Over the weekend, Reed Pop (best known as the organizers of New York Comic Con) debuted a new con at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City called…Special Edition, NYC. Billed as “the place to meet your favorite comic book heroes and get exclusive access to special guests from the pages of mainstream, alternative, indie, international and web comics…” Special Edition is another step in Reed Pop’s quest to build an East Coast rival to the Con to end all Con’s, Comic Con International: San Diego (aka SDCC)
For those familiar with NYCC, the Special Edition was housed in the space that normally contains Artist Alley, Javits Center North (which is to say about 80,000 square feet). That may or may not be a decent sized show, but compared to NYCC and the overall behemoth size of the Javits Center itself, the show certainly felt on the smaller side. Granted it was the Special Edition’s debut and all. But, still…
That being said, there was still things to see and do at the con. Most notably, the surprising number of artists/creators in attendance. And not just indie guys, either (although there was a good number of indie creators there). I’m talking big guns. Mike Allred, Tony Daniel, Gail Simone and one of my personal favorite artists, Ed McGuinness. Legends of the business were there, too. Peter David, Jerry Ordway and Chris Claremont just to name a few. It was very cool to see the line of people looking to meet Jerry Ordway. Nice to see the veterans getting well deserved attention.
Another pleasant surprise…Marvel had a presence at the con! Albeit a smaller one, but still there handing out freebies to the con goers. Frank Cho was also sitting under the Marvel banner signing books and chatting it up with fans. Noticeably absent (again) was DC. Perhaps they’re just busy packing up shop for their move to the Left Coast. Who knows?
Special Edition also had a nice selection of panels to sit in on. Ranging from how to create your own comics to Marvel panels on upcoming books/storylines there was a panel for just about anyone’s interest.
The downside, though (and a big one for me), was the lack of vendors. Less than half the space was filled with vendors. Sure, it’s cool to meet your favorite creator and to sit in on a Marvel panel. But, man! I go to these things for the toys (and comics). Toys, man! Toys! Forget cowbell. I need more toys! And the show was a little light on that front.
Most folks I talked to had the same feeling/experience about Special Edition. Overall, it wasn’t a bad con. It was just smaller than they expected. And therein lies the problem. If you’re close by, it was worth the time. Personally, though, your friendly neighborhood jman doesn’t live that close to NYC. I traveled almost 2 hours to get there. NYCC? Definitely worth the travel time. Special Edition? Not so much. The caveat, however, is that it was the show’s debut. If Reed Pop plans on running this show like a second NYCC, then I’ll keep on attending. Next year’s show will be the deciding factor on that…