Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Need a Hero - New York Comic Con 2010

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On October 8th & 9th, 2010, I had the opportunity to attend the New York Comic Con at the Jacob K. Javitz Center. A discount on weekend admission is offered for educators, librarians included, as an incentive for professionals to attend. The price for a weekend pass is $10.00, as opposed to the $50.00 regular price for non-professionals. This also includes a time set aside on Friday morning when the exhibit area is open only for those with professional passes before the convention opens to the general public. Professionals wishing to only attend on Friday are given free admission for the entire day. I opted for the weekend pass since I knew I would want to attend for more than one day. This was my second time attending NYCC, having also gone to the last one in February 2009. If possible, the convention was twice as overwhelming the second time around. Despite my bewilderment, I definitely had even more fun at this year’s New York Comic Con.

I was very strategic in the things that I wanted to attend. After initially touring the exhibit area during the professionals-only morning, I met up with several people at the booth for the American Library Association. Several ALA librarians had organized an “Epic Librarian Photo” of all the librarians who were attending the convention on Friday afternoon. Somehow I was invited to the librarian en masse photo on Facebook. I was intrigued enough to check it out. I didn’t get a final number of just how many librarians showed up for the final photograph, but there were at least over fifty of us. It was exciting to briefly chat with librarians as far away as California while people were snapping quick pics of us in front of the ALA booth. Following this, I spent a little more time touring the exhibits before finally making my way over to the autograph area. As a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, I splurged a little and got an autograph from James Marsters (Spike).

There were a lot of cool exhibits during the convention, in particular the very modern Adult Swim booth which had their logo actually lit up as you approached. Both Marvel and DC Comics had perhaps the biggest space as they are perhaps the two biggest publishers of comic books in the United States. At 5:00 PM, I headed over to the IGN Theater, something I didn’t get a chance to do at my last Comic Con experience. The first presentation was on DC Animation, previewing superhero animated films that have not yet been released. This included two films starring Superman; one which also tells the origin story of Captain Marvel and another which is an animated adaptation of the All-Star Superman graphic novel. Bruce Timm, one of the masterminds behind Batman: The Animated Series, spoke about the films in between clips. Following this were two panels featuring Adult Swim creators; Robot Chicken, which featured Seth Green and several others, and Christopher McCulloch and Doc Hammer of the Venture Bros. fame.

After all that I decided it was time to go home, get some sleep, wake up the next day and do it all over again. Despite my enthusiasm, Saturday was much more subdued. I spent the early hours of the convention attending a panel on digital comics, learning a lot about the Comixology website and smartphone application. Following this, I went to a panel on upcoming titles from comic publisher Top Cow. The panel featured Milo Ventimiglia, one of the stars of the recently cancelled show Heroes, who promoted Free Comic Book Day on YouTube this past spring. After this, I actually had the opportunity to speak on a panel about Great Graphic Novels for Adults at 3:00 PM. My panel followed others on great graphic novels for kids and teenagers, respectively. Moderated by Martha Cornag from Library Journal, my fellow panelists included; Robin Brenner, Karen Green, and Natalie Korsavidis. We each discussed the benefits and difficulties of having adult comics in all of our individual libraries.

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~Ryan P. Donovan is a senior librarian with the New York Public Library. He occasionally blogs for nypl.org. You can read his personal blog here. Follow him on Twitter @rybrarian

3 comments:

  1. I wish I had been a part of the epic photo. I had it on my calendar and everything, but didn't realize it was before nycc opened to the public. By the time I sat down to figure out my itinerary for Friday, the photo had already been taken. Hope you all had a great time. NYCC was a blast for me!

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  2. I know quite a few Meetup folks went. If you did, please weigh-in on your experience. Photos and videos are heartily welcome either here or elsewhere.

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  3. I went for half a day on Friday during the professional only session. It was quite interesting. The artists table had a lot of independent comics artists.

    I mainly go for the independent comics. I was invited to look at Beginners Books which is on Facebook which produces nonfiction graphic novels, mainly biography of people like Ayn Rand, Barack Obama and others. One of their new comics was Poetry for Beginners. They were also at the Brooklyn Book Festival earlier.

    I also stopped by NBM which is the second largest distributor of independent comics after Fantagraphics. I think they also distribute Archie comics. They had a slipped case edition of Archie Gets Married where one set of stories is him marrying Veronica and another him marrying Betty. I got invited to follow NBM on Goodreads.

    A lot of comic artists are on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

    I get regular posts from the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art New York which is on Facebook. If you want to get invited to comic art classes and comic events, they are worth following on Facebook. They had a table at the New York Comic Con. http://www.moccany.org

    The CBLDF Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which is an anti-censorship group had a table there as well. They recently covered a censorship case on Jeff Smith's Bone. http://www.cbldf.org


    I was surprised by the amount of games and movie tie ins. They had the car for the new Green Hornet movie which is coming out in January 2011.

    I picked up some free comics which I am giving away to the graphic novel club which we have at our library. There was a decent amount of sample material to look at.

    I also stopped by Dark Horse, DC, and Marvel. Marvel now has an Iphone App to look at their comics. There were a number of web comics at the convention as well.

    Del Rey and Tor were at the convention for science fiction books. There were several science fiction publishers.

    Also, there were a lot of games. Nintendo, Wii, Playstation, and others.

    There was not as much manga as I expected. There was a booth for Manhwa or Korean comics which was interesting.

    It was well worth going.

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