Ashley Neuhaus 17-OCT-2012 For various reasons, I almost didn’t attend New York Comic Con this year but I still sent in my press application just in case. That application process was the first sign that things would probably be a mess. ReedPop decided to do things a little differently this year when applying for press credentials.
This was the first year I’ve applied as press so I’m not sure how it went previously but on the application page, they said it was going to be different so I took their word for it. First I had to fill out an online application on their website directly then I received an email with my press identification number and was then directed to download, print, and complete the “press accreditation profile.” After filling it out, I had to include an assignment letter from my editor/producer and include three coverage samples. Now the part that really annoyed me about the application process was that I had to send it in via fax or snail mail. There was no way I could scan and email the documents. I don’t have access to a fax so I had put my faith in the United States Postal Service and hope that they wouldn’t lose the mail. Luckily, a few weeks later I received my email thanking me for registering as press and that ReedPop was happy to confirm my credentials. It was my first time being accepted as press for a major convention so I was a giddy little girl for a moment. And that’s pretty much where my excitement for the show itself ended.
I have talked to several people about the show and how insanely crowded it is. The response I get 90% of the time is “well what did you expect especially when you go in on Saturday, the busiest day?” I do expect a show to be crowded, I really do. I’m not an idiot, especially when it comes to this show itself. I’ve been attending New York Comic Con since 2007 and know how big it is and that it just gets bigger ever year. It does make me happy that there are so many people still interested in the comics community but I think that maybe ReedPop needs to re-evaluate how many tickets they sell. I tried to find the occupancy limit for the Javits Center online but couldn’t. It just seems like NYCC is being oversold.
One way I was able to avoid a huge line upon first arriving was that I got there late, a little before noon, and was able to walk up to the desk only to wait a few minutes to pick up my badge. I stepped off to the side to attach my lanyard and in the time frame of two minutes I was bumped into about five times. It wasn’t even like I was in the middle of a crowd. I was off to the side by a sign, away from people so I wasn’t in anyone’s way! With our lanyards around our necks, Amber and I latched on to each other and headed towards the entrance.
The one thing that will ALWAYS piss me off about NYCC is the fact that the giant video game displays are right up front. I’m not talking about the games where you stand at a computer and do a demo. No, I’m talking about the Michael Black Eyed Peas Just Dance Experience games. It creates the greatest, most annoying congestion ever. People can’t even get on to the con floor before being attacked by the crowd. ReedPop needs to reconsider their placement of these things. Put it off against a side wall or even in the middle of the main floor but not right at the entrance.
The first thing we wanted to hit was the Podcast Arena to see some of our friends there (Comic Geek Speak, Jimmy Aquino of Comic News Insider) and we somehow found it without looking at the map because I couldn’t even get my head on straight to comprehend it. After chatting with those guys for a bit we headed back through a hallway plagued with girls holding signs begging for free hugs which really, they should just say “pedophiles are welcome here!”
Upon exiting that hallway and we were spat back out into the small press area which is exactly where we wanted to be next. And right in front of my eyes was the very table we really wanted to see, 215ink. This is one talented group of creators. I was a bit disappointed that I missed Jeremy Holt who is the writer for SOUTHERN DOG and COBBLE HILL. But I got to meet some of the creators that Amber’s been yammering on about and also make new friends. I attempted to put myself to use instead of just standing around hogging space behind the table. I was the “bag girl” for a little while. After spending over an hour at that table, we finally left the crew and decided that the next destination would be Artist’s Alley.
Weeks prior to the convention I found out that Artist’s Alley was going to be in the North Pavilion which I only stumbled upon last year by some crazy random happenstance. I was actually pretty outraged to discover that the artists would be in what might as well have been a separate building. In a post-con interview, VP of ReedPop, Lance Fensterman had this to say about the location:
We were facing two choices; one was cut Artist’s Alley in half and more than half of those people wouldn’t be there—wouldn’t have a table—or grow it to the biggest it’s ever been and put it in the North Pavilion. – LF
If that’s true then I am happy it wasn’t cut in half because let’s be honest, without the artists, there wouldn’t be comics. Getting to Artist’s Alley was like being in a warzone. Once on the escalators to go down, I saw the sea of people. I actually considered jumping over to the “up” escalator because I just did not want to be sucked into that crowd. There was no clear path to be taken; it was just get off the escalator and be swallowed by the crowd. I wish there had been volunteers or workers of ReedPop directing traffic because there were people going every which way. Amber and I got separated in this crowd because she was basically sucked away through the crowd of people. Once I was able to breath a little easier and all the expletives in my vocabulary had been uttered, we made it into the North Pavilion.
The one good thing about it down there was there were was a wall of bathrooms. Except the bathroom I went in, it seemed every stall was out of toilet paper so one girl stood in a stall and handed out toilet paper to everyone. You’d think that with a convention that’s expected to have over 100,000 people attending, there’d be more staff on hand to stock the bathrooms.
I knew that once in Artist’s Alley, I would not be leaving. It is my safe place. It’s also the place where the majority of the people I wanted to see would be. We got to spend time with the great Alex Saviuk and stalked Mike Norton for a while. I was also thrilled to finally meet Stephanie Cooke, the fabulous assistant for Mr. Bill Willingham. Another one of my Twitter loves that I got to meet was Elliot Serrano and he is every bit as great in person as he is online. Some of the others that I got to see while in Artist’s Alley were Tim Seeley, the always smiling Jamal Igle, Ken and Buz from THE LIVING CORPSE, spent some time with Steve Ellis and David Gallaher (finally!) and one of the highlights of my day: a kiss from George Perez. I didn’t even get all fangirly and squeal.
The insanity of the day ended with another great party hosted by the GEEK GIRLS’ NETWORK. It was at Stitch Bar & Lounge again which is a nice space but the music is just too loud for me. I know it’s a party and whatnot but with the music turned up at full volume, it makes conversations difficult. This was the place for me catch up with friends and have a good time but we were shouting in each other’s ears the whole time.
When people ask me how comic con was for me, my response is simple: insane. I much prefer the smaller shows like Baltimore or CGS’s Supershow (which will be April 6-7, 2013!).