Have you ever heard the phrase “A deer in the headlights”? Well, after attending the Big Apple Comic Con a few years ago, and the Lehigh Valley Comic Con several times, I thought I was ready for anything. Well, guess again.
My morning bus ride started off fairly normal, with the exception of the grumpy driver telling me he couldn’t drop off my wife and I at the Jacob Javits Center because we weren’t driving by there. Yeah, we didn’t drive right by there, but we were within two blocks of it. So instead we had to walk from 51st and Broadway all the way down to 11th Ave. between 34th & 35th street (anybody that knows NYC knows that’s a slight trek). This inconvenience had us arriving at the building right around 10 am. We were lucky enough to almost see two New Yorkers get into a fist fight, and then see a girl dressed as a guy, but topless, getting lectured by NYC’s finest, so that made it worth it. Once we found out where we needed to be, I picked up my press pass and we were off and running.
Now, let me tell you, the night before I made a list of artists, creators, and booths I wanted to visit, but when I actually got onto the con floor, I didn’t know what to do. I was like a kid who just lost his parents. A slight overwhelming feeling came over me, and I was in shock. I feverishly tried to recover and start my plan of action, but failed miserably. My wife tried to snap me out of it, but no dice. I spent the first few minutes flopping around like a fish out of water. I did notice Oni Press soon after entering the con floor, and I quickly snatched up a copy of Salt Water Taffy: The Seaside Adventures of Jack & Benny vol. 4 (only $6)!
One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to meet a couple of people that have been very nice to me on social media sites. First up was Ryan Colucci. His book, Harbor Moon, was one that had the Decapitated Dan seal of approval on it, so I was very interested. I headed straight for his table in Artist Alley. I have to say that Ryan is one of the coolest dudes I’ve ever met. Upon purchasing his graphic novel, he signed it, and then gave me a free t-shirt as well! Kudos to him for being a stand-up guy and writing a great werewolf story!
Mr. Jeff Balke!
Next, I was on my way to visit Jeff Balke. Now, for those of you who don’t know Jeff, he’s a colorist that’s done work on many books for Zenescope, among other things. He has a great website and Facebook page set up for you to check out his great work that’s available for purchase. I introduced myself to Jeff, then had a brief conversation about comics. Before leaving, I bought two great prints from him (Frankenstein, Hawkeye), and then went on my way. After that, I browsed around artist alley some more. I was really looking forward to seeing Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, but neither were at their table. Also missing were Chris Claremont and Walt Simonson. So, after that slight bit of disappointment, I headed over to the table that Benaroya Publishing had. Their great book, Samurai’s Blood, has really hooked me deeply, and I consider it one of the best books out there along with their table-mates from Image, that were selling copies of another great read, The Vault! The crew with Samurai’s Blood, Owen Wiseman & Nam Kim, were elated to give me not only a great deal on their books, but also sign them as well! Not to be outdone, the peeps from Image next door hooked me up with all three issues of The Vault, too!
Owen Wiseman & Nam Kim (Samurai's Blood)
After I left Artist Alley, I headed to check out the big guns. First up was Dark Horse. I really was expecting huge things from them because of the great books they put out (Conan, Kull, B.P.R.D.). Well, I have to report, I was disappointed with their booth. In reality, it consisted of a couple video games, and some dude handing out some freebies that you had to stand in line for (at least ten people deep…sigh). Oh well, I hoped to find something at my next destination that would quell my feelings of sadness. I headed over to Zenescope next, but the book I was hoping to find, The Dream Eater Saga, was missing. I didn’t see singles or a trade, which really had me perplexed, since the series is thirteen parts and almost over. I expected them to have part one of the collection by now, but alas, no. One great find, was 2/3 of the creative team behind Th3rd World Studios- The Stuff of Legend (pic below)!
C. P. Wilson III & Brian Smith (The Stuff of Legend)
My day of disappointment only grew with my exuberance of the anticipation of the Marvel booth. Well, all I can say is that they were more worried about pumping people up for next summer’s Avengers movie than actually mingling with fans. They had lines that lasted all day to meet anyone or do anything. I was only going to be there for one day (7 hours), so I couldn’t afford to stand in a crazy line, and I also wasn’t willing to pay someone to shake their hand or get a book signed. There were quite a few big names in Artist Alley, but of course they were peddling their creator owned books, and not the stuff that has made them famous. I even tried to see what DC had going on, but that place was a madhouse, as well. I wanted to check out a couple of things for a friend at Image, but that place might have been as bad or worse than the big two! Apparently, Kirkman’s zombie book (that will remain anonymous) had his followers out in droves. Yeah, whatever! I also wanted to make a point to hit up Aspen’s booth, too, as I needed to get my hands on Charismagic #2. I looked far and wide at their booth, but didn’t see it. I’m now wondering if it was cancelled and I’m the last to know.
Me digging through a short box!
So, after quite a few disappointments, I started to hit up the long boxes. There was a decent selection, but nothing that “wowed” me. Some exhibitors had $6 trades and hardcovers at buy one get two free (not bad), but if you weren’t careful you could get duped by others. Midtown Comics was offering 20% off all trades and their booth was insane. I don’t understand why, considering the other deals around, but it wasn’t my money anyway. I did manage to find a few trades that I wanted, but nothing to get all excited about. After a while of shopping around, my wife and I decided it was time to eat. Well, that was an experience, let me tell you. You had to stand in line for 20-30 minutes to get under cooked, over priced food, only to find out that there was nowhere to sit. That’s right, just about every table was packed. We walked around for another 5-10 minutes just looking for a seat. We were just about to sit on the floor (many people did), but then a table full of Star Wars nerds departed and there were two available seats (yippee). The day really flew by after that with not much else to report. We actually left about an hour before we really had to, but at that point, I was tired, disappointed, and just over all done with the day.
In closing, the day was a little mediocre, but I wouldn’t say it wasn’t worth it. I just didn’t really expect the amount of insanity that it presented. Constantly (and I mean constantly) being pushed, prodded, and pawed isn’t my idea of a fun day. One bright spot (mostly) was the cosplayers. Several people had fantastic outfits that really impressed me. I think next year I’m going to make solid plans to hit up Baltimore Comic Con, though. I’ve heard it’s more comic vendor heavy and just a lot more tame. I think it will be a while before I attempt to hit NYCC again. One last thing, though, is that a bright spot did emerge from this day. I was able to meet fellow ComicAttack.net journalist InfiniteSpeech! He is a gentleman and a scholar for sure! My wife did manage to snap a couple of good pictures, so check below for them (click on images to enlarge). Ahhh, a near brawl, a bare chested woman, more nerd stink than fifty comic book shops combined, and two sore legs. Yep, just your standard day in New York City!