Comic book conventions are comic book conventions, right? I have been to so, so many in my life at various halls, ranging from massive NFL football stadiums all the way to hotel conference areas. You go, there are clearly defined areas where the goings-on are located, and you enjoy your day perusing back issues or getting signatures. It’s a pretty basic experience; the enjoyment level and amount of activities, artists, and sales can all vary, but you always know what you are getting into.
This weekend saw Andy and I make the cross-Pennsylvania excursion to attend our first ever New York City Comic Con, and the first–perhaps only–word that springs to mind is “overwhelming”!
If you’ve never been to NYCC before, it is quite the experience with its huge venue (New York’s Javits Center) and its even more massive crowd of humanity. After we were let in at 10am sharp, Andy and I were befuddled as to where to even start or where to even go! Out of sheer sensory overload, we eventually found our way to the room in which many of the entertainment companies had their set-ups and were showing off their new wares. We settled in at a nice crossroads between the Topps, Kotobukiya, and Marvel Puzzle Quest booths and gave our sensory overloaded minds a chance to process everything that was going on around us. With convention nirvana achieved, our immediate quest seemed easy enough: find Artist Alley!
This was… not so easy after all. We did fairly quickly find the room in which the more prominent celebrities were waiting (the Tom Hiddlestons and Paul Rudds and what-have-you’s), but this was not what we sought because, really, what do I have to say to Paul Rudd? “I really liked you in Halloween 6, and I’m not actually being facetious. And my wife LOVES Clueless. Okay, thanks for… acting? Bye!”; it doesn’t seem purposeful to me. But luckily, there was a member of the NYCC crew manning that room, so we asked her where Artists Alley might be. She waved off down a hallway and noted that she believed it was in that direction, but that wasn’t her area, so she was not positive. To be fair, she was exceedingly polite and appeared genuinely interested in helping us, so my description of her assistance is more to show the even the staff was perplexed by everything around them! There’s just. So. Much.
Also to her credit, she was correct. Artist Alley WAS somewhere in that direction! So merely thirty minutes plus into first New York Comic Con experience, we finally found what we were seeking. Artist Alley was an enormous room, with row after row of talented comic creators who ranged from the massively successful to the lesser known independent stars of tomorrow. And would you guess who was front-and-center in row F, right there as attendees walked into the room? Friend of the show K. Lynn Smith!
We have talked about Ms. Smith’s work before, but I will reiterate that she is both wonderfully pleasant AND an incredible talent. She had the first issue of her new title, For Goodness’ Sake, and I was lucky enough to get a copy and check it out. On top of the usual fun, cartoonish, well-defined art that we at the Ghosts of the Stratosphere have come to expect from K. Lynn, the story is funny (I loved Thatcher’s reaction to Rayne Waters’ name) and original (Thatcher’s appearance and abilities that stem from a curse where he gains power from the negative feelings others have towards him). For more information and to support this book, click here! Also, I expect this might not be the last time one of the Ghosts talks about For Goodness’ Sake.
From there, Andy set us to work on collecting interviews for our show, which is fair because… I guess we should take the opportunity we had to talk to some fantastic comic talents when it is presented to us. He has so much more focus than I do! I will say I am going to leave our interviews a mystery for the time being… you can hear them starting tomorrow on our brand new episode.
While Andy was goal-oriented on sitting down and chatting with some of the industry’s best, I was more self-focused, as I saw NYCC as a chance to purchase artwork with which to decorate the new house my wife and I going to buy in the upcoming year. As I stalked the rows of gorgeous work, the first thing to catch my eye was the booth of one Ben Harvey, and for a simple reason: the giant banner between him with his name on it was a picture of Jubilee! I obviously wandered over, told him that anyone that advertises with Jubilation Lee gets my money, and bought my first print of the show.
How great is that?! It’s even a somewhat modern Jubes in her black bodysuit instead of the classic pink T-shirt and jean shorts look!
Other purchases followed from other great artists whose work I have always been enamored of, such as Todd Nauck –
Babs Tarr –
And Doc Shaner –
I absolutely love all three of those pieces, and they increase my anticipation for this art project exponentially. Babs, Todd, and Doc are all so brilliant and ridiculously talented, and it was truly a pleasure to chat with them for a few minutes and get my hands on these works. Although I will say that I somewhere lost my NYCC badge in the crowd while Andy was talking to Mr. Shaner. But luckily it didn’t end up mattering.
Aside from interviews and purchases, Andy and I had a chance to get together and chat with not only our longtime buddies John and Lou from Pint O’ Comics but also the hosts of Ocho Duro Parlay Hour, Superhero Speak, So Wizard, and Cult 45. It was a wonderful break in the day to talk shop with some other talented podcasts, and it should go without saying that I recommend checking them all out at your earliest convenience. Not only are their shows stellar, but they are great folks, as well.
It’s a shame that Andy and I only had Friday passes because it’s impossible to really catch everything there is to do at New York Comic Con in one day. Even after nine+ hours and without taking any break to for lunch or dinner, we spent the last few hours jut blasting by booths just to try and see as much as possible. Andy got a Black Bolt t-shirt, I passed on another piece of Jubilee art that I definitely would have gotten if had more time to talk myself into it, and we got caught in the crowd of people meeting Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. NYCC is definitely meant to be a multi-day experience, and I think that for 2020, we will do our best to keep that in mind. We are definitely trying for press passes next year, too, so… fingers crossed!
Until next time… take care!