My hopes for Special Edition NYC was somewhere between the Artist Alley of NYCC and the atmosphere of MoCCA Fest. The space ended up having more dealers than I really expected, but then what I was expecting was sort of none. A few publishers occupied the front with the dealers while the back half of the pavilion featured the artist tables. This divide at least made it easier to quickly jump to the main attraction: artists; after I cantered through the mostly bland and repetitive dealers section.
In some crazy twist of fate, I actually walked away from Special Edition NYC with only one new button. Most artists were concentrating their efforts on little comics, full-size graphic novels, sketch books, original artwork and the like which reminded me of MoCCA Fest. But unlike MoCCA Fest there was more mainstream comic artist presence, many of whom were selling original pages which of course I could only glance at.
As always I found myself attracted to a variety of styles and small items.
There were a lot of interesting short comics available. I started the con with Mindy Indy’s Dog VS. Balloon Dog which as her name implies has a bit of an underground look with the bold and sometimes grotesque lines.
I picked up Sealed: Growing Up Tupperware by Laura Lee Gulledge for its unique subject matter alone. It offered a great short story about family and the growth of women in business thanks in part of the rise of Tupperware.
Expatriate by Christopher Irvin and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz was more of a preview of things to come. I loved the use of screentone and sharp lines in this book.
Jennifer Weber who I bought a sketch book from was definitely an anime fan. What first drew me to her booth was a print of Yoroiden Samurai Troopers (ronin Warriors) which I spied. But I chose her sketches for the variety of styles, plus it had original art as well as a little fan-art.
And I can’t walk away from an artist alley without a little fan-art!
I grabbed up a lively sketch book from Chrissie Zullo who places a lot of attention on characters’ faces. The book featured a little bit of every thing. Many of her postcards had already sold out on Saturday much to my dismay (but good for her!).
I picked up an Arya bookmark from Nadia Burgess who was multi-talented and was even showing off some cupcake creations.
The delicate ink drawings of J.M. Dragunas were hard to pass up. I picked up a small piece of Alphonse but he had much larger work on display, too. The piece had so much detail you just had to stop and inspect each carefully.
I was pleased to see Tod Emko and Ethan Young creators of the Kickstarted comic A Piggy’s Tale: The Adventures of a 3-Legged Super-pup! in attendance. They were selling the second issue early. They were very apologetic about their lateness in mailings even though I didn’t say anything about it! It was clearly on their minds.
Finally, the big artist for me at the event was David Petersen of Mouse Guard fame. He was showing off some replica Mouse Guard weapons (which means they were quite tiny) at his booth and was quite talkative about their creator. I enquired about possible miniatures but he said that wasn’t this artist’s niche. Then I walked away with his latest limited-edition bookplate.
The Artist Alley wan’t bustling, but then no part of the convention was while I was there on Sunday. Still, artists seemed in good spirits if a little more desperate to keep you at their tables than usual. Many had sold out of items on Saturday which is always a good sign.
Valiant Entertainment easily had the best display from the publishers present showing off their fun alternative superheroes like Quantum & Woody. Archie Comics also had a notable presence. Marvel was in attendance but despite being at the front didn’t feel like a big attraction and honestly I am glad.
Most of the other booths were selling back issues, tons and tons of back issues, as well as discount trades and a smattering of merchandise.
It was a happy surprise to spy The Mary Sue with a small table at the convention amongst the bigger booths.
I find it nearly impossible to walk away from a gathering of artists without being impressed. Special Edition had the added bonus of feeling like there was a range of creators from those just starting out to ones who have a lot of experience under their belts.
I think the North Pavilion is a great space for such an event but I wish there was more artists and publishes and less dealers but they gotta pay the bills I suppose.
Other Special Edition NYC 2014 Coverage: