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New York Comic Con Report PART ONE (Of Two)

A column article by: Park Cooper

This time, although I still had trouble getting the taxi to show up at the right spot, I took the advice of people from last year and took Jet Blue to New York. OMG you people made it sound like I should fly Jet Blue because it was CHEAP. I did not find it, in this particular situation, to be either more cheap nor more expensive than its competitors. The reason to fly Jet Blue is that they have TELEVISION. CABLE television. And XM. For FREE... if you bring your own headphones. If you don't, you can buy some for a dollar. I BOUGHT SOME HEADPHONES FROM THEM FOR A DOLLAR. That is totally, totally fair. I watched The Colbert Report and other less-well-written programs (Charmed and Joan of Arcadia, neither of which I had watched before. I understand now what people have said about Joan of Arcadia and why they said it, but... really, America? Charmed? Really? Seriously? It’s not some sort of goof [as we said back in high school]?) all the way to JFK, with a little help from my copy of The Horror Stories Of Robert E. Howard Besides Solomon Kane (which [Solomon Kane] I'd already read recently).

And may I also say, I also highly recommend flying to JFK if possible over Newark. Newark is not a fun airport. JLF is clean and very modern, and has an iPod vending machine.

It also has not only over-expensive food but also lots of super-expensive fancy food. Four or five different restaurants for gourmands, seriously. Also it has a Borders.

Which brings up a new topic: Borders vs. B&N. Last year, I attended ICv2 (see previous report) where I had many interesting things confirmed. However... they were merely CONFIRMED. I had heard them, or things that amounted to about the same thing, before I left home, from my wife Barbara. Therefore, I felt I could skip ICv2 this year, since I met no literary agents last year as I was hoping to do, and everything they told me just confirmed that every last one of my wife's theories about the industry are exactly correct (indeed they are astoundingly, horrifyingly correct).

What's more, this year, I found out that ICv2 puts out a little summary pamphlet-- rather, they put out a little summary booklet, and I found a copy. Without attending, even. And one of the important points I learned more about from said pamphlet was:
--Borders... is more friendly toward graphic novels and manga (unless you're Tokyopop, or so the rumors sometimes go)... than is Barnes and Nobles.

Certainly, Barb could have spoken to one, if one were but to ask, of her preference for Borders over B&N.

--However, a fact that Barb was not aware of was How Much Trouble Borders Is In which = millions of troubles worth of debt. They just got an extention on the time they have to pay that back... Uh... Well if they were in trouble before to the tune of millions and millions of bucks, and they haven't been able to fix that problem so far... and NOW the American economy is in trouble... what the heck good is more time gonna do? And so I say unto you people that Borders, like Thompson, Is In Trouble. And that the sorts of people who attend ICv2 are quite worried that Borders is gonna TANK, from the Latin "tankus" meaning "to be like a tank in quicksand, or perhaps the La Brea Tar Pits, that is to say, sinking much faster than your average Alan Quatermain or Jungle Jim."

--So for pity's sake if you do fly to JFK, go into Borders and buy something.

Okay having said that, I took an airtrain (a futuristic-yet-boring shuttle, that is), and then a subway, to Manhattan. 

What a mystical land! Everyone I saw either looked like David Ruffin or else the students from the college courses I teach.

EVERYONE was wearing clothing from THE NORTH FACE. EVERYONE.

Rushing under Brooklyn, and under some sort of river or bay or ocean... cut off from cell-phone service... like Gene Wilder in his chocolate factory... There's no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going; there's no knowing where we're rowing or which way the river's flowing; not a speck of light is showing, so the danger must be growing, FOR THE ROWERS KEEP ON ROWING AND THEY’RE CERTAINLY NOT SHOWING ANY SIGNS THAT THEY ARE SLOWING...

And it helped SO MUCH that HALF DEAD starts on a subway...

Interesting story about the subway: I got off the subway at Lexington because opaque people were in front of all the maps. So at the platform I asked about maps, and they told me there was one way down at the end of the platform. So I head down that way and there’s a Caucasian little old lady heading that way, too, wearing all red: red hood, red coat, red footwear, red everything. So I get there and she gets there before me and sits right in front of the map, but a little to the side. So I say don’t mind me, I’m just looking at the map, and she asks where I am going and tells me I should get back on the subway for two more stops, and she also is going the same way so she gets on as well (I felt like it was at least partially to keep an eye on me). So back on the subway I tell her “I like the red.”

And she says, “Oh, I wear this every day: I’m a Buddhist nun; I have my robes on under here.” And she flips back the bottom of her coat to show that this is true.

--So I arrived at the hotel, and everything was just great so far, so I decided to go pick up my badges. I took a taxi (6 or 7 bucks. The taxis all have tv screens in them that tell you the news and the weather. You can also use them to see on GoogleMaps where you are exactly, in case you suspect your driver is kidnapping you and taking you to the Russian embassy or something), and got my badges with no problem. Checked out the press room, everything was just great.

Leaving, a couple of guys got out of a cab. “Hi, how are you,” said one, super-friendly, as they got their bags out of the back.

“Fine, and you?” I replied.

“Great!” they said.

I went around and got into the cab myself, at the bidding of the taxi driver, to find a third guy inside already. “Oh, are you going on to somewhere else?” I asked.

“No, I’m just paying,” he said. And indeed he was doing wallet stuff.
“Oh! So who are you guys here at the con to represent?” asked I.

“We’re with Cartoon Network,” replied the guy.

No wonder they were so happy. “Then I have something for YOU,” I said, producing my business cards (I have one for myself and one for Wicker Man Studios as a whole).

Back at the hotel, I gave further study to the ICv2 guide I’d found. Turns out that while Viz, with Naruto and Death Note, is, as the former governor of Illinois might say, freakin’ GOLDEN, and Del Rey and Tokyopop are (very) arguably tied for 2nd place in the Laff-A-Lympics (followed by Penelope Pitstop, followed by the Ant Hill Mob, with Dirk Dastardly and Muttley coming in dead last), Broccoli Books is no more, has passed away and joined the Choir Invisibule, without hardly anyone even noticing. No wonder they didn’t reply to my last email. I suspected something was up, or rather that nothing was up.

So far no one’s told Broccoli’s web site, but the web site is surely probably wondering by now why the company isn’t replying to its pings and is probably suspecting that something’s up, or rather that nothing’s up.

Late that night, Dave Baxter showed up (since I was splitting the hotel room with him) and Josh Wagner dropped by. Dave Baxter and I kept being unable to not discuss the comics industry and digital comics.

And so we come to Friday of the con. The first three hours, 10am to 1pm, were for professionals only-- exhibitors, professionals, press... anyone but regular folks. This was a premium time for me to network, and network I did. I got at least 30% of my work done just in those three hours, maybe 35 or 40%. This does also raise the point, though, regarding my contention (which I share with others in the know) that NYCC is quite the con for doing business, unlike, say, San Diego (any more). So if you want to have your mind blown by an experience of fanboy fun that the human body is hardly capable of even processing, do feel free to go to SDCC, but if you want to network and do business, might I suggest that you consider all of your options quite carefully...

Let's see... I then met with J. Jonah Jameson. 

He was appearing at a panel hosted by Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance 2 and would be debating whether Spider-Man was a threat or menace. We decided that in Ultimate Alliance 3, J.J.J. should be playable as an unlockable character, and could attack villains with super-sonic barked orders, cigar burns, and media bias.

Once again, the name of my studio is Wicker Man Studios, and yes I am available for work in the video game industry.

We're just getting started-- please look forward to next time's conclusion...

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