Posts Tagged ‘New York Comic Con’

New York Comic Con 2011 at a Glance

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The sixth annual New York Comic Con is upon us! With it comes a fourth day of panels, screenings, back-issue browsing and celebrity sightseeing. I will once again be set up in Podcast Arena with all of my recording gear for my podcast, Comic Timing. Be sure to stop on by booth D14 in the Artist Alley to say hello, talk comics and maybe even buy some of the comics I’m getting rid of.

Before Thursday hits and we all get lost and overwhelmed, here are a few choice panels that should not be overlooked if you are looking to learn more about the nonfiction side of this here industry. I’m also including a few panels that might not be strictly nonfiction but could very well have some elements of nonfiction to them.


RWP 2.0 – The Future of Comics in the Classroom
Date: Thursday, October 13
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Location: 1A02

Speakers: Charlie LaGreca, Dr. Michael Bitz, Jessica Abel, Josh Elder, Matt Madden

Find out how YOU can help get comics into schools and get schools into comics in this informational seminar hosted by some of the biggest names in the world of comics and education. Join Josh Elder of Reading With Pictures, Dr. Michael Bitz of the Comic Book Project, Charlie LaGreca of Comic Book Classroom and Jessica Abel and Matt Madden of Drawing Words and Writing Pictures as they unveil their plans for 2012 and beyond.

I’m including this one for any comic book professionals or teachers out there that might be interested. This is only available to those with Professional badges; Thursday general hours begin at 4pm.


The Con So Nice They Named It Twice

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

New York Comic Con  just wrapped up this past Sunday, the fifth edition of this quickly growing East Coast convention. Has it been five years already? It seems like only yesterday that crowds were swarming outside the Jacob Javits Center on a Saturday afternoon and I was stuck at home due to a sprained foot (lucky me?). Well, it’s technically only been four years, but the crowds are still swarming and there were two words on everyone’s lips:

San Diego

As in, how much this con was trying to be San Diego Comic Con, how much more this con focused on comics than San Diego (or how it didn’t focus on the right comics), and most of all, how much the crowds were like San Diego Comic Con, that is, crazy-crowded and hard-to-navigate. Getting from one end of the Javits Center to the other was a real pain; many found it easier to just exit the exhibit hall and re-enter close to their destinations…just like at San Diego.

It didn’t help that the Javits Center is currently undergoing major reconstruction, which when completed, will probably alleviate a lot of the major crowd control problems that this year’s show had. The exhibit hall was split in two, with the small press area, the artists’ alley, podcast arena, autographs, and Intel on the south side of the blockage, and everything else on the north side. The two areas were connected by passageways at the front and back of the hall. There were complaints that the south was too isolated, but in practice all this meant was that it didn’t become as insanely packed as the other side. The aisles were mostly wide and walkable, though it was a bit of a pain to make it through the small press area to the artists’ alley; they need bigger aisles.

My biggest problem with the floor layout was how the big stuff is always placed directly in the middle…just like at San Diego. The problem with this is that you have a heavy-traffic area sandwiched between two low-traffic areas, and if someone wanted to stay away from the big crowded booths and just walk the low key booths…they can’t. At some point they will have to either walk through or walk around the crowded area. I think it would be healthier for traffic flow if these points of blockage were placed at the far end of the hall, and a person will only have to go there if they want to be there. I doubt that these larger booths will suffer in any way; people still want to see their movie and television and video game releases.

Speaking of non-comic media, one of the biggest praises of New York Comic Con was how little non-comic media was there. Oh, there were a good number of video game booths like Nintendo and Ubisoft, and a large booth promoting the Alien Anthology, but they were not overwhelming, and this breakdown was also reflected in the programming selection. The programming was still very heavily comics, and the programming that wasn’t was mostly animation (comics’ younger and more popular sibling) or genre-related, like the Unbreakable panel on Sunday.

New York Comic Con 2010 also had a strange flip side in that New York Anime Festival was also taking place in the building, under the same general admission (as indicated on the badges) but for the most part, isolated downstairs with their own programming area and artist alley. Apparently ReedPop offered them a separate dealers’ room as well but they turned it down, probably a wise decision given the amount of traffic the main hall was getting. People were complaining that NYAF was shunted off to the side, but it’s also possible that had it been more integrated into the main NYCC show, people would be complaining that the Japanese stuff was “getting lost,” or that “American and Japanese stuff shouldn’t be mixed.” Whatever. Anime and manga are just animation and comics to me anyway, but I do think they struck a good balance for the two shows.

