Tagged: New York Comic Con

Molly Jackson: The Big Con!


Did you hear all those panicked screams yesterday? The cold yells of people feeling their hopes dashed before their very eyes?

Yes, yesterday New York Comic Con announced that they were once again altering their ticket sales process. This changes nearly every year (just like DC’s logo!), so every time it happens it shouldn’t be a surprise… but it always is. The big steps are always taken to help the ever-growing hordes to buy tickets and make sure that they don’t game the system.

The newest hoop is the addition of fan verification for anyone who could potentially buy a NYCC ticket. What it really boils down to is this is just NYCC having everyone register on the NYCC website in advance. So if I and my three friends want to go, we need to pre-register. The other change is there will no longer be any VIP tickets or tickets sold at retailers. Everything will be online and announced to members through their email that they verified with. San Diego Comic Con has done the same thing for years, so this isn’t news to serious con goers.

Yet, this small step has built up a lot of discourse amongst fans. Now there are cries of despair and confusion about the system. Now people are convinced that they will never get tickets again and, therefore, the world will end. OK, I might be exaggerating a bit but you get my point. Truth is, this is going to fix things with attendance. Yes, you can’t sit on a line outside Midtown Comics for 10 hours to get a ticket, but that also means the 30 ticket scalpers ahead of you can’t do the same. Will some scalpers still find a way? Yes, of course they will. But NYCC has gone pretty far to make it harder for them.

The big problem with this is that it doesn’t go far enough. As of their announcement, all tickets are non-returnable, non-transferable, non-resalable and non-upgradable. I understand the need to keep tickets non-resalable and non-upgradable. Making tickets resalable flies directly in the face of stopping scalpers, so that is pointless to have. I doubt anyone (except scalpers) would disagree. I can also understand the non-upgradable. There are a limited amount of each ticket to appease the great fire marshal! If you anger the fire marshal, his wrath will rain down upon us all! Oh, and the con will be closed down. Let’s not piss him off.

Now, on to non-returnable and non-transferable. The same scalper warning could be put onto non-transferable. This could be abused by the exact people they are trying to stop. But, if you limited how many tickets could be transferred, like 1-2 by the original credit card holder, it could help fans manage the planning in advance. One argument I saw was for disabled persons that need someone to assist them. If the pass could be easily transferable if the assist person changes last minute, which would be a big help for the disabled fans in attendance. Most likely though, this would not be a change NYCC would make.

NYCC needs to make tickets returnable. If you want me and my party of four to commit almost five months out, give me a small safety net. As NYCC likes to tell us repeatedly, they are as big as or bigger than SDCC. Well, SDCC lets tickets be returned. If I can return my tickets, then why not let me? Put it on me to pay shipping if I already received it and then do a last minute sale online in September. Give fans a chance to go if they couldn’t get through the slog of people trying to buy tickets in June. Look at the fear and panic already. There will be no danger in not selling out.

At the rate all of the conventions are growing, soon a lot of fans will be locked out of conventions. That is a truth we can’t ignore. Geekdom has grown out of the basement and I don’t think it will ever be going back. How conventions react to this growth boom is a different story. They need to remember that their fans are still everyday people, who are incredibly passionate about their fandoms. Giving those loud, excited and social media savvy fans some wiggle room can only help conventions grow more.

Molly Jackson: John Scalzi Got Me Again

The End Of All ThingsAuthors go out of their way to provoke emotions. I understand that. And authors do an amazing job of balancing that impact. However, they aren’t writing for automatons, so each person’s reaction is different. That reaction is where it can all go wrong.

Some authors just have a way of getting to me but John Scalzi in particular. Have you ever read his work? He has a great conversational tone that can suck a person right into the story. After reading his book Redshirts, it ruined TV for me for at least a few months. Over a year later, I yelled at him at Book Expo America. It’s true. I have witnesses. Afterwards, I realized how cathartic it was. I felt unburdened and relaxed. Which brings me to my point. He did it to me again.

