Lessons from NYCC: How To Integrate NYAF

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 18, 2010 in Fandom |

New York Comic Con 2010 Cosplay: Photo by Christian Liendo

I have a good week or so to reflect on the New York Comic Con and I have to say that if they play their cards right the convention has everything that it takes to not just rival San Diego, but to beat them. However before hat happens they need to make the otaku and the fanboy cultures better mesh together to take the show to the next level.

I think the first enemy of any fan convention in New York City is the location: And the Javits Center is one of the worst convention centers I’ve ever seen. For starters it’s too small to attract a huge convention — and then it’s in the middle of nowhere, which is hard to pull off in Manhattan. But given that’s the space that you have to work with the challenge is how to make best use of that space.

The difference between comic book cons and anime conventions is that comic cons are about the dealers room. You get an older male audience who want to look at “stuff” and maybe buy some “things”. However anime conventions feature a younger demographic that has more ladies who are there to socialize. So cosplay and maid cafes really are more about having a party atmosphere.

My proposed solution would be instead of separating the two groups, to space them out on the main Javits showroom floor. Break up the never ending dealers room with spaces for fans to hang out and be fans. Also get the panels out of the little rooms off to the side and put them in the middle of the action. Don’t have one artist’s alley — but have several artist’s galleries. Also if this is about comics and anime have some hands on how to draw comics workshops going on.

Also as much as I hate the Disneyfication of Times Square, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned: Why not have family activities and really give a space for parents to have fun with their kids? Both Marvel and DC are working hard to win over younger kids so why not have them sponsor programming?

I’d also try to attract other geeky subcultures: A few weeks ago the Maker Faire was held in NYC — so why not try to attach that event as well, or something like it. While you don’t want to get the show out of focus there are plenty of other allied interests in New York City from literary science fiction publishers to indie film makers that could be tapped. Imagine if you would if there was a film festival associated with the convention?

The thing that makes San Diego a must attend convention is because of the Hollywood factor. But if you could grow the audience at NYCC to fill both levels of the Javits Center my bet is that Hollywood would come calling.


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