I had to head down to Philadelphia on Sunday for a wedding so I missed the last day of the show, and that kind of truncated the whole experience for me. I didn’t get to see as many panels as I would have wanted; I couldn’t spend as much time on the floor as I wanted. I usually explore the floor on the last day, when the crowds have lessened and there’s more bargains to be had. Despite that, I managed to accrue a decent swag list, and I did go into total sensory overload… in my first five minutes on the floor. It was pretty amazing.

I’m actually proud that this is my “hometown con.” Now, if only they could finish that extension, then we’ll start seeing some real San Diego-like action…


New York Comic Con Goings On

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Just a friendly reminder that I’ll be set up at New York Comic Con in the Podcast Arena, along with a bunch of my fellow podcasters, such as Comic Geek Speak, Raging Bullets and Indie Spinner Rack. My booth number is 524, so if you’d like to stop on by and talk some comics, pimp your book, or simply say hello, I’ll be there all day Friday and Saturday.

Also, on Friday, I’ll be participating in A Geek’s Guide to Podcasting and Blogging at 6:30PM in Room 1A17. It’s going a general discussion on podcasting with a bit of blogging thrown in for good measure, so if you have any questions or would like to learn a bit more about things, give it a shot. Finally, earlier in the day at 4:45 there’s Anime Parliament ®, which is run by a buddy of ours. It involves anime characters putting other anime characters on trial. Hilarity ensues. Thus concludes the advertising portion of the evening.

Big Apple, not New York

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

There’s been a lot of confusion in the New York area lately; when you say “Comic Con,” do you mean New York or Big Apple?

Aren’t they the same thing?


Big Apple Comic Con is kind of a long-standing, low-rent stalwart, a biannual collection of dealers housed in an empty church or on a pier or like this year’s edition, at the Penn Plaza Pavilion. It wasn’t anything spectacular—maybe a special guest or two signing autographs—but it was what it was, a place to pick up back issues at low cost and a lot of other media product, like toys and posters, at possibly inflated cost. A standard convention mix, though I’d be hard-pressed to call it a proper “convention” despite the name; it wasn’t really a social event.

New York Comic Con is a lot newer, and it started out with grand ambitions—to be an East Coast Comic-Con International. They rented out the Jacob Javits Convention Center, filled out the programming slate with tons of programming, and got lots of major companies from various media to exhibit in their “exhibition hall.” And for the most part, it’s worked—the first year broke fire codes and led to a near-riot outside the convention center as people who had pre-registered and people who had not tried to crowd their way into the at-fire-capacity building.

When things started to get really interesting is when Wizard World decided to expand its convention empire to New York City. They had decent success running conventions in Chicago and Philadelphia, buying already-existing conventions in those cities and re-branding them with the “Wizard World” name. Gareb Shamus has been on a real tear lately, buying up shows across the country in places like Connecticut, New Jersey, Nashville, and Cleveland.

When Wizard bought Big Apple Comic Con, it promised to lend a new veneer of respectability to the show. The location was moved to a larger venue at Pier 94, the guest lineup was expanded greatly, and actual programming was added, taking a wider view on pop culture. Last year’s edition might have had its bumps, including bad weather, a hard-to-reach location, and a slate of guests that really only appealed to a small subsection of fandom, but it wasn’t outright bad. At the least, the shopping selection was good, with aisles and aisles of back issue bins at fantastic prices.

What did the greatest service to last year’s Big Apple was that New York Comic Con was in state of dormancy, with 19 months to wait between their last convention in February 2009 and this coming weekend in October 2010. Not only was there no competition, but there was actually a need for something to keep fans occupied in the interim. But then came the shocking announcement, listed on the Big Apple Comic Con program book: the 2010 show was scheduled for the same weekend as New York Comic Con #5. Everyone was stunned, as it was kind of obvious which convention would win the big showdown. Eventually Wizard blinked, and a new date was announced, along with a new location.


Out and About: New York Comic Con 2010

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The New York Comic Con schedule is up, and while it’s a little light on events dealing specifically with nonfiction comics this year, there are a few points of interest:

Rationalizing Comics and Sequential Art in the Classroom
Friday, October 8
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

This workshop will feature educators discussing their reasons for bringing comics/sequential art into the classroom, focusing on both reading and generating comics. Practical suggestions, along with evidence illustrating student learning, is discussed. Participants will be encouraged to bring ideas for discussion in small groups.