While at NYCC, I had a chance to pick up a copy of his new book, The End of All Things, which is in the Old Man’s War series. (Read the first book and you will be hooked.). It is a collection of short stories following the political turmoil in this universe. While I was getting it signed, I made a point of telling him about how traumatized I was from Redshirts. At that point, I was still a little upset but mostly I was over it.

Fast forward to last week. I had finally picked it up to start reading (still struggling with my reading list) and well, I had to stop reading because way too many feels. He sacrificed an important character in a way that was too emotional for me. I really wish I could go into details but I can’t without spoilers! Safe to say, this rocked me once again. They don’t give time off for emotional scarring from books.

Now, I know this all might seem like I’m angry at the writer. I’m not, really. Scalzi is one of my favorite writers. Look at the emotion he invokes in me. The impact his writing has had on me and now all of you. I willingly go on this roller coaster. And yes, sooner rather than later I will finish reading The End of All Things.

So think about the books that have made you so emotional. The writers that still impact you long after the book is finished. Hunt them down; seek them out. Let them know that their writing affected you. I yelled at Scalzi. He was happy that his writing made a lasting impression. Let your writers know how you feel. Yell and everything.

Ed Catto: Geek Culture Grows … and Grows!

Cosplayers at Long Beach comic Conjpg

You don’t have to explain what a comic convention is to most people anymore. They know that these conventions are a celebration of geek culture, that they are places to sell comics and collectibles, and that a lot of people attend these things. Some people might know that the San Diego Comic-Con is the grand-daddy of them all, and generally considered to be biggest and the best.

But that standing is rapidly changing. Recently, New York Comic Con published some astonishing attendance numbers. As it has been each year, this was another record-breaking year as they counted 167,000 attendees. That’s a lot of people.

NYCC10crowdGeek Culture business analyst and author Rob Salkowitz sees different strengths for each. “NYCC strikes me as a great way for brands to reach influential audiences in the New York area (including a lot of media and publishing elites), whereas SDCC is still the only truly global fan event in North America.”

So while every major convention might have a distinct flavor or purpose, I feel the strong attendee and revenue growth across the board seems to speak to both the rise of Geek Culture and changing consumer habits.

Remember just a few years ago when Target was a “cool” place to shop? Everyone even pronounced the name as “Tar-jay” with a half-jokey attitude. Since then, big box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart (for the first time in ages) find themselves struggling and falling short of expectations. So many Americans feel that if you just have to “buy something,” it’s easier to just order it online and have it delivered.

MK-CI051_TARGET_G_20131121200203But if there’s an experience involved, it’s a different story. If you need an expert to help you plan your bridal registry, for example, you definitely want to go to visit a retailer. Or if you want to meet a favorite author, you’ll visit a bookstore for an autographing event. And if you want to celebrate your fan passion, you probably want to visit your comic shop every Wednesday or attend one of the country’s many comic conventions.

That’s where you can see you’re part of something big and exciting. There’s so much to see and learn about – it’s not only about acquiring stuff. Now it’s about acquiring stuff and experiences.

And with the rising tide of Geek Culture and comic cons, everyone seems to have a vision of how they should all work.

I shouldn’t have been surprised to read Alisha Grauso make her case in The Wrap (a news portal that covers entertainment news with a generous dollop of Hollywood insider insights) that movie studios should focus their efforts on promoting at New York Comic Con. For the industry, it’s been “understood” that Hollywood likes to participate in San Diego Comic-Con because it’s fun and it’s an easy economical trip. In her article, Ms. Grauso pointes to several important economic reasons to consider shifting Hollywood’s marketing focus away from thw San Diego Comic-Con and to the New York Comic Con.

I’ll admit it, in my role as a marketing guy we were recently suggesting to a client that they focus their efforts on other conventions rather than San Diego. And this choice makes sense for that particular client, and it also makes sense for more and more brands.
“Fan events… are big business,” said Lance Fensterman, senior global VP of ReedPOP. “It is where brands and media companies can connect directly with fans… passionate, passionate fans. These guys are rabid consumers of content, they have heavy social media presence, and they’re savvy. These are people that marketers want to reach. With that in mind, an important part of our job is to ensure this is done the right way and isn’t too overwhelming or distracting to the fan experience.”

