Thursday, June 30, 2016

NYCC: Press-ing For Advantage

This past Wednesday, tickets went on sale for New York Comic Con, which takes place in October. The setup was similar to that of Comic-Con International . . . you create a profile and log in when the sale takes place. The show ran out of three and four-day tickets in a short amount of time. As for me, I did not try my luck. A few weeks earlier, I was granted a press badge.

Initially, I did not want to go that route. While I consider myself a writer, I've never been adept at reporting. I veer towards feature stories, where I can interview people and bang out the article by the set deadline. When I went to NYU for my Master’s degree, I was thrown not the deep end a few times. I wasn't at my best covering an event and writing about it that night. I would have been perfectly fine with paying full price for admission.

Late last year, I was visiting Bleeding Cool, and Rich Johnston was looking for correspondents to cover conventions. I go to my fair share, both big and small. Even if I don't go on an “adventure” (Toronto, San Diego, etc), I always had NYCC. This was what I wanted when I started hitting cons on a regular basis . . . to have something big that close to me. The con had some rough moments; in its first year (2006), the fire marshal shut down the Jacob Javits Center due to overcrowding. I remember being stuck on a line, pressed against a wall. Originally, the show took place in February, in the bitter cold. It didn't help when the line to get in stretched for many blocks. These days, it's mostly nice weather, where you can wear your t-shirt for a few more days before stuffing it in the attic for the winter.

As time went on, the show gained in popularity. From what I've heard, the attendance is higher than even Comic-Con. In 2014, ReedExpo added a second show in the city, Special Edition NYC, focusing more on comic books. When I went there, I saw that they were selling tickets to NYCC in advance. I waited at least an hour on line before going to my usual activities. Last year, NYCC sold out in record time. While I did get an e-mail alerting me to that, it went over my head. Also, against all odds, I was working. I probably would have taken the day off had I been aware, because NYCC was approaching CCI-level of demand. Luckily for me, Special Edition was still an option. I wound up spending four hours in what was more of a blob than a line. I wound up with four-day access to NYCC, and I was grateful for that. It was one thing to try and fail to get a badge for CCI . . . even if I got it, I'd still have to fly over 3,000 miles to get there, and I'd need a place to stay. NYCC is a lot easier for me to visit, especially with the 7 subway line extending to Hudson Yards, a short hike away from the Javits Center. To miss out on that would royally suck.

Apparently, Special Edition wasn't a hit, so it was discontinued. By the time NYCC was accepting press applications, I had covered several cons for Bleeding Cool. So far, I have written about Big Apple Con and MoCCA Arts Festival in New York, Anime Fan Fest in Somerset, NJ, and New Dorp Comic Con in my home borough of Staten Island. While I haven't gotten much feedback on my work, it had been good enough to get Rich’s blessing to pursue press access. While I will be expected to file three stories per day, I am trying my best to get ready. Right now, I am typing this on an iPad I won at a raffle a few years ago. I'm getting used to typing on the go, though some things mystify me . . . like how I can take and save pictures, but I need WiFi access to save documents in the cloud. Also, with my current temp gig, I can kill time by going online and scratching the internet itch.

This weekend, I'm going to Secaucus, NJ, to cover Heroes & Villains Fan Fest. I see it as a test of my reporting abilities. With NYCC three months away, I need all the practice I can get.

Relevant Links

Big Apple Con

MoCCA Arts Festival (prelude, day one, day two)

Anime Fan Fest (fun activity: do a shot any time I mention AnimeNEXT)

New Dorp Comic Con

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