I did it. My first time as an exhibitor at an American convention. And I loved it. Special Edition NYC, which took place last week-end in New York was the perfect introduction to the budding exhibitor I was. Lots of good things. Let me share a few thoughts about it…
1) Size does matter! At least for comic book conventions. Special Edition NYC was a first. So it was a challenge in every way. Reed Pop, the owner of the now famous NYCC, wanted to create another show, especially for comics. Smaller in size, but not in talent. Hence the incredible amount of talented people there. From Ed McGuiness to Frank Cho, Howard Chaykin to Mike McKone and dozens of other people. I was just happy I was selected to be in this roster. The whole convention took place where the Artist Alley is at NYCC. Less creators and exhibitors mean more space to walk in the alleys. It never felt over crowded but was still packed enough to keep everyone busy and I think it’s a good thing.
2) A nigh perfect organization Sure, there’s always room for improvement, but for a first edition, I was impressed. Reed people were patrolling in the aisles all the time just in case a creator needed something. It was nice to feel everything was taken care of. Clearly, the experience from NYCC was palpable there.
3) A lot of publishers were notably absent. Maybe they couldn’t make it, maybe they didn’t want. But I thought the place would’ve been even better with more publishers. Only the locals, Marvel, Valiant and Archie had booths. It made SENYC a “Big Apple Convention” for sure, more State-sized than national, but I would’ve loved to see people from Dark Horse, Boom or even DC (which had a ridiculously discreet presence) there.
4) The creators/audience interaction. To me it’s the best part. SENYC felt to me a bit like what Emerald Con (in Seattle) was before it became such a huge show. It’s a place where creators can show their stuff and take the time to talk with their fans. And fans, I saw. And I thank all of them. All the ones who dropped by to talk to me about One Hit Wonder or Spider-Man Noir. It’s great to have a feedback. It gives you a lot to think about. Gives you leads to improve yourself as a writer.
5) The comic book show. I think it felt really great to have a comic book-centric convention. No one could even remember when was the last time that happened. No TV actors. No video game companies. No gross marketing operation. Just comics. Simple and pure. The only thing I’d regret is the lack of opportunities for creators to learn to know each other. In other cons, held in smaller cities than NY, everyone is in the same hotel or knows at which bar everyone gathers. But there, I heard no word of that. It was great to see familiar faces, but there were too few occasions to see new ones on the creative side.
Conclusion: A great experience. Not profitable for sure. But I’ll definitely return. And of course, I’ll be there at NYCC in october! 🙂 See ya there!