The biggest and best comic convention on the East Coast of America returned once again from the 5th-8th of October to the Javits Center New York, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. With record numbers of tickets sold (over 200,000!), the convention was busier than it has ever been. Artist Alley was bursting at the seams with talent, and with panels from some of the most popular TV shows spread across the city, there was plenty to keep everyone entertained throughout the four days of the convention.
Panels were once again held in multiple locations, including the Javits Center itself, Madison Square Garden, and off-site locations such as the Hammerstein Ballroom and Hudson Mercantile. Panels with casts from popular TV shows such as The Walking Dead and Agents of Shield were held at MSG, allowing more people to attend, but also making it harder for people to attend events both at the Javits Center and off-site. There was, however, a panel for everyone, with events ranging from premieres of new animated films to announcements and reveals like what was going on with the DC Universe, as well as Q and As with some of the biggest names in comics. While some panels had 50% of seats given away in a pre-show lottery, a big plus for New York Comic Con is that all panels are included with a ticket to the convention.
Whilst part of the Javits Centre is being renovated, Artist Alley was moved to a smaller location downstairs. This meant less talent in attendance and bigger crowds than in previous years, but the talent that was there in Artist Alley was still some of the best in the world. With names like Chris Claremont, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Fabian Nicieza and Charles Soule drawing big queues, there was plenty to see. Artist Alley also had a good mix of well-established and up-and-coming artists and writers, so you could discover new talent whilst browsing amongst those that you had been fans of for years.
Both the Marvel and DC booths had signings galore over the four days, including both talent that created the comics, and the actors and actresses that portrayed these famous characters in current and upcoming TV shows. Whilst the DC booth was host to signings of big names that were not appearing in Artist Alley, Marvel had two stages for signings and giveaways. Marvel has a small signing area that hosted names such as Dan Slott and Walt Simonson, and a bigger stage for signings from shows such as Agents of Shield and Runaways. Other big comic book publishers such as IDW, Image and Dark Horse also had booths on the show floor, with multiple signings from names such as Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane, and exclusive merchandise. Oni Press, Titan Comics, French Comics and BOOM! Studios all also had a highly visible presence at the convention.
NYCC had been unlucky with a number of cancellations from guests before the show, but there were still big stars such as Mark Hamill and William Shatner present for photos, autographs and panels throughout the weekend. Marvel were also set to have a big Punisher panel at Madison Square Gardens, as well as signings, but these were cancelled in light of the recent tragic events in Las Vegas. Whilst some people complained about the lack of entertainment guests, that is one thing that makes NYCC different to other conventions. NYCC’s entertainment guests are additional content rather than a sole focus, with the convention still keeping comic books themselves as a core theme.
Studios such as Amazon, Warner Bros and Fox had booths showing off their latest TV shows, as well as presenting panels with cast members in attendance. Amazon had multiple booths with new shows such as The Tick and Lore being advertised with various activities. Warner Bros had panels on their TV shows, as well as a premier of their new animated film Batman v Two-Face, with special appearances from Burt Ward, William Shatner and producers and writers of the animated film. Marvel had a presence outside their own booth with separate booths hosted by channels and streaming services airing shows such as Gifted, Cloak and Dagger and Runaways.
The vendors in the convention hall were of a massive variety. Ranging from geeky apparel, wigs, official figurines, exclusive merchandise, comics and guest signings, there was something to please all at the convention. The hall with the booths seemed endless and took days to reach each individual booth and vendor, showing just how much there was on offer for attendees. There was a range of exclusive merchandise from vendors, including show exclusives from companies such as Funko, Lego and Toys ‘R Us. Various booths also had exclusive signings from comic book writers, artists, cosplayers and models.
The cosplay on show at the convention was as varied and as impressive as the convention itself. With cosplays ranging from classic comic book characters, to advanced armour builds, there were various cosplay competitions for those that wanted to show off their skills, as well as cosplayers willing to pose for photos for anyone that asked. Cosplay specific booths had world famous guests such as Yaya Han helping to promote their products, as well as sell prints and merchandise of their own. As well as the impressive cosplays during the day, there were many parties for cosplayers and the general public in the evenings that did not require a comic con badge. Kotaku hosted a cosplay ball, there was a cosplay cruise along the Hudson, and Sonic Boom hosted their famous parties each night of the convention.
Overall, NYCC remains one of the biggest conventions in the world for a reason. New York is the home of American comics, and the convention truly reflects that. A comic convention that still has a big focus on comics and has not become a media fest or changed to focus on games and anime like conventions abroad, New York Comic Con remains a must-see convention for any comic book fan.