NYC Comic Con - The Buzz behind the Booth ~ What'cha Reading?

NYC Comic Con – The Buzz behind the Booth

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This here my friends is a historic article. At least for me that is. It completes a 30 year cycle of comic fandom!
comicon bannerI have gone to cons as a ticket-buying fan since I was a kid, way back when it was just long box after long box of dollar books and fifty centers in an ill-lit church basement, where the only female you can find was a paid model, tucked safely behind three feet of card table, frozen in pose with a sad look of fear and disgust in her eyes, and it was so quiet you can hear a pin drop. My attendance at con slacked off for a while, but I got to see it evolve to the loud, bright, all encompassing spectacle that it is today.

So I went to conventions as an attendee.

When I was in college, me and my friend, artist Marco DiLeonardo (http://www.marcodileonardo.blogspot.com/) put out 2 issues of a horror comic called Evilution and were lucky enough to get a table with some other friends at a Wizard Con in Chicago. Since I am now writing for a comic review site, you can guess how successful that venture was. But it was damn fun.

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So I have been to a con as a creator.

store001After I started dating my fiancée 5 years ago, she asked me if I would want to help out and work the con for the store she works at (and where we met!), Royal Collectibles.

I jumped at the chance and joined the crew, a free ticket in and I get to help people satisfy their comic geek needs? What more can I ask for! Oh and I get paid to do it! (thank you, Mike!)

royalcrew

So I’ve worked a con as a vendor.

At a few conventions, I even dabbled in cosplay, a very passable Hawkeye and a decent Green Lantern teamed with my girl as Zatanna.

Boba as hawkeye IMG_2572

So I’ve been to a con as a cosplayer.

Now, since writing for the site, I have run the gamut, because for the first time I was at a con as press (thank you, What’cha Reading!).

I still had prior obligations to Royal, so I had to work the booth (Hey! I don’t live with my editor! ) so I couldn’t do any interviews or attend panels, but I kept my reporter ears open as I sold stuff, answered questions, took pics, and moved merchandise. Here’s what I learned:

There was an overall positive vibe throughout the whole convention. I mean, everyone was crowdshotin a good mood, vendor and customer alike. I think there were a variety of factors that brought this about. The nice weather was a big reason, lighter clothes, less lugging around jackets and sweating like pigs with the stuffy Javitz heating system on full blast. A nice side effect of this was the cut down of B.O. miasmas you’d run into throughout the con floor. I said cut down, not completely eliminated mind you.

The better floor lay out and Tap In system also played a big role in this. The aisles were bigger and better laid out than at previous cons and traffic moved smoothly for the most part (unless you’re a native New Yorker that is, then it was business as usual, holding in all that pedestrian rage).

The controversial Tap In/Tap Out system was only controversial because it worked. No longer could a group of 4 people come in, 1 run out again with 3 badges to get 3 more people in. Wash Rinse Repeat a few thousand times and it’s no wonder this con sold more tickets than any before, but seemed less crowded. No chance for opportunists, rowdy douches running around harassing cosplay girls and making fun of people, or non-fans slowing things down in aisles and booths, and outright thieves taking advantage of the crowds.

crowdIt was a con for fans, and fans alone. Everyone just seemed happy to be there, enjoying a common interest, and searching for all those missing pieces in their ever evolving collections.

There were a lot of smiling faces at the booth, as it seemed everyone was getting the stuff they wanted. There’s nothing better than selling an old action figure from 1994, the only one of its kind that we had on the shelf, to a guy who said it was the only one he needed to finish the collection he started almost 2 decades ago. Some items that come to mind being a big hit were the Play Arts Batman figures, as well as the Arkham City figures from DC Collectibles.

Even Batman himself showed an interest…..

batman in booth batman looking at fig

Statues were another big hit, thanks to the awesome display our crew set up at the booth. The new line of “Bombshell” Wonder Woman and Supergirl statues by DC Comics sold with a speed that did not surprise me. There was also a big interest in the Green Hulk and Red Hulk Sideshow Collectibles statues situated nicely on either side of a life size Spider-Man statue in our booth. And of course the light up Green Lantern Statue by Sideshow was an eye catcher. It also seemed like we couldn’t keep a Batman Black and White statue in the booth!

sideshowhulk

batmanbwstatue2 batmanbwstatue

Nightwing was another sought after character in merchandise across the board, with figures and statues being purchased left and right. (Personal Note. Highlight of the Con for me was selling the last Arkham City Nightwing Statue to none other than Eddy Barrows himself……… )

nightwing statue supergirl bombshell statue

wwbombshellstatue light up gl

Another product that got snatched off the shelves was the Funko Pop Vinyl figures, inventory from the store had to be culled from by Saturday to replenish the stock at the show.

