This past weekend was a bit of a whirlwind: Evan & I flew out to New York to stay with our buddy at Columbia and attend NEW YORK COMIC CON! And yeah, basically everyone else has already posted their con reports, but it's taken me a few days to get this thing pieced together. In between freezing our asses off, hanging out all night with new & old friends, and dropping by a few touristy spots, we managed to get to NYCC for a few hours on Friday night and most of Saturday.
As some other bloggers have mentioned, NYCC itself was a mixed bag this year, as far as programming & exhibitors go. It wasn't nearly as well-planned or glitzy as San Diego, while at the same time the indie scene kids that show up at things like APE were nowhere to be found. I have high hopes for future incarnations, but so far the con doesn't seem like it really knows what it wants to be about yet: celebrities? manga? media tie-ins? the mainstream comic hegemony?
[EDIT: Here is the best recap of the con I've seen yet, in 4-panel comic form by Michael Kupperman!]
THE MAJOR BREAKTHROUGHS IN FUN:
- Taking an actual vacation from work and going on a cross-country trip like Evan & I used to do in the old days.
- Hanging out three consecutive nights with an utterly awesome crew of friends (me, Evan, Nate, Anne from Vertical, Eric & Michelle from Giant Robot) for drinks, Oscars watching and karaoke madness.
NEWS & NOTABLES FROM NYCC (according to Same Hat):
- Vertical in 2007 is lined up to be the new manga powerhouse and moving into awesome territory. At their booth, Vertical handed out thick manga samplers highlighting their upcoming titles. I picked up my official copy of To Terra Vol.1 by Magnificent 49er Keiko Takemiya, and that book does NOT disappoint. I'm about 2/3 through it as of right now, so I'll post properly once I've had a chance to digest it (and read the Vol.2 preview!).
Their Aranzi Aronzo line of toy/craft books are off and running (and so damn cute), but the big news for us is the summer release of Tezuka's APOLLO SONG. They describe it as "Philip Roth meets Philip K. Dick," and it'll be another immaculate huge-form edition similar to Ode To Kirihito. What more could you ask for? Other upcoming manga releases in late 2007 include 3 volumes of the Guin Saga manga, Takemiya's Andromeda Stories and Tezuka's MW (I know, HOLY SHITBALLS!).
Also from Vertical, on the purely textual front-- David Kalat's J-Horror tome looks to be very solid. We've included pics & clips from his talk below.
- Good & bad news on the horror manga front from Viz & Dark Horse. I wouldn't go as far as to say that Dark Horse stopped caring about horror manga in 2007 (ouch!), but that was definitely the image they were projecting at NYCC. To be clear, we still love Dark Horse and have been buying up all the adventurous & high-quality horror manga they've been putting out. However, we are slightly worried about their committment to these titles, and the booth presence didn't help to assuage these fears.
Their booth was Star Wars & Hellboy-d out, with a few copies of Trigun on the table for effect. They DID feature a really gorgeous MPD Psycho banner (and the DH guy I know via work was really excited about the series), but no Ito, no Umezu and no Housui Yamazaki. Check out this note on the MPD Psycho DH page: "Originally licensed by another U.S. publisher, MPD-Psycho was deemed too shocking for them to release. But Dark Horse is always prepared to give manga readers what they want!" Interesting stuff-- does anyone know who originally licensed this one?
We did get official word though (as if you couldn't guess it): Museum of Terror 4 (and beyond) is NOT happening. Bummer x1000 on that one.
In other horror news, Viz confirmed officially that they will be re-releasing Gyo & Uzumaki under their Signature imprint (home to Drifting Classroom and Golgo 13). This is great news because 1) the titles have become semi-out of print and hard to track down and 2) the Signature editions will be unflipped in the original Japanese format. Nice work, Viz!
- The old dudes still know how to work it. NYCC didn't feature any of the contemporary artists I've been dying to finally meet, like Charles Burns, Michael Kupperman or Lynda Barry, but the old guard of white dudes was in full effect, including JIM STERANKO, STAN LEE and... ROB LIEFELD?? See below for pics!
- Meeting lovely people is easy (when you know where to look). We had really good luck meeting and hanging out with the Giant Robot kids, Brigid from MangaBlog, Stephen from Fanfare, author David Kalat & book designer Chip Kidd. Pictures below!
- The Indie comics/Manga/female readership thing is NOT HAPPENING: the overarching vibe at NYCC. Eric nailed this on his blog, saying "Comicons are usually about comics and what's around it, but NY is still in the dark ages. Comics reign. The toy thing isn't really happening in NYC." We really had a fucking blast, but I certainly felt the comics old guard was in full effect both among attendees and a majority of exhibitors.
- We missed some people this time-- APE, San Diego here we come! Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to run into a few bloggers/readers that we were hoping to meet in person. Typolad, Pedro, Chris-- sorry we missed you! Let us know if you'll be at APE or San Diego and we'll remedy this with a quickness! (FYI: Same Hat is tabling as part of the Bang Gang at APE again this year, with our friends Derek, Hellen & Anthony)
The very generous Stephen Robson, editor of Fanfare/Ponent Mon, hooked us up with free books and told us about his upcoming releases. We're planning to do a big post soon, featuring the beautiful graphic novels they've put out, including the award-winning Japan: As Viewed by 17 Creators, amazing Jiro Taniguchi books and Kazuichi Hanawa's Doing Time.
Manga blogger powerhouses finally come face to face! We were absolutely delighted to meet & chat with Brigid Alverson of MangaBlog! Anne & I decided that she'd basically be the coolest aunt ever, and are demanding she adopts us. If you don't already read it, (You don't? Are you a loooser?) MangaBlog is basically THE place for a daily round-up of all things manga-related on the web. I check it every morning over my first cup of coffee :)
David Kalat, author of Vertical's new J-Horror: The Definitive Guide to The Ring, The Grudge and Beyond, gave a really informative and well-researched talk with lots of video clips (including a Bollywood remake of The Eye!). Hopefully we'll be able to feature an interview with him in an upcoming post as the book's release gets closer.
Clip of David talking about the codification of J-horror standards: black hair, white dresses, scary female ghosts:
David talking about the J-Horror trend of filmmakers making & remaking the same stories:
Dark Horse's house of comics & film tie-ins (but not manga)
Wait, I lied-- Here is their MPD PSYCHO banner!
Tokyo Pop's fully-stocked store/booth.
HANDS DOWN, best cosplayer of the entire con! The Stormtrooper King!
Spiderman cosplayer is bringing sexy/black.
Fanboys abound, including this dude with the BEST SHIRT EVER. (yes, that is a silk ninja vs. viper bowling shirt)
After seeing this, my current obsession with the new Dr. Who will never be the same.
TOYS! by KAWS
TOYS! from FLCL
Living legend (and Karl fucking Lagerfeld look-alike) JIM STERANKO! We bought beautiful calendar pin-ups of naked female superheroes from him.
STAN the man LEE, famous for his numerous film appearances. Oh yeah, and inventing every superhero archetype ever.
Somehow Rob Liefeld honestly hasn't aged a single day. He still draws thighs the size of oak trees and heads the size of Beanie Babies.
After the con, we found our way to Kinokuniya NYC & BOOK OFF:
Death Note...coming soon to American theaters?
Out on DVD already, the MAIL movie adaptation?!
The Cromartie High School live action film on DVD!
TOKYOPOP we love you, but how can you beat the original Japanese covers of Dragon Head?
BLOWS YOUR MIND: Dragon Head Volume 1 original cover
...and Volume 4
...and Volume 10
Well, we'll be back in NYC again soon, most definitely, but for now: