I saw were... First, they needed a bigger space (Duh!) Second, the aisles were way too small to accommodate the amount of fans in there. And third, having the super huge Marvel and DC Comics booths at the front entrance did not help much. This is what caused some MAJOR congestion in the area. Everything else was fine! The panels also did very well as they were well attended. Some say this is because no one could get into the show so they decided to attend panels instead of wait in the massive lines.
Even though it had its problems, I see a bright future for the New York Comic Con. I am sure the next one will be easily twice the size and the people at Reed Exhibitions now know that they need more staff as well. Mostly everyone in the con had something positive to say and felt that the show was a success and anticipate the next one
It was a great, well-balanced Convention, and I myself look forward to the future of The New York Comic Con.