Convention Report: NYCC 2012

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New York Comic Con is the second largest comic convention in the country. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of being an invited speaker and guest of the show for a number of years now, representing Reading with Pictures and putting on panels for the kids.

NYCC takes up the entire Javits Center in New York City, and it is a massive show that must be experienced for yourself.

4am I hopped in a cab and took a red-eye flight to NYC, arriving at LaGuardia and being picked up by my good friend Phil Chan (Digital Pimps). We headed over to the convention center and unpacked our tables.

It was at this time I realized I made a rookie move: I had left my table cloth and book stands at home.

A quick run to K-Mart (several blocks away) followed by lunch at Lucy’s (it’s like Hooters, but with short skirts and Mexican food), we headed back to finish set up before the show floor opened for preview / professional day.

The RWP booth

Day 1 was surprisingly solid in terms of sales, and RWP had a panel that day which always results in a lot of traffic to the table. We were in small press, located on a main isle, so there was tons of traffic throughout the entire weekend.

I admit to being a little nervous about how traffic would go, since small press was separated from the publishers by a large area of construction. Thankfully, however, my fears were unfounded. The show had actually decorated the tunnel connecting the two sections as a branded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tunnel, promoting the new animated series on TV.

After a solid short day of sales, I met up with my good pal Karl Custer, better known as nerd comedian Uncle Yo. I was crashing at his place, so we took a train back to his neighborhood and had dinner, followed by sleep.

Karl and I headed to a local bagel place, and then took the train into the city and walked to the Javits. The show had told us the day before that, due to the massive amount of people expected to attend the show, the show floor would actually be opening earlier than scheduled.

Friday was surprisingly strong for sales, with a good flow of people coming up to the table and asking about the organization and the books. It’s always great when people generally want to know about you, making the interactions easier.

After the floor closed, we headed off for a quick bite at a Thai place on 9th Ave, and then headed to Times Scare for the Channel Awesome after-party. Karl and I had been invited by the cast of the site to attend, and had a fun time listening to live music and checking out the Halloween-themed bar.

We took off a couple hours later, and headed for home to get some rest before the biggest day of the show.

A quick train ride and delicious warm bagel sandwich later, and Karl and I arrived at the convention center. The place was already packed, and the stream of people through the isle by the booth was never-ending.

People were generally in high spirits, and a lot of single-day passes showed that people were really just checking the show out for the first time. Lots of cosplayers were running around, which is always a joy to see.

Trevor at the RWP booth

I had a chance to step away from the table briefly to check out Artist Alley, which was on the exact opposite side of the convention building from our booth. The place was a little off the beaten path, but thankfully this didn’t seem to discourage people from finding it and shopping.

I had some great conversations with my artist friends. There are too many to list, but basically I knew about 1/4 of the entire AA section. Always a pleasure to see them, and sadly I couldn’t stay longer to chat with them more.

I finished the day at the table and we packed up to leave for dinner. We headed to Burgers and CupCakes with some friends, and had a great time before heading home for the final day of the show.

The final day of the show is kids day, and tends to be a strong sales day for RWP. We decided not to open the table until after our 11am panel, which was a live reading of RWP stories for the kids.

Typically we have an hour to do this, so we invite kids up to the stage and have a blast interacting with them. This year was a little different because our time on the stage was shortened, due to us being the opening act for Sesame Street.

Karl was kind enough to join me on the stage and do the reading, since my voice was failing me by the 4th day of the show. We read several stories from the book, and everyone had a blast listening along.

After the reading we headed back to open up the booth, and proceeded to have our second strongest sales day of the show! We met a lot of great people, got interviewed by a few major publications, and had a fun time.

Around 4pm it was time for me to pack up so I could head out to the airport and leave. I said my goodbyes to my friends, and then trekked across the city to find a cab that would take me to LaGuardia. I always seem to have difficulty finding a cab to take me to the airport, and this year I walked further than I’ve ever had to: 5th Ave.

Upon arriving at the airport, I grabbed some dinner and started eating. The waiting area was pretty crowded, and I eventually found out that all Chicago flights were delayed due to tornado warnings in Chicago. One woman sitting next to me was supposed to have left at 4pm, but her flight was delayed 5 hours.

My flight was delayed 3 hours, and I eventually was able to board the plane (which didn’t have time to restock on food or beverages), and had an uneventful flight back filled with pleasant conversation with my neighbor.

NYCC continues to be a strong draw for hard-core comic fans, and it’s a must-attend show for anyone in the industry or looking to break in.

Special thanks to Karl for letting me crash and being such a gracious host, and for helping out at the live reading on Sunday. And to Reed POP for being a continued valued partner of Reading with Pictures.

And to the new friends and fans I met over the weekend: without you, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love.

A thousand times, I thank you!

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