Joe Glass writes in the aftermath of New York Comic Con 2017:
With New York Comic Con over for yet another year, now comes a time of reflection. A chance to consider what worked, what didn’t, who came out smelling like roses, and who came out smelling considerably less favourably.
Time was, as part of his amusing post-show ‘trash talk’ on Twitter and the like, Marvel’s Joe Quesada would joke that Marvel “won the con”. But looking at this year, I personally can’t see how they could make such a claim anymore.
In terms of looking at who “won the con” this year, there is an argument to be made that it was the exhibitors in Artists Alley, but I’ll talk about that in another post. However, in terms of the Big Two competitors in comics, the pair with the well known and well-publicised rivalry in the industry, Marvel lost this con to DC. And this comes the same year as they lost San Diego Comic-Con, frankly.
Let’s be specific: making such a claim, I’m referring to Marvel Comics specifically. Marvel’s various TV, film and other non-comic projects continue to do well — but most of these, with the exception of the lines of young adult prose novels and the like, are not handled by Marvel Comics themselves.
So what is it that I am basing such a claim upon coming out of a busy and enjoyable NYCC 2017? Well, aside from the obvious dramas at the retailer breakfast whereas DC spoke about their measures to curb absurd amounts of variants and keep cover prices low — which pleased fans in their panels greatly — simply put, in terms of new comic projects announced at the show, DC outstripped Marvel considerably. Of course, Marvel did recently announce quite a few new titles recently, but most of these came out before the show began, via press releases, deals with comic sites, and the like.
At New York Comic Con itself, the only one which springs to mind as announced at a panel at the show and previously unknown, was the one-shot Inhumans: Judgement Day — and even that had one fan ask for clarification if it was a one-shot or a series, given it had an issue number on the cover.
DC, however, announced several new titles, including Inferior Five, new Metal one-shots, and also revealed a raft of new info on Doomsday Clock, revealed the returns of Aztek, possibly Connor Kent, and so much more.
To put it frankly: DC gave fans who paid for tickets to be the first to hear about new comic news in their favourite worlds real value for money. Marvel, on the other hand, did not.
Even Cup O’Joe, a panel that usually had major announcements and was usually held in the much bigger panel rooms at NYCC, was a smaller, more intimate affair with Quesada performing an episode of Inside the Actors Studio with Charlie Cox on stage. We knew there were some changes to the panel, but given the lack of huge comics news from the publisher at NYCC, many still expected that to come at Cup O’ Joe, and while a sweet and enjoyable panel, it may not really have been what fans were looking for from the publisher.
After all, hardcore Marvel fans may have paid large sums in order to come to the show and get the scoop on their favourite comics universe before everyone else in the world (even if nowadays that would only last for a couple of minutes). This year, it’s hard to say that that is what they got.
Many of the Marvel panels I covered were in rooms that were not full, and even sometimes saw large sections of the audience leave before the end. DC’s panel rooms, however, were nearly almost all filled to capacity and involved more dialogue directly with the fans, giving them the exciting news and tidbits they were looking for.
This is not to say Marvel’s panels weren’t entertaining. They have some editors with great personalities for public panel presentations (Nick Lowe continues to be as lively and entertaining as ever) and, of course, their panellists include some of the most engaging creators around. But were they really giving fans what they are looking for at a comic con panel?
In terms of the Big Two, the winner of NYCC by a long shot would have to be DC (and their fans). Marvel, while trying and still entertaining, are spending too much focus on controlling the narrative for comics announcements — which leaves fans at comic cons hoping for such news left out in the cold.
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