Thursday is supposed to be the “quiet” day at New York Comic Con, but you could have fooled me. Yes, all the big panels and whatnot will take place Friday-Sunday (I’ve been told it’s best I get in line and bring a book if I want to guarantee myself a seat at the Marvel panels), but there was very little “quiet” to be found in my first day at NYCC. In fact, I had to sheepishly ask a couple of folks who I interviewed in Artists Alley if I could try and hit them again before the weekend is up because the acoustics were so poor and the crowd noise was so loud in the Jacob Javits Center, the recordings were nearly rendered inaudible.
But technical difficulties aside (which were basically solved when I had the interviewee hold the microphone so close to their mouth they might as well be chewing it), Chasing Amazing/Superior Spider-Talk’s Thursday session at NYCC was an unqualified success. My goal for day one was to get my bearings, figure out where everything was, and touch base with the prodigious list of Spider-Man creators in attendance.
The latter goal was the easiest thing I accomplished. I got to the Javits center about 15 minutes after I was technically allowed to enter and after stumbling around for a few moments, found myself walking the main showroom floor. The last time I was inside the Javits, I was attending a New York City Marathon event with my brother, who was running. However, seeing the convention center floor bursting at the seams with comic book/movie/video game paraphernalia and booths, and of course thousands of con-goers (and cosplayers) was an intimidating experience.
I honestly didn’t know where to start, and after “walking” the showroom for about a half hour, I gave up. The only problem was, I couldn’t find my way back to the main entrance. So after an hour total of looking like a total noob, I figured I’d start to chip away on the 950 or so interviews I’d like to get for Superior Spider-Talk.
The vast majority of the comic book industry guests attending the con have tables at Artists Alley. Thanks to the handy dandy NYCC app for my iPhone, I was able to locate pretty much everyone I wanted to – though I doubt I would have had that much trouble without the app. Artist Alley is large, but nowhere near as vast and maze-like as the main convention floor. In fact, if I could use a New York analogy, Artists Alley reminded me of the street grid in midtown. Sure, there’s a lot of ground to cover, but as long as you stay on the grid, you’re golden.
I made a point of seeking out Michael Dialynas first. Readers of Dark Horse’s Amala’s Blade may recognize Dialynas as the penciller of that book but Spider-Man fans will soon know his name as the illustrator of the Superior Spider-Man Special (part three of the “Arms of the Octopus” arc) which drops later this month. Dialynas, who hails from Greece, and I have been talking back and forth about getting him on Superior Spider-Talk and concluded that NYCC was the best venue to get this done. Sadly, Dialynas fell victim to my aforementioned technical difficulties. I’ll hopefully get him tomorrow, as he’s a fantastic young artist who has some very interesting insights to share being that this Superior special is his first “big two” work.
And regardless of the audio quality, my interview with Dialynas led to my most memorable moment (thus far) of the con. Upon meeting him, he mentioned he had a “surprise” for me. He reached into his bag and grabbed what looked to be a comic. It was a copy of the adjective-less Spider-Man #1 (aka, the Todd McFarlane Spider-Man title) in Greek! “This is what comic books in Greece look like,” he told me.
After Dialynas, I had an opportunity speak with Spider-Man inker extraordinaire Scott Hanna, who has seriously inked every Spider-Man book you can think of at one time or another, and former Spidey writer Fred Van Lente, who penned some of my favorite stories of the post-Brand New Day/pre-Big Time era. Both were fantastic interviews who had a lot to share about their experiences with Spider-Man. Look for some Superior Spider-Talk podcasts featuring these recordings in the not-so-distance future.
Of course, this being a comic convention, there were plenty of comics for sale. But after being warned by pretty much everyone who’s attended these big cons in the past, there are not a lot of deals to be had during the first few days. And to be honest, with only four issues left in my chase – and those four being among the most expensive issues in the ASM library – I don’t have any intention of doing some serious shopping this weekend. I totally want to have some fun at NYCC, but spending more money than I have just for the sake of buying a comic at NYCC is probably a decision I would come to regret.
As for tomorrow, I intend to return to Artist Alley bright and early to follow-up on some more interviews. Afterwards, I’ll be attending (hopefully) the first of the panels I’d like to cover for this site, which is the Marvel Avengers panel. Later in the evening there’s an interesting sounding “comic books and beer” panel. As someone who thoroughly enjoys comics and beer (and has even dabbled in home brewing), I’m going to check that out if there’s time.
So, day one is now in the books. Any jitters I had are gone and hopefully the technical snafus are a thing of the past. The live stream of events is back up tomorrow morning after 10 a.m. Viva NYCC!