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Tue, April 29th, 2008 at 6:04pm PDT | Updated: April 29th, 2008 at 6:07pm

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

NYCC 2008 - THE WRAP-UP

Rather than the traditional minute-by-minute stream of events form of convention reporting, I thought I'd skip around and share some fun stories and observations from last week's adventures at The New York Comic Con 2008. I took a lot of pictures, so I'll let those guide me along the way.

Fanboy Funk: On Sunday afternoon, a familiar cloud appeared above the middle area of the convention space. We've seen its like before. In San Diego, it was "the Fanboy Funk." The air conditioners were broken, and the Funk became a visible cloud-like thing. We were worried that the NYC crowd -- as generally well-behaved as they come, though voluminous -- had lapsed into the deepest trenches of fanboy stereotype.

It was a relief, then, to pass by the "Andromeda Strain" exhibit (advertising an upcoming cable telemovie) to see a cloud machine puffing smoke out its front door, floating up to the ceiling and hovering there.

Whew.

Everybody Hurts: I learned the hard way that carrying around a slightly heavy backpack for two straight days is not a good thing for your body. I pulled/strained a muscle of some sort in my chest. I've never felt the kind of pain I did the rest of the week with a sneeze.

Power of the press: I was on my way towards the holding pen from which they allowed the crowd into the convention on Sunday morning when I heard a security guy's walkie talkie squawk, "We're letting in press now. Press and Professionals only." That was nice timing. Didn't have to stand in line for forty minutes on Day Two to get it. It also allowed me to walk the con floor with a little bit of breathing room. That was nice.

Ah, empty con floors: Jamal Igle is the Steve Lieber of NYCC. This is a picture very similar to one that's been taken of Lieber at Comic Con International: San Diego in the past. When the con first opens, Artists Alley is the last place to get busy. Creators aren't all interested in showing up as the convention opens. On Sunday morning at 10:05, according to the time stamp on this photo, Jamal Igle was holding up the back wall of the convention space all by himself.

It was so relatively empty at 10:05 on Sunday morning that I started a running theme of pictures at the con of "emptiness."

C'est La Vie: One booth sold French albums. They were all beautiful books, many showing signs of the manga influence in Europe. The majority still showed more classical influences. I wound up not purchasing any in the most amazing display of restraint ever in the history of my own con traveling experiences. Pictured here is one table with a few small stacks of books. There were three more like it for your perusal and purchasing needs. I met up with inker Marc Deering at the tables there and we watched Mark Manley walk away with a stack of books. We were both jealous.

Have Pen, Will Sign: Lou Ferrigno is a machine. The man shows up at every major comics convention and never fails to attract people. NYCC had to be his best convention ever. I never passed by the autographing area without a long line standing in front of him. Usually, there's a long line at the beginning of the convention and then a smattering of people here and there getting a pic with him. At NYCC, though, I never saw the line shrink, even when others were doing signings in the area.

Money and Loud Music: I saw two ATM machines inside the con hall, and I'd bet there were more. One was set up right next to a DJ, who spun some records for most of the weekend. I can't imagine the neighboring booths were too thrilled having to listen to that all weekend long. It could have been worse, though -- the UGO booth was a van where video game tournaments happened daily, complete with the loudest gun fire sound effects you've ever heard in your life. If someone had actually been shot inside the convention within a fifty foot radius, nobody would have noticed until someone stepped in the blood. I think the Boom! Studios booth situated next door suffered the most from this. Having conversations there was often difficult.

Japanese Pop Culture Is Lost on the Over-21 Set: At one point on Saturday, a teenaged girl in some sort of anime costume (I guessed) ran up to me and asked if I knew where T.M. Revolution was.

"I’m sorry. I haven't seen that booth." I said, proving just how out of touch with today's kids I am.

She said they were supposed to be playing then and that's when I got it. "Ah, they're in the panel room. You need to go out the exit, hang a right and go down the stairs."

"Thanks," she said breathlessly, and ran away. Literally, she was running.

I saw her on the con floor not ten minutes later. I'm guessing she was too late and couldn't get in the room.

I felt badly for her that I didn't answer quicker.

Question I Wasn't Asked: Nobody asked me about Logan Ecchols, though. I can picture him almost anonymously perusing the long boxes, now that I think of it. (Hat tip to Kevin Church and Tom Spurgeon, who both had this happen to them.)

Kids Day: Sunday was Kids Day, and there were a lot of kids in the convention center. That was nice to see. In the back of the hall, a stage was set up with a couple hundred folding chairs in front of it. The first time I passed by it (on Saturday), they were having a sketching class with people on stage drawing a model while people in the audience watched and theoretically learned. On Sunday afternoon, two artists took to the stage to draw characters suggested by kids. It was Chris Giarrusso versus Ryan Dunleavy, two artists whose styles can very easily be appreciated by the kiddies. Lined up in front of the stage was a mob of happy kids, all wanting to take home a drawing for themselves. As the drawings were completed (under a loose time clock enforced by a moderator), the pages were ripped off the drawing pads and handed out to the (hopefully) grateful kiddies. It was cute to see, and I'm sure the parents sitting back in their bean bags appreciated the rest.

Next to that was Phil Yeh's booth. He had set up a series of six foot tall white boards that he drew a cityscape on. Kids were encouraged to stop by and color in the buildings, cars, and signs on the drawings. Yeh would add more as need be. The kids I saw were excitedly filling in the blanks with Crayola markers.

