ReedPOP, the world’s leading producer of pop culture events including New York Comic Con, kicked off its latest creation this weekend: Special Edition: NYC. This event was solely to provide fans with the opportunity to connect with artists, socialize with fellow collectors and search for those ever elusive back issues. The event is a pure celebration of comic book culture created specifically for die-hard comic book fans, creators and publishers. If you have ever gone to the October Comic Con, then you are familiar with just how huge that convention normally is. Gone were the huge halls of the Javits Center, and instead were the aisles of the North Wing (usually reserved for Artists Alley) packed with local and national comic book stores and artists.
Differences in the shows
One of the biggest difference between this show, and the October one is the size. As soon as you arrived, there was practically no one in sight. The crowd was much smaller, which gave the show a more intimate feel than the sprawling autumn convention. As a result, cosplay—one of the defining elements of New York Comic Con—was scarce due to the smaller number of attendees.
There was also a live DJ present at the show, DJ JFX316. He’s an Ohio-based comic shop manager and rapper, who filled the hall leading to the show floor which included the likes of remixed themes from popular titles such as Tim Burton’s Batman. His presence gave the show an almost party-like atmosphere that New York Comic Con lacks (due to the sheer size of it all one would assume).
Panels and Signings
Given that show was an homage to the comic book, of course there were numerous comic books and comic book-related merchandise to purchase. Also included was the ever popular ‘Artist’s Alley’ featuring the likes of Greg Pak (Action Comics, World War Hulk) and Gail Simone (Batgirl, Red Sonja).
There were panels on both days, but some of the more interesting ones were:
Marvel’s All-New Young Guns
During this panel, you were able look at the new artists working on some of Marvel Comic’s biggest titles like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Wolverine and the X-Men” and “New Avengers.” Also discussed was the upcoming Storm # 1, the return of Hawkeye, Hawkeye vs Deadpool, Deadpool Bi-Annual #1, Spider Man 2099, and Edge of Spider-Verse.
Reimagining the Female Hero
Some of the most prominent female writers and artists (Gail Simone, Amy Reeder, Emanuela Lupacchino, Jenny Frison, & Marguerite Bennett) gathered for this discussion about the growing number of female protagonists & antagonists in comics. Moderated by Ben Saunders, he kicked off the panel by discussing each of their introductions into the comic world. Each panelist gave their own unique story, but the question that spoke to me the most was:
Why is it so hard to persuade publishers that women like comics?
Lupacchino: “People think that girls can’t like man-based stories or adventures. But in the end, it’s a matter of interest and interests. I like adventure movies, books, sci-fi, tv series, and so I knew with comic books and superheroes it’s about stories.”
Batman 75th Anniversary Panel
During this panel, the presentation started by reminding you that July 23rd is Batman day and your favorite comic shops will carry a reimagined ‘Detective Comics’ #27 with a Batman paper mask. There will be a few choices, each representing a different artist’s rendition. Also announced, DC Comics will be offering some key first issues of select Batman titles for only $1. Some of these #1s include ‘The Killing Joke,’ ‘Arkham Asylum,’ ‘Dark Knight Returns’ and ‘Hush.’ There were discussions amongst the panel as to which Batman interpretation they liked best among the movies (Burton, Schumacher, Nolan), and no surprise everyone picked Nolan. When the panel discussed the ‘Bat-fleck’ debate that is still on going (especially given the recent photos that surfaced of him in the suit), everyone seemed to take the diplomatic approach and say that they are very optimistic about the actor’s upcoming portrayal of the caped crusader.
My take overall:
Special Edition NYC 2014 made it possible for comic book lovers to meet up close some the prominent figures of the comic book world who they admire. But it also was basically like walking into a giant comic book shop with a few vendors sprinkled about. I think I liked the Artists’ Alley the most (even if it technically shared its usual spot with the whole show) because I am always amazed by the level of talent on display at that part of the event…and it sure does love my wallet.