The reality of the situation is that there are now so many venues for marketers to choose from. And that’s great for fans and great for brands.

Long Beach Comic Con

Marc Alan Fishman: The New York Comic Conned Us

Vienna Hot Dog

As directed, indirectly, by EIC Mike Gold earlier this week, I’m here to report back on my experiences last week at the illustrious New York Comic Con. Let’s cut to the chase… It sucked.

Now, that’s an over simplification with a massive asterisk by it, hence I’ve got a bit of mental baggage to unpack here. Luckily that means my column this week will be more than three sentences long. Or maybe that’s unlucky, in case you’re forced to read my column every week. And in that case… Fly, you fools!

The basic gist you need to understand is this: my anecdotal feelings about a show are trumped by the data. In that respect I’m a Moneyball kind of comic book creator. Each show for me and my Unshaven cohorts is a collection of potential sales opportunities. Beyond anything else, I personally derive my opinion on a show first and foremost by the number of books we sell, and the ratio by which we “close” on potential customers.

By all accounts, Unshaven Comics has always grown a minimum of 10% in sales over the year prior – when comparing a show to which we return. We attended the NYCC for the first time in 2013 and sold a record 527 books. We were elated… until 2014, when NYCC netted us 738. This year, we saw only 536 books moved. And this stands in the face of ReedPop blowing the doors out with record attendance. So, never mind all the feelings we may or may not have had… the show sucked for us. As well should any show we attend wherein we don’t see a gain in sales.

But as I said: there’s a big ol’ asterisk there.

In terms of our closing ratio, we’re right on the money. A total of 835 heard our pitch. Oh, what pitch? Can I tell you about our comic book? Awesome! It’s call the Samurnauts. It’s about a team of Samurai-Astronauts, led by an immortal Kung-Fu monkey… saving humanity from zombie-cyborg space pirates! As you can see, this is a full-color, 36-page book. We’re selling them here at the show for just $5 today. And for everyone who picks it up here… you’ll get it signed by the entire creative team that worked on it. So… would you like to give it a try? As I was saying, 835 people heard that. 339 of them bought. That means roughly 39% of the people who dropped by our table walked away a satisfied customer. That stat is consistent with the data from 2014, which in turn makes selling fewer books sting a bit less.

Beyond the hard numbers comes the exploration of why. The primary reason: Location, location, location. Due to circumstances I’d rather not detail here, we lost our booth space we’d held in 2014. We were moved to a corner spot an aisle back, in the furthest back portion of a row kitty-corner to the lone deadspot on the show floor. And make no bones about that; in each of our Unshaven jaunts into the show floor (for lunch, to visit a friend, to make purchases for our friends and families), we each reported back that literally the entirety of the show floor was shoulder-to-shoulder shuffling save only for the area directly adjacent to our booth. That fans were using it as a spot to catch a seat, recharge phones, or just loiter added to the complacent nature of our business dealings. This was in direct opposition to 2014, where we’d enjoyed essentially a never-ending tide of passing potential customers.

Outside of real estate issues, I’m also a pragmatist. We didn’t reach our production goals to bring the completion of our mini-series, The Curse of the Dreadnuts, to the show. We essentially walked in with nothing new save for a pair of new posters, and new stickers. I will step out on a tangent quickly to note: Rick and Morty is a damn popular show, and if we’d read my article from a few weeks back I would be sitting here proclaiming the show to be a boon due to epic poster sales. But as I’d lamented then as I reiterate now: I’m in the business of moving comics for better or worse. This year, it was worse.

But all that aside, the show is as it ever was: the largest and grandest show Unshaven Comics attends every year. The fans that stop are energetic and passionate. The cosplay is astounding (Hulk Buster, much?), and everything that surrounds the show is fun to be around. The Javits Center is decked to the gills with sights and sounds that showcase our ever-expanding worlds. The people walking in the door are from dozens of countries, all sharing in the same experiences and loves. And for those discovering we indie folk, well, they are the best kind of explorers to us. Outside the day-to-day, Unshaven Comics is also privy to staying at the wonderful Casa Del Hauman, which grants us a feeling of security otherwise unfounded in a city that offers up the Port Authority Bus Terminal. We even made our way to Brooklyn for a barbeque meal so astounding, I’m honestly afraid of writing more about it because Editor Gold wasn’t there to share in what will stand as the single best plate of Q to which I’ve ever been privy. But I – as I ever shall be known to do – digress.

