AMBER LOVE 16-OCT-2012 This was the shortest amount of time I have ever spent at New York Comic Con and after my one day visit, I don’t want to go back. If it wasn’t for the statistics that there are people at this show I would not get to see at small local shows, there’s no way I would subject myself to the disarray that is ReedPop’s epicenter on the east coast.
Arriving late on a Saturday is better than arriving early and standing in a long line needlessly. My first stop was to find Podcast Alley which I eventually did. I had quick visits with Jimmy Aquino of Comics News Insider and Pants and Bryan Deemer of Comic Geek Speak (Supershow 2013 is April 6-7!).
Ashley and I got to find the 215ink booth after our first bout of navigation issues on that floor. The creators and management of 215ink are a talented bunch with a diverse catalog of comics. I missed the DEADHORSE creators but was able to get some quality time with the rest. I attempted to do more than hog their prime corner booth space and actually chat up potential customers. I think I failed at it but had a great time and hated to leave them. I may have been a stupid fangirl in the presence of Shawn Aldridge but I’m pretty sure he’s used to my love of VIC BOONE by now.
You’ll want to keep up on their JESUS HATES ZOMBIES title for big movie news. It’s in production by actor/director Eric Balfour who I know from the early years of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER but he’s had a good solid career since those youthful days.
ARTISTS ALLEY: I appreciated that the aisles were luxuriously spacious there in that bizarrely detached isolation ward. The lighting was great too. It would have been better if there was a separate entrance/exit from the street.
I got to cover the booth of Alex Saviuk for a while so he could take a much needed break. I was happy to finally meet Stephanie Cooke and Bill Willingham who I have known on Twitter. I got to visit with Lee Weeks; Ken & Buz from The Living Corpse; Dave Pirello & Scott Derby who were walking around not tabling; finally met Brandon Seifert in person who was is a fellow Comic Experience alum; a quick hug from Chris Sotomayor; chatting with David Gallaher and Steve Ellis; bear hug from Jamal Igle; a kiss from George Perez; and my fair amount of stalking of Mike Norton.
I also finally met the infamous Elliot Serrano in person after our passionate online affair that’s lasted years. You can follow Elliot at the Chicago Tribune or through his work with Dynamite comics.
And by the end of Saturday, we were at the annual GEEK GIRLS’ NETWORK party at Stitch. Not the best bar in NYC. I would have preferred lower music instead of a club; the ambiance was a bar and we were there to catch up with each other. Nearly impossible. All conversations had to be shouted making it rather awkward and uncomfortable. At least I got to see my New York friends and other people who traveled quite far around the world to be there.
First of all, this is not a show to bring children. It is not a safe show to navigate. Just like previous years, Reed insists on placing the video game booths at the front of the main hall immediately inside the entrances. Near them are the big game comic publishers and literary houses. I completely understand why Marvel Comics wants to be by the company that puts out Marvel games. That doesn’t mean I want to be cattleherded through the only entrance and have that forced upon me as an attendee or professional creator. There are four sections to this Javits Center layout: far left side of wrestlers, podcasting, smaller press; main hall of giant companies; Artists Alley off in its own building; the bottom floor of panel rooms.
Anyone with a social anxiety issue would likely know the warnings about trying to attend a convention this large. You really can’t do it comfortably. The aisles in the left side (34th St side) were small and claustrophobic. All I was carrying was a rather small backpack and I couldn’t walk without getting bumped and pushed. The vendors had barely any room in the small press area.
It took a while to go to the Podcast Alley then over to Small Press. Traversing through the main hall, there was only one booth I felt I wanted to see and that was Avatar. I managed to get there to say hello to James Kuhoric and tried to quickly leave for Artists Alley.
At that point my only vocabulary was a stream of expletives from my consciousness outwardly vocalized at the shitstorm that was the show floor plan. The escalators that leave the main hall were a traffic jam resembling bustling drone bees in a hive. The down escalator let out onto the foyer where people were having panic attacks and breakdowns. It was a mosh pit. That’s no exaggeration. I was separated from Ashley as the mass either didn’t move at all or my body was shoved into movement like a car going through an automated car wash. It was all up to the people on the edges to pump the bodies through a single file traffic merge to get to Artists Alley.
This is the point where I said:
“I will never come back to this fucking show if they don’t take people’s feedback into consideration and fix this goddamn clusterfuck of a layout!”
I would accept some of the problems if this was a first time show. I would accept it if it was a few people running a show that were overwhelmed. BUT THIS IS REED’S BUSINESS! They run trade shows. It’s what they do. That means they should be able to do that job and provide safe environments for attendees/guests. If there was any kind of emergency: fire, threat, medical… there is no way people would not be trampled causing even more distress.
I laughed when I saw a tweet by the NYCC official account requesting people attend their Feedback Panel at 4:00. I’ve given my feedback in the past about moving the gaming studios to the back so forces people who want to see them to go by other less-traffic-jamming booths.
I talked to creators who had to their distant Artists Alley tables 45-60 minutes before signings or panels in other areas of the Javits Center. Things they should consider: Podcasters will want to interview creators; this can’t happen when they are one hour walking distance. Creators will NEED to get to their panels; this can’t happen if they are one hour walking distance.
As I said before, this is not a show for children because I spoke with several parents who left their kids at home and all said they would have been far too worried about losing their children in this crowd. I know a couple who did bring their darling newborn to the show. I’m wondering if it was easier for them because they had a baby that required holding rather than a very short human getting an ass-only view of the show trying to hold hands with a guardian.
When I finally did get through that nightmare of a hallway, Ashley and I found Artists Alley. My plan was that once there, I would not return to the main hall. Artists Alley is my haven. It’s calmer, less noisy, and far more enjoyable than anywhere else in NYCC. There were practical issues in AA because of course, nothing can run smoothly.
Simple necessities such as working bathrooms complete with toilet paper were not something women in the Javits Center could count on. When we found a working restroom, one poor woman stood in a stall handing out toilet paper just so all the other women could go into the other stalls. Again, this should not have been a surprise to ReedPop or to the Javits Center management. This show sold well over 100,000 passes. They knew how many people would require their services.
And my final gripe is that my already craptastic Verizon service only worked at specific points on the convention floor. Last year, (with a different phone) my Verizon worked while my friends with iPhones on other networks had problems. I remember last year there were rumors that there was actually some kind of blockage on the mobile access due to corporate relationships. To which I reply, What.The.Fuck. This is New York City – not my country bumpkin backwater town – I expect cell phone service as did 100,000 other people.