Kent helped me get a press pass to this year's New York City Comic Con. I am a relatively enthusiastic comic book reader but I've never been to a Comic Con, so I've been asking the people I know who are going what they're planning to do there.
Kent says the best part of Comic Con is an area called Artists Row (Twitter just now told me it's called Artist Alley, which is probably what Kent said in the first place), where comic book artists just sit and draw and sign autographs for fans. I've heard that if you're ever planning to buy a graphic novel, it's a good idea to do so from the artist. I imagine this happening on Artists Row.
Friend-of-show Jess Idres tells me she'll be there assisting friends who are master cosplayers. Jess does illustrations so I have to assume she has some networking as part of her agenda. (Jess, if I cross paths with you I'm going to want to pick your brain about that.)
Speaking of networking, Jonathan Larsen, the executive producer of UP w/Chris Hayes has recently authored a couple of Legend of the Dark Knight digital Batman chapters (here and here). I ran into him by the elevator the other day and it was interesting to think of the opportunities at Comic Con from his perspective. (As a side note, it's also interesting to me that everyone I meet who has managed to get a foot in the door of the comic book industry wants to talk to me about what indie titles I collect. I'm not sure if that's because collecting Marvel and DC titles are a given and the real content of a person's character is reflected in their independent publisher choices or if it's something more along the lines of market research but it's happened enough that I see it as a pattern.)
My friend Vinnie works for On Demand and he goes to all of these kinds of events. Most of the press pitches I've received since signing up and checking the "yes, send me stuff" box on the form have been about movies or TV shows. I'm not sure how directly they can connect the marketing dots but they've definitely figured out that the Comic Con audience is worth targeting.
Tricia is bringing her daughter. She says they don't have a specific goal, but plainly, if you've got a kid who's a reader with a taste for science fiction or fantasy, exposure to the Comic Con community is bound to be enriching.
My friend Christine owns a book store, and will be there running the Random House booth, selling, as she puts it, "everything from fantasy to graphic novels to Star Wars. A bit of everything, for adults and kids." I also got a note from First Second publishers, and since Rachel has an appreciation for graphic novels I'm going to want to spend some time in whatever corner of the room that's in.
There are some odd, non-sequitur pitches in the PR list as well. GM is having comic book artists draw on a "blank Chevy Sonic" and Craftsman tools apparently put together a joint comic book with DC to justify its in-person appeal to the Javitz Center crowd. Maybe if I get to that booth early enough I can pick up a swag socket set.
So that's a lot of different people doing different things in the same (reportedly crowded, sweaty) space. I'm sorting through my stack of press pitches and the NYCC site and the assorted comic book sites I follow to try to assemble an agenda of some kind. If you've got suggestions and/or recommendations, I appreciate your advice on how to make the most of the next few days.