My day didn’t start off well. Three days in a row of New York pizza had wrecked havok on my stomach – which already had never exited amber alert from my departure from Glasgow – and the less said about the terrifying monstrosities that escaped from my bowels that morning, the better. I opted for a lighter breakfast in hopes of stilling my queasy belly, and minimising the risk of any violent sprays coming out from the other end, and thankfully once I was out of the hotel and heading for the con my tummy seemed to settle. I was worried that tides of projectile vomit might hurt our comics sales.
Thursday was a nice way to ease into New York Comic Con, a chance for us to get set up and dip our toes in the selling waters. But with Friday festivities began in earnest, as we launched into the first full day of NYCC. The doors opened to the public at 10am, but I got there before 9, wanting to be early to make sure everything was in order. Already, a line had formed at the venue. It was a great feeling, being able to just walk past the queue, waving my magic exhibitor badge, and head into the show floor. And it’s also really cool just being able to walk through a serene, quiet, empty show floor at a con, knowing it’ll soon be bustling with people.
I arrived at the booth, and started getting everything set up for the day. Tyler arrived not too long afterwards, and I got a chance to do some early shopping before the con started proper: another bonus for exhibitors! I looked all over in vain for Scalped #1, but it was nowhere to be found. I think I checked literally every booth selling comic back issues on the entire con floor, and only a few of them had any issues of Scalped, never mind the first one. However, I did pick up a first print copy of The Saga of the Swamp Thing #29, the infamous “Love and Death” issue that murdered the Comics Code. Having picked up the “Anatomy Lesson” issue in a back issue bargain bin at the Glasgow Comic Con, I now had my OTHER favorite issue of Moore’s seminal run – and my vote for the scariest single comic ever made – to add to my collection.
Speaking of Swamp Thing, I also got the chance to make what was surely my most frivolous purchase of my time in New York. One of my big regrets of being unable to attend the San Diego Comic Con this year was that I missed out on getting the SDCC exclusive DC Universe Classics Swamp Thing action figure. So imagine my joy when I spotted it in New York! I was on my way back from not buying the ridiculously overpriced water from the snack stall (they had marked it up a price a dollar from the day before, and the next day they would add on yet another dollar to the price – incredible) when I spotted the big box sitting at one of the stalls. It was even more ridiculously overpriced than the water, but I had to have it. This guy is absolutely massive, with some really cool detail on the sculpt. I now have him proudly displayed in my bedroom.
And then it was 10am, and time to get to work. Joe was held up waiting for a shipment of stock, so at first it was just Tyler and I holding the fort. Again, business was slow but steady, with us still having a hard time hooking as many people as we’d like. One thing that did sell well was our ComixTribe package deal: all 6 of our comic books – The Standard #1, The Standard #2, Epic #1, The Red Ten #1, Runners #1 and Scam #1 – plus an 11X17 print and one of Tyler’s art sketchards, all for $25. That really enticed a lot of people, as it was a good deal that was giving people a lot of stuff for their money. The package deals were what really made us the bulk of our money over the first couple of days.
I briefly slipped away from the booth to head over to Artist’s Alley and meet Rahsan Ekedal, whose artwork on Echoes greatly impressed me as I read it while waiting at the departure gate at Glasgow Airport. He was a friendly guy, and signed my copy of the book. I then headed over to Archaia’s booth, where I hoped to meet editor-in-chief Stephen Christy. I got to say hello to him and introduce myself, and talk to him a bit about Archaia’s submission policy. They have recently made the move away completely from single issues, now focusing solely on the original graphic novel market. I love Archaia, the presentation of their graphic novels is always of the highest quality, and they’re a company I’d love to work with in the future. So I gave Stephen copies of The Standard and told them I’d be stopping by at their panel later in the day.
