This has been a heady year for conventions. First there was all the After Earth star treatment at San Diego Comic-Con followed by the release of ReDeus: Divine Tales at Shore Leave. This past weekend, I was attending the New York Comic-Con and for the first time in ages, I was there as a book author, not a comic book guy. Voyageur Books rushed 100 copies of Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History from the printer to have for sale at the show, weeks ahead of its November 8 release.
For four days, I spent hours at the booth, cajoling curious customers, signing books, chatting up casual fans and having a ball. This was the first time I had actual swag related to my book. And I don’t mean just the post cards that were circulating these last few months. Nope, there were genuine buttons with the cover on them and we were giving them out with gusto. We, by the way, meant the book’s publicist Steve Roth, accompanied by marketing men Jeremy and Other Steve.
By 3:30 or so on Sunday, we had sold through the 100 copies plus a few others that were shipped out from the offices. That made them, and me, very happy. Possibly even happier than me was Kalliope Dalto, who wrote a sidebar for the book; her first professional piece, and she was grinning from ear to ear when she visited on Saturday.
Over in the comments section, I received my first errata notice and am keeping tabs since we’re all hopeful this book will sell well enough for a second printing where such typos can be corrected. All I need now are some reviews to get a sense if I captured the phenomenon properly, or not.
Since I had obligations at home and at school, I was shuttling back and forth on a very tight schedule which left me nowhere near enough time to see everything or chat up every pal I wanted to find. As a result, many were in attendance and I missed entirely while there were tons of fun panels I couldn’t even think about attending. (Sadly, Reed Pop didn’t find a place for me on their programming schedule.)
The place has reached its capacity and then some so it took quite a while to get from place to place. The Javits Center is not designed for this many people so there were bottle necks moving from one concourse to the next. As it was, I left 15 minutes to get from Artists’ Alley in the North Tower to my signing and was still five minutes late thanks to the sheer mass of humanity.
Reed Pop has an interesting challenge ahead: managing growth within the limited confines of the center. There’s nowhere else in Manhattan to hold the event nor are the better facilities in the other boroughs. At 116,000 attendees, they seem to have maxed out at a time when they have clearly gained the attention of not only Hollywood but related businesses. You could smell like an Avenger after getting a massage while snacking on samples of Kellogg’s Krave cereal (chocolate was better than vanilla). There were press on nail booths, apparel booths aplenty (although not a silk necktie to be found!), and yes, row after row of comic book dealers, comic book publishers, and book publishers. The variety of companies presenting was fairly impressive.
I did manage to help celebrate Aaron Rosenberg’s birthday by attending a dinner Thursday evening with Aaron, David Mack, Christopher L. Bennett, and Glenn Hauman. Saturday I also had a brief lunch with Dave, Kevin Dilmore and Hallmark’s Christine Taylor. Other than that, it was four hours at the booth or a series of 30 second convention conversations.
When we lost Joe Kubert a few months back, I realized, I had no pictures with him, despite doing work with him on and off through the years. I wanted to capture these memories with something better than a mere cell phone camera. Recently, the local Ritz camera company went out of business so Deb grabbed me a small point and shoot camera which I brought along. As I prowled the aisles, I snapped shots of some of those near and dear to me. This included surprise appearances such as finding Maureen McTeague voluntarily working the DC booth on Sunday or running into Rich Burchett over at the Titan Entertainment booth. As a result, I am sharing a sampling of my new memories.
All in all, it was an exhausting show given the schedule I set for myself, but a rewarding one in watching people flip through the book and then make the impulse decision to buy it. This is one experience I will certainly cherish.