New York Comic Con 2019 is a wrap, and as per usual, it was a heck of a thing. It was four days of insanity and crowds at the increasingly taxed Javits Center, although with the ICv2 whitepaper on Monday and creators setting up/everyone getting together/HBO doing a Watchmen event on Wednesday, you could argue it almost stretched to six days in reality. That is, in my opinion, too much comic convention, which is why I ended up taking Sunday off from the con floor to eat some absurdly good food and go to the American Museum of Natural History.
But within all of that convention comes a considerable
amount of discussion on the floor, at dinner tables and at the bar about what
was working and what wasn’t. As much as I enjoyed spending time with some of
the finest folks from the comic book world and acquiring their wares in the
process, there were plusses and minuses throughout. So in lieu of a detailed
essay about the ins and outs of the convention, I’m going to break down the
winners and losers of NYCC 2019 from my perspective. It’s a way to touch on a
bit of everything, but also to dig into everything from the big performance
based things to nitty gritty con details.
But enough prelude! Let’s dig into everything that stood out,
and we’ll start on the positive side of things in my favorite part of the
One of the strangest things about Saturday at the con –
typically the busiest day of the whole experience – is during what
traditionally are peak times, you could actually walk around the main show
floor without people sandwiched between a thousand other people. Maybe that was
because everyone was at one of the other locations NYCC set up shop at. Maybe
it was because they were all at panels. Or maybe Saturday was just calmer this
year. But I’ll tell you one thing: Artist Alley was as packed as ever.
In fact, Artist Alley was basically wall-to-wall from noon
to five at a minimum each day I was there, loaded with excited fans and the
massive lines they formed. But it wasn’t just smoke; there was fire as well.
There wasn’t a single creator I talked to who was having a bad con, with every
person sharing with me that there was a whole lot of interest in whatever they
were selling: prints, commissions, pins, comics, trades. You name it and it was
moving. There were creators who were cleaned out of everything they had by Saturday. That’s pretty sensational.
The general hubbub is while San Diego is still the biggest
name, nothing can top what NYCC brings to the table in terms of sales for
creators. That’s probably why it’s always such a hotly pursued table each year,
but either way, it was wonderful to see Artist Alley thriving and creators
seemingly finding all of that work worth it in the end.
Winner: The Kings
and Queens of Artist Alley
Ask a different person who was walking the floor and you
might get a different answer, but as I relentlessly toured Artist Alley, a few
creators started to stand out in terms of popularity. This was perhaps unfortunate
for their neighbors, as a long line for one creator largely results in a human
barricade for another. Mercifully, most of these creators were placed into a
corner spot, allowing for their respective lines to have a relatively limited
impact on their neighbors. That wasn’t the case universally, but it was more
often than not. Here’s who stood out to me, at least in the times I was at the
Daniel Warren Johnson:
His Old Man Skywalker mini-comic was clearly a hot ticket item, and he probably
could have sold it while charging basically whatever he wanted for it. Instead,
he made it pay what you want, and he was out of all copies (of that and his
other minis) by Saturday. At that point, all he could offer for sale were
sketches, which, if you know anything about my guy DWJ, are outrageously great.
That’s a pretty good consolation prize.
Jen Bartel: When I
got to the con on Saturday, I noticed that there were several long lines
forming in the center of one row between tables. When I saw them, I wondered to
myself, “Wow, who are these different lines for?” Turns out it was all the same
person: Jen Bartel! With hot ticket con exclusives and the usual deluge of
exceptional pins and prints, there was no point during the con that Bartel’s
table didn’t have a line at least ten deep, seemingly.
The creators of Deadpool: I only saw Fabian Nicieza there but from what I understand, Rob Liefeld was there as well, and both were doing quite well for themselves. In fact, Nicieza routinely had an absurdly long line – I’m going to say at least 20+ deep every time I walked by – which is at least one indicator that the Deadpool heat ain’t going away any time soon.
Scott Snyder and Greg
Capullo: This beloved creative team is typically popular, but with the two
of them sharing a space, the whole thing was taken to an entirely different
level. Their line was more a mosh pit than proper line, a sea of bodies that
made it hard to discern where it began or ended but made it easy to see how
popular these two giants are. Weird fact, though: I didn’t see either of them
at their table once.
Hilariously, the Comic Sketch Art management group put Snyder and Capullo
basically directly across from Tom King, ensuring that the end of one row in
Artist Alley was outrageously packed at all times. While King’s Strange
Adventures (and previously Mister Miracle and Sheriff of Babylon, for one)
partners Mitch Gerads and Doc Shaner had some area of effect when it came to
King – Gerads was routinely slammed as well – King was a degree or two busier
than them at all times. The guy may be moderately controversial on Comics
Twitter, but he is hot hot hot at
This collabo was by far the largest of these groups, with their list including names like Snyder, Capullo, King, Gerads, Shaner, Adam Kubert, Josh Williamson, Matthew Rosenberg and a slew of others.↩
They even had booth babes, which I swear I haven’t seen in years.↩
This was a nice change of pace from the direct market booths, as one publisher rep had no idea what I was talking about when I asked about one of their most prominent titles.↩