New York City, NY, USA. October 11th–14th, 2012.
Another year, another New York Comic-Con. Even though I no longer live on the east coast, this was my third year getting to attend, and my second where I’ve had to make the trip across the country. Every year, NYCC has given me reasons to make that trip over and over again. Last year really put NYCC on the map, with the big TV and movie studios finally taking a chance and treating New York much more like they would San Diego, with exclusive content, big panels, and even bigger stars.
While there was nothing this year matching up to the frenzy level of the “Avengers”, it was clear that the rest of the companies saw the example and ran with it – Legendary brought out the big guns for “Pacific Rim,” Guillermo del Toro’s newest project that has had a pretty tight lid kept on it. First looks at “Carrie” or TV shows like “King of the Nerds” and Stan Lee’s “Comic Book Men,” or even STARZ’s “Da Vinci’s Demons” (which took over the corridors around the exhibitor’s hall and artist’s alley with its advertising – with the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie promotion taking up the other side) also filled out the excitement.
The Japanese side of things saw a ton of great guests too, with Hideo Baba, creator of the “Tales” series, Masakazu Katsura, the character designer and artist for Tiger & Bunny as well as the creator of “I”s,” and the legendary illustrator for the Final Fantasy series, Yoshitaka Amano attending. Industry panels were also out in full force, with Aniplex, Funimation, Bandai Namco, and others announcing new releases and promoting their streaming services.
The best part of NYCC is that, unlike at San Diego where comics have started to slip to the side and occupy smaller panels, New York Comic Con still has comics as a main focus, where Marvel and DC’s panels take place in and fill up the large panel rooms. While shows and movies and the rest of pop culture is gaining a foothold, which will definitely cement NYCC’s place in the con lineup for exclusive announcements and building social media excitement, which seems to be the key to anything’s success these days, it’s nice to see them continue to balance between games, comics, anime, and pop culture.
Another thing it’s been great to see continue improving is their use of space. The Javitts Convention center has a lot of square footage, but not a lot of space to get from one place to another, leading to incredibly crowded hallways during high-traffic times. This was alleviated by opening up all of the hall areas and back passageways as well as centralizing some of the events so that there was less movement to do. Also better was the increased size of the exhibitor’s hall. There were, of course, crowds and areas that got to be gridlocked, but they were fewer and further between with nice, wide aisles and plenty of space. The booths were excellent too, with the big studios and companies pulling out all the stops with guest signings, swag, and displays. You can get schedules for signings from the booths, but for the special gifts, you sometimes just have to turn up at the right place at the right time. T-shirts and other cool swag are abundant, but sometimes you have to play a game demo first or just hang around to get it.
All-in-all, NYCC is an excellent multi-fandom con. It’s taking leaps and bounds to make itself the con to be at on the East Coast, especially with tickets selling out for each day. Aside from problems with cell reception – basically, have a meet-up plan with friends if you’re ever going to be separated as all services have trouble connecting in the Javitts and there isn’t any free wifi around – and, of course, New York hotel prices, it’s a con I look forward to every year and definitely deserves a look if you have the weekend free.