So, the New York Comic Con was basically a bust for us. But we live, we learn, we improve. Come 2016 we’ll return to the show with two new books, a slew of new prints and merchandise, and hopefully a better booth from which to sell said merch. We’ll find those friends who didn’t come by to say hi (Alan Kistler, Emily Whitten, and Mindy Newell… I’m looking at you!).

We’ll do as we’ve always done: Take a bite out of the big apple, and remind ourselves that we’ll always prefer Chicago hot dogs to those lousy rot-water Sabretts. Natch.

Martha Thomases Eats Worms


More than three weeks ago, I twisted my knee somehow in a manner that causes it to continue to hurt. A lot. I happened to have a doctor’s appointment that day, and she told me to rest it, take anti-inflammatory medicine, and drink a lot of water.

Which I have. Well, “resting” is a relative term. It’s hard to rest one’s entire leg and still get around the city and do what needs to get done. I put a brace on it. Still hurts.

When I’m in pain like this, I can’t exercise. And when I can’t exercise, I lose my main opportunity think deep thoughts about comics or anything else. I just want to sit on the couch and eat worms.

Anyway, here’s some randomness. Remember, no one suffers like I do.

The New York Comic-Con has come and gone. I went for a few hours on Thursday, and even though it was the middle of a work-day, the place was so crowded that it was impossible to move anywhere. The line for the ladies room in the press area (which requires a special badge) was a half-hour long. I shudder to think what it was like on Saturday.

It was lovely to see my friends – as I left the brand-new subway station, on line to register, at booths, in artists’ alley – and I had a great conversation with the guy hyping The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (which is awesome and you should be watching it). I didn’t get to any panels that day or any day because my knee throbbed just thinking about getting through the crowds that made the hallways impassable.

So I didn’t get to see this. I wish I had. This is the nerd experience I most crave. The rest of the throngs can go see stars log-roll each other at over-hyped TV and movie panels. Let me listen to Paul “The Frother” Krugman talk about Star Trek.

Last year I discovered the Crazy Eight Cartoon Festival and I had a great time. You can read my brilliant insights here. It’s happening again tomorrow. If you are in the New York area, I can’t recommend it highly enough. If I get back in time from my other nerd-quest this weekend, perhaps I’ll see you there.

Very few people have raved about about My Friend Dammer more than I have. I’ve given it away to dozens of people to show them the complex insights and emotions possible in the graphic story format. So you can imagine my excitement to get a galley copy of Derf Backderf’s new book, Trashed, in my Harvey Awards gift-bag.

Trashed is the story of a crew of garbage collectors in a small Ohio town, with lots of data about the environmental impact and long-term costs of our throwaway culture. Derf was a garbage collector a few decades ago and, though he says the story isn’t autobiographical, his experiences lend a gritty (and smelly and sticky) authenticity to his tale.

Although it’s not as emotionally engaging as Dammer, this book is still an amazing accomplishment. Backdoor presents not only an environmental education, but insights into the American class system that are all too rare in any medium. That he does it with humor and grace and affection makes it that much more impressive.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my knee hurts and I need to yell at some kids to get off my lawn.

Note: I don’t have a lawn.

Molly Jackson: NYCC is Bursting at the Seams

NYCC Bursting

Unless you are living completely off the geek grid (in which case, welcome back to civilization), you know that this past weekend was New York Comic Con. It was NYCC’s 10th year and over the past decade it has grown to one of the largest comic cons in the world.

I spent all four days at the convention, from open to close and occasionally even later. My one word summation is “OWWWWW.” Lots of walking and standing on concrete while carrying heavy books is equal to “OWWWWW” – and then some.

The biggest takeaway from NYCC for me is how big it has really become. It was wall to wall people. All ages, all groups just filling this too small venue for four days. In fact, it was the thing most people talked about. It replaced weather as the small talk of choice. Crowd management became a huge safety issue as the large mass of people made it almost impossible to move quickly.

