February 25, 2007 10:15 AM PST

More than comics at comics convention

NEW YORK--The first thing I saw upon picking up my press badge at the New York City Comic Convention was Heroes actress Hayden Panettiere: perky, chatty and accompanied by a security detail of Star Wars stormtroopers.

Panettiere and her Darth Vader-worthy entourage soon disappeared, but it was a fitting start to the day. NYC ComicCon, which ran Friday through Sunday, might not be as massive or iconic as its famed San Diego counterpart, but it was certainly a spectacular event. Celebrity appearances ran the gamut from Stephen King to Stephen Colbert; mascots in Pikachu costumes bumped elbows with Star Wars fans dressed as Boba Fett; and posters for the Kevin Smith movie Clerks 2 were displayed side by side with Superman memorabilia.

ComicCon

The ComicCon was less a geek fest than a pop culture overload, with the cumulative forces of comic books, television, movies, video games and art all thrown together inside the massive glass walls of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in midtown Manhattan.

And that was what I, as a comics convention neophyte, found most surprising. Yes, plenty of aspects of NYC ComicCon fit right into my preconceived image of such an event: hordes of people, many in costumes, lined up for autographs with luminaries like Stan Lee, perusing stacks of vintage comics and brand-new graphic novels, or checking out the latest Japanese manga titles.

Yet I was struck by how many of the booths were stocked with merchandise and memorabilia that didn't seem to have a whole lot to do with comics in the traditional sense. There were trading cards for TV shows like Lost and Veronica Mars; figurines of horror movie villains from A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and test runs of the new massive multiplayer online role-playing game Pirates of the Burning Sea.

ComicCon characters

And unlike the American International Toy Fair, which had taken over the Javits Center several weeks earlier, NYC ComicCon did not shy away from video games. Visitors could play anything from Karaoke Revolution: American Idol to Guitar Hero II to the latest Pokemon titles for Nintendo's DS console.

In short, at NYC ComicCon, the definition of "comics" seemed a bit liberal.

"I would define comics as just words and pictures together," said Austin English, an employee and artist at the pop-culture outlet Giant Robot, one of many exhibitors that strayed quite a bit from the comics-convention archetype.

Words and pictures, however, didn't really come close to describing it. Giant Robot, which was founded in 1994 as an Asian pop-culture zine, has since expanded to a full-out magazine, an online store, and art galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Its NYC ComicCon booth was stocked with colorful toys, stuffed Uglydolls (a big hit), and back issues of Giant Robot magazine.

CONTINUED: A display of comics' legacy…
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13 comments

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Comics are dying because they're too expensive.
According to Marvel's website, their comics are $2.99 an issue. 30 years ago they were still $0.35. They've gone up in price an average of 28% per year. It's no wonder people don't buy them like they used to.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's called inflation
Of course comics have gone up in price in the past 30 years.
Everythings gone up in price in the past 30 years. It's the way the
economy works. And different things go up a different rates.

Frankly, though, I'd say comics seem to be doing pretty well right
now.
Posted by Dr. B (91 comments )
Link Flag
someone better tell the Manga industry it's dying
It depends on where you go. If you travel over a little east, you'll find Magna (comics) huge and bustling publication industry.

As mentioned before, what your pointing out apears to be inflation. Movies used to be 0.25$ yet they still get an audience in for 10.00$ now. Comics used to be 0.35$ and now they're 2.99$.. I'd point out that 0.35$ at a time when 10.00$ a week was a good income much more expensive than 2.99$ when the weekly income (generally) is over 200$.
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
Comics are dying because they're too expensive.
According to Marvel's website, their comics are $2.99 an issue. 30 years ago they were still $0.35. They've gone up in price an average of 28% per year. It's no wonder people don't buy them like they used to.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's called inflation
Of course comics have gone up in price in the past 30 years.
Everythings gone up in price in the past 30 years. It's the way the
economy works. And different things go up a different rates.

Frankly, though, I'd say comics seem to be doing pretty well right
now.
Posted by Dr. B (91 comments )
Link Flag
someone better tell the Manga industry it's dying
It depends on where you go. If you travel over a little east, you'll find Magna (comics) huge and bustling publication industry.

As mentioned before, what your pointing out apears to be inflation. Movies used to be 0.25$ yet they still get an audience in for 10.00$ now. Comics used to be 0.35$ and now they're 2.99$.. I'd point out that 0.35$ at a time when 10.00$ a week was a good income much more expensive than 2.99$ when the weekly income (generally) is over 200$.
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
Kids dont read nowadays...
Been a comic fan for over 30 years, try to get my nephews hooked too on them, but they would rather watch cartoons all the time or play games on computer then read...
Posted by capernicous2 (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Kids dont read nowadays...
Been a comic fan for over 30 years, try to get my nephews hooked too on them, but they would rather watch cartoons all the time or play games on computer then read...
Posted by capernicous2 (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not too expensive, too thin
I don't so much mind tne $2.99 price as much as I mind the lack of content. The comics seem to have far fewer pages than I remember. But that could be just me. In any case, I have stopped buying them due to the cost. Sad. I miss Green Lantern, and some the more current noir/Goth story lines are great, just too much money for the value.
Posted by flitcraft33 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not too expensive, too thin
I don't so much mind tne $2.99 price as much as I mind the lack of content. The comics seem to have far fewer pages than I remember. But that could be just me. In any case, I have stopped buying them due to the cost. Sad. I miss Green Lantern, and some the more current noir/Goth story lines are great, just too much money for the value.
Posted by flitcraft33 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not too expensive, too thin
I don't so much mind tne $2.99 price as much as I mind the lack of content. The comics seem to have far fewer pages than I remember. But that could be just me. In any case, I have stopped buying them due to the cost. Sad. I miss Green Lantern, and some the more current noir/Goth story lines are great, just too much money for the value.
Posted by flitcraft33 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not too expensive, too thin
I don't so much mind tne $2.99 price as much as I mind the lack of content. The comics seem to have far fewer pages than I remember. But that could be just me. In any case, I have stopped buying them due to the cost. Sad. I miss Green Lantern, and some the more current noir/Goth story lines are great, just too much money for the value.
Posted by flitcraft33 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Man I would love to go to one of the huge conventions. I never have the time though. well here's a cool storyline for anybody interested in an alternative twist to Greek and Norce Mythology...
Posted by Thors-Descendent (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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