The first New York Comic-con was so successful, the organizers nearly had to shut the thing down. That out-of-control enthusiasm for comics and related pop-cultural media—from games to movies to toys—was an odd vindication of the show and its potential for growth. The second edition of the New York Comic-con has just ended, with all the crazy enthusiasm of last year's Con intact and none—or at least very little—of the anarchic chaos. This year's Con had superstar guests of honor—Stephen King and Stan Lee. Despite the absence of several prominent indie comics publishers, long lines outside and overcrowding in Artists Alley, the show was bigger, more entertaining and better organized. (PW is a sister company to show organizer Reed Exhibitions.) The fans turned out in even greater numbers—an estimated 40,000 over three days. Book publishers are adapting to the comics convention culture of on-site selling and frenzied consumer spectacle—Houghton did a brisk trade in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home—and comics publishers seem to be reveling in the kind of media attention available in New York. Better still, senior execs from the major book retailers and even from major Japanese manga publishers were seen walking the floor, sizing up the Con's potential. Next year the show will be held a little later, in April, and it will be a lot bigger—the exhibition floor will double in size.

Marvel HeadlinersPanels for Guests of Honor Stan Lee and Stephen King were hot tickets for the weekend. Fans needed tickets to see King speak with the rest of Marvel's Dark Tower creative team. Lee appeared on several panels, including a reunion with '60s Marvel bullpen personnel Joe Sinnott, Gene Colan and Flo Steinberg. Lee is also the subject of an art retrospective at N.Y.'s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in SoHo, which will be up until July, and did a special walk-through at a gala reception there on Friday night.
Yen for New ComicsYen Press, the much-anticipated new Hachette USA graphic novel imprint launched by former Borders graphic novel buyer Kurt Hassler and former DC Comics v-p Rich Johnson, announced its first acquisitions. Yen is launching with one original manga author, Svetlana Chmakova, whose breakout manga DramaCon (Tokyopop) hit the PW comics bestseller list, and four licensed titles from Japanese videogame and manga powerhouse Square Enix. (L. to r.) Spiral and Black God from Square Enix; and an image from Chmakova's Nightschool.
Mouse in the HouseVillard continues to aggressively add to its comics publishing with a deal to release a trade paperback edition of Archaia Press's acclaimed animal fantasy adventure for kids, Mouse Guard by David Petersen. Villard also signed Out of Pictures, an anthology of imaginative short works by comics artists who generally work in animation.
Mothers Know BestNot your average Comic-con panel discussion, "Mothers and Daughters: Female Graphic Novelists and the Family" brought together multiple generations of talented female comics creators: autobiographical comics pioneer (in red) Aline Kominsky Crumb (Need More Love), lesbian memoirist Alison Bechdel (Fun Home), Holocaust survivor Miriam Katin (We Are on Our Own) and (far left) the moderator, PW's Heidi MacDonald, whose own mom is a cartoonist.
Oni Rocks the ConLittle Portland, Ore., indie Oni Press had some of the biggest announcements. Whiteout, a 1998 murder mystery set in Antarctica by Greg Rucka and artist Steve Lieber, is set to become a movie starting Kate Beckinsale and produced by Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment. Let the tie-ins begin: the first two books in the series will be combined and reprinted and a third, Whiteout: Thaw, will be published in 2007. Oni also rocked the Con with an appearance by comedian Stephen Colbert (at right) to promote his Tek Jansen sci-fi parody.
Each One Teach OneFirst Second editorial director Mark Siegel acquired a how-to comics text aimed at kids by James Sturm (The Golem's Mighty Swing), who is also director of Vermont's Center for Cartoon Studies, and Alexis Frederick Frost and Andrew Arnold, graduates of CCS's first class. Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles into Comics incorporates a rousing fantasy tale into a story that shows young readers how to make their own comics.
Quesada RepresentsDuring the convention, Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada hosted a reception to open a dazzling exhibition of his artwork, "Santerians: The Art of Joe Quesada" at the Gallery at the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in Manhattan. The exhibit explores the Santeria religion, which combines African Yoruba and Catholic beliefs, via Quesada's Santerians, a group of Hispanic superheroes that appeared in Daredevil: Father. The exhibition is on display until July.
Digital DownloadsDigital distribution is becoming a reality for comics publishers: both Marvel and Top Cow announced major initiatives to sell comics online. Marvel president Dan Buckley confirmed that Marvel would be launching an online program, including material for young readers. Top Cow plans to partner with to sell classic issues of Witchblade, Darkness and Tomb Raider in .pdf format.
Where the Girls AreThe buzz for DC's girl-targeted Minx Line was all over the show. Creators Cecil Castellucci and artist Jim Rugg were on hand to promote the first Minx release, The PLAIN Janes.
Buffy LivesDark Horse's licensed publishing plan continues to generate strong sales. The Buffy Season 8 ongoing series launches with an arc by creator Joss Whedon and continues with writers Brian K. Vaughan and Jeph Loeb. New Hellboy stories from creator Mike Mignola and a series by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way highlight the second half of the year. Star Wars and Conan have also shown sales muscle
Vertical LeapVertical hit the jackpot by publishing beautifully designed classic manga by the likes of Osama Tezuka and Keiko Takemiya. There's more classic manga coming, but now the house is jumping into the contemporary manga arena with a new, as-yet-unnamed imprint, to launch in early 2008.
Words OutSome graphic novels have no words at all. Abrams acquired Wordless Books: The Original Graphic Novels by David A. Berona, a history of the wordless graphic novel that traces the works of artists like Franz Masereel and Lynn Ward from the turn of the century until the 1950s.
Manhattan AnimeThe first annual American Anime Awards went off without a hitch at an ceremony at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan. Tokyopop's Fruits Basket won "Best Manga to Inspire an Anime Series," showing that behind every great anime, there's a really terrific manga.