Secret Identity was out in full force at New York Comic Con 2013 last weekend. And while we’ll be talking about the new show and the news that came out of it for weeks, I wanted to put together some quick impressions that I got from this year’s show. So, in no particular order, these are five things I took away from NYCC:
Holy Cow, The People
Saturday and Sunday are always jam packed at NYCC, but this year, Thursday was the most crowded I’ve ever seen it, and Friday felt like Saturday. Sure enough, when ReedPOP revealed the attendance numbers, they were record-setting: more than 130,000 people attended NYCC this year, putting the show on par with San Diego in terms of numbers. And it’s only going to get bigger.
While I mentioned both of the big two, the real shocker here was DC--they had no booth at NYCC. Let that sink in. The second biggest comic publisher at the second biggest show in the country, and no booth. Worse, I attended the DC All-Access panel and the lack of enthusiasm on DC’s part was very concerning. DC barely showed up this year.
Marvel had a markedly bigger presence than DC, but their booth was pretty unimpressive as well. They had a small stage, a signing area, and an exhibit featuring the car (Lola) from the new S.H.I.E.L.D series. In contrast, Marvel had props from Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier at San Diego this year. Very disappointing to see they didn’t bring the same enthusiasm to NYCC.
Everyone Else Stepped Forward
While Marvel and DC were dropping the ball, every other publisher at NYCC took a step forward this year. Archie, Oni, Image, BOOM!/Archaia, Valiant and Dark Horse not only showed up, but they had great booths, tons of signings and interacted with fans throughout the show.
The Oni panel I attended was packed with talent and the books being announced were exciting (Keep an eye out for Letter 44 and The Auteur in particular).
Archie killed it with their Afterlife with Archie display, and that book was the talk of the show.
To me, the message was clear: the rest of the publishers out there are no longer looking for Marvel or DC to set the pace for the industry. Each of those companies are aggressively coming after the big two, and we as readers are going to benefit from it.
Artist Alley was the Best It’s Ever Been
Without a doubt, the most inspiring thing about NYCC 2013 for me was the level of talent and diversity to be found in Artist Alley. From industry vets to first-time exhibitors, Artist Alley was lined with amazing artwork and original comics. I spent more money on comics and art this week than at any previous NYCC. Anyone who walked the aisles of Artist Alley was reminded that there is plenty of originality and diversity in comics if you just take a little time to seek it out. There was truly something for everyone.
Despite the record numbers that attended the show this year, I actually felt like the show floor was more navigable than it had been in years past, particularly on Saturday. ReedPOP implemented a new badge policy this year, where you had to check in and out of the show. It could have been a disaster in terms of delays, but things flowed very smoothly for the most part. The army of volunteers and show staff really worked hard to ensure people got to experience as much as much as possible, and they deserve a lot of credit for that.
All in all, we had an absolute blast at NYCC this year. Thanks so much to ReedPOP for their continued support in allowing us to cover the show each year. We’ll be featuring the interviews we did for the next year, and as I mentioned, we’ll be talking a lot more about NYCC on future episodes of Secret Identity.