Wizard World Saturday: A Steady Stream

queueOkay, so I spent almost all last night perched on the porcelain in a daze of confusion and… let’s say “stomach issues” shall we? Not sure if that meal last night was entirely sterile.
So here I am at Wizard World Big Apple Comic Con 2009, tired, dazed and not entirely sure what is going on. I do hope to find out soon.  Because the crowds are here. Some commented on the seemingly sparser attendance than expected yesterday, although much was put down to the greater space available than in the relatively cramped Big Apple conventions of years gone by.

Well today seems to have put lie to that. Clearly everyone was at work yesterday, earning money to buy tickets for Saturday. And in they’re pouring.

The news that Reed employees responsible for October’s New York Comic Con were ejected from the show yesterday, was quite the buzz last night, especially in the light that Wizard announced that Big Apple was going head to head on the same days in the same city… hell only a few blocks away. Another sign that the nineties are upon us, with variant and chromium covers as marketing plans from the big guys, uncertain publisher ownership and now rival conventions happening in the same towns on the same dates. All we need now is the money.

On his blog, Reed comics head honcho Lance Festerman reports the news and asks;

So why were they so afraid of having some NYCC staffers there?

However, and I’m so going to be accused of being a shill for Wizard here (they paid my flights and hotel room), I would like to remind people that at Wizard World Chicago, Reed representatives did spend much of the con going round leafleting and soliciting for their rival Chicago show, C2E2… and something similar happened here.

So what does this mean? Reed seems to have the goodwill of more comic publishers, with Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse and more, more willing to set up booths at their shows than the Wizard Worlds of late. However Wizard World are past masters of bringing in the big media stars, yesterday sitting two Star Trek captains next to each other with an android in between. They are also, to paraphrase the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, slightly cheaper.

There is going to be a divide, clearly. We may see the comics industry go with Reed, but a significant proportion of the fans who would really like to see Battlestar Galactica and Twilight cast, go with Wizard World. And the truly jet set doing both. After all, they’ll only be a few blocks apart. They’re on the same road, for goodness sakes. It’s basically what would happen if San Diego was cut in two with Hall H and Ballroom 90 moved down the tracks…

Of course, it’s also possible that Wizard may blink. They’ve only announced the date provisionally. Maybe they’re testing the waters. Seeing what happens. Playing a game with Reed.

Or maybe they have a plan.

So who is the first publisher to say they’ll be exhibiting at both shows?

Oh and last night’s bout of brown liquid was fortuitously foreshadowed by a most entertaining conversation I had with with Esad Ribic about Hell’s Kitchen, the area where I’m staying in Manhattan and how its just not the gang-riddled, organised crime ghetto of Frank Miller Daredevil past anymore, but instead a gentrified collection of gourmet restaurants. I wondered if the book could be reinvented starring Matt Murdoch as a health inspector, pursuing unhygenic cooking practices. As Esad said, Matt Murdoch’s enhanced senses would make him ideal for tracking down rotting food or rat droppings. I suggested Daredevil: The Man Without Salmonella, and we left it in giggles. Easy pleased, we were.

I’m not laughing now.

And tomorrow is Twilight day.

Photo by Michael Gencarelli

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