We mentioned that we were attending Reedpop’s new comic-focused comic-con (it hurts physically to write that nonsense). Was it a successful edition to the east coast convention scene or should you just wait for the big booming NYCC in October? Check out our coverage and the best cosplay we saw below!
Any one who has been to NYCC knows the war that is navigating the fucking thing. It’ll take you an half an hour to get to the panel area, but just kidding, the line for whatever you want to see is already at capacity an hour and a half before it even starts. No such problems at New York Special Edition. The con wasn’t sold out, and while the line to buy a pass at the event was large, picking up passes was quick and easy. The spirit of the weekend was a lot calmer than the four day cluster-fuck that is NYCC. Every creator that I spoke to, including Anthony Del Col of Kill Shakespeare, liked the vibe of the weekend.
There was a graduation going on
The Javits Center is huge, and while NYCC takes over the entire convention hall, Special Edition took place in the small area that usually hosts the artist alley of the big con. You’ll never be as tickled as seeing a bunch of grads and family in fancy dress share a space with comic nerds and cosplayers.
I’m not entirely sure how limiting the number of panels facilitates an “intimate event that is focused solely on the art, creation and culture of comic books,” but with only 12 panels scheduled for Saturday, this was one of several programmatic features that turned Special Edition in to a con with not a lot going on. The one panel that I attempted to go to was a feature on Marvel’s “Young Guns” or their new roster of artists, and it the sound was terrible. I will say that a limited number of panels meant there was only two happening at a time, which means that there was little chance of missing something that you wanted to see.
Limited “Big Two” Presence
Marvel had a tiny booth and DC decided to stay home. This may be because there were TWO other cons in the NYC area going on this weekend that are more established. Now, while I’m sure some comic fans might be okay with this or even think it was a good thing, there was a lot less sponsored free swag and a lot less creator presence. Though I was able to pick up a few free titles and an Original Sin bouncy eyeball (stay tuned for giveaway). Also, I cant definitively say that this meant there was room for indies and smaller companies. NYCC is just so stupidly large, that there is usually space for tons of content.
Very Few Cosplayers
The growth of con-culture can be attributed to or closely tied with cosplaying, which was why it was so puzzling to attend a comic convention that did not include a parade or competition of any kind. Seeing cosplayers of all talents and designs are a big draw for many attendees, plain clothes or otherwise. Without a programed event, there was scarce costumed presence (though the few that I did see were all pretty much on point). This added to a general lack of much to do that I think defined the con.
General Lack of Stuff to Do
Ok, I’m prejudiced and used to the big con, but for 30 bucks a day(similarly priced to NYCC), programmers should have offered attendees more to do than a few panels and a show floor that was not even a tenth of the size of the one in October. Yes there was an excellent amount of creator access, but I’d argue the con could be “done” in under three hours, because after you talked to your favorite writers and artists, there was not much else to do besides spend your money and then spend some more money. There was one draw-off type event that was fun to watch for a bit, but other than that, this was a con with not much to cover. Now, big events like NYCC and SDCC are still spaces for people to hock shit, the difference is that Hollywood is trying to earn your dollar later.
The problem with the lack of programming wasn’t that there was no big name stars or game presence, it was just that there wasn’t enough to do. One of the draws of any convention should be a social aspect of getting together with people with like-interests. Free events like speed dating or gaming rooms allow for this kind of socialization There just wasn’t space to do that at Special Edition: NYC. It made sense to see people bounce from the con after a few hours and time spent just kind of chilling away from the show floor. Ultimately vendors lose out when people don’t pop back onto the show floor between things they want to do or see.
After my coverage, I can’t say that Special Edition: NYC has the content and programming to make it an entirely fun and worthwhile con. I’d like to see it develop and expand while still remaining comic-focused and intimate. Cross-purposes? Maybe.
Or maybe just don’t plan your con on Father’s Day Weekend during New York Comic Fest and Long Island’s Eternal Con. Maybe.