||[Feb. 26th, 2006|09:43 pm]
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.