NYCC 2017: Thursday
Some quick thoughts by Bob Reyer
Good morning troops! Your Cranky Old Uncle Bob here with some quick hitters about the opening day of the NYCC 2017! This time around I was flying solo, so this won’t be a very long essay, but I hope that even in a shorthand fashion I can give you some sense of this year’s edition of the NYCC .
First off, just walking cross-town to get to the Javits Center, the streets seemed a little more filled with “convention types” than the usual opening day, so when I arrived on-site, the fact that the admittance queue wrapped around the building wasn’t a huge surprise. The ReedPop crew and their security team did their customary great job in getting people to the right line, as they had team members on street corners two blocks out directing the arriving throngs so as to avoid them massing at the doors. Once inside, even with security measures heightened due to the recent tragic events in Las Vegas, we all entered in a timely manner, with great courtesy in evidence, too!
With such a large crowd already queuing up, the NYCC team nicely opened the gates to what they rightly called “Nerdvana” a few minutes early, and so I rushed in to take a quick tour of the Show Floor, which contained the usual eclectic but focused mixture of exhibitors that included all the major players in comics publishing in one half of the room, with the other featuring a ton of cool merchandise, with scads of actual comic book vendors with great deals on newer books and trades, not to mention quite a few with some of the rarest and most sought-after books in the hobby! (Let me just say a quick “Hi!” to old friends John and Nan with whom I visited for a bit!)
There were some changes to the Javits Center this year due to on-going construction, so I quickly fled to Artist Alley which was a little smaller in size, although not as much in terms of the number of creative people with displays as well as the star power in the room! Heck, you could have had a whole convention with just the “Bat Table” at the back of the space which featured Scott Snyder, Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV, Tom King, and a half-dozen more amazing guests!
I made a quick circuit of the room, both to make purchases (personal and gifts..sssshh—no telling!) and proffer invitations to come chat with us on Talking Comics. My “tour stops” included Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Kristen Gudsnuk, Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, Peter David, Linda & Stjepan Sejic, Cat Staggs, and Gail Simone, so keep listening, as our guest list for the up-coming months could be pretty amazing! (By the way, for any of you attending this years NYCC, Artist Alley was pretty-much wall-to-wall people by the afternoon, so even though it was a highly organized and very friendly space, it can take a while to navigate the room, so if your focus is on meeting creators, you may want to hit Artist Alley first thing upon arrival!)
As I’m always looking to keep abreast of new things, I managed to squeeze in a few big panels, too. I had a great time at the “Meet the Publishers” with DC big-wigs Dan DiDeo and Jim Lee (and special guest Grant Morrison!), with much talk about their commitment to solid story-telling and core values, but the big reveal was the re-launch of the Vertigo imprint! (A great running joke was “Don’t ask about Legion, JSA, or Shazam…’cause they’re not on the table…yet!”)
This was followed in the same room by “Marvel Legacy: The Next Big Thing” with a stellar cast of creators discussing what was up-and-coming in the MU, with my personal highlights being Erica Henderson’s spot about “Squirrel Girl in space?” pitch when she was asked what her “Legacy” arc was going to be, and an audience question about the return of the Fantastic Four that had moderator and Marvel editor Nick Lowe vamping “Well, they’re so busy cataloging universes and stuff…”–great stuff, Mr. Lowe!
I finished my day off attending a spirited and enlightening panel entitled “The Wonder Women Behind LGBTQ Characters in Comics” that featured Tee Franklin, Vita Ayala, Desiree Rodriguez, Jennie Wood, and Gail Simone, and moderated by the New York Times’ Jude Biersdorfer. With such a fabulous roster, there quite strong opinions about the industry in general, and a particular question from Ms. Biersdorfer about the kerfuffle over that onerous statement from a Marvel executive who claimed that “…diversity was the cause of slumping sales…” led to an amazing talk that spanned the entire industry’s problems on this front! Superb work by all concerned, as this one will be hard to top for my favorite moment of this year’s NYCC..although it is early still!
Back with more over the weekend,
Your Cranky Old Uncle Bob