New York Comic Con has come and gone. If your ear is at all tuned to the Comic Con world, you probably know the basics of this Con whether you've been to it or not; it's owned by ReedPOP, they've made a point of trumpeting its attendance numbers in relation to SDCC, and this year it had a painfully strangled badge sale that reminded many of old SDCC badge sales in its incessant tech glitches. In fact, this year was notable for the fact that the SDCC Open Registration sale went more smoothly (though more futilely) than the NYCC sale.
I've always made a point of telling people that New York Comic Con is not the SDCC of the East Coast. But I'm rethinking that after this weekend. Granted, I had to skip NYCC so all of my observations are filtered through media and other attendees. But I do perceive a subtle shift in NYCC's general standing.
Partly this is because the media knows any Con news is high traffic news, so of course they're crawling all over every announcement. But given that media coverage is exactly why many studios and companies have a Con presence to begin with, that alone ensures NYCC will feature big names in the future.
As for the events, several friends said they fostered more of the community feeling that's traditionally weak at NYCC (and that happens so naturally at SDCC.) It's not just Super Week (which is great in catering to a variety of interests) but the caliber of the events themselves. Obviously the Walking Dead premiere in Madison Square Garden was just epic. And New York's ability to stage grand scale events dwarfs San Diego's.
The panels themselves got a mixed review from my friends. This held true whether or not they were SDCC attendees. (Once you go to San Diego, you just naturally compare everything to their offerings; it's inevitable.) Some thought the selection was really good, others said there were more choices in San Diego but it didn't matter because you can still only attend so many panels, and others said the panel options were "so-so." But the actual quality of the panels mostly got high marks. As someone semi-obsessed with Pretty Little Liars (don't judge), I tracked reactions to this panel closely and 2 SDCC attendees said it felt more "personal" than a typical SDCC panel. I heard similar things about other panels. And let's just say it: the X-Files episode was everything a Comic Con experience should be.
The cosplay seemed to be killer but honestly where isn't it these days?
As for announcements, NYCC fed into what appears to be the Ouroboros of Comic Con life, where an announcement or hint dropped at one Con is then expounded on at the next big Con, leading to a casting announcement at the next Con and a trailer at the next, and so on. The Justice League premiere at SDCC electrified everyone with the news that The Killing Joke would be an animated feature; now at NYCC we found out it could have an R rating, which of course sparked a tidal wave of discussion on whether Barbara Gordon would be - gasp - naked. (Though of course, the real question is how the movie will handle the ending.)
Smart creators know how to keep the fan fires burning from Con to Con and NYCC demonstrated that in spades. Lots of announcements hit that sweet spot of precise fan interest like the news that Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) is playing the Penguin's father on Gotham or that Marceline from Adventure Time is getting a spin-off or that Captain Marvel is getting her own YA novel. Jessica Jones and Ash vs Evil Dead both got a huge boost in fan interest.
All in all, I think anyone who misses out on SDCC should consider New York Comic Con - not as a sub-par backup but as a Con that can deliver just as gratifying an experience. I know San Diego zealots will claim nothing can replicate the magic of SDCC which of course is a valid opinion. But I think NYCC proves that it's not just San Diego Comic Con sitting alone at the top of the food chain anymore. Other Cons are catching up not only in size but in appeal. And we know NYCC is going to keep growing, given the organizers said they will pursue a campus approach and host more events at other venues as they did with the Hammerstein Ballroom this year.
What did you think of New York Comic Con? Remember, I wasn't there, so I'm eager to hear your thoughts. And if you also weren't there, but want to see some of the panels, you can catch up via Twitch.
ETA: Catrina Dennis did a nice comparison of SDCC and NYCC that's worth reading.