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[Feb. 26th, 2006|09:43 pm]
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Since I'm bumming around at home today (a.k.a. inking my book and not at the con), now seems as good a time as any to letcha know how the New York Comic-con was.



It's all over the web how crowded it was, how long the lines were, how thousands of people were turned away, and how small the show floor was in relation to how big the Javits Center actually is. So I don't need to really go into that.

I went to the show with Dave yesterday morning, right as it was opening. While Dave walked right in with his exhibitor badge, I had to figure out where to pick up my pre-registered Professional badge. It seemed like no matter which line-up I tried to join, someone was there to either yell at me or tell me I was in the wrong place. Finally, I was taken to a short queue where I handed a cashier my paperwork and in return received a yellow bracelet. "Don't I get a badge?" I asked her. "No, we're not giving badges to Pros. That's all you get." Which, in my mind, means that's all I would NEED, right? Nope!

Then it was a game of "You can't go this way, you can't use this staircase, you have to follow the crowd" before I finally got to the show floor. Fortunately, I've been to the Javits two or three times before, so I knew where I needed to go eventually, and Dave had told me specifically where his table was. The floor was a madhouse, and the con had only been open for 20 minutes! I had to slowly groan my way through the crowd, and as I made my way back to artist's alley, a (old) dude running a corset booth said to me and the girl in front of me, "Hey, ladies, why don't you step into my booth and I can tie you both up!" "NO, thank you!" I said, practiacally shoving the people in front of me down to get away from his smirky glance. Ew.

Compared to outside, where it was freezing, it was nice and warm in the con. Luckily I had a place to stow my coat and sweatshirt. I helped Dave hang up a poster at his table, and chatted with a few people coming by to say hello and buy minis and t-shirts. One of the first to come by to talk was Tony Shenton, who relayed this story:

"I overheard two librarians talking about your book! One librarian said to the other, 'Have you seen the Baby-sitters Club graphic novel?' and the other one said, 'Yes, I got a copy of the bound galley and I hated it!!!'" Tony didn't hear the rest of the story. Not even the part about why she hated it...my curiosity is piqued.

We got wind of the fact that the L train wasn't running, so John and Marion were severly delayed in getting to the con. They got in without incident, partly because Marion had made herself a fake exhibitor badge before leaving home. And that set the tone for the day. One by one, friends began to call our cell phones telling us they were trapped outside, the con organizers were being jerks, etc. It seemed shruggable then, because everyone we talked to eventually showed up, but things escaleted as the day went on and I got my first taste of the madness soon enough.

Marion and I took off for a panel at 1, The Future of the Graphic Novel, with R. Kikuo Johnson, Brian Fies, Grady Klein, Jessica Able, and Douglas Wolk--all of whom are either friends whose work I greatly admire, or strangers whose work I greatly admire. The First Second line is looking like it's gonna be amazing. The panel went by in a flash, and as soon as it ended, the room emptied and people for the next panel started showing up, including Aaron Renier and Alec Longstreth, both of whom I haven't seen since SPX but was happy to see now. Marion and I went on a coffee run then, up on the street level at the Starbucks, and then went back to the down-escalator to go back to the show. A cop told me I couldn't go down, because I wasn't wearing a badge. "When I got this this morning, I was told I didn't NEED a badge," I said, and then he winked and let me through so I had no idea if he was just pulling my chain or whatever. At the bottom of the escalator, we saw our friend Jose, from Maryland, waiting in a line that we realized stretched all the way from the show floor. Ooooohboy.

Marion and I, defiant as always, quickly made our way to the front of said line, juggling multiple coffees and bottled water products, and asked to come through into the show. That was where the real fun began! Guys with walkie-talkies started yelling at me and each other, telling me that the floor was open to exhibitors and press ONLY, and that I was out of luck. I told them that if someone had told me when I'd left the floor, that I was not going to be able to get back in, that I would never have left and that I had been on the floor all morning. Also that we were simply bringing water and coffee back to our table mates. (I should point out, again, that I was not officially an exhibitor.) And what if I had to go to the bathroom? The walkie-talkie guy was obviously growing VERY annoyed with me, so he yelled to his boss to deal with me (his boss was standing on a staircase above us, making the whole conversation quite awkward), and I had to repeat my shpiel. It worked, though, and by some grace of mercy, I was waved inside. By this point the hall was quite a lot less crowded than it had been before, so getting around wasn't as much of an issue.

I was supposed to have a meeting with a publisher from France, plus my editor Janna, at 3 pm at Dave's table. The publisher showed up, but Janna didn't--like many people, she had a Pro-badge from having been at the industry part of the show the day before, but was turned away. Nobody seemed to care who you were, or whether you had a Very Important Meeting inside. So, our meeting commenced without Janna. It was still good, luckily, but I felt very disheartened because I assumed this was only one of many, many examples of this kind of disarray. Will anyone bother next time? I do hope so...

