After a scheduling shift from spring to fall that will combine it with the New York Anime Festival, New York Comic Con returns after 18 months and will open its doors at the Javits Convention Center, October 8-10. The combined shows will take over the entire Jacob Javits Center and Lance Fensterman, group v-p of ReedPop, Reed Exhibitions’ fast growing division of pop culture consumer shows, couldn’t be happier.

Last held in February of 2009, New York Comic-con was moved to the fall in order to combine the show with the New York Anime Fest and to accommodate C2E2, ReedPop’s newly launched spring comics show in Chicago. Pre-registration for the combined shows is running 190% ahead of 2009 shows, according to Fensterman.

“The main level of Javits, where New York Comic-con will be held, has sold out of exhibition space and we’ve got about 40% more space than we had in 2009,” Fensterman said. New York Comic-Con is returning after drawing 77,000 fans in 2009; and New York Anime Festival—which drew more than 20,000 fans in 2009—will take over the lower level of the Javits Center. “The TV and film presence will be larger, especially TV,” said Fensterman, “more DVD and home entertainment companies, and more video gaming presence—Capcom and Square Enix will exhibit— and all the major book houses will be exhibiting.”

The combined shows will cover more 700,000 square feet with 125,000 square feet of paid exhibition space. The ICv2 Comics and Digital Conference, held in conjunction with the show, will open the day before on Thursday October 7. The show itself will open for industry professionals and the trade only, on Friday October 8, from 10 a.m. to 1p.m., when the general public will be admitted.

While New York Comic-con will take over the entire main level of the Javits Center, the floor will also have an unusual obstruction—repairs to the roof of the convention center are projected to take 7 years to complete, Fensterman said, and are ongoing. Because of these repairs the main floor will have a large sealed-off construction area running right through the middle of the exhibition floor, but Fenserman saidthe construction shouldn’t interfere with the fan experience.

Thanks to the greatly expanded floor space available, Artist Alley will have 450 tables this year, up from 300 last year. Fensterman said to look for more toy merchandising as well as an unusual new venue on the main floor called, The CultYard, described as an “ oasis of pop surrealism and street art.” The section will present more than two dozen designers, limited edition toy manufacturers like Kidrobot and Tokidoki, street art, pop culture influenced technology, individual artists and edgy fashion designers all set up in a special pavilion on the floor. “There’s fashion and music and an urban lifestyle vibe—hipster stuff. It’s something different for us, a whole new downtown tribe for us to present,” Fensterman said.

Indeed the growth of New York Comic-con over the last 5 years has spurred the growth of a whole a new division at Reed Exhibitions: ReedPop, a group of shows managed by Reed Exhibitions, previously a trade show-only division, focused on consumers and pop culture. ReedPop now includes C2E2, the Penny Arcade Expo East (PAX), the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention, the Star Wars Fan Celebration and the UFC Fan Expo in addition to NYCC and NYAF.

Fensterman says it’s been an interesting year structuring the new division and creating a mission statement for it. “We grew 6 new shows this year and we need to know who and what we want to be,” he said, calling ReedPop, “…a quirky offshoot of Reed Exhibitions with the leverage of a large international company.” And Fensterman says there’s likely more international pop expansion along the lines of the Singapore show likely coming to ReedPop. “Our goal is to serve and grow this pop culture community as well as have a big party,” he said. “We’re looking for passionate fans wherever they may be.”