NY Comic Con 2007|
Writen by Kaitou Ace
Posted on February 24, 2007 at 06:41:03 pm
Visit the gallery of pictures for this event
This is my second time going to the NY Comic Con, which is fitting, as it is only the second year of the convention. The convention is bigger, and I would definitely better this year. The NY Comic Con takes place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, and is I think the only event of its nature in the city itself. While there are a few smaller gaming and anime cons going on in the tri-state area, the only con in the past that was close to this was the failed Big Apple Anime Fest.
I have to make a confession here, in that I am not that big of a fan of comic books in general. I've read them, and I certainly know who the major characters are, but its never been a very strong interest. Regardless though, the NY Comic Con had a decent amount of anime / manga material, as well as enough Sci-Fi stuff to keep me rather interested throughout the con. The list of guests this year was very impressive, including Stan Lee, Wes Craven, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, Peter David, and many more. Actors from many popular series were present as well, and it was easily one of the more "star-filled" events that I have been to of late.
Cosplay wasn't as prevalent, although thats possibly due to the chilly New York weather, and the fact that the Javits center is right by the waterfront, delivering icy winds, as it was due to the demographic. From the estimates I have been hearing, the convention is twice the size as it was last year, both in the amount of space, and in the amount of people, with the visitor count being over 40,000. To get an autograph of most of the guests you had to have a ticket, and the really big names (ie Stephen Colbert, Stan Lee) people camped out from as early as 7am for a chance at their autograph.
Anime companies were out in full swing, with Tokyopop celebrating their 10 year anniversary (Thats half of their cake there. It was delicious.) Viz had a huge booth with a lot of Naruto content, including a shurken throwing game for prizes. A few stands with Naruto DS games, and their usual convention Mardi Gras beads. ADV Films had a huge booth also, as well as Funimation and Del Rey Manga and others. The dealer room was heavy on the larger corporate companies, but a few online stores and smaller dealers were there as well. The dealer room was very big, easily the size of the room at Otakon.
The main events hall was easily able to hold everyone, and all the major events, including Sci-Fi channels presentation of the Dresden Files (great books, go read them) with Jim Butcher, the author of the books there, as well as Paul Blackthorne, who plays the title character on the Sci-Fi channel series of the same name.
The hall was packed for the events with Stan Lee, who was very energetic on stage and spoke a lot about the history of Marvel, took questions from the crowd and was a very interesting person to listen to. Likewise the banter between Stephen King, Peter David, and the other authors who were on stage at a later panel was very interesting to listen to as well.
The convention had a lot of video rooms, showing anime, and similar programming, and the artist alley was quite packed as well. They had CCG tournaments, a video game room, plenty of autograph sessions, and plenty of interesting people milling about.
Sadly the cosplay was mostly of the corporate variety, with mascots of the various publishers roaming around their booths, as well as the standard amount of Jedi knights and Imperial Stormtroopers clashing their lightsabers. They did have a cosplay event, but I think there were maybe two dozen people participating in all. Of course there was some good cosplay, but I am more used to events where three
out of every five people are in costume, and the ratio here was maybe
one out of fifty. I would hope that as the con grows, more people start coming in costume, as half the fun of a con like this, is seeing all the amazing outfits people dress up in.
Unlike last year, where most of every day was spent in line, the convention was much more flowing this year, and the increased size of the main hall/dealer room kept the fire marshals from having to step in. People weren't standing in line much, but a caveat was that you needed to have gotten your ticket online weeks before. The con was sold out for the weekend pass, and the Saturday pass long before the doors opened, and there were signs that if you didn't have a ticket already, there wasn't a point to trying to get in.
The staff on the floor was very polite, but everpresent, something thats a necessity for a gathering of this size. During the Stan Lee event, it took a bit for security to disperse the clutch of photographers at the base of the stage, but all in all, I was very impressed with the handling of the convention.
At the convention I also got to try my hand at a CCG for the first time. The game I played was The Spoils by Tenacious Games, and it was an interesting experience. While I doubt I will become a regular player of the genre, I did enjoy the game we played there. Their game is not a part of any existing universe, and features original characters and a very wry sense of humor in the descriptions on the cards. The artwork was interesting enough on its own, and was intriguing enough to look at, even without considering them in the context of the game. There are numerous decks such as, "The Warlord", "The Banker" and so on. From what I gather, the play dynamics are fairly standard as far as CCG's go, but the card artwork and stories didn't feel quite as cliche as some of the cards I've seen from other decks. If CCG's are your thing, you may want to take a look at this system.
The Dresden Files that I mentioned earlier. I am a big fan of the series, and seeing Jim Butcher on stage (and sitting pretty much right across the isle from me) was pretty much the high point of the convention for me. I am going to plug his books here, so if you like fantasy, detective, film noir or mystery genres you are likely to enjoy this. Check his site out, and get the books. You won't regret it.
I would say that if you are anywhere in the NY area, and a fan of anime/Sci-Fi/comic books, you should visit this con. Their list of guests seems to get more and more impressive, and with the organizing snafu of last year seemingly done away with, the convention was a lot of fun. The only thing I was disappointed with was the video game room this year, which was pretty small, and had a fairly narrow selection. This may have been due to the amount of dealers setting up their own gaming stations, but it is still something I'd like to see improved. The prices for food at the Javits rival those of international airports, but I don't think the convention itself has any control over this.
I'd give this convention an 8/10 overall, as definitely worth a visit, and if you don't have to travel for too long to get here, it is more then worth your while.