This weekend saw the second installment of ReedPOP’s Special Edition NYC. For those not in the know, this is basically a comic show getting back to its roots. If the massive New York City Comic Convention is the new norm, you can think of SENYC as that con’s younger, more innocent brother as of yet not corrupted by movie star appearances, Walking Dead cast panels or video game announcements. No, SENYC is a comic book convention in the truest sense of the word, the kind you used to go to back in the eighties and nineties, a pre Big Bang Theory universe. The kind you go to…. gasp… for comic books.
Now to be fair, the show this year, held at Pier 94 and not at the Javitz Center as it was in 2014, was bigger. There were a few toy vendors set up and a clothing vendor selling themed socks for some reason. But those were definitely the exceptions to the rule and the vast majority of the exhibitors were selling funny books from the Golden Age classics all the way up to this week’s latest and greatest releases. There were some impressive collections of original artwork for sale on display as well.
But yeah, comic book dealers. They were here and it was pretty cool to have the chance to not only see key back issues like a high grade Amazing Fantasy #15 displayed alongside more modern key issues like the first Deadpool or the first Harley Quinn. Plenty of classic horror from E.C. Comics was on hand and there was no shortage of silver age Marvel and DC books all over the place.
There weren’t a lot of publishers setup here, Valiant was the only one I noticed, but the CBLDF was there offering up signed books and ‘BILL GAINES WAS RIGHT’ t-shirts for a donation to the cause. Those aforementioned toy dealers and the sock people can be seen in the pictures below as well.
There were also plenty of panels going on in the two main break off rooms, covering everything from creators rights to black comic creators to what’s going on at Marvel and Image to the latest happenings in the Batman universe.
Another thing that happens at SENYC is that ReedPop sells passes to the NYCC on the show floor. People get there early and stand in crazy ass lines to get some of these passes but as the show almost always sells out ahead of time, for the die hards it would seem to be worth it.
Of course, another aspect of convention culture these days that, love it or hate it, cannot be overlooked is the Cosplay factor. There are some who feel cosplayers take the attention away from the vendors and the artists and creators who appear at conventions, and there are those who feel that cosplayers actually help to grow the scene by bringing in people who otherwise might not attend these events. Regardless of your own feelings on the matter, cosplaying doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon and there were definitely some creative and inspired costumes on display – it’s hard not to notice some of them as you walk the floor. ReedPOP gets bonus points for creating an environment where those who want to dress up are able to do so in an environment that allows them to feel safe and comfortable. There are ‘cosplay is not consent’ signs prominently displayed around the convention and a friendly reminder on the back of admission badges as well. As someone who has been going to comic conventions and related events for three decades now, it’s definitely a positive to see more women getting involved in what was traditionally a far more male oriented scene. Coplay may or may not be a factor here (I like to think that there are just better and more interesting and diverse comics out there that appeal to readers of all ages, genders and lifestyles) but regardless, hats off to the con organizers for approaching this aspect of the event with the right attitude.
Of course, a huge part of why people go to comic conventions is to meet and greet the men and women who make this stuff in the first place. Artists and writers from all over the place were in attendance signing and sketching and chatting with fans all weekend long. A scaled down convention like this allows for a slightly more intimate setting and as such, you maybe get a little bit more face time here than you would at the larger, more multimedia based cons that happen around the country.
There were living legends on hand like Bob McLeod and Chris Claremont and Michael Golden…
…to established pros like Jason Latour, David Mack, Cary Nord (the best Conan artist in years!) and Scott Hanna.
And there were plenty more people worth stopping and talking to all over the hall. Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones where there signing Lady Killer and other items, Jim Zub was sketching and signing for Samurai Jack and Wayward fans, Archie Vs. Predator’s Fernando Ruiz was on hand as was Bryan Glass of Furious fame. Joe Harris, who has been doing great work on the X-Files and Millennium books over at IDW was around (but we missed him) and John Capello was there too along with Fred Van Lente – even DMC himself was there!
All in all, it was a good turn out for a good show. The washroom situation wasn’t ideal and the air conditioning could have been a lot better than it was but the show was well run, well attended and overall a pretty enjoyable time.