Ranting about my New York Comic Con 2011 experience!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here about New York Comic Con are not the views and opinions of Senpai Magazine. I do not speak for the entire magazine, nor ever have. Enjoy!
Phew, still tired from it. I got back from New York Comic Con/New York Anime Fest late last night with much to discuss and think about. This was my first NYCC and, probably, my last for a few reasons which will soon be clear.
So there was three of us present to represent Senpai Magazine in the Anime Artist Colony. Since there was only three of us we didn’t have much freedom to look around. However, even when I was able to leave the table, I was hesitant to do so since it was just so packed. So much so that it simply was not fun walking through the dealer room and showrooms, especially on Saturday when the congestion was so bad that people were practically shoulder-to-shoulder at all times. You could imagine what this meant for food/bathroom lines too.
Even so, I was able to have some fun. Here are some of my personal highlights!
– One of the first things I made sure to do was pick up Stef’s new “Lost Nova” comic, and received a free sketch commission to boot! Check out her web-comic here!
– One thing I appreciate more than a well-done cosplay is when someone cosplays a favorite character of mine. At the con I saw a few “Death”s from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, probably my favorite graphic novel of all time. I also saw someone cosplay my favorite pony, Derpy! Complete with mail-bag!
– As for celebrities I didn’t meet too many… I think. Er, I’m not sure, but I think I saw Kevin Smith. He was dressed as Silent Bob, but I couldn’t tell if it was just someone cosplaying him (and doing an AWESOME job) or really him. Either way, he nodded at me and that was awesome!
– I also inadvertently met one of the editors of the Magic the Gathering: Homelands graphic novel!!! Now I’ve been meaning to review the graphic novel for some time, and rant about the Homelands MTG set, which is considered by many to be the most underwhelming set ever. Mark Rosewater, a lead designer for mtg, even called it “Magic’s all-time design low.”
However I LOVE it due to the characters and story (although I will admit the cards are pretty under-powered…)
An older gentleman was walking by the Anime Artist Colony with his family and I noticed he was wearing a MTG shirt with the iconic characters “Baron Sengir” and “Hurloon Minotaur” on it. I immediately called out the characters and, to his surprise, went on and on about how much I appreciated the Homelands set. He admitted to being a part of the graphic novel and we had an awesome chinwag about classic Magic the Gathering.
– Also all the dealers in the artist colony in our row were very friendly, which is something an artist alley noob like me loves to see.
– I got plenty of great stuff to read for the next few days such as the Lost Nova comic I mentioned earlier, Warwolf: The Centurian Warrior by Marc Weinstein, The Collected Tall Tails volume 1 through 3, and Fur-piled volume 2 and 3.
– Lastly I had some great conversations with fellow anime fans and succeeded in generating interest in what we offer at Senpai: Launching a revolution one issue at a time!
Sadly, it wasn’t an entirely positive experience for me. Now I’m not saying NYCC was a bad con, far from it, it is HUGE…and perhaps too huge for my taste. And that’s really what it comes down to – personal taste. Some will love this star-studded over-the-top monster of a con, and others won’t.
A big part of a con’s enjoyment level for me is dependent upon the con staff. I like it when the con personnel make an effort to be present for dealers and artists by regularly circulating and stopping by our tables. However, here the con staff appeared downright “robotic” and lifeless – a stark contrast against the nauseatingly loud and chaotic backdrop of the con. They appeared “bound” to their specific locations/posts and their conversational skills appear to have come straight out of an old-school rpg. To clarify, here’s a snippet between a “chat” I had with a staffer when I wanted to know the artist colony’s closing time:
Me: Hi there, we’re about to pack u-
Staffer: Exit through that door!
Me: Uh huh *shows badge* I am about to pack it up a-
Staffer: Exit through that door!
Me: B-but I’m not leaving yet, just want to know if our stuff w-
Staffer: If you’re leaving, exit through that door
Me: Oh forget it -.-
Now I’m not saying ALL of the con staff were like this, just most of the ones I’ve encountered. Some were helpful, one even went the extra mile for us on Friday. El Senpai Presidente and I were collecting our Artist Colony badges and asked for a third one for our parter who was on her way, but we were informed that artist booths were only allowed two artist colony badges. However, they sold out of passes for Saturday and Sunday, so it seemed as if our comrade was S.O.L. Fortunately, this particular staffer did us a solid and gave us a third badge. Really appreciated that, and it was a much-needed stroke of luck.
Security seemed virtually nonexistent in areas where they should be, especially in the Anime Artist Alley. It was absolutely infuriating how many people loved stopping for pictures in high-traffic areas (in front of stairs/escalators, in narrow hallways, etc). At any other con there’d be staff actually circulating to prevent such needless congestion. I understand that this event was gigantic, and it’d be impossible to blanket the entire convention center, but some display of effort would have been appreciated.
Another example: Sunday afternoon about a hundred con-goers gathered around as people were loudly smacked with a Yaoi paddle. This was a few feet away and completely within earshot of a staffer by the door who did nothing about it. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun… wish i could say it was “harmless” fun but my rump is still sore, but that kind of thing would have never flown in a more organized con like Connecticon. (Wow… I just complimented Connecticon’s organization… let THAT be an indication of security at NYCC)
Also, as a vendor in the artist alley I love the luxury of being able to covertly motion over security whenever someone particularly creepy approaches, goes on and on with creepiness, and scares away business. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that.. I know it takes “all kinds” but still… *shudders*
The final nail in the coffin of the experience for me was the clusterfuck that ensued Sunday afternoon. By then it was just me and Senpai President, and we decided to beat the rush out by closing up our booth an hour early. We were being smart…we thought. We leave and wait outside under the con’s shuttle pickup/dropoff sign. And we kept waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Meanwhile, the crowd built up behind us – thousands of out-of-state fans completely confused as to how they were getting back to their homes. One staffer would tell us to keep waiting by the sign, others would tell us to wait somewhere else down the road, and the confusion just kept building with the con staff seemingly not giving a shit.
So after struggling with a confusing subway system (the one subway train we wanted wasn’t running) and an equally confusing bus schedule, we had to suck it up and take an expensive taxi ride to Grand Central. Granted, we could have walked it, but keep in mind we are vendors and had a lot of heavy stuff on us at the time.
So there were some pros, but for a few reasons I really don’t want to try NYCC again:
– Too big/VERY cramped and crowded
– Con staff was not very helpful as a whole
– Very expensive (4 bucks for water >,< Man I miss this guy)
– Did I mention it was expensive? To get anywhere, be prepared to shovel out an arseload of cash for taxi rides.
– FurFright was the same weekend! I could have gone to that but noooo >,< We had to sell stupid magazine-er I mean, awesome magazines… *pouts*
Next con I’ll be at is Gobble-con which should be a refreshing experience compared to this. It’s much smaller and the people behind it are very approachable and awesome.
Until then, stay furry.
– Furry Senpai Mikekun