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February 4, 2009

Ten Things I’d Do At NYCC 2009


Good luck to everyone exhibiting at or attending this weekend's New York Comic-Con and related activities. Here's what I would do if I were on hand, boiled down to ten items:

1. Take In The Sights
With the economy in a precarious situation and the fact that the New York Comic-Con still has that new show smell, you can have a good time just taking in the show as kind of a performance in progress. You can look for who has what kind of booth. You can see how traffic flows. You can see how the show has arranged certain types of booths in certain places. Are there strange, empty spaces where exhibitors should be? Are all the NY publishers there? Are there offbeat attractions that are surprisingly popular with attendees? Shows like NYCC can reveal a lot of information about comics and about themselves if you only care to look.

2. Look After The Indy/Alt Contingent
Go here, copy the Daily Cross Hatch list, and make it a point to visit all of those people and peruse their wares. NYCC has a small indy/alt presence due to a variety of factors, but that doesn't mean these folks aren't just as worth your time as they are at the other shows they attend. Don't think of it has having no time to hang out with Fantagraphics; think of it has having more time to hang out with Fanfare/Ponent Mon.

3. Attend the CBLDF Party
My general rule for cons is to attend every party to which you're invited, and you're invited to this one. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's welcome to New York party sounds like an affordable way to enjoy an evening hobnobbing with comics folks, all for a good cause. Remember to compliment Charles Brownstein on his weight loss.

4. Hit The Other Comics-Based Non-Profits
Please double-check your exhibitor list to see where all the various schools and charities might be on the floor, visit them, and consider giving them some of your money.

5. Walk Very, Very Slowly Through Artist's Alley
A strength of NYCC is its reasonably large section of artists selling books and making art -- the traditional Artists Alley. There are more than a few powerhouses back here if you care to look, or at least that's been the case for the initial years of the show's existence. I spent 60 percent of my con time in this area of the floor. I'd like to recommend programming (PDF) to take you off the floor, but other than the Calvin Reid-moderated one with Judith Hansen, who talks straight, none of it really interests me. Well, maybe the one with Paul Karasik on Sunday about visual symbolism. That looked pretty good, too.

6. Attend the Presentation
This is the day before, but it's a series of lectures and speeches on comics business and the state of the art form (well, sort of) organized by the news and analysis site If you qualify to go, go. It is full of bran, and very, very good for you. Also: this year you get Art Spiegelman, a great comics artist and a great comics talker. One more bonus: the shmoozing afterwards is maybe the best press per square foot opportunity comics gives you in the calendar year.

7. Do Stuff in New York
If you're not from New York, and I admit this may not be a ton of you, but if you're not from New York don't forget that you're in one of the world's greatest cities and act accordingly. You should eat out -- at least walk the couple of blocks over to 9th Ave during con hours and eat a cupcake -- and go to a museum or three. Heck, some of the best comics shops in the world are in Manhattan, if you feel perverse enough to take time away from the funnybook show to look at some more funnybooks. Since the con's being held in one of the freezing-ass weather months it likely won't be as fun to walk around as it was last year, but the things to do when you get there will be that much more inviting for their ability to provide relief from the cold.

8. Go Visit Craig Yoe
There's only one man who's at New York Comic-Con to sign and promote his new book of pervy Joe Shuster art, and that man's name is Craig Yoe. I imagine a peek at the various stuff the Abrams book line has up and out for perusal would be a must-see in general. In fact, if you're lost for something to do, most of the book publishing people there are trained to talk about forthcoming plans in a way that comics people usually aren't, so you can usually get a ton of information just for asking.

9. Catch Scott Pilgrim Fever
I can't recall a book being declared the book of a show before the show, but the latest Scott Pilgrim volume is getting exactly that kind of buzz. It's rare that a book series hits in this way with enough of an audience that people stand up and pay attention, so there's plenty of good vibes to groove on in the new volume's debut even if you're as yet unfamiliar with the work.

10. Buy Some Comics
If you can spare the cash, you can probably get a lot of nice books, custom art and or related items and the people from whom you purchase them will probably be extra-grateful. Sometimes it's nice to take a leap of faith on some works, especially if they come from someone who eschews the art of the hard-sell.
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink

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