The rest of the con seemed to suffer a little from all of these unfortunate events combined. Namely, the floor contained to only exhibitors and press, meant that not a lot of consumers were there, and not a lot of buying took place. None of us dared leave the floor after that, even though some of us started getting hungry and maybe we wanted to attend more panels. Not worth it. There WAS a bathroom at the back of the hall, luckily, otherwise I don't know what I would have done. Borrowed someone's badge, I guess. Once you were actually inside the room, nobody cared at all what your badge (or bracelet) said.

At the end of the evening, Dave and I got dinner with several friends, and then we came home and crashed. I've been reading various con reports on and off throughout the day, and so far I haven't heard a word about how today is going. Dave should have more to say about it later.

Back to inking, then.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: granulac
2006-02-26 11:49 pm (UTC)

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I only stayed for a couple hours for a panel today. But when I got there around 12, the line was *outdoors*. And it was freezing. Fortunately I had a second-hand exhibitor badge to bypass the line, but man.
[User Picture]From: coyotecoyote
2006-02-27 12:20 am (UTC)

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"I overheard two librarians talking about your book! One librarian said to the other, 'Have you seen the Baby-sitters Club graphic novel?' and the other one said, 'Yes, I got a copy of the bound galley and I hated it!!!'" Tony didn't hear the rest of the story. Not even the part about why she hated it...my curiosity is piqued.
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I bet she either has extremely specific ideas of what the characters should look like or has a bias against cartoony art.
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2006-02-27 03:38 am (UTC)

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haha!
From: in_glendora
2006-02-27 12:34 am (UTC)

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"Then it was a game of "You can't go this way, you can't use this staircase, you have to follow the crowd" before I finally got to the show floor."

I agree, the layout was a bit confusing. but maybe it's because i've never been there before ^.^

i attended sunday, i'm sorry i missed you!
[User Picture]From: alisa5179
2006-02-27 01:03 am (UTC)

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wow, this makes me glad i didn't even attempt to go! I heard how unorganized it was from a bunch of people. Good for Marion making a fake pass! awesomeness
[User Picture]From: crypticpress
2006-02-27 01:59 pm (UTC)

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I should clarify it wasn't so much a fake pass as it was Dave's exhibitor badge (since he got one for being an exhibitor and a panel speaker) and I just made a sticker with Marion's name to cover Dave's. But while I did that I did think about how easy it would be to forge their passes.
[User Picture]From: alisa5179
2006-02-27 04:15 pm (UTC)

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Ah I see. Still a good idea!
[User Picture]From: doubleare
2006-02-27 01:39 am (UTC)

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Jose told me he ran into you all when he was trying to get in. It sounds like I missed quite the adventure!

He and the guy he rode up with ended up having to catch a cab to Forbidden Planet to get tickets (because registration stopped selling them), then use some "restricted" staircases and even a service elevator to get down to the main area and find a woman that would take their tickets and supply them with wristbands. Lots and lots of chaos.
[User Picture]From: artemna
2006-02-27 01:43 am (UTC)

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Wish I had been smart enough to make a fake pass. I'm glad to hear it was enjoyable for you and some others ... for me it was a big, fat, horrible waste of time! In the future I really hope they get their act together. Grr!
From: soggytoast
2006-02-27 02:33 am (UTC)

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It was great seeing you, as always. And man, I feel like I should write a report, but it would probably sound like yours word for word. Except for the badge resolution thanks to Dave and John ;)
[User Picture]From: thelite88
2006-02-27 03:22 am (UTC)

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I actually tried to make an attempt to go on Saturday and I was turned away. The line for the people that pre-registered was huge. I just ended up leaving.
[User Picture]From: bannman
2006-02-27 08:42 am (UTC)

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And what did the french guy say ?
[User Picture]From: crypticpress
2006-02-27 02:01 pm (UTC)

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Wait, I know this joke...
[User Picture]From: neosquirrel
2006-02-27 07:33 pm (UTC)

Lemme through!

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Every day was a pain in the neck. Even with my press badge Friday I couldn't get back in to conduct a little business towards the end... fortunately my friend at Funimation came over with a blank exhibitor badge and I swapped it out, walking right by the loudmouth who only a minute before wouldn't let me by.

Saturday I knew of at least 4 artist tables that were missing artists because of the hard line they were taking at the door. If you paid a substantial amount of money to set up a table at the booth, then darnit, you have a reserved seat, out of the way of everyone.

They're gonna get so much crap for this, and I certainly hope they blow it out into the adjoining hall, cuz they know they've got bodies waiting next year to pack in.
[User Picture]From: lordrexfear
2006-02-28 11:37 pm (UTC)

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Sucks that I missed you.

I luckily never experienced the issues... but that's also because I never left for any panels. I would've LOVED to gone to the :01 panel... they're my new favorite company!

I was able to get into the show by 11:15 each day no problem and had an amazing time, getting free stuff, buying stuff, giving out cards.

Hope the french publisher thing goes well... the French will love you!