The Avengers Movie Pop! Marvel Vinyl Figure Bobble Heads by Funko - Nick Fury, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor & The Incredible Hulk

pop

danerys dealing mikeAnd it wasn’t just the superhero themed ones that sold, everything from Game of Thrones to Despicable Me flew off the shelves. Hell, Danaerys Stormborn, the last Targaryen, Khaleesi and trueborn heir to the Iron Throne even purchased one from Royal Collectibles owner Mike Giordano himself…

But the Booths Media Darling Was, Without a Doubt:

ultron on throne

The Sideshow Ultron on Throne Statue

There were more pics taken of him by cell phone and professional cameras alike than anything else in the booth…..

And there’s only one left at the store guys and dolls…. so get while the gettin’s good! ( or before Avengers 2 comes out and you’d need a second mortage to get it)

Royal Collectibles also had a Raffle a Day, giving out a Star Spangled Captain America Hot Toys figure, the new Joker 1/6 Scale figure from Sideshow Collectibles, and a full size Bowen Deadpool statue. Judging by the looks on the winners faces, every one was happy with their wins.

cap america winner deadpool winner

joker winner

except the Joker, who came too late for his own raffle and took it out on an employee (yep, that’s me!)

joker raffle 2 joker raffle

joker choking bob joker choking bob2

Cosplay was also sick this year, taking it up yet another notch. Both inside and outside the booth, I noticed still a big trend in Batman related costumes, and Deadpool seems to be everywhere you look, but a new up and comer is Game of Thrones cosplay, which is soon going to surpass Doctor Who as most popular non-comic cosplay pick.

harley3 batcrew no mask deadpool danyreas at booth danerys2 whitewalker

But My favorite Cosplayers, are those who show up at the booth. Not just some pretty boy/girl who prances around looking for attention. The Die Hard fans, who dress-up and still go shop. It takes a special kind of fan to put on a costume,and an even bigger one to walk the floor booth to booth wearing it, filling up their bags with purchases and getting harassed every 2 feet for pics.

superman shopping for fury shopping ga and bc hitgirl iron man michelle and doom diane ww poison ivy

spockEven a surprise transporter visit from Spock doesn’t phase Royal’s own Diane Giordano (my fiancee!). For more on Cosplay at the Comic Con, check out The View From Booth 2922.

We also had handmade Cosplay crafts for sale by Cowardly Lot‘s own Richard Callendar

richard2 richard

And when it came down to comics, the buzz was all Walking Dead, as early issues were quickly snatched up off the wall, including a CGC 9.6 #1 which sold for $1500, no questions asked. There was definitely some heat on our Valiant sale, especially after the folks at Valiant retweeted us! Thanks guys!

UNITY_001_PULLBOX_HITCH valiant-comics-july-2013-solicitations-L-r7LOfc

WalkingDead1

And the hunt was on for those 3D DC Villains Covers, especially Harley Quinn and Joker’s Daughter being the most asked about.

hq BMTDK_23-4-Jokers-Daughter

The Silver Age deals were flowing too, with an Iron Man #55 and a high-grade copy of Superman #123 (featuring a Supergirl prototype) being sold early on in the con, and lots of interest in CGC graded early Batman books and Justice League books. We also did well with low-grade Silver Age comics priced at a friendly 5 for $20 deal.

Iron_Man_Vol_1_55 supergirlproto1

Another favorite moment was listening to Mike explain the different ages of comics to a twelve-year-old boy and his brother just getting into comics, and then me helping the kid decide between two silver age books he wanted to buy “not to read! as an investment”. He left with a Justice League of America issue bearing a Neal Adams cover. This was followed closely by the moment I had explaining to a new Hulk fan the whole Future Imperfect storyline after he saw the Maestro statue we had for sale.

500___Source

And nothing breaks up the day like a visit from Royal’s mascot (our niece) Arianna Negron!

unce mike and arianna aranna behind booth arianna workingwreck it ralph

Who has been at the past three cons (okay once was in the womb, but it counts!)

All in all it was a good con. I think both successful for fans and retailers alike! Oh and if any of you are wondering why people working the booths look like extras from the Walking Dead;

that’s because it goes from this:

set upto this:

set up done

to this:

con over2

followed by:

con over

and this:

crew in car

and finallllly:

sleepy mike

Hope you had as much fun as I did… See Ya Next Year!

About Author

Trained by the Four-Color wizard, Hagan, in all things comic-booky, young Robert took to the streets of New York, dragging his large bespectacled head from comic shop to comic shop, absorbing, learning… knowing…. Until a very delayed pubescent spurt in his early thirties when the tumescent lump of comic knowledge burst forth, rupturing into nonsensical rants about Jack Kirby, superhero related tattoos, questionable cosplay activities, worshiping Jim Starlin as a prophet, and courting the young lady working in his local comic shop. Now he is just mad…roaming the streets late at night while walking his dog, plotting and preparing to unleash more comic-booky goodness on an unsuspecting world. He likes bread. The food. He thinks the band is crap. *Hey wanna freak Bob out? Come follow him on twitter (@dyrewolf1218), he's totally new to it and suspects it may be black magic...* - Chuck the editor monkey

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