Monday, October 17, 2011

NY comic con part one: overview of the con, part 1

      San Diego may have their annual Comic Con but here in New York City, the New York Comic Con is the East coasts’ gift to geeks everywhere. You’ll find everything you’re ever looking for to fulfill your inner geek from the comics and games to Japanese anime. 

       This year will be the second year the New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival will be merged into one giant convention. For several years prior, NYC had tried its best to bring anime conventions to the NY ‘Otaku’ community but with the current state of the economy, anime related conventions eventually began to fade. NYAF had been going strong for the past few years until the recession hit in 2008 and several anime production companies went bankrupt.

     There wasn’t a lot of anime being produced anymore but luckily one company, Funimation INC, was able to buy the rights to nearly every anime title available. So when 2009s NYAF came about, Funimation and Bandai entertainment were pretty much the only company’s represented at the con. That year, a lot of fans re-named the con the ‘Funimation con’ as nearly every panel, screening and autograph session came from Funimations’s company. Funimation deserves a huge thank you as if it wasn’t for them, anime would’ve been much less accessible and there might not have even been a convention.

     While the NYAF was struggling with its funds, the NYCC was feeling a similar feeling. In 2010, both the NYCC and NYAF decided it would be mutually beneficial to combine forces and have one giant convention. Their hopes were that people would be more inclined to come to the cons, if they paid one price for two cons and their assumptions were correct. This merger was such a success that it was decided to continue this partnership again the 2011 season. This powerhouse merger will hopefully bring more newcomers to discover the world of anime and comics.

       This years' double con ran from October 13th through the 16th at its usual home at the Jacob Javitz center. The NYCC decided to expand the con to utilize the entire building, which was a necessity as this was the first time ever the conventions were completely sold out of all tickets from weekend passes to daily passes. The convention itself was separated into different sections at the Javitz Center.

     The southernmost part of the Javitz center is where you found the various toy and gaming companies like Hasbro, Square-Enix and Capcom. Every company had an interactive booth where fans could read and play with various merchandise. Company representatives and volunteers were on hand to help promote upcoming products and answer any questions the fans had.

     The middle section was where you could find comic book merchandise and various book publishing companies selling their stock. Publishers like Tor, Penguin and Disney Publishing had a lot of authors there giving away free autographed copies of their books. This is a great way for fans to meet their favorite authors, all while the authors are able to get major feedback from fans on their work. The next area, right next door to the publishing company area, held the main part of the dealer room along with more video game demos. Here you could buy everything from comic books and games to clothes. The northernmost part of the Javitz center was reserved for a special kid’s only section where kids were kept entertained by ‘Battle Bots’ type of game play.

    Across from the kids only area was the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game. If you weren’t a true fan of the D&D no worries, there were plenty of training sessions aimed at bringing in newbie’s to help expand their fan base. All the way past the D&D area was the celebrity autograph section where for a nominal fee of $0 to $20, you could have obtained an autograph (No, not a picture and an autograph, just an autograph) of certain featured celebrity like the cast of the Conan the Barbarian remake, Mark Hamil and Eliza Dushku. The Javitz center also made use of all its other floors by using the basement rooms for various panels and anime screenings and using the topmost floor as the NYAF base of operations and anime art dealer room.

     As much as I’m grateful for the NYCC to allow the NYAF to have the entire top floor of the Javitz center, I’m very disappointed in the setup for it. The NYAF section, minus the actual anime panels and screenings, were very limited. There was barely anything upstairs except about four rows of anime art dealers when compared to the entire main floor of the Javitz center being devoted to comic books and games. Hopefully a better compromise can be found next year when the NYCC and NYAF team up yet again during the weekend of October 11th through 14th 2012!

Author’s Note:
  With so much going on, it was hard to depict everything that was occurring in this one article; so I have broken up all my information from this weekend’s conventions into several smaller articles. Hope you enjoy all of them.

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