Thursday, October 24, 2013

NYCC '13: The Wonders of Artist Alley

By Reboot

Borrowed from
I was fortunate enough to spend all four days over at NYCC this year, and the vast majority of it I spent in Artist Alley. Having talked to many convention goers and people in and around the comic book industry, I often hear that Artist Alley is the heart of any comic convention. Not the Verizon booth or the GEICO booth, but Artist Alley (shocking, I know). That's not to say that those sort of things shouldn't be welcome as they do bring in a lot of money for the convention as far as paying for exhibitor space, but you get what I mean.

Like last year, Artist Alley was set up in a far wing of the convention center; far from the exhibitors and panels. Overall, I think this benefits Artist Alley. You don't have to worry as much about the bottle necking that happens on the main show floor, and you know that people who made the trip there are more likely to be looking to pick up art than those on the main show floor who could be there for any number of reasons.

The negative, I feel, is that the Small Press section is located on the main show floor far from Artist Alley when they have a lot of overlap. I was in the Small Press section last year, and I felt that our table suffered little bit by not being in Artist Alley instead. Some people did amazingly well in that section though. I know the Kill Shakespeare crew sold out of most of their products over in the small press section.

Art by Mike Norton
Anyway, let's get to the real greatness that is Artist Alley. If you are at NYCC 'cause you're a comics fan, this is the place to be. Not only are artists down there, but some of your favorite writers, inkers, editors and more might have tables too. Don't like waiting on a huge line up on the show floor with tons of people knocking into you for an hour just to get a quick signature and a hi? Chances are that same person has a table down at Artist Alley and if you time it right you won't be waiting at all! Some real big names old and new like Charles Soule, Jill Thompson, Bob Layton, Oliver Copiel, Peter Tomasi, David Lloyd, and many others were not only available but easily accessible and you were able to get a bit of a conversation too.

Also, sketches. My God, the sketches. I was able to get tons of sketches, many for free, by some top artists. They may not be the most time consuming sketches, but they are amazing and great souvenirs from the con. And if you're willing to drop a few bucks, you could get some really outstanding original art. I walked out with 4 sketches I paid for, 3 of which were $20 or under. Depends on the artists and their schedules. 

Art by Colleen Doran
If you are even only somewhat into comics, at NYCC, and haven't spent a lot of time checking out Artist Alley (it sounds silly but there are a lot of people that fall under the category) then please, do yourself a favor and get down there next year. Not only do you get to avoid huge lines to meet some of the best in the business, and get to see them in a less crazy and stressful environment than the rest of the con, but when you're buying products or getting commissioned art from them, you are giving back directly to the artist, and that's important. They'll appreciate it, and once you see the great work many of them do and how much they'll thank you for stopping by and supporting them, you'll appreciate it even more.

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