I feel pretty guilty, as I spent the bulk of this particular day away from the booth, attending various panels. The first one I went to was the screening of the Locke & Key TV pilot, which we now know was not picked up by Fox – one more reason to hate Fox. I was pleased that there was a big queue for this event, and I only barely got in. The episode was great, really true to the spirit of the comic, which makes it all the more devastating that we probably won’t see any more of it. I will say, however, that the pilot alone covered the entirety of Welcome to Lovecraft, the first volume of the series. So I don’t know if there would be enough content within the Locke & Key mythology to sustain 22-24 episodes across multiple seasons. Perhaps a miniseries would be a better bet?
I stopped back briefly at the booth in between panels, to find that Joe had arrived, and he’d kindly brought lunch! I was also happy to meet Raphael Moran, writer of Dream Reavers, who stopped by at our booth to introduce himself. When I next set off, it was for a double-header of panels. First up was Archaia’s panel on how to make a great indy graphic novel. This had all kind of useful pointers about developing ideas and the submission process. Plus, I got to ask a question about Archaia’s approach to design in publication. I had to leave a bit early in order to make the next panel, but what I saw of Archaia’s panel made it worthwhile attending.
Next up was the Vertigo Visions panel. Jeff Lemire, Scott Snyder and Jason Aaron all on a panel together, how could I not be interested in this one? And they were accompanied by such a wealth of talent that the bulk of the panel was taken up simply by Karen introducing each panelist and letting them talk a little about what they were working on. Poor Karen arrived late, getting the starting time for the panel wrong, and was all flustered in her attempts to moderate the panel. The highlight of the hour for me was the announcement that Paul Cornell – another favorite of mine who sadly couldn’t attend New York Comic Con this year – would be writing a new Vertigo title called Saucer Country. I was pleased when the mention of his name was greeted with well-deserved applause. What this means is that, in the brief window of time between Saucer Country beginning and Scalped ending, four of my top five current comic writers will all be writing titles at Vertigo (the fifth one is Grant Morrison, as I’m sure you can guess), meaning it’s a very exciting time for the DC imprint, at least in my book.
After the Vertigo panel, I got to say hello to Mark Doyle. Here’s a guy involved in editing American Vampire, Sweet Tooth AND Scalped, meaning he surely has one of the most awesome jobs in comics. I regularly tweet him about my progress in trying to assemble every Scalped single issue, so I got to tell him in person that I was now only missing the first issue.
I returned to the booth to find that sales had been chugging along nicely in my absence, and I hung around for a while, until I once more left my compatriots in the lurch for the Creator Connections panel. This is presented as a kind of speed dating for creators, where writers are paired up with artists. I enjoyed this a great deal, as I got to talk to a lot of talented artists, and got a whole bunch of business cards and potential contacts I may get in touch with for future collaborations.
By the time that panel was done, New York Comic Con was done for the day. As I said, I felt pretty bad about not being at the ComixTribe booth much on Friday, and told Tyler and Joe that I planned to be there for much of Saturday and most of Sunday. It’s just the way things worked out that Friday had a high concentration of panels. And I still had one more to attend!
I made a brief stop at a jam-packed McDonalds near the Javits Center for dinner (I kid you not, I was sat between a girl dressed as a Green Lantern and a guy dressed as a White Lantern) , before heading back to the con for a night-time panel on horror in comics. I had a hard time finding the room at first, but once I did I was able to just slip in without needing to queue, which was nice. The panel was actually really interesting. Horror is a genre I’ve long loved, and have recently begun to appreciate more in the comics medium. I’d love to attempt a story in the genre, and attending this panel gave me a lot of inspiration and ideas.
This panel took me to near 10pm. By this point, the ComixTribe gang were over on the other side of the city, so rather than trying to play catch-up, I just walked around New York at night a little, then headed back for an early night. I’d enjoyed the panels, but I felt this day was a lot of sitting and listening to people talk. I wanted to make the most of the last couple of days. Though I did get to see a dog dressed as Superman on Friday.
NEXT: I meet Scott Snyder… thrice!