With the growth comes a lot of perks though. More companies need to do something exciting to get your attention. DC Comics had Jim Lee signing three days in a row, Dark Horse had Frank Miller signing, and comiXology had paper copies of some digital only titles. Booths like DC and Image were telling people were to get their books signed by creators in Artist Alley. Some select panels were shown at the Hammerstein Ballroom a few blocks away. I predict as the area around the Javits convention center develops, we will see more and more convention events happens off-site.

Growth also meant most panels were packed. Some were insanely popular and some were just a good spot to sit down. (Chairs were at a premium all weekend.) I like to believe that this means a tired person got to test the waters on something new and maybe found a new book/tv show/website to try.

I remember when NYCC just used a portion of the Javits, and there might be a different show going on at the same time! Now the place is bursting at the seams with all the booths, creators, and cosplayers. Every year it morphs into something a little different but always bigger. Hopefully we can all keep up with the growth.

Mike Gold: Friendship


Yeah, yeah. Another major convention, a huge mother called the “New York Comic Con.” Emily wrote about some of it yesterday and Martha will be talking about it on Friday and maybe Marc will do the same on Saturday – yep, Marc actually went to New York City while the Chicago Cubs were working their way towards the pennant. He’s a southsider, so I’ll give him a pass. Not sure John Ostrander will.

Ergo, there is no need for me to write about the show. All those folks, as well as ComicMix Utility Infielder Glenn Hauman and columnists Ed Catto, Molly Jackson and Bob Ingersoll, were there and I think all or most were actually on the Javits Center floor more than I was. Besides, if you’ve read my deathless prose long enough you could probably write my review yourself. All I’ll say is, the major difference between the New York Comic Con and the Black Hole of Calcutta is that the latter has free parking.

So, instead, I want to talk about friendship.

Missing from the floor was my friend Jamie Graham. He’s the guy who lent his name to the Graham Crackers chain of comic book shops, which is one of the larger chains around. I’ve known the guy since, roughly, the Year Gimmel. In addition to comics and our common antiquity, Jamie and I have a lot in common – we’re both Chicagoans, we’re both hockey fans, and we’re both mindlessly acerbic.

You’re probably thinking by the end of this column, Jamie is going to wind up dead. This is not the case, and that is not a spoiler alert.

Last Thursday, my daughter and fellow ComicMix staffer Adriane Nash received a call from Jamie saying he had a personal emergency and he would not be accompanying his crew to the New York show. Well, that sucks but, honestly, I saw him two weeks before at the Baltimore Comic Con and about two weeks before that at Chicago Wizard World, so missing him in New York wasn’t a catastrophe. I haven’t had the chance to connect with him since the show ended – after each four-day convention comes about three solid weeks of catch-up. Four, if you count catching up on your sleep.

I mentioned Jamie and I are hockey fans, as is Adriane. This is true, but Jamie’s dedication to the sport exceeds mine, and perhaps exceeds reason as well. If his enthusiasm was akin to Stumbo the Giant, then I, as a hockey fan, am at best the mayor of Tinytown. As such, my friend had tickets to the New York Islanders/Chicago Blackhawks game held last Friday night. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year, and the Islanders were having their home opener in their new home, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. That means tickets were almost as hard to acquire as fresh air was at the New York Comic Con.

So I get a call from Adriane. She says Jamie has a present for us and he’s Fed-Exing it overnight for receipt Friday morning. OK, we both figured out what it probably was… as did you. While I was in Manhattan Friday hobnobbing with the elite, Adriane called to confirm our suspicions. She had the valued tickets in hand.

She was in Connecticut so she jumped into her car – named Brak, by the way – and I waddled out of my friend’s apartment in the city. Shortly thereafter, both of us were hit with a cloudburst of biblical proportions. We weren’t happy, but we would swim to the Barclays if we had to. For me, the arena was only a 25 minute subway ride away and, because subways run in a hole in the ground (as the song goes), the massive rain delayed me and about a billion other people waiting for the Lexington Avenue express. I got there, sweating profusely due to the heat of compressed humanity, an hour later. Hell, if I wanted to sweat I would have spent that time at NYCC.

