Stewart R: I was sat at work today, labouring away at my desk and trying to get the old bodyclock back into the nearly foreign form factor of British Summertime and then a thought struck me; 'This time last week I was thousands of miles away and getting ready for a convention experience that I could only guess about!' It was a sobering thought indeed. For now, whenever I go back across the pond - and I am almost certain that I will - for that special American Comic Convention experience, that brief, sublime moment of trepidation and excitement of the truly unknown that I had at 2pm afternoon of Thursday 11th October 2012 is gone and never to return. And what makes it all the more difficult is that the New York Comic Convention 2012 experience was something of a real life highlight.
I'd booked pretty much last thing, left lots of preparation to the 11th hour and had a stressful couple of days leading up to the trip. To then fly back in time (it counts!!!) to another country and dive head first into such a huge festival of the comic book and entertainment industries was mind-blowing to say the least. And while I will look back at all of the great comics, new and old that I picked up, all of the interesting news I heard and the head spinning scale of the extravaganza, the thing I will truly look back most fondly upon from this trip is the people.
From the helpful and enthusiastic Javits Centre and Convention staff, to the knowledgable and cash-hungry vendors with their huge rolls of dollar bills. From the cosplay happy fans to those more modest types just happy to share a laugh and take a picture. From the creators - both loud and proud to the more shy and retiring - who clearly love what they do for a living, each and every one of them, to the random people we bumped into around New York who knew of the convention and showed appreciation for it or playful jealousy at not being able to attend; every single person made the trip that little bit better, that little bit special. And it must be said that my good friend and last minute travel companion Simon deserves a mention here. He rolled up his sleeves and got stuck into NYCC with terrific enthusiasm snapping plenty of pictures (some of which you see below), buying comics and trades like a madman (mostly on my recommendations - gawds, let him enjoy them all!) and only too happy to take on the mantle of Convention Sherpa when I needed to get something done, signed or bought. I salute you my friend, the trip wouldn't have been the same without you!
As far as it goes I'd say that I don't think the organisers of the the New York Comic Convention have much to improve upon and very little to worry about when it comes to future openings of this show. The main floor got shoulder to shoulder busy at times, but that only appeared to be in a few bottlenecks near entrances and exits at select times and it was easy to see where good decisions on wider lanes and areas had already been made. Moving the comic vendors down one end of the main hall proved to make a lot of sense and prevented the elbow-barging antics that I've born witness to at a couple of British conventions, while I can only deem Artist Alley a true triumph that acted as a brilliant tribute to the people who work tirelessly to produce the stories and ideas that make such an event possible.
Next year promises to be even bigger - there's going to be an extra 40-50,000 square feet to be used - and I don't see anything standing in the way of NYCC 2013 being as good as and, here's hoping, even more fun than this year's success. You can tell when an event's a winner when you start checking out flights for next year the moment you get back home...