Huge crowds of pop culture fans thronged the New York Comic-Con at the
Reed Exhibitions Group Vice President for Launch Pad Greg Topalian told ICv2 that the high end of the show's estimates for attendees over the full weekend had been 20,000, and around 20,000 people showed up for the show on Saturday alone. Since the area allocated to the New York Comic-Con in the
At times on Saturday, even exhibitors, press, and pros couldn't get into the exhibit hall, as security officials waited until enough people had left to reduce crowding. That problem was alleviated by late in the day Saturday, but fans continued to have to wait for access to the exhibit hall for the rest of the weekend.
About 400 attendees that had paid but were unable to enter the show on Saturday were offered a refund or choice of guaranteed Sunday admission; a larger group of some thousands was given wristbands for Sunday admission and sent home. Reed is also looking at other ways to make the situation right with fans who had registered but were unable to get in.
Topalian said that the show stood out among Reed launches he'd worked on. 'It was one of the best launches I've seen in many ways,' he said. 'But it's also been the toughest in some ways.' Javits Center management echoed the observation, with the general manager of the Center telling Topalian that in his twenty years at the Javits, he'd never seen anything like the enthusiastic crowds drawn to New York Comic-Con.
The trade show on Friday drew larger numbers than any previous trade event in these industries; over 3000 members of the trade, including comic retailers, booksellers, librarians, and licensing pros were registered for the show. The show was also high in executive content, reflecting the location in
The ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference on the Thursday before the show also drew more people than expected, and ICv2 President Milton Griepp said that based on the industry response to the event, he hoped to make the Conference an annual event.
Topalian expressed satisfaction with many of the results of the show. 'We accomplished what we set out to do in many ways,' he said. 'We've expanded the business, attracted the trade, and become a focal point of the press, and we're pleased with that.'
But he acknowledged that changes would have to be made next year. 'We cannot hold the show with the same amount of space,' he said. 'We are aggressively pursing additional space.' The show had previously announced the last weekend in February as the dates for 2007. He said that Reed's #1 goal would be to seek expansion on those previously announced dates, which don't conflict with any other major shows, including Megacon.
Exhibitors and dealers we talked to were almost uniformly positive about the New York Comic-Con launch. Although there was concern about the access and crowd control issues, the brisk traffic and good floor sales were better than expected by most.
The situation is somewhat analogous to the last year Anime Expo was held in Long Beach (see 'Growing Pains at Anime Expo') in 2002, when access to the exhibit hall had to be shut down to alleviate crowding, and other inconveniences were also endured. That show was able to move to the
Although the capacity issues were unfortunate, we were very pleased with the results of the show on two fronts. First, the industry now has the beginnings of a real, broad-based trade show. And second, the largest city in the country (and its media capital) now has a major comic convention for the first time in decades.
ICv2 was a sponsor of the New York Comic-Con and has other business relationships with the show, including the ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference, which was held in conjunction with the show.