New York Comic Fest: A Great, Personal Comic Book Convention

Six and a half hours. That’s how long Greg and I drove to get to White Plains, New York on Saturday, June 14. Everyone we would speak to at the convention thought we were crazy (and lying when I told them I had only had one coffee that day) but we never thought twice about making the trip as we had planned. We wanted to attend the very first New York Comic Fest desperately, and there wasn’t much that would stop us from doing so, except for some sort of natural disaster or the second coming of Galactus or something equally as dramatic.

Greg feels proud that we didn't fall into any micro-naps on our way to New York state.

Greg feels proud that we didn’t fall into any micro-naps on our way to New York state.

So, by the time we arrived, we didn’t know what to expect. We were both tired, nervous, and road weary. As we made our way to the convention center, all I could think about was the possibility that the organizers (most notably artist and organizer Cliff Galbraith) were just messing with us. What if we weren’t allowed through the door? My mind was racing with all the irrational fears of a journalistic newbie. But, thankfully, when we walked in the door and told the fellow at the desk our names, he didn’t laugh in our faces. Rather, he gave us wristbands and let us on our way.

Nestled inside the Westchester County Convention Center, this convention, compared to it’s parent show (the former Asbury Park Comicon), was small in size, but big on talent. Writers, artists, creators, vendors and the like filled every inch of the convention floor. Writers and artists, both indie and mainstream, shared close quarters, which is a welcome change for those of us used to conventions where the big names are center stage, and those who are operating independently are cast to the corner like pariah.

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The best part of this convention, besides the variety of vendors with great prices, the great list of guests, and the easy access to Coney Island’s own Nathan’s Hot Dogs, was how intimate it all felt when you got to chatting with the guests. If you haven’t been to a large convention before (our biggest thus far was Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina) it can become overwhelming very quickly. Long lines. People everywhere. Tempers flaring. Here at the New York Comic Fest, however, you don’t have long to wait when it comes to those creators you want to meet. But, that isn’t even the best part of it all. Once you get to the front of the line, not only do you get to get your favorite pieces of work signed, you get to talk to the writer or artist. I mean, you get to actually talk to them. Like, actual brain-picking conversation if you so desire.

Ren & Stimpy creator Bob Camp working on a Conan the Barbarian sketch.

Ren & Stimpy creator Bob Camp working on a Conan the Barbarian sketch.

The organizers of the convention got it right when they described themselves online. “Some say our conventions are a throwback to a simpler time in comic fandom,” they stated on their website, “but we think of ourselves as a sane alternative the huge, impersonal, overcrowded cons of the city.” That statement was what sold it for us, and made us drive six and a half hours one way to attend. When we told some of the guests where we came from (after their shock of how little caffeine I had consumed wore off) they looked at us with surprise and asked, “You drove all this way, and you’re not going to the special edition of the New York Comic Con?”

The classy and talented Mark Waid.

The classy and talented Mark Waid.

In the end, neither the NYCC: Special Edition nor the Eternal Con on Long Island had the guests or the appeal that this convention had. That’s why we were just fine in White Plains, New York, covering the first (and we hope not last) New York Comic Fest. That’s why on our way back home, in between the micro-naps and the tired delusions, we couldn’t stop talking about how well we were treated by everyone there, how awesome Anica (our press handler) was for getting us in to interview the one and only Scott Snyder, and how we nearly welled up with tears when Snyder said that he had heard of our site.

asdfghjkl. Sorry, that was me wiping my tears of joy off the keyboard.

I want to send a big thank you again to Anica, Cliff Galbriath, Robert Bruce, Crucial Entertainment, 13th Dimension, and all those who treated us so well, and made this little slice of the nerdy good life possible. We hope to see you all again come next year at the East Coast Comic Con, if you’ll have us, of course. And, to all those writers, artists, creators, and fans who made us feel so welcome at our first press-related outing (especially indie writer Nicolas Dedual who warned us of the dangers of micro-naps) we hope to see you all soon at a convention not so far way.

In time, I mean. Not distance.

Be sure to check back with us soon to get a listen of our short interview with Batman writer Scott Snyder about his upcoming creator-owned series, Wytches

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