My Weekend at New York Comic Con

Well, that took longer than expected.

As I mentioned in my post from earlier today, I spent most of today cleaning, organizing and generally recovering from New York Comic Con. Why'd it take all day? Well, take a look at my living room after I got back last night:

Normally, there's be nothing on my couch, and all those comics piled up around the room would be in long boxes. So how'd the room end up like that? Well, to start with, I commuted back and forth to New York every day, rather than staying in the city, so by the end of each day I was exhausted. But there was more to it than that.

First, a little background. I last attended NYCC in 2007, and it was a much smaller show back then. Despite the significantly increased guest list and panel schedule for this year -- and the move to the entire third floor of the Javits Center -- I hadn't anticipated just how large the show had grown in scope. This past week, thinking the con would still be manageable, I pulled about 200 comics from my collection, hoping to get them signed, splitting them into piles of 100 for Friday, about 60 for Saturday and 40 for Sunday.

On Friday, I arrived at about 10:30, hoping to get in line early for when doors opened to the general public at 1:00. My original plan of attack was to get in line for the Adam Hughes sketch list, then try and get into the one non-ticketed Stan Lee signing line for the weekend. I got onto Adam's list, but by the time I got over to the Stan Lee line, it stretched about 10 aisles deep, making it far from worth it to stick around. So I spent most of my Friday chasing wild signatures. Of the 100+ comics I brought with me, I probably ended up getting about 40 or so signed. I also took some time to walk the main show floor, where I picked up the NYCC exclusive versions of "True Blood" #1 and "Spike" #1 from IDW, as well as the "Charmed" #3 exclusive from Zenescope.

After that, it was line time! Lines were pretty much the theme of the weekend, and Friday's weren't actually as bad as the ones to come. I hopped in a line to get an autograph from James Marsters (Spike from "Buffy"). Sure, I'm going to see him again this weekend at New England Comic Con, but I couldn't pass up the chance to get my Spike & Dru comic signed. Now it's got signatures from Marsters and Juliet Landau, as well as creators Christopher Golden and Eric Powell.

The next line I got in was the line for Jeph Loeb. I got there really early, and got him to sign a few issues of "Hulk" was well as both copies of "Buffy" #20 (which he wrote). After another couple laps around artists' alley (in a fruitless search for a couple artists who managed to evade me all weekend), I got in line for John Romita Sr. We were all lined up at Autograph Alley #13 for Sr. (with Jr. scheduled to be at #12), when someone from the show told us the Romitas would actually be signing at booths #1 and #2. However, rather than moving the line in an organized fashion, they just sent us off in a free-for-all. Despite all the confusion, I still managed to get some books signed by each of them, including my top priority for the weekend, Amazing Spider-Man #42 (the first appearance of Mary Jane Watson).

Given my experience carrying around so many books that didn't get signed on Friday, I decided to focus on smaller priorities rather than carrying around huge piles. It also did wonders for my back and my knees. I did keep ASM #42 in my bag all weekend, in the event I managed to get into a Stan Lee signing, but that never happened.

On Saturday, I didn't get in for doors open (at 10), but I was at the show at around 11. Time was of the essence, since my schedule was pretty tight -- and shifted regularly throughout the day. My original plan, set on Monday, was to try and get to the Todd McFarlane booth, but as my schedule got busier and busier, I skipped that. I didn't want to start the day in an insanely long line, and based on my experience in Baltimore, I figured that'd be the case for New York (I found out later that the McFarlane line wasn't long at all). My first priority of the day was Joe Quesada, Marvel Editor-in-Chief and frequent Amazing Spider-Man contributor. After what wasn't a particularly long wait, I got the recent "One Moment in Time" arc signed by him, then went over to the info booth, where I was informed that the Stan Lee tickets that the web site said were being given out at 1 were actually given out at 10. Whoops. So, back over to artists' alley, where I also got the OMIT arc signed by Paolo Rivera and bought a print of the cover of ASM #141.

After that, it was back over to IDW, where I continued the line theme, this time to meet some of the creators of the "True Blood" comic, followed by a bunch of the people involved in the "Angel" and "Spike" comics. Had this been a different show, maybe more local, I probably would have brought more books for the "Angel" crew to sign, but I limited myself and still pulled a decent selection. Plus, they were all really nice, which was another general theme of the weekend.

So with all that taken care of, the last thing on my list for Saturday was all "V" related. The panel was scheduled at 5:15 p.m., with a signing scheduled for 6:30. Before I went into the panel, I decided to check out the line for the signing. At 4:30 p.m., it was already about 80 people deep, so I made the call to skip the panel entirely and just wait in line. I met some really nice people, lost lots of feeling in my right leg, but it all ended up being worth it when I got to meet Morena Baccarin and Laura Vandervoort, and got my Serenity #1 print (the Inara cover) signed by Morena (it's now signed by her and artists J.G. Jones and Laura Martin, which is pretty cool).

Sunday was a much more relaxed day for me, despite the disaster of the Romita signing -- they were supposed to be in Autograph Alley at Noon, but were late, then canceled from that signing entirely. Since I'd gotten both of them earlier in the week, it wasn't that bad for me, but I felt bad for the Sunday-only people. I did manage to get my "Charmed" comics signed by Raven Gregory earlier in the day, so even while waiting in the Romita line, I knew the day wouldn't be a complete loss. After grabbing some lunch, I headed over to Todd Nauck's table in artists' alley, where I got my only original artwork of the weekend, a beautiful Mary Jane head sketch. Then it was back to Autograph Alley to get some books signed by J. Michael Straczynski.

After that was done, there were still about 90 minutes left in the show. By that point, I'd learned I missed out on a Hughes sketch, but I still had the money to pay for it, so it was time to do some shopping. I went for a little theme on prints, getting three different takes on Emma Frost (by Greg Horn, Mark McKenna and Mark Brooks). I also got some Buffy T-shirts to prepare for next week, the browncoat for my Malcolm Reynolds Tonner doll and Dollhouse Season 2 on Blu-ray. So all-in-all, a pretty successful day, and weekend.

All weekend long, I was amazed by the size of the convention, which is quickly approaching an "East coast San Diego" status. The show was about so much more than comic books. Ubisoft was attracting attention all week with their Michael Jackson game for PlayStation Move. Intel had a huge booth just on the edge of the artists area, focusing on gaming. Square Enix was there, as was 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and countless other companies that had little to do with comics. That said, Marvel and DC's booths were packed all weekend.

I wish I'd had a chance to go to more of the panels, but some of the creators I mentioned above were too important to my collection to pass up, especially given how rare it is for me to see them at a show. However, I can definitely see myself coming back to NYCC next year -- this time backpack-free and open to any and everything the show has to offer.

See my pictures from NYCC 2010: