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NY Comic Con ’08 (Part 1 of 3) April 24, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Comics, Ramblings, Up and Away.

First of Three Parts: Impressions

This past April 18-20, 2008, the Jacob Javits Center hosted the 2008 New York Comic Con, one of the largest comic book conventions in the United States. For once, I found myself without any excuse not to go, so I jumped at the chance to check it out. It certainly lived up to my expectations — then exceeded them.

Upon arriving at the convention center I already knew it was going to be quite the spectacle. Comic book enthusiasts were there in droves, some literally dressed for the occasion as their favorite character, most bubbling with excitement at what “schwag” and freebies lay ahead of them. This was just at the entrance, with long lines of eager attendees waiting patiently and politely to pick up their tickets. Fortunately, I decided to purchase my ticket (good for all of Saturday) beforehand at Midtown Comics, and thus made my way through to the exhibition floor without a care in the world.

It goes without saying that the sight before me was everything a comic book aficionado could hope for, whether casual collector or die-hard fan. Rows upon rows upon columns upon aisles of booths, all of which showcased something — anything! — related to comics. Marvel and DC were there, side by side with independent and smaller publishers. Retailers in attendance displayed signs prominently advertising huge discounts on their wares. There were “boutique stalls” selling rare comics from the Golden and Silver Ages that nostalgic completists may be willing to die for, not to mention merchandisers peddling figurines, t-shirts and all manner of paraphernalia so fans could go home awash in nifty souvenirs. And yes, there were a couple of video game studios and collectible card game companies in attendance, too, showcasing their latest offerings and giving passersby free reign to try them out.

There was no shortage of things to do either, and I’m not talking about the requisite shopping involved or the organized group photo opportunity for all Jedi in attendance (for real). Throughout each day there were any number of film showings, panel discussions or promotional appearances going on, certainly enough to whet any fan’s appetite. More importantly, there were chances aplenty to meet the legends and rising stars of the industry. In the three-odd hours I was there I couldn’t believe the personalities I espied in attendance. Mark Buckingham. Darwin Cooke. Geoff Johns. John Romita (both father and son). Jim Steranko. Gail Simone. Steve Epting. The list goes on and on.

I think what I will always remember from this experience is how it made me feel like I did when I discovered comic books for the first time. Sure, I’ve never gone out on a limb to attend a convention before (the opportunity hardly ever presenting itself back home), but something really was in the air that captured the excitement I remember from when I started getting interested in comics, losing myself in the colored panels and letting my imagination take off. In this I was just another face in the crowd, but one in which I felt quite at home, lightsabers, capes and cowls notwithstanding. In retrospect this is perhaps what such conventions are truly about: giving people a chance to celebrate their shared interest — if only for a day or two — and experience the joy of discovering those colored panels for the very first time, again and again.

(Next: Random Pictures)



1. NY Comic Con ‘08 (Part 2 of 3) « BRAIN DRAIN - April 27, 2008

[…] Previously, I mentioned that there were a few video game companies present in full force. Naturally, this created many opportunities for cross-promotion, such as the way that Konami was drumming up publicity for their new Hellboy game, The Science of Evil. Others, were there just to sell video-game related paraphernalia, such as Square-Enix. […]

2. NY Comic Con ‘08 (Part 3 of 3) « BRAIN DRAIN - April 30, 2008

[…] Impressions and Random […]

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