On the closing day of the New York Comic-Con, Toon Zone asked a variety of companies and individuals the same 3 questions in a “One-Minute Interview.” The following are the answers that the company representatives gave us, alphabetized by first name just to be different. Any photos that may seem unflattering are no doubt caused by “last day of the con frazzle” or poor post-processing rather than any deficiency in their subjects. Click on each face to get an enlarged image.
1. What did you think of the con?
CALVIN REID (Comics News Editor, Publisher’s Weekly): I thought the con was terrific. Unfortunately, there was the problem of the overcrowding yesterday, and obviously they’re going to do something to make it up to the fans. But, I think this is tremendous for comics in New York and tremendous for comics overall. From what I can tell talking with the various publishers, they really do think that this has been great for them. I’m looking forward to an even bigger convention next year in a much bigger space, because this is really historic. There hasn’t been a national comic convention in the Javits Center in many years, and to have a show like this and have this kind of a turnout was just terrific.
DAVID SCROGGY (VP Product Development, Dark Horse Comics): We thought it was a great first effort. Like most of the exhibitors, we were surprised by the turnout. We hope that it didn’t create a negative problem, since so many people were turned away. But obviously, the interest for a major New York conference is high, and if they can overcome any ill will that might have been created by the many people who were unable to attend, we figure it’ll be a great show next year.
EVELYN DUBOCQ (Director Public Relations, VIZ Media): I think it was amazing! It was amazingly crowded, but everybody had a great time. Everybody was really well behaved, which isn’t always the case at events like this. It was just an unbelievable turnout, and I think that everybody who got in just had a great time. Our booth was completely jam packed all the time, which was really great.
JIM McCANN (Asst Manager Sales Communications, Marvel Comics): It’s been fantastic. Marvel Comics is based in New York, so having a con here feels like we’re at home. It’s just a perfect place for it. It’s a natural fit, and we feel it’s been a great success, and we can’t wait for next year.
JOHN CUNNINGHAM (VP Marketing, DC Comics): I thought the con was amazing. It was everything we wanted out of a New York show and more. I think, problems aside, it means there’s going to be a big, viable show in New York for the foreseeable future.
JOSH POOL, ALAN PAYNE, JONATHAN CHEN (Marketing Manager, Nat’l Sales Manager, and Marketing Events Supervisor; TokyoPop): Josh – I think it’s great. I think everyone was really surprised at how successful a New York Comic Con could be, and it shows that we should definitely do this again next year, but we should definitely have a bit more space.
PETER GOODMAN (President, Stone Bridge Press): I thought it was a great con. We had low expectations, having gone to a bunch of these things in the past, but this one was terrific. Lots of media people, lots of professionals in the fan, and that’s really what we came to see.
PETER TATARA (Super-human Anime Machine, Central Park Media): Before Comic-Con, nobody knew how it would be. We all had high hopes, and then it turned out that our high hopes weren’t even high enough. It was amazing! We are completely swamped. We are thoroughly amazed and satisfied by the support that we found here. Everybody thought it was going to be big, but we had no clue just how impossibly big this is.
2. What was the biggest surprise of the con for you?
ADAM SHEEHAN: Besides the attendance, I think the turnout of the exhibitors and professionals, who showed up from Japan and from other places, as well as from all over the country.
CALVIN REID: I wasn’t as surprised as what happened with the overcrowding, because I really thought the fans would come out. I can’t say that there was a surprise – I really thought that this would be a big success all along. I can’t really say that there was anything about it that REALLY surprised me.
CHRIS OARR: How fantastic it was.
DAVID SCROGGY: Oh, the attendance by far. I think everybody was surprised by that, and we were no exception. Just to see the tremendous crowd was the biggest surprise.
EVELYN DUBOCQ: The number of attendees, absolutely. A couple of weeks ago, the numbers were kind of low, and Reed Expo kept saying, “Oh, they’re going to go up,” but we weren’t so sure it was going to go up this much. You could not see the carpet in our booth yesterday. When you can’t see the carpet in a convention hall, it’s a great convention.
