Interning at Vertical for New York Comic Con

On Interning: At NYCC

I already offered my thoughts on New York Comic Con from the attendee’s perspective, so here is the aforementioned and previously hinted at, (for all three of you regular readers) blog post about interning for Vertical at NYCC. There’s a fair amount to say about it, so I won’t bore you with anymore of a preface. In short, it was a really interesting experience and I had a lot of fun doing so. Let’s get into why.

It was already exciting before the convention itself even started. I got to help set our both up the Wednesday before the convention itself started. This was cool for two reasons; it means that NYCC technically started a day early for me and I got to see what the gigantic show floor was liked during construction. I have a few pictures that I’ll post up in sort of a “photo journal” after this, that I probably should’ve posted last week.

So, after helping Ed set up the Vertical booth and carrying boxes upon boxes of manga into the convention center, my job was covering at the booth whenever Ed had to do stuff with Moyoco Anno, or just generally needed a break. I was more than happy to do this. I may have said it before, but I used to do booth work for New York Comic Con (and New York Anime Festival) with Peter Tatara at other conventions and smaller events around New York City. It’s always really fun to talk and interact with (and Hit on! Just kidding. Maybe) other anime fans, and getting to talk to people at the booth is an easy way to make that happen, so I was especially excited to be able to meet other fans of Vertical’s titles. Unfortunately, I don’t know too many other people in real life who’ve read any GTO much less Osamu Tezuka.

As I said, it ended up being a lot of fun! I put in a few hours each day, including a five-hour shift on Saturday. I was also interested in seeing what would sell, and who would buy what, so just watching and assisting people buying manga was fruitful in and of itself. Chi, as always, was one of our biggest sellers, with people of all ages, both male and female, stopping by to see how cute she is. We ended up selling a bunch of copies of Sakuran as well, which also isn’t too surprising considered we had Moyoco Anno at the con itself. Our first art book, the ever-moving Queen’s Blade Visual Collection, also sold slow but steadily.  There was some serious interest in Paradise Kiss, Flowers of Evil, and various Tezuka titles as well. We even managed to sell some Twin Spica, which we’re always grateful for.  One thing I learned, however, is that once you run out of volume one of a series, it becomes much harder to sell and subsequent volumes. Most people who already have bought some volumes of a series are only looking for the latest release, so it becomes hard to sell volumes between the first and most recent release.

I also had loads of interesting conversations all weekend, with Ed, the other interns who were helping out, and various customers, I can honestly say I was never bored. I met a few really interesting people over the course of this weekend. I met a girl who works for the digital manga guild who said most of our manga was too depressing for her, at which Kodansha comics who was right next door said she had a fair point. I met a father and son pair both named Vince, who I’m assuming some of you know, that both work with Animenext. They both knew Ed and we ended up chatting for an hour or two on Friday night, topics ranging from Space Commander Cobra to Queen’s Blade. Never had I met both a father and son who were both so heavily into anime and manga culture, it was touching. Finally, last Saturday, I met the awesome Black Jack cosplayer I posted a picture of earlier. He’s close to me in age, and we had a good conversation about how not enough people, especially our age, read stuff by Osamu Tezuka. 

Recently, I’ve begun to grow tired of anime conventions from an attendee standpoint. I feel as if they’ve mostly become hotel parties and excuses for people to run around and be as obnoxious as humanly possible (which I’ve been guilty of myself), which would be fine if people were at all there to address and interact with the anime and manga that they love. I know, of course, there are certainly some people who do this and it’s not a blanket statement, but, as a fan and lover of anime and manga, I’ve been unsatisfied with conventions for a while. Getting to meet and talk to other people who really love and have an invested interest in manga was really refreshing for me. I’m always down to have an intellectual discussion about anime and manga (shoot me a message if you ever want to discuss the like), and I had my fill of it over New York Comic Con. That made it special, for me.

This all being said, the convention still was work. I was exhausted by the end of the show and was certainly happy to go home. After my five hour booth shift on Saturday, I had perpetual ringing from all of the con noise in my ears and everything felts white. I was glad to be home. Can’t wait to do it all again though! So anyway, expect a photo expose of NYCC before it was set up either today or this weekend.

Also, here, have a picture of myself (on the right), one of the production interns Jeremy (in the middle), and that awesome Black Jack cosplayer!

-Chris