New York Comic Con 2009 Report

February 8th, 2009

I had a hilariously funny dream last night. (Actually, I had two, but one wasn’t relevant at all to this blog.) I was at a con, doing a “panel” – by which I mean I was being grilled over hot coals by fans who wanted external validation and entertainment. Typical Yuri panel. Time was up and I had another panel to do, so I told everyone to come with me and we’d keep going. Everyone did. So, the room is *packed* when I come in and step on the stage. I say, “Whatever you think this panel is, it isn’t going to be that.” And people start looking like they want to leave. Some people are egding towards the door. Finally I say, “Anyone who wants to leave, go ahead and leave, it’s okay” and like 90% of the audience start to leave. At which point, someone hits the music, and a solemn march, something like Pomp and Circusmtance kicks in and, while I laugh hysterically from the stage, those people file out.


You may have heard that Saturday sold out. There was a short period of time where the halls were really full and it seemed it, but other than the places where people stopped traffic to take pictures (please, American cons, can we PLEASE have staging areas for this and not allow people to block traffic?) and people just stopping in clumps and talking, it wasn’t too bad. Having survived Comiket, this was a piece of cake. :-)

As usual I went to no panels, Industry or other. A zillion anime/manga journalists (see below for likely suspects) will report on those, and I always find them boring as hell.

I love the Exhibitor’s Hall, because it reminds me that not only aren’t American Comics dead, but also Indie comics are more alive than ever – and there’s still an awful lot of people selling vintage American comics. Although few are selling Golden Age these days. Mostly Silver Age and the years I collected which are now called Bronze Age and Copper, which I think is stretching the metaphor and starting to seem a bit ridiculous. Personally, I vote for the Metal Men schema: Gold, Silver, Iron, Tin, Lead. :-) Also, collectors are even more constipated now – they don’t just bag and board a comic, they have them authenticated and sealed permanently in plastic. Uh, guys – the joy of a comic is in the *reading* of it….

For myself, I switched my role there three times during the day. I entered the con as a Publisher. My first pass through the Exhibitor’s Hall was as a Publisher, stopping and speaking to several other of the manga publishers there. Not all of them were there and not all of them were relevant to what I needed to do, but it was a nice way to “graze” my way through the EH. I spent some time speaking with with Stephen Robson, the publisher of Fanfare/Ponent Mon, who you might know as the publisher of the translated edition Kiriko Nananan’s Blue. For my Spanish-speaking readers – there is a Spanish-language version of this, as well. They are not a “manga” publisher so much as a publisher of sequential art, and the quality of their books is unlike anything else being published right now. There’s good, there’s really good – then there’s Fanfare.

There were a number of mainstream book publishers present as well, not just Hatchette/Yen and Del Rey, but also Tor/Seven Seas, Penguin/Scholastic and about a dozen others biggish and smallish. Most had at least *something* comic-y, but a few really didn’t, but were pushing speculative fiction of all kinds. (I only heard Twilight mentioned twice during the day, so I lose on that to the other journalists who were counting. ^_^)

After completing my spin through the EH as a publisher, I changed caps completely and joined the guys at Media Blasters. I switched on vendor mode and started to sell like a maniac. No particular reason why, I just thought it would be fun to sell their porn. :-) “So, what are you into, MILF, bondage, demons?”

Obviously I also sold their Yuri and Yaoi – and was totally in Fury mode for the kid who told me Kannazuki no Miko is a beautiful romance. And for the guy who kept asking about the Yuri in series where the Yuri is in only your head. It’s okay to make it up – really, but it’s actually NOT THERE. When he asked me about the Yuri in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (we were at the Yen booth) I think the flames shot out of my head visibly. Back at MB, I had a great time selling the Yaoi. “What’s good?” they’d ask. “No clue! This one has a pretty cover.” I’d reply cheerfully. Everyone seemed happy with what they got in the end.

Two of the folks who had attended my Ghost in the Shell lecture at the Brooklyn Museum recognized me and stopped by and we chatted for a while, which was really lovely. And talented Yuri Monogatari artist Jess B dropped in, as well.

After putting in a stint with the good folks of MB, I switched official hats for the last time, and joined a bunch of the Anime/Manga bloggers and journalists. Mangablog‘s Brigid Alverson, Mangacast‘s Ed Chavez, Animealmanac‘s Scott VonSchilling, Anime Vice’s‘s Gia Manry,‘s Deb Aoki, Kethylia’s Livejournal Casey Brienza and many other great folks. You *should* be reading these folks if you care about anime and manga. It was a perfect cap to the day and leads to another great story…

While I was selling at the MB table, I just happened to be standing in front of the Bible Black series. Everyone likes Bible Black, so it was selling pretty well. This man comes up and says that because he’s Japanese, he has a question. He wants to know the issues and complexities of translating something like that. I tell him that, of course, translations will differ with translators and editors, how much time there is, etc. I also mention that there is difference in Japanese and American bedtalk, so usually American translations go with sense over meaning for that kind of thing. Sound effects don’t map directly, either for manga. Then I smiled and said, “But you know, when it’s demon rape, does it *really* matter what they are saying?” He laughed and bought the DVD.

Okay, so later, I’m talking to the A/M bloggers and tell them this story, Brigid Alverson shoots back, “Do they use honorifics? You have to call him ‘Tako-san’ the first time he rapes you – you can’t just be familiar, you haven’t been properly introduced!” Which absolutely slayed me.

Most importantly – thanks to Mari and Stacy for their delightful company for dinner.

The 2010 NYCC will be in October, so there’s a 19 month delay until the next one. A lot of things are going to change between now and then. It will be so very, very interesting to see who is still standing when the smoke clears!

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7 Responses

  1. Winterbraid says:

    “Kannazuki no Miko – a beautiful, romantic tale of rape and genocide.”

  2. Serge says:

    Just a heads up. Your link to Mangablog goes to .com when it should go to .net

  3. Thanks, Serge – touched it up.

    Winterbraid – without a happy ending. :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Kannazuki no Miko is a beautiful romance”

    I do tell people that all the time, and after watching, people usually agree with me and want more.

    Probably because I don’t recommend it to guys, and instead stick to females over 20.

    All the crying over it doesn’t change that it’s just a more beautiful version of a well done romance novel for women. Including most plot elements.

    Ah, the complaining about it is so cute.

  5. Anonymous – I’m not complaining. Just pointing out that rape, abuse and a repreated mutual death does not in my book equal a beautiful romance.

    Kaishaku is well known for writing stories that are little more than a series of fetishes strung together. If you call that beautiful, then yay for you. :-)

  6. Casey says:

    It might be worth adding that Blue is out of print until Fanfare finds money for another printing. (Though it’s probably easy enough to get still on the secondary market for anybody who’s desperate.)

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Kannazuki no Miko”… I couldn’t stand the whole series, I only watched like two or three episodes and I found it ridiculous and pretty boring… I will save the end of the first episode ’cause it was hilarious. However I know how the plot develops and yes, it can hardly be described as “a beautiful romance”.

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