JIM McCANN: This year, the number of people. The positive reaction, and the way the audience has been people from across the board. And also, how genuinely enthused and almost relieved people seem, because they’re thinking, “There’s a con in my home town,” or at least on this side of the coast, and it’s THIS big. It’s been great.
JOHN CUNNINGHAM: I think the biggest surprise was not that there were a lot of people. We were expecting a lot, but the numbers on Saturday seemed to announce to us that our industry is going mainstream. We’re really happy about that.
JOSH/ALAN/JONATHAN: Josh – Overall it was the enthusiasm. Alan – Historically, New York cons have not been successful when they try to do the big ones. This one seems to have surpassed what they expected, but I think next year everybody will be more supportive of the con with a bigger space. Jonathan – I think what’s really amazing is how consumers have been responding to our female creators. Our manga has really drawn out the female fans from the core.
PETER GOODMAN: The crowds. I had no idea that there would be this many people coming. It bodes well for next year.
PETER TATARA: I would have to say it was the number of people. We knew it was going to be good, but getting here and seeing the line wrapping around upstairs, downstairs, over into the travel show, outside. The fact that New York State Troopers had to limit access to the room. We knew there’d be people here, but we had no clue that there would be just these mobs and mobs of people. We’re completely floored by how much support we’ve seen here.
3. Will you come back next year, and what will you do differently if you do?
ADAM SHEEHAN: We’re coming back bigger and better next year. Next year, we’re going to bring more staff as well as get a bigger booth.
CALVIN REID: We are definitely coming back next year. Hopefully Publisher’s Weekly and PW Comics Week will be doing a news sheet daily, and have much more coverage of what I expect to be a much bigger convention.
CHRIS OARR: We’re very pleased with it. Obviously, we’d like to come back…that our presence has been great. What would we do differently? I don’t know. Probably bring more water.
DAVID SCROGGY: We would come back next year, given the opportunity, and I imagine we would get a little more booth space, and probably expand our presence. But yes, we’d be happy to come back again.
EVELYN DUBOCQ: Absolutely. I don’t know that there is anything that we would do differently, really. We bring more information and more titles, just like we do every year, but I think everything that we did this year worked out really great. We welcome anything from the fans that they would like to see us doing at the event. We try to give away some great free manga and free goodies, and we also try to add some interactivity so fans can bring home a good memory of the show. The only thing I would probably change is the big giant DC Comics banner there in my face.
JIM McCANN: It does look like we will be coming back. This show has been such a success, and we enjoy being a part of that. I think our booth layout will probably be a little bit different, and we may…I don’t know, maybe pyrotechnics at our panels?
JOHN CUNNINGHAM: We will absolutely be back next year. We’re thrilled to be already thinking about next year. I think it will mean bigger presence for us and looking for new ways to exploit the group of fans and media that is part and parcel of having a show in New York.
JOSH/ALAN: Josh – If we’re allowed to make recommendations, I’d suggest a bigger hall. If there was a bigger space, I think we’d get a bigger booth. Maybe we’d bring some more creators out, but I’d want to interact with the fans just like we did this year, educate people about manga, and keep building the bridge between manga and the comics audience. That’s why these shows are great for us, because it’s all about crossover.
PETER GOODMAN: Yes, we will come back definitely. You really have to make a splash to stand out, so we’d probably have some more fancy giveaways, and I think we’d try to get some more media interviews and participate in some of the panels.
PETER TATARA: We are looking forward to a great, tremendously much larger show, even better than this show, next year. We’re going to have to get home and see what works and what doesn’t. We had a big booth this year. Normally, we have a booth half this size. It depends. I can’t say what we’re going to do yet, but we’re going to have a big presence. This is a local show, we love local fans, so we don’t know what we’re going to do, but I can promise there will be a big, big presence from CPM. We love showing our support for people here in New York.
Toon Zone News would like to thank the representatives of these companies for agreeing to this crazy stunt. Check out Part 2 of the New York Comic-Con One-Minute Interview with a variety of professionals.