NYCC and NYAF Review

NYC Comic Con set up

This review covers two conventions, because this year these two conventions decided to take place on the same weekend.  While it was an interesting idea, it had a lot of down falls for a fan who goes to both events.  Namely, they were forcing the fans to make a choice between the two conventions, which took some of the fun out of going to these events.  This, however, did not make for a bad weekend just more stress than what was needed.

New York City Comic Con has been one of my favorite conventions since it started.  A big dealer room which I could never get around the full floor to see, panels that has me waiting for hours to see, and guests that have done some wonderful things for the world of entertainment.  Usually only one or two events clash with each other that I want to attend, so I have to make the choice of which one means more to me.  Of course with what I'm known for, if it's got a Ninja Turtle connection it gets top billing in my eyes.  They've brought us such great panels as their yearly Venture Brother and Robot Chicken panels, Top Cow, 4Kids TMNT and Mirage TMNT, Torchwood and so much more.

Henchman from Venture BrothersNew York Anime Fest is a bit smaller of an event, though just because the size is smaller does not mean the heart is.  We still get a good size dealer room, great guests, and panels worth seeing.  Put together with the same location and staff, this event is fun for anime fans to get together, relax and enjoy the stuff that means a lot to them.  Panels on how to become a voice actor, contests on dubbing anime, and even panels comparing the different ways to dub  from NYC, Texas and LA.  These are just a few of their fun events in which I have enjoyed in the past.

This year at these conventions, I saw a lot less in panels than I normally do and not because I spent less time at the convention center. I would get there as early as 7am and was not leaving till closing time each day of the convention.  Though the lay out and schedule of the convention was not as easy on the attendees this year as it has been in the past.  Fans of both anime and comics were stuck in the middle of making a hard choice on where to be and when, while those who are only anime fans found themselves with a small corner of the building as the comic book fans received the larger space.  The relax and friendly feeling that came from the original two conventions was gone. This year was tense and stressful, even from the staff who were yelling at people on where to go with no breathing time between events and just a complete lack of feeling towards what was going on around them.

I understand that this event was really big and they had a lot more people to deal with than normal.  Though any event that plans to merge separate events should also realize that things are going to be more crowded and people are going to still want the same respect they've grown to enjoy from these events.  The attendees are people paying to go and have a good time, not be moved around like cattle at the conventions.

One of the hardest things that was done this year for an attendee that wants to enjoy both parts of the convention was placing the panel halls at the two different ends of the building.  If someone wants to go to a comic book panel and then immediately go to an anime panel, they would have to race from one side of the building to the other through thick crowds of people, a maze through hallways and the food court.  If that wasn't bad enough, than going into the anime panel hall you have to go through a big opening where you have artist alley to one side and something else going on over on the other side.  To my disappointment I never got to look around at this area near the anime panel room, it was far out of the way and I was only over there for panels before having to get to the other side of the building to see a different panel.

Lost Boys: The Thirst PanelThe panels of this convention really did range from what section it was for me this year.  Every panel I watched in the Comic Con section of the convention was great, well put on to where the crowd was not just there but part of the panel.  Attendees were able to ask questions, referred to a bit, and the guest were looking at us a lot of the time making sure we knew we were part of it.  Panels like Robot Chicken, Venture Brothers, Lost Boys, and Children TV Legends were wonderful and put on so well that anyone who went to these panels could enjoy the information given.  Though the anime section of the convention was so serious this year. One panel was almost like a private talk among the guests up on the stage, as the fans did not get to take part in or ask any questions.  While the information was interesting and there was some funny moments in the panel, those in the crowd felt disconnected. It felt almost as if it could of been a feature on a DVD.  The other panel I went to in this area, also felt very serious.  The fans were part of it with asking questions, though it just didn't feel as relaxing as the panel could of been.   I do not blame the guests here, I've seen these same guests at many conventions with really enjoyable panels. Yet here, there was clearly a different feeling between the two parts of this convention.

TMNT Photo Shoot in Dealer RoomThe dealer room was huge, with lots of great items for sale and displays to look at.  Showing toys that are out and some that are coming out.  I found a handful of awesome TMNT things at this convention, including a nice blanket that I did not already have.  There were also the boxes of comics books where you could find issues of the TMNT comics that you may not already have.  For a Turtle fan at this convention, the dealer room was the best room to be in.  I was able to find guests who have worked on TMNT including Jim Martin, Leonardo's puppeteerer for TMNT 3, he was at the Toonseum booth.  Another guest who was on the dealer room floor most of the time was Scott Williams who did the voice of Baxter Stockman for the 4Kids series.  Scott was at a booth for Witch Hunter Comics for which he does the art work.  Both of these booths were very close to each other.

The Artist Alley this year was a bit buried and hard to get to.  If I was not looking for it, I do not believe I would of found it this year. Even though the room was large and not far from the dealer room, it was still a long walk down a hallway to get there and in a direction away from the panels and the dealer room.  It was crowded area and did not really stand out as it normally does for conventions.  Though once you got into the room there were a lot of artists and gaming stuff going on.  I did not get to go all the way through Artist alley because of keeping busy with so much other stuff.  Getting to go through and only find artists that was on my list to say hello too, and sadly I did not even get to meet up with all of the artist on my list.

Rutger and Michael DooneyOut of everything about this convention this year, my personal favorite thing was the people I met up with, be it online friends, new friends that I met in line for events, or the guests at the convention.  Most everyone I spent time talking with at this convention were very nice and wonderful people.  As great as it is to meet up with friends, going to events is about attending and enjoying the event put on in front of us.

These are just my thoughts on how I felt from the convention this year, which I hope is different when I go next year.  I will not let one year of disappointment rule over my over all feeling of the convention. For next year, though, I hope that New York Comic Con and New York Anime Fest are once again two different events with the staff relaxing a little with attendees and showing us the respect that we have had in previous years.  Hopefully, they will keep bringing on great guests and panels for the attendees to enjoy, as well.  I know both of these events has the heart and spirit to put on something wonderful. So, here's hoping we see that heart and spirit in 2011.

Entertainment Earth