This is probably true of almost every Con but I’ve only been to two and both are very different. 2007 was much better then last year but then that’s like saying this egg is better then that one because it doesn’t have an unborn chick in it. Last year was a disaster on a scale only New York can do right. I still had fun but it led to a lot of pre-planning this year.
First let’s say that New York is a great location but a terrible place to hold a convention. All that stuff that makes NYC great (culture, easy to travel, huge city, history, etc.) make it a pain to attend. Hotels were ridiculous. It’s possible to get a hotel for say $120 but then the room is just big enough you can’t touch both walls at the same time. Otherwise you’re talking around $200 a night. Most artists I know stayed with friends. Then there’s the parking, actually the lack there of. Last year was next to impossible to park but then it’s New York and you better take a taxi. Let’s not overlook the time of year. Why would you hold a Con in NY in the middle of winter? I was so cold and miserable that I didn’t even want to look around when I first arrived.
Admission: The ticket prices are competitive. I bought my tickets, for $35, early this year and they were mailed to me before I arrived. So no waiting in line for 4 hours. That was absolutely ridiculous but this year you only had to wait 2 hours except it was two hours outside. That better have been thanks to the fire marshal who closed off the floor the previous year. Luckily I had at least one smart idea and signed up for press passes. Worth a try right? Well once I arrived and had proof of my site (business card) they let in the entire crew for free, much better then last year. There was a little tiff each morning about letting press on the floor before it opened but I can understand exhibitors not wanting pictures of incomplete booths getting out, not mention the booth babes running around enacting scenes from Red Sonja. Wait, I think that’s a daydream I had when I walked around.
The Floor: Much bigger then last year. They moved it from the bottom to the middle floor and that alone made the convention twice as big. Everyone was there from the print world: Wizard, Marvel, DC, Diamond, Tokyopop, Darkhorse, and Funimation to name a few. Several new games were revealed and of course the avalanche of comic book shops. Perhaps the biggest improvement was moving the artist's alley from being an actually alley on the main floor to the entire third floor. There was even a podcast alley where T let us squat at his Meanwhile booth.
That, my friends, was what made this Con great. The endless interviews and countless booths were enjoyable and the reason for being there but getting half a booth to camp out on was pure joy. To be able to sit there and collect our thoughts and plan our next move without being in some secluded corner of the building was fantastic. But we have a long way to go before we do it again. First off Phil did an excellent job printing Midnight's work but the rest of the CPN podcasters had real banners. They had table skirts and microphones, merchandise and raffles. Was I jealous? No, I don't get jealous but I did feel silly and inadequate.
The big flashy signs and big TV screens were nice but they were so over the top as to make me ignore them. Booth babes always catch the eye but I never looked at the material on the table. Comicology TV had a great booth. Basically it was set up to do interviews with two chairs, lights, mics, and a video camera. A little table had a DVD to sell but otherwise there was a schedule of everyone that would be interviewed each hour. Drumbrella allowed me buy their books using a credit card. All the Manga store booths looked exactly the same. The American word for imported Korean comic books is Manwha, not Manga. Everyone except Silent Devil wanted to be interviewed, but then Jennie is favorite person in the world and she said yes without hesitation.
Want more of our experience? Shortly Phil will be releasing video of not only the interviews we conducted but highlight real that promises to surpass last year's ConnectiCon highlights. What's this all mean for ConnectiCon? We're going to have a booth, we're going to do it right, and we're going to have stuff to sell. We'll have t-shirts, CD's, and we'll even have a book. There's no excuse for us not to blog on the floor (unless it costs $50 a day like at NYCC) and we're going to do a lot more interviews.