Billing itself as the "largest comic book and pop culture gathering in the country," New York Comic Con premiered in 2006 with a modest 33,000 attendees. In stark contrast, last year's attracted a reported 250,000 people over four days.
This year's convention, which kicks off today at the Javits Center in New York City, is expected to be the biggest yet. Here is a look back at how the venerable convention got its start, and what the future holds.
Produced by ReedPOP, the inaugural New York Comic Con took place Feb. 24-26, 2006, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The company previously only staged professional trade shows, and the inexperience with comic conventions became a problem when attendance larger than expected. In its maiden run, little of the venue's space was used, primarily due to low preregistration numbers. The main hall, where the event was held, could hold only 10,000 people, making it too small. When the building filled to capacity on Saturday morning, fire marshals had to bar further entry until the afternoon. Lines wrapped around the building, with eager fans having to wait two hours, with many being turned away. With ticket sales for that Sunday suspended, Reed Exhibitions announced that next year's show would utilize additional space.
NYCC Through the Years
Despite that expansion, the 2007 show nevertheless experienced long lines and crowding issues, much of that because of the event coinciding with the American Anime Awards. Later editions were also held in conjunction with the New York Anime Festival, until that was absorbed into NYCC in 2012. For its first four years, NYCC was held at the beginning or end of February, with the exception of 2008, which took place in April. With 2011, the convention was moved to October.
By 2014, NYCC had reached 151,000 attendees, surpassing Comic-Con International in San Diego as the largest comic and pop-culture convention in North America.
Occurring his weekend, New York Comic Con 2019 boasts a guest list that includes such comics creators as Adi Granov, Adam Kubert, Al Ewing, Babs Tarr, Alex Maleev, Brian K. Vaughan, and Gail Simone. Todd McFarlane will also be in attendance to receive the Guinness World Record for Longest-Running Creator-Owned Comic Book, as Spawn reaches Issue 301. Celebrity guests include Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Tom Hiddleston and Paul Rudd, as well as Johnny Yong Bosch, Sgt. Slaughter and the Impractical Jokers. There will also be panels for DC's Year of the Villain event, and the upcoming Amazon Prime Video's release of Robert Kirkman's Super Dinosaur. Non-comic panels include those devoted to Adult Swim, Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark revival, and various cosplay events. Eager fans can purchases badges for each individual day, but are encouraged to do it fast.
New York Comic Con 2019 runs from Thursday, Oct. 3, through Sunday, Oct. 6.