This year’s New York Comic-Con actually drew nearly 50,000 attendees, according to show organizer Greg Topalian, who outlined plans for an expanded NYCC 2008, scheduled to be held April 18-20 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.
In an interview with Topalian, he also noted the absence of indie houses like Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly at this year’s NYCC and said he plans to reach out to small indie comics publishers to offer assistance and to encourage them to exhibit at next year’s show. (Although Topalian made several offers to Fantagraphics, the Seattle indie has decided it will not attend NYCC in 2008). “If a press wants to come and can’t for money or whatever,” said Topalian, “we want to try and help them get here.” In addition Topalian outlined plans for all-day kids’ programming on Sunday and “comic book”-themed programming areas—“Batman” or “Manga”-themed areas, he said—added to help fans navigate the Javits Center, as well as adding roving helpers to answer questions and hand out maps.
Next year’s New York Comic-Con, which is organized by PWCW’s sister company Reed Exhibitions, will expand again, adding “50% more space to the exhibition floor,” said Topalian. “We’ll be looking at a maximum capacity of about 30,000 people a day.” The exhibition floor will expand to take over most, though not all, of the main level of the Javits Center. Although attendance at this year’s NYCC was originally estimated to be about 40,000, Topalian said that the final figure for NYCC 2007 was actually 49,000, which includes consumers and professionals. NYCC 2007 also issued over 1,000 press credentials to blogs, gaming and comics press and to broadcast, film and cable TV media outlets.
The expansion of the exhibition floor, Topalian explained, will allow there to be “more entrances to the floor. They will be three entrances, and the press and professional attendees will have their own entrances,” said Topalian. The 200 tables in Artists Alley, which suffered from overcrowding this year, will be moved to the main exhibition floor near the dealers’ area. And Topalian said he’s looking to move the American Anime Awards, which debuted at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan into the Javits Center for NYCC 2008.
Other features to look for next year include a “comics cruise” on the Circle Line and a superhero garage area featuring “cool super cars, like the Batmobile or the Speed Racer Mach 5.” Topalian also promised better “logistics”—some artists this year were never notified that they were slated to be on panels—and plans to offer a higher profile for Web comics and an upgrade of the NYCC Web site. He said exhibition space is selling out quickly once again, and next year’s show will have an increased presence of both Hollywood movie studios and video game producers.