NYCC Tuesday Tips is a new series we’re trying out in anticipation of New York Comic Con 2018 this October. Similar to our San Diego Comic-Con Sundays, we will be compiling tips and tricks for making the most out of your time at the convention based on our past experiences. New tips come out every Tuesday right here on the blog.
Last week’s topic: That Panel Hopping Life, Yo
A HUGE thank you to writer Matt Miner, the mind behind Poser and so many other great comics. You can find him on Twitter (linked earlier), Facebook, AND at New York Comic Con Artists Alley G-23 in a couple weeks. Stop by, say hi, and pick up Poser #1.
This Week: Meeting Creators and Talent
If there’s one hallmark of comic book conventions it is creators. They are the minds behind the comics and characters we love. Their faces show up on our television screens week after week. One of the greatest purposes of a comic book convention is to bring fans, creators, and talent together to celebrate what’s been done and share what’s next.
Meeting people you admire can be stressful though. Whether you’ve purchased a photo op with the cast of Critical Role or you’ve got your copy of The Name of the Wind for Patrick Rothfuss to sign, it is normal to be nervous. Sometimes it is hard to talk to creators in Artists Alley, too. It is difficult to know what to say as you’re perusing comics and prints, possibly for the first time.
With all of this in mind, we’ve combined our experiences with those of some of our creator friends to share the best tips and tricks for meeting some of the creators and talent that will be at New York Comic Con this year.
1. Don’t block creator tables on the sales floor or in Artists Alley.
Whether you’ve decided you need to rearrange your bag or you’re waiting on the booth next door, blocking another creator’s table is not in good form. You have to remember that artists, writers, and other creators’ tables are their store fronts. If people can’t get to them, then they won’t be able to check out what they’re offering to make a purchase.
If need be, get the line to move so that it is going across the aisle, not along the tables next to where ever you’re going. Writer Matt Miner (Poser #1) says the same goes for cosplay photos, too. While creators enjoy cosplay as much as the next person it becomes less charming when a photoshoot blocks perspective fans from their table.
Bottom line: be aware of where you’re standing and move out of the way if you find you’re loitering in front of someone’s table with no plans to purchase or even talk to the creator.
2. Browse tables, but don’t stand there and read the entire comic.
This is another tip from Matt, a seasoned creator who has been to many a convention. While I’m sure most of our readers wouldn’t dream of picking up a creator’s comic and reading the whole thing at the table, it definitely happens. It can be tempting, we get it.
Nonetheless, it is rude. Creator tables are not a library. While any creator is going to be more than happy to have you check out their stuff, they also need to make a living. Flipping through a comic to see if it is to your taste is one thing, but don’t stand there and read it in full before you decide to buy! It likely wouldn’t happen at a book store, so it also shouldn’t happen here.
3. If you want to talk to a creator who is busy, waiting is 100% encouraged. Don’t get nervous and leave!
Matt shared that he loves his fans and gets excited when people dig his work. He’s not alone in that, either. If you’re at a creator’s table who you admire and you see they are busy with someone else take a deep breath and wait a moment or two. You’re not going to bother them by waiting a few minutes to say hi.
And if you’re nervous to talk to them in the first place? Just think about how much you’d love it if someone took time out of their day to drop by and tell you how much they like what you do. Creators are people too, and can always use encouragement from fans. Especially given it is sometimes few and far between.
4. Creator tables are not tables for you to use.
In the heat of the moment it might seem logical. You’ve got a bag you need to sort through and a creator conveniently has a table right there. You plunk your stuff down and begin to unpack, digging for whatever it is that has fallen to the bottom of your bag.
Maybe you spend two minutes, maybe you spend five, but if you leave that table without even acknowledging the creator? You’ve just been rude. Respect creators, their space, and the fact that at convention their tables are their storefronts.
5. Photo ops are short and sweet, autographs allow a little more time.
There are a lot of people you can meet at conventions like New York Comic Con. Many of the celebs you know from television and film are going to be available for photo ops and autographs. These things oftentimes cost money, but for the price you get a sometimes unforgettable experience.
Photo ops are great since a picture is worth a thousand words, but they aren’t going to allow time to talk with the talent you’re meeting. Every photo op I’ve been a part of is very much an in-and-out, say hello, take a picture, and go sort of ordeal. There’s not a lot of space to tell someone what their work means to you, or to give gifts, or ask for autographs.
Autograph tables, on the other hand, tend to be less crowded. They also tend to lend themselves to more conversation. The ultimate combo of course is going to be a photo op followed by getting it autographed, but if you start doing that you’re going to wrack up some serious costs.
6. If you see talent outside of the convention or away from their tables, read the situation before acting.
It happened, the fated hallway pass. You’re coming back from the bathroom and there’s Phil Coulson himself, Clark Gregg, coming down a hallway. Is he in a hurry? Does he have someone flanking him chattering in his ear? Are there a lot of people nearby who seem to be converging on him?
Any of those signs means, despite your knee-jerk reaction, that it probably isn’t an appropriate time to flag him down. If you have to do something, you could call out his name and try to wave him over. But meeting with talent outside of autographs, panels, and photo ops is usually a coin toss.
In these situations, use common sense and the trick we mentioned earlier. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were running from one panel to another, how would you feel if someone flagged you down? Given what you’ve observed, does the person seem open to someone coming or do they look stressed? Actors and other creators at the end of the day are people there to do their job, and while most try to accommodate fans when they can it can be exhausting and difficult to get to everyone.
When I’ve encountered situations like this I’ve gone with my gut. Sometimes it screams at me to “flag them down!” and other times it says, “not this time, kid.” It can be hard to walk away, but sometimes walking away knowing you did the right thing is better than trying to force an unwelcome interaction that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Whatever you end up doing and whoever you end up seeing, I hope at the end of the day you have fun. Part of the excitement of cons as big as New York Comic Con is the chance to meet the creators and talent behind the things you love. Follow the tips above and you’ll have a stellar con.