Wow, NYCC ’13 was quite a show. Not that I was expecting anything less (I’d exhibited there before), but still, four straight days of being in an absolutely packed convention center with all that stuff going on… well, my head’s still spinning.
And this year’s show meant a little more to me because it marked my first return to New York City since Wendy and I moved our family out to Portland, Oregon in June of 2012. We planned a 2 week trip because my sister was kind enough to have her wedding the weekend before NYCC (just a coincidence). This meant that we had exactly 3 days after the wedding to visit with family and friends before setting up for the convention on Thursday. Thankfully, my good friend and AWBW editor, Justin Zimmerman made the trip out from Portland as well. He was staying with his friend, Jesse, and the two of them helped me unload all of our material (tables, chairs, banners, books) onto the show floor and set up the booth. I don’t know how I would have managed to set it all up without them.
And then the show began! Preview night on Thursday was relatively calm, but the crowds only increased from there and never let up until the end of the day on Sunday. For me, it was a mix of running into people I hadn’t seen in a while and getting to introduce myself to people I hadn’t meet yet. I swung by a few other booths to pick up some new releases as well as grabbing some of the swag from Kickstarter projects I had backed. This included Violator Union by Shawna Mills, Rocket Girl by Amy Reeder, and Molly Danger by Jamal Igle.
Oh, and for some reason, I spent some of my time on Friday taking Justin’s Youngblood hardcover across the entire convention floor, photographing evidence of it along the way before reaching the end of its journey with a signature from Rob Liefeld. Kind of random, but you can check out the photo set here.
The vast majority of time I spent behind the A Wave Blue World booth. This was actually a bit of a relief as the show floor got so packed it was unpleasant to be out there. Even from behind the booth there were times I just had to wait out the crowds of cosplayers and non-comic fans rushing through. We did manage to extract a good amount of genuine comic fans though. Sales were really good and I love the moment when a new reader discovers our work and tells me this was just the type of thing he/she had been looking for, or that they wish there was more stuff like this in comics. I’ll keep working at it, I promise.
I especially enjoy seeing the varied demographic that buys the American Terrorist graphic novel. A number of military and ex-military personnel bought it, as well as the “anti-establishment” and Occupy types. I wonder if they know they’re reading the same graphic novel?
I also got a chance to “pay it forward” when group of Kubert students (Kubies) stopped by the booth to say “hi” and get their portfolios reviewed. This included 2013 A Wave Blue World scholarship winner, Aysegül Sinav, as well as 2012 winner, Ernesto Sin. I was incredibly impressed with their work. They’ve both gotten so much better and can’t wait to see where they take things from here.
This praise goes for their classmates as well. I did my best to give critiques and offer as many pro tips as I could. The quality of artwork from these current students is really high. I’m glad to see my former school doing so well. The instructors there really know what they’re doing and these students are making the most out of their talent and learning the skills they need to make it as a professional artist in this industry.
Some of the students even mentioned that they’d prefer to work on creator-owned projects when they got out of school. I was glad to hear that. It’s a tough road, but I think things are improving and if we can continue to get more talented creators moving in that direction and pulling together, the future will be very bright indeed.