Another year, another Comic Con, and the party (and manga news) is bigger and better than ever. Last week, industry professionals, industry hopefuls, celebrity personalities, and fans from all over the world descended on the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan’s West Side for New York Comic Con, the premier publishing-heavy con for geeks of all sorts.
In panels, NYCC continued to focus on “industry not issues,” but this didn’t bar discussion of fandom completely. Over the weekend, there were panels focused on women, minorities, and physical disabilities as represented in comics and around their creation; comics as tools for learning disabilities; and, for the first time, speaking out about and problem-solving bullying within the geek community. Discussion of these topics was spirited in lines, general panels, and con-related (though not con-sponsored) events throughout the weekend as well. Academia was big again as well, with Thursday programming focusing on K-12 student-teacher engagement through comics, both inside the study space and out. Panels conducted by teachers, librarians, and university scholars for educators, administrators, and publishing professionals alike, aimed to further the use of comics in the classroom for everything from social studies to ESL reading.
The cosplay scene continued to grow and improve, featuring about 1/3 Japanese and 2/3 Western characters, including comics, film, video games, and novels. Homestucks outnumbered Lokis, Chevy had a booth with an insane Bumblebee, and on kids’ day, the cosplay was all about being a hero for the littlest dreamers. If you need to increase your faith in humanity, go to this con on a Sunday, when many NY families hit the floor. Business Insider even came by to do a video spot on what cosplayers do for day jobs, proving they’re a varied and industrious bunch.
With a few flooring rearrangements, the facilities were laid out more intuitively this year, and were better-run with a trained staffer assigned to each door and line. The staff was courteous without fail; even the megaphone operators were in top humor. In the last four years that I’ve been going, the con has never been better run. Oddly, though, Friday proved to be the most crowded day of all. Those microchip badges were pretty sweet too, and actually controlled the crowds because of careful bottlenecking. On the culinary side, the food improved in the Javits’ cafeteria, and a small food truck fleet helped keep lines down and people fed.
Businesses had news abundant: along with continuing to announce pioneering ventures in digital distribution, Viz screened several new films, including the premiere of the “Berserk: Golden Age Arc III” remake film’s dub, finished only days before, just as Darkhorse Comics announced that all English volumes of the Berserk manga would be in print for the first time ever, starting in November.
Kodansha announced the increase in frequency of Attack on Titan print and Fairy Tail digital volumes, going one-a-month on the former and two-a-month on the latter. The company also discussed adventurous partnerships, including releasing the Attack on Titan light novels through Vertical, Inc., and various tie-in anime through FUNImation. Finally, their big drop was the Sailor Moon 20th Anniversary artbook, simultaneously released throughout the world. Yen kept the scavenger hunt fun going with limited edition Soulless character cards, and announced a few new titles of their own, such as Alice in the Country of Diamonds and Kaoru Yuki’s Demon From a Foreign Land.
For start-ups, across the Pacific Happynet has begun to advance its US endeavors by bringing motion comics into app stores. Be on the lookout for a detailed article on them soon from right here on Unbound Worlds. US-based indie manga publisher Gen Manga celebrated its second anniversary and announced big strides adapting to demand: Their monthly serial anthology, after a year hiatus, will return in January 2014 with digital-only distribution, while henceforth their hard copy focus will be producing one tankoban (compilation-volume graphic novel trade paperback) per month of one of their serialized titles. These hard copy trades will be available to stock in-store through the Diamond catalog. Congrats, guys!