All Things Writerly is back, with a NYCC 2017 experience coverage wrap-up. Before I start, I have to make a confession: As the Chief Creative Officer of Comic Booked LLC, I have actually never been to a comic book convention. Correction: I HAD never been. So when the press releases started filling up my inbox last summer and I was looking at my calendar for yet another reason to return to the city, it all came together: I need to go to New York Comic Con. And I did. from 10 AM to 7 PM for four days straight, with lots of shenanigans before and after, I am finally back at my day job and looking forward to a well-placed long weekend ahead. But before I can read all of the goodies that I snagged from the convention, I have to tell you about the highlights of my first (of what will most assuredly be many) Comic Cons.
Metal Panel – So I kept missing my chance to meet up with Scott Snyder so I could get my copy of Voodoo Heart (which everyone should read) signed. Then I met the guy running the Bulletproof Comics booth on the showroom floor and he told me that not only Scott, but also living legend artist Greg Capullo, would be present and accounted for. No tickets. No lines. No “no press allowed” nonsense that was going on at the DC booth (more on that later). So I got some cool variant covers, some certificates of authenticity, a couple of autographs, and this stellar picture. These guys were definitely the highlight of the whole convention. Can’t wait to do a full-length interview with them both some day very soon for the site.
Doomsday Clock Panel – I’m not going to lie, I used my five-star press pass to go to the front of the line on this one and don’t regret it at all. Lev Grossman led Geoff Johns (and a couple thousand fans) through the first six pages of the first issue of Doomsday Clock, a sequel to Watchmen that throws the DC Universe into the Watchmen universe and there could not have been more emotions. A quick “name friends” moment with Johns and about a pound of free promotional swag (that will not be going on eBay, promise!) later, and this was easily one of the coolest moments of the con. Rorschach, Ozymandias, and, you know, those promo images made for a pretty intense series of feelings. The Q & A session was a blast and Johns really does prove that not only is he the best of the best, but humble and real enough to be deserving of all of his decades of accolades.
Artist Alley – A double-edged sword of the convention (other than bathrooms… Were there bathrooms? And did they all have pigeons in them?) was the cluster that was Artist Alley. They always say the only way to truly identify as a New Yorker is to hate the crowds of Times Square. So I guess the only way to truly identify as a New York Comic Con’er is to hate the crowds of Artist Alley. But, hey, once you got that face time with the legends that made your favorite reason to get up every Wednesday and go buy comics, it was all worth it. David Mack was an absolute stud. He signed a copy of a hardcover of his Daredevil run and felt bad for not having change when I insisted on paying him (which he was hesitant about), so he threw in this awesome print, Alex Maleev was working away on commissions (or just doodling, I’m not sure), but when we chatted about his run on Daredevil (which to be completely honest, kept me in comics when I was about to leave in high school), I asked him for a picture. He said his back hurt, but then he felt bad, so he threw in a bunch of issues of Scarlet, and signed them all. No charge. Super nice guy matched only by his talent, Then there was my meeting with Peter Tomasi, my all-time favorite comic book writer. We talked about editing and Superman and he signed a creator-owned graphic novel directly to me, which made me super happy and just furthered my love for the guy. Then I met Gerry Conway, creator of the Punisher, and talked about how I had bought my brother a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #129, but it was coverless. He signed a giant print replica of the cover, directly to me, told me to frame it, and said, “Now you have a cover.” Super nice guy. Every time I meet Peter David, he makes me really happy. He’s just such a character. And my brother will be super pumped to receive yet another PAD-related gift for Christmas this year. Shh… Chris Claremont’s line was full of stories and joy and the guy might secretly be a comic book character himself. And for those wondering: No, Gail Simone will not write a Cyclops comic. Nor will she entertain my jokes about her writing a Cyclops comic. So sassy. All-in-all, Artist Alley was a fun experience, but I think I need to map out my quest a little better next year so I can see about 50 more people.
DC Room – I love how Warner Bros. pretty much just pulled a giant middle finger to Disney this year. They didn’t have a booth. They had a room. They didn’t have a Justice League booth, they had two interactive experiences. And the Graphitti Designs folks sold only DC-licensed products at the convention. Not to mention that it was freebies galore. I probably could have packed my entire suitcase just with DC-related merchandise that they were literally giving away. And not crap. All very, very cool stuff. There’s a reason DC is currently the top company. And it’s not just the characters or the creators. It’s stuff like this. They seemed to be the only big publisher that actually “got” what the point of a comic convention is: Comics. Now, I will say that I was a bit disappointed with the whole “press is ineligible” for wristbands” thing, but I guess I’ll just have to get my stuff signed in Artist Alley or at the end of interviews next time. Good to know for the future. Anywho, DC wins. By far. Keep up the great work, guys.
Showroom Floor – The Showroom floor was tons of fun and where I spent most of my time. The Dark Horse booth was well-run, hosting interviews, signings, merchandise sales, and giving away not only cool swag, but probably the most thoughtful and useful items, such as bags, lanyards, postcards, and wristbands, among many other neat goodies. The IDW booth, the Marvel booth, the Viz Media booth, etc. were all decent, but super crowded and not much to write home about. A few celebrity booths such as Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, and even The Weeknd (which was weird) made for a fun last-minute secret bonus. There were tons of fun vendors, tons of great comics and toys and novelty items for sale, and I shook a lot of hands and received tons of new business cards and review copies to read over. Needless to say, I am out of money and have a lot of things to talk about in the next installment of Independent Comic Spotlight.
Comic Booked After Party – We had (what will hopefully be the first of many) Comic Booked sponsored after parties on Friday night. Hudson Station was wonderful, we rented out the party room in the basement, drank some booze, talked some comics, took some photos, gave away some prizes at the raffle, and made some new friends. Hopefully you can join us next year. And if you joined us this year, hopefully you had a good time and can tell your friends.
Closing Comments – All in all, it was a great time. I’m glad we went as a team and I’m glad we got to meet some of you along the way. If we’re Facebook friends, check out my photos and sassy/slightly inappropriate commentary. If we’re not, I’m shocked and offended and there’s an easy solution to that issue. See you next October, NYCC!