As I am sure you loyal readers have noticed, we here at When Nerds Attack are pulling it back a bit after weeks of going hard non-stop in the weeks leading up to San Diego. We were humbled the sheer number of people who came to us in their search for information and advice on Comic-Con international in San Diego and are looking forward to raising the bar for convention coverage and bringing it even harder from here on out by expanding our focus onto different events. But in the down time before we jump right back into it I have had a few moments to collect my thoughts and reflect on how comic conventions had ended up as such an integral part of my life, and all signs point back to New York. Since we are close to kicking off our New York Comic-Con tips and advice I felt the need to reflect on my first time at this show.
I have attended the New York Comic-Con every year that it has been offered to date. I know that doesn’t sound too impressive but I feel a bit of pride having to been there at the ground floor, and as an industry professional to boot! Before Reed Expo came to town with this show I think my biggest convention was maybe Wizard World Philadelphia but there was no comparison aside from the focus on the genres covered by all comic conventions big and small alike. Now, I have been to cons before so I felt like I was prepared. In fact, shortly before this event I had spent the summer touring the US convention circuit as a vendor for a small retailer so I felt like a bit of an old hand when it came to the industry but boy was I wrong.
First off, I would like to point out that the Jacob Javits Center is a magnificent building. In the typical fashion of a native New Yorker I had never actually been there before the convention but trust me, I was taking it in once I was in view of the building. This convention had been hyped for months as the East Coasts answer to San Diego Comic-Con and having heard tales from my journey of how daunting San Diego is I knew that this was something I had to see. I mean, the awesomeness of a mega con with the convenience of a simple commuter train from Ramapo College? Yeah, I was sold. But apparently so were several thousand more people than the show’s producers had expected but I will get more on that later.
Since this was early in our relationship I had Erin with me (we were as inseparable in those days as we are now) and this was her first convention. After a bit of marketing on my behalf she agreed to go and we took the time aside to go on the opening day which was Friday. For those of you who do not know, Fridays at Reed Expo Comic Conventions has a few hours set aside in the morning and afternoon for the industry and press folks, kind of like a mixer, before the floor opens to the general public. I do not remember much unfortunately but I do remember some company was making martinis for folks walking around during the professional house. Pretty swanky if I may say so, I have yet to see that again at ANY convention though so I am happy I was able to experience that.
So after a few panels and meeting up with friends in the industry we headed out. That was back before I was interested in off-site parties and what not but as a pair of twenty two year olds we had no trouble finding our own fun. The next day I was surprised to see the coverage of the convention on the local news, I thought that was so cool until I started seeing reports of how over crowded it was and the fire Marshall threatening to shut the show down. While that did not happen, they did have to turn people away at the door who were not pre-registered which sucks but I learned a valuable lesson that I would put into effect for almost every con I have attended since then: Pre-Register!