The new arena is elegant with great sight lines but lousy bathroom placement (again; I could have stayed at NYCC for that). The game was great and the Islanders were sharp in their new home debut. I’m a Blackhawks fan, so you’ll forgive me if I point out that my team won – in overtime.

Jamie could have, please forgive the pun, hawked those tickets, probably for serious money. Nope. He sent them, at some expense, to Adriane and me. That, folks, is friendship.

I’ve said before that the best part of being in the comic book donut shop is that the folks in the adjoining seats are wonderful people. I have been blessed with a great, great many fine friendships, many quite enduring.

Like my friendship with Jamie Graham.

I love you, man. And I thank you.

Marc Alan Fishman: To Print Or Not To Print

Artist Alley

Truly, that is the question.

Last week, I began unpacking my feelings in regards to the trolls of Artist Alley who find it cute to poke the starving artists (well, most of us are starving – I eat decently, thanks to my day job) about presenting unlicensed material. I like to think that I made it pretty clear where I stood in response to those who choose to hate the player not the game. So that brings up a whole new set of feelings in conjunction to that aforementioned game.

As I’ve noted, Unshaven Comics (my little studio, should you not be in-the-know) produces prints as means to an end. A quick laugh by a passerby is all we need to stop them and pitch our real product du jour. And if The Samurnauts isn’t their bag, but a poster is… well, money is money. Money allows us to make more Samurnauts. Hence, it’s always been a win-win situation. Put in economic terms (because I’m a Freak like the time spent to produce a single print yields far more profit in the short term than any comic we’ll ever produce. Let’s break that down.

I’m presently working on a poster for the upcoming New York Comic Con. In total, the piece will take me about 10 hours of actual work to complete. This includes gathering all my resources, laying it out in a sketch, and digitally rendering it. Because my time for Unshaven Comics is free (we’ll come back to that next week, don’t worry), the only cost is the 10 hours I could have been using to work on pages for the next Samurnauts book, and the .88 cents I’ve negotiated to produce the print at a local print shop. Now, we turn around, and sell that poster for anywhere between $3.33 and $5.00 depending (prints are 1 for $5, or 3 for $10… such a deal!). Any way you cut that, it’s a lot of profit. As a benchmark: each comic we produce – largely in small batches due to our severe lack of capital investment – typically costs us $2.85 to print, and we charge $5 for it. Each comic also takes roughly 200-250 hours to produce. Simple math dictates prints are where the money is at.

Take a walk down Artist Alley way and you’ll see that those who are there to move comics are few and far between. Over the last several years, I’ve seen the rise of the back wall at each eight-foot table. Where prints used to pop up as scattered constellations throughout a sea of roll-up banners and a small press affairs… now, a comic convention is a claustrophobic conclave of poster prints from the floor to the ceiling. The average attendee now merely meanders up and down the alley, snickering, stopping, pointing, and absorbing the breadth of artistry Velcro’d to muslin cloths – c-clamped to teetering tri-pods. It makes Unshaven Comics look pathetic to be honest. In our brazen attempt to always bring that cultivated 25% of sheer desperation to our presentation, we’ve adopted a diminutive structure where we’ve lavished the passersby with a short display of half a dozen pieces… half-heartedly hanging from repurposed shower rings.  Again, all in an effort to get a chuckle and a stumble.

I’m honestly of two minds on the subject. As as business man? I respect and admire the printmakers. I’ve more than proven that the economic gains of displaying a mountain of one-off work makes complete sense. Con-goers merely wander past, see what they like, and out comes the wallet. There’s no need for detailed pitches. It’s all short-sales, and deal-making. And because a poster is quick and dirty (depending largely on one’s style of course), with each show, a professional artist can snap up the zeitgeist without batting an eye. Hell, if you’re curious, let me make you a mint right now:

Draw all the Doctors in a single piece. Now FireFly. Now some of those new Star Wars characters. Now Steven Universe. Now Rick and Morty. Go find your local print shop with a digital beast getting dusty in the corner. Negotiate a price– say fifty cents a pop, for a run of 100 each. Go buy a table at the next convention within driving distance. Rake in the profits. Thank me later.