Extending Conversations about Graphic Novels
Friday, October 8
4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Educators will discuss how to use graphic novels to extend learning beyond literal comprehension, including engaging in critical literacy activities. Social studies, art, and English/language arts educators will be paired to discuss how to make cross-curricular conversations and move students’ understandings beyond the classroom. Participants will engage in an activity which pushes them to think beyond the confines of the classroom walls.

Remembering Harvey Pekar
Friday, October 8
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

After 35 years of innovating in—having virtually invented—the personal comics genre with his American Splendor series, Cleveland’s Harvey Pekar died this past July, in the middle of several projects finished and unfinished. This panel celebrates Pekar’s life and work. It includes Harvey’s editor on The Pekar Project, Jeff Newelt; artist on Harvey’s The Quitter and other works, Dean Haspiel; Peter Kuper, who not only has drawn for Harvey, but as a comics-loving kid in Cleveland, spent much time hanging out and learning from him; and Rick Parker, an artist on The Pekar Project. The panel is moderated by Danny Fingeroth, who memorably interviewed Harvey at The YIVO Institute in 2009, and wrote of Harvey’s importance in The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels. Some surprise last minute guests may appear on the panel, as well.

Comics and Graphic Novels in the Secondary English/Language Arts Classroom
Saturday, October 9
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Educators who utilize texts in the secondary English/language arts curriculum will discuss practical ideas for including particular graphic novels in the classroom. In particular, educators will discuss how to embed graphic novels in the traditional curriculum by connecting graphic novels/comics with canonical texts and helping students create their own texts. Educators will think through criteria they can create to evaluate appropriate gns for curricular adoption.

Political Cartoonists
Saturday, October 9
5:15 pm – 6:15 pm

Join some of the best, current political cartoonists!

Unusual Manga Genres
Saturday, October 9
8:45 pm – 9:45 pm

Thanks to the importing of manga you can read veterinarian manga, salaryman manga, fishing manga, and manga about baking bread! Erin and Noah from the Ninja Consultant podcast present the absolutely most insane manga titles available in English – and a few titles which won’t be translated anytime soon.

The Sons of Liberty, a Graphic Novel: The New World of Historical Fiction
Sunday, October 10
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

The Sons of Liberty, a new graphic-novel quartet for middle grade readers and beyond tells the story of two young slaves in the wake of the Revolutionary War. History is brought to life in full color by the illustration of Marvel Comics veteran Steve Walker and Oren Kramek. Join authors Alexander Lagos and Joseph Lagos and illustrators Steve Walker and Oren Kramek in conversation about the creation of this new series.

Culinary Manga
Sunday, October 10
1:45 pm – 2:45 pm

Competitive bread baking manga Yakitate!! Japan is just the tip of the culinary manga iceberg in Japan! Join Erin and Noah of the Ninja Consultant podcast as they discuss manga about gourmet food critics (Oishinbo), pastry chef manga (Antique Bakery), and several series about wine (Drops of God, La Sommelier).

In addition, you’ll be able to see Ian (and his friends) talk about podcasting and blogging at the…podcasting and blogging panel. Check it:

A Geek’s Guide to Podcasting and Blogging
Friday, October 8
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Room 1A17

This panel is designed to show how to start and promote your very own podcast. The world of podcasting has grown by leaps and bounds over the last five years and many people do not have a clear guide on how to podcast. This panel will walk you steps of podcasting and give advice on all aspects of having your own show.

You’ll find Ian at the Comic Timing booth (table 524) in Podcast Alley on Friday and Saturday (near the events stage), while I’ll be mostly wandering the floor and panels for those two days. We’ll both be absent on Sunday due to a prior personal engagement.

Bluewater in Hot Water?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Bluewater Productions, the publisher of biographical comics starring political figures like Barack Obama and pop culture icons like Oprah Winfrey, has found itself in a spot of trouble after attorney Kenneth Feinswog has issued them cease-and-desist letters on behalf of his clients Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. The charge? That they infringe on intellectual property and likeness rights.

Back in the ’90s Feinswog sued Revolutionary Comics over their New Kids on the Block and Mötley Crüe biographical comics but lost on the grounds that like unauthorized biographies in prose form, biographical comics were protected by the first amendment. That’s the reason Feinswog has chosen to go after them on likeness rights. However, Bluewater publisher Darren G. Davis told MTV News:

“We are 100% within our First Amendment rights. […] We knew our rights on this before we jumped into the biography world. These are 100% biographies on their lives.”

Though I am not myself a lawyer, I did attend a intellectual property panel at New York Comic Con in 2006 and I remember one of the panelists, a lawyer specializing in IP, making that part clear: as long as you create (or license) the images yourself, you can use celebrity images as part of a biography on them. Of course, that might be another issue that comes up, given that Bluewater likes to license art from outside artists, art that may or may not be original in itself, as in the case of this drawing that may have been based on another artist’s photo.