Cognitive Dissonance: Zenescope puts out comics with adult twists on classic fairy tale characters. It's not quite soft porn or anything that bad, but it does feature depictions of characters like Little Red Riding Hood and The Little Mermaid with big breasts and short skirts. Their booth featured models dressed up as their characters on Sunday. I saw little kids very excited to talk to The Little Mermaid and, thankfully, the Mermaid being very sweet and very nice with the kids. The comics they were there promoting were not right for the kids at all, but I'm assuming that never became too big an issue. I'm sure some of the Dads got a chuckle out of their little kids in awe of Snow White in thigh high stockings. . . (Pardon me if I'm confusing my princesses here.)

It was just weird, is all.

Artists Alley: As I said last week, Artists Alley was impressive. It was much bigger than I expected it to be, perhaps because Reid charged for those tables. They were a profit center, so there's no point in not exploiting them. Fat Momma had a table in the back corner, though the one time I was back there she was fidgeting with her cell phone. She did, however, have magnetic donuts on sale that she would sign for you for $15.

I had one chance to chat with Todd Dezago, who shared a spot with artist Craig Rousseau, as the two pimped their PERHAPANAUTS series, as well as copies of the TELLOS Hardcover and other treats. I never saw that table empty. I picked up the first issue of the new Image series and enjoyed it very much the next night. The Art Adams cover is particularly beautiful, and it's reprinted inside the issue in black and white.

I picked up copies of the first two issues of COMICS FOUNDRY from its creator, Tim Leong. They look nice, particularly the second color glossy issue. I'm about half way through the Matt Fraction interview in the second one and am enjoying it a lot. My first impression on the rest of the material? It gave me ADD. Sometimes, I LIKE focusing on one thing for longer than two paragraphs, guys.

David Gallaher and Steve Ellis were pimping their Zuda Comic, "High Moon." I remember seeing Ellis' work years ago, and it's only gotten better with time. His Zuda work is beautiful. I need to get over there now to read Gallaher's story that goes along with it.

The Banner: CBR had a ginormous 30 foot tall banner hanging just outside the main entrance. I must have snapped a dozen pics of it. I'll just show you the one and you'll get the gist.

Cheap Gag: No, it wasn't the Marvel editor.

The Camera: We all loved to look at the live video feeds from the con via the CBR web cam. On Sunday, Executive Producer Jonah Weiland showed me the location where the camera was positioned. I got a lot of great pics of the overall con floor from up there, but I thought I'd share this one with you. I titled it "Big Brother." It's a pic of the camera working its magic on the con floor below.

What I didn't realize until Jonah pointed it out to me, is that the camera ran 24 hours a day. You could look at the show floor in the middle of the night. Sure enough, you can see the guy emptying garbages on Saturday night at about 11:30. It's also odd to see a show floor after all the really valuable stuff has been taken off display. (But you can watch them setting up booth displays at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, if you wish.)

Paging Alex Ross: On Sunday afternoon, we had a mini-podcasting confab at the back of the hall, near Podcast Alley. Our little circle included (at various times) the iFanboy guys (with their new intern, Pol), John Siuntres from Word Balloon, and Peter Rios and Brian Deemer from Comic Geek Speak. I took pictures. John requested a heroic up angle. I was too happy to oblige. Afterwards, I realized that I had just taken a stock photo for Alex Ross. Really, look at that pic and tell me you don't think it screams "Astro City Cover!"

The End: And that's it for the third NYCC. I enjoyed it a lot and am looking forward to doing it all again next year. You can find lots of my photos -- including more from the NYCC -- in my Flickr stream.

THREE QUICK LINKS, ONE RETURN, AND ONE WINNER

  • The Pipeline Podcast has returned! We finally worked out the issue behind the scenes that prevented the podcast from being distributed. Last week's show was the first in three weeks, and we're hoping to stick with the weekly schedule from here on out. Looks like we missed another month for the Pipeline PREVIEWS Podcast, but we'll get back there eventually. I hope.
  • My favorite webcomic find in quite some time is "Happysad," done by a Belgian cartoonist named Jeroen. It's a black and white relationship thing, in which the lead character has no luck with the ladies and finds himself pondering his fate. It's depressing, likable, relatable, and sweet all at the same time.
  • "Birds of Prey" is finally coming to DVD in a complete series boxed set. For more details, check out TVShowsonDVD.com.
  • Check out this inspirational YouTube video. This one shows an autistic artist who draws insanely detailed panoramas from his memory. In graphic detail. It's impressive.
  • Last week's contest to win an autographed copy of "Left On Mission" was won by Dan F. in Missouri. My random number generator picked the number 3, and his was the third e-mail in the list of entrants, sorted in reverse chronological order. Congrats, Dan. Your book is in the mail.

To everyone else: Your e-mails have been deleted. Thanks for playing. Come back next week for the next big drawing.

I said I was going to announce something this week, didn't I? Sorry. Ran out of time. Let's do it next week.

The Various and Sundry blog carries on, with new music news, more DVD releases, more Twitterisms, and a bunch of other stuff worth reading about. Did I mention the "American Idol" writeups yet? Those, too.

If you're really interested in what daily news bits grab my attention in the worlds of tech and comics and more, the best way to track is it at the Google Reader Shared Items. Several items are added to that page every day. I'm an RSS feed junkie.

The only social network I regularly appear on is Twitter. It's a very fun place with low overhead and the least number of annoyances of any Web 2.0 site, aside from an unstable infrastructure.

Everything else: The Pipeline Podcast, ComicSpace, and a Tumblr Blog.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 800 columns -- nearly eleven years' worth -- are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

TAGS:  nycc2008, jamal igle, high moon, lou ferrigno

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