On the other hand of course, my inner auteur beckons. Yes, I know auteurs are saved for film, but screw you, it’s hip and makes me sound smarter than I actually am.  You see, to produce a piece – even if it’s brilliantly rendered in a style truly original to you and you alone – that is in effect not your own intellectual property – is to be profit-minded first. And I can’t help but feel that is antithetical to the spirit of an Artist Alley. There is a considerable difference (to me personally) for a lovingly made Warhol piece versus a Kahlo. And this is in fact not a digression. Put simply: art made from another’s creation is still personal, but will never be as personal as a project plucked from within. In my heart of hearts, I’d buy 1000 of Dan Dougherty’s independently made comic books in lieu of even the best-rendered Poohvengers print any day of the week.

Of course, I’d never say that to his pretty face though…

Molly Jackson: Bummed Out

Bummed Out

The San Diego Comic Con starts today, and I couldn’t be happier that it will all be over soon. For the past month all I’ve been getting are emails inviting me to events, panels or to get exclusives at the world’s big geek event. And guess what? I’ll be stuck at home, not attending any of them.

It’s a bummer to see all the amazing things happening without me. Yes, the entire event is covered completely on the web. Any big announcement or reveal is up for the world to see in a matter of seconds. Even so, being there in the center of things is a much different story.

I’ve been to SDCC a few times, and each time has been a remarkable experience. While, yes, I do get to go to NYCC (now the largest comic con in the US) each year, it just isn’t the same. San Diego literally becomes the convention hall. Outside the con, you are still completely surrounded by geeks day and night. Going to this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to being one of the cool kids at spring break. The experience of attending SDCC is unlike anything else.

It’s not just about the 24/7 party. As I have written before, I see people at cons that I never see at any other time. Friends who that I might only see at cons or chat with online on occasion. And every year, I always seem to meet someone new.  I could spend the whole con just booth hopping from one to another, chatting it up with the staff and fans and have a grand time.

Starting today, throughout the country (or maybe even the world) Not At Comic Con events will be happening. I am not the only bummed out fan. These events are just a shadow of the craziness that ensues at SDCC but still a great way to get some quality geek time.

So here I’ll be, bummed out and stuck in humid NYC. At least I will have plenty of time to clear out my inbox. And, just maybe, next year I’ll be back in San Diego.


Molly Jackson: Blocking the Block

So, this week has been plagued. Yes, I have been plagued with writer’s block. I know you’ve heard of it. I just can’t settle on a column topic or a message or anything else. Right now, I’m probably breaking the unwritten rule of telling the reader this, but I’m naturally a maverick.

All week, this has been weighing on me. I have plenty of options, which have lived and died as columns in my mind.

I could talk about the latest ticket debacle for NYCC. Last week, we all watched (or in my case, participated) in the maddening scramble for tickets. Then the Internet bemoaned the difficulties of getting a ticket and swore off ever trying for tickets again. Which we all know is a lie. Let’s be honest. Because next year, we will all try again.

It’s still a show people want to attend, and as of last year, the biggest show in the US. It may be insanity to get tickets and to go, however it can be an amazing experience. NYCC really needs to get a better ticket system going though. It’s just mean at this point.

Or I could highlight the awesome open submission request from Oni Press. You might know Oni Press as the publisher of Scott Pilgrim, or one of my favorite stories, Resurrection. They now have an open call for new writers and artists. The best part of this is how they want minorities writing stories about minorities. They are requesting diversity in their stories, right off the bat. They also put a stop to rape as a plot device. Especially after last week’s Game of Thrones flop of an episode, this is going to be a very hot topic to avoid for a very long time.

I’m actually excited about this because it screams new stories to me. I want to see the creativity of new writers and artists at a publisher like Oni. I don’t what they make happen in this new drive for talent but it will be amazing.

The worst part is that I still can’t settle on a topic for a column. At least this bought me another week of working on it. Hopefully, the new creativity from Oni washes over me.