Despite the legal problems, Bluewater is not deterred from publishing more comics in their “FAME” line; they’re doing a comic about the cast of Glee, the Kirsten Stewart comic sold out in one day, and FAME: Lady Gaga is going to a third printing with a new cover, in addition to a sequel on the way.

(via Bleeding Cool)

A Dutchman in Upstate New York, circa 1634

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Last year I attended a panel at New York Comic Con called “Telling a Story With Imagined Pictures,” where various creators of nonfiction comics talked about their work. One of these was the artist George O’Connor, who worked on Journey Into Mohawk Country, an account of one Dutchman’s trip from Manhattan further into New York State in the winter of 1634. I later picked up a copy of the graphic novel from First Second Books’ table. I recommend dropping by if you see their table at a con; they usually have good sales like “Buy 2 and get a 3rd for free” and the books are priced down to $10 on top of that.

George O’Connor is the artist of the book, but the writer is an interesting case. All of the text is taken straight from the journal of Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, as translated by Syracuse University Press. So there is no narrative flourish, no need to create riveting text. The text is simple and plain, and what happened, happened. The story is not boring and has its moments of levity, and moments of historical interest.

Where there is flourish and room for creativity is in the illustrations by O’Connor. With such a simple, bare-bones narrative to work with, O’Connor must fill in the blanks, connecting journal entries into a continuous story and speculating on what the travelers might have felt and what little inconsequential things could have happened that were not important to be noted in the journal but still add flavor and context nonetheless. There’s an extended “spiritual” sequence toward the end with no text from the journal that is probably all bunk, but it adds an emotional arc that is otherwise lacking from the dry journal entries. Overall, the illustrations might add a bit of fiction to the novel, but they are appropriate and do not take away from the basic character of the original journal.

At the Comic Con panel O’Connor spoke of the research he did, and it shows. The clothes are period-appropriate and the snippets of Mohawk culture we view are “authentic,” vastly different from the claptrap we’re usually fed by our popular culture. These are the Indians I remember from my fourth grade textbook, and I would recommend this as essential reading for anyone studying the rich history of New York State.

Journey Into Mohawk Country
written by H.M. van den Bogaert
illustrated by George O’Connor
color by Hilary Sycamore
published by First Second Books (New York, 2006)
ISBN 1-59643-106-7

Adult Swim Guide to Comics

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Some of the amenities of New York Comic Con 2009 were sponsored; for example, the press room was sponsored by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and they had free bags, books, and fortune cookies available for the taking. The shuttle buses that transported attendees between the convention center and hotels/train stations were sponsored by Adult Swim, and they certainly made that fact clear with their own unique branding (more images after the break):


Telling A Story With Imagined Pictures

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

The New York Comic Con was held at the Jacob Javits Center this past February 6–8, and with the number of TV, movie, and video game panels/booths available it’s quickly starting to rival the San Diego Comic-Con in size and scope, though it still lacks the prestige and probably will so for years to come. They’ve had trouble nailing down a date for their first four years, and the next installment will take place in October of 2010, a date they assure us will be steady for the next few years.

Buried in amongst the industry panels and Hollywood premieres were a few nuggets of intellectual or artistic goodness; there was a panel on “Asians and Superheroes” that talked about the role of Asian characters in general in superhero comics, promoting a new anthology that comes out in April featuring the work of numerous creators like Bernard Chang and Gene Luen Yang.

Saturday saw an actual nonfiction comics panel called “Telling a Story With Imagined Pictures,” featuring various panelists who worked on nonfiction narratives for publishers like First Second and Random House. Present at the panel were:

They answered a lot of questions about the creative process, especially the research involved in depicting real events. Both Crowley and Dawson noted it was difficult depicting events that people would have their own memories of. A lot of fact-checking was involved; Jones studied dancing and old travel guides to get the visual look of the book right, and she later had her dance drawings fact-checked to make sure they were correct. O’Connor had a different problem in that photo-reference wasn’t available for his subjects. He mentioned that the book has a whole scene depicting Mohawk armor, except that no visual records existed of the armor for him to accurately depict it. Instead, he had to rely on the cartoony visual style of the book to cover up the specifics of the armor.

When asked about the editorial process for graphic novels, all agreed that their editors have been largely hands-off, and speculated that it might be due to the newness of major publishers (like Random House) to the graphic novel scene.