i wrote this up for a bunch of friends that i’ll be running around with but after taking a second look at it, it seemed okay for general consumption.
first and foremost, i’d like to point out that whether you’re new to NYCC or not, all prior knowledge might not suffice being that NYAF is in the same venue at the same time. it is such a big variable..
i suspect things like longer lines, tighter seating arrangements in panels/screenings and less chances on exclusive items [toys, tickets, signings, etc]. i encourage everyone to make plans once inside. take some time to look over the events schedule and the exhibitors attending so you have a better idea of the Dealer’s Room.
> Entry: those of you who didn’t make the deadline to have your badges mailed to you, that means you have to stand in line to pick them up. that line by itself may be very long on it’s own. if you’re able, go ahead and pick up your badge on Friday, after 1pm. DO NOT plan on buying your ticket at the door. you’ve been warned.
> Food: i’m not a big morning person to begin with but i’ve come to appreciate a filling breakfast..just don’t stuff yourself. in the past, my friends and i have brought along drinks and snacks to munch on during the day. just think realistically, how much you’re gonna need and buy it ahead of time. note: you are going to be carrying it with you through the day. worse case, you can always hit the starbucks or the food court [located in the basement] but it’s NY and it’s a convention center, it will be expensive.
> Lines: they’ve gone about this a few different ways in the past but i’d like to think that whoever is managing it, is slowly improving. for the most part, they’ve let us sit on the floor and even lay out..but if i’ve learned nothing about going to conventions, it’s all about comfort. you’re in it for the long haul kids. wear breathable clothes and comfy shoes. bring a book, ipod, DS, folding chair, pillow, whatever…there’s always coat check [i think it’s $2]. if you’re trying to make it to an event, 99 times out of 100, you’re going to be standing in some sort of line. the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll have an easier [and more fun] experience.
> Home Base: this has worked in the past and i don’t see why it won’t work again. when going with a large crew, it’s natural to break off and do your own thing. sure, we have cell phones but it’s nice to have a place to all meet up at in certain intervals. if you scope out a good spot for to sit down and rest your legs or even a good landmark booth, keep it in mind and tell your group.
> Panels & Screenings: these are tricky. you gotta ask yourself how popular X Event is and add wait time accordingly. to comply with fire safety regulations, they will be enforcing maximum seating. a good rule of thumb is to get there at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled event time. also, unless they made it a rule, you might want to try getting into the previous panel and camp there. i’ve done it before, but do so at your own risk…lets not ignore the Pencil-In-The-Eye incident at this year’s SDCC. [shouldn’t have to be said, but be respectful if you do so.]
> Dealer’s Room: the center of the convention. this is where you’ll find the booths of comic/anime/manga companies, artists, publishers, game developers and of course dealers. they’ve got books, cds, dvds, hats, shirts, plushies, custom contact lenses, costumes and even weapons. i suggest snaking through the entire floor first before buying but by all means, if it catches your eye, snatch it. don’t expect it to be there an hour later, with your name on it [even if it has your name on it]. there will be free swag as well. note: you will have to carry your stuff. one year, i bought 8 volumes of Sandman at the start of con and i regretted every minute of schlepping that around. but again, there’s always coat check. only certain dealers are equipped to take credit, whereas cash is accepted everywhere.
> Pictures: almost forgot about this! with NYAF around, we can only speculate on the caliber of cosplay this year. while cell phones are great, if you’ve got a digital camera, bring it. NEVER, EVER hesitate to ask to take a picture of cosplayers. they dressed up BECAUSE they want the attention, or at least don’t mind it. cosplaying aside, from what i can tell, anything + everything is photogenic, unless specified. that means panelists, celebrities, toys and booths. though some celebrities might charge =/
> Artist Alley: if going for sketches ~ depending on the artist and their popularity, this can be quite hard to accomplish. most artists make a list and “first come, first serve” is the usual rule. some of these artists have people on their commission lists before the show even opens to the public [discussed ahead of time via e-mail or word of mouth]. this is not to say “don’t try to get that sketch”, just be warned that you might not be able to get anything. note: go to Artist Alley knowing that sketches cost money!! some artists can charge around $100+ for a full body drawing [more often than not, that’s just b&w]. although, there are a few artists who offer cheap sketches [under $50], those that ask what you can afford then draw accordingly, and then there’s Ethan van Sciver. He believes that people who are awesome enough to drop $ on a hardcover of his [GL: / Flash: Rebirth], they are entitled to a free sketch on the inside cover. :D
pages + prints ~ most artists will have original pages for sale. these can have a huge range in price: anywhere from $40 [minimal shots of main characters], all the way to a few hundred $ for a splash/cover page. also, some artists will have prints and even small books of previous commissions/designs they’ve completed.
if going for autographs ~ this is easy but can be tricky. since lots of people line up hoping for sketches, you might have to wait along with them. at some tables, you will have people hanging out just to watch the artist draw. feel free to ask if you can jump in just for a quick siggy. often times, they will be glad to do it [if only to get one less person stuck in the line].
and that’s about it. hope you guys managed to get something out of this. i enjoyed certainly enjoyed writing it. nycc is a little more than a week away..be safe, have fun and see you there! -J.A