SORRY THIS IS GONNA BE LONG.
New York Comic Con! I guess I should write a little something about this show, since it’s become kind of a monster!!! First, I was sick at this con so I didn’t even go on Friday. And on top of that, I sold out of books on Saturday afternoon! My signing with Shaun Simon at the Dark Horse booth went so well, and the Women in Comics panel was lovely as always.
Speaking of, i’ve done so many Women in Comics panels over the years that I kind of roll my eyes at the mention of them, but to be honest, they are the panels I end up having the most fun on, and the discussion ranges from drawing and writing, and the depiction of female characters, to discussions on readership, demographic, publishing and distribution, and so much more- yes gender politics are a part of that, but I always leave learning a few new things, with some interesting points to take away from it. And if it encourages a few younger girls to get more involved in the comic industry, than I say it’s worth it. So next time you are at a con, make it a point to check out the Women in Comics panel. Or any kind of diversity in comics panel- because Comics Are For Everyone (WHAT UP DUBLIN INTERNATIONAL COMICS EXPO)!!! Oh and make sure you get to these early, because they tend to fill up fast. We needed a room that was at least double the one they gave us at NYCC.
Now on to the guts. There are really two parts to this con- the main floor and the Artist Alley. (This is what I see of it anyway.) I only spent one day walking around the show floor and it was insanity. Security did their best at the impossible task of crowd control, but it was still too much for me. I had too many people up in my personal space, and far too many of them being guys tell me things like “Hey baby,” “What are you doing tonight?” and “Come on, be nice!” among other things.
I am so nice, you guys. I am really fucking nice, but this kind of shit just doesn’t make me feel comfortable, and as a professional who has been drawing comics since 2001, it’s absolutely ridiculous that I feel alienated and uncomfortable at a convention like I did at NYCC this year.
I also want to edit this to add that this isn’t normal experience for me at cons- maybe it was just that it was so crowded that guys felt comfortable saying this while I was trying to squeeze by? Anyway. I’m not looking for an apology from anyone, but I did feel like it warranted bringing it up. I’m not a pot-stirrer, but this shit happens on the street and the subway, and now it’s happening at NYCC? Too bad.
I also heard a lot of stories about harassment on the con floor- If I felt grossed out, I can’t imagine the comments some of the cosplayers had to deflect. I also couldn’t help but shake my head at all the Arizona Iced Tea promotional “I love big cans” in the con book, and being given out on the show floor. I saw those and immediately thought, “Oh so it’s gonna be that kind of con.” I love big cans as much as the rest of you (except for those of you who don’t like big cans I suppose), but I just found it tacky. If I may, it made me think this wasn’t the con I was looking for.
I gotta say, my favorite area of the main floor was I think around the Block- there was some amazing art there, including Scarecrowoven and Cotton Candy Machine, but even that was crowded and hard to navigate and there were like three DJs (what?) so that was kind of crazy. I ended up making a B-Line to my buddy Brian Ewing’s table (WHAT UP HOMEY), and camping out with him for a bit. Thanks for letting me cough on all your posters Brian. I hope all your fans don’t get sick and die.
After navigating through the sea of flesh (with a conspicuously missing DC booth) you will eventually reach the Artist Alley- the Dr. Jekyll to the convention floor’s Mr. Hyde. Ah, here you are in for a real treat! Despite being packed, and like a 30 minute walk (truthfully it was more like a trudge, or slow shamble) from the main floor area, it felt like an oasis from the chaos of the rest of the con.
I was at table N1 for a few hours each day (except friday, which I called in sick!) and had a decent flow of traffic. Give or take a few awkward interactions (I AM AWKWARD GUYS, HAHA) I enjoyed my time behind the table. It’s gotten to a point where I think I have to hire an assistant at shows, and limit my signing time- even doing sketches is difficult. I’m gonna have to work on this for my cons next year! I get anxiety at shows anyway, and the bigger the show, the more anxious I get. I can’t help it. So call me if like… you want to assist or something.
Let’s sum up, shall we?
NYCC: Do the bigger numbers make this show better? Do the majority of people on the show floor really care if I’m there or not? Do I do better at this con than smaller ones, like TCAF or Thought Bubble? The answer to these questions is a resounding F NO.
However: Is this convention in the coolest city in forever? Do friends of mine from all over the world converge on this point every year? Does this convention have the best parties? (Shout out to Jimmy Aquino!) A resounding H YES to all these!
So as conflicted about this con as I am, and as much as I think they have to work on inviting more female guests (or just do something about that exasperating “big cans” promotional, or work on being more in touch with the female contingent in general), or as much as I wished that it didn’t feel so much like SDCC jr, the truth is You Can’t Stop Progress- and why would you want to? I will probably be going next year! If not to attend the con as an exhibitor, than to attend as a fan.
I guess my heart will always be with smaller cons! That’s where I feel the most gratification, and where I’m able to give the most attention to readers, and subsequently have the best time. NY is lucky to have a show like New York Comic Con for sure- and then six months later turn around and do MOCCA on the other side of Manhattan, it’s like the best of both worlds.
WHATS UP NEW YORK, I MISS U GIRL
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