Derek Trum writes,
It was the day before the tenth annual New York Comic Con. I find myself sitting on a train hurtling towards New York from Boston at a brisk 150mph, The Flash would be proud. I have attended the last nine New York comic cons, and this is the second one that I have covered for Bleeding Cool. While I am extremely excited I can not help but feel like something is off this year. Something is missing. I know I put in ample time packing yet I still feel askew. I checked through my bags multiple times. Have counted and double counted all the wires and charges that I can't live without. My sketch book which has seen greats like David Mack, George Perez, Sara Pichelli is safely in my messenger bag, ready to be drawn in again. I rack my brain thinking about what got left behind and then it dawns on me that there is one specific thing I am missing. As I stated earlier this is the ninth New York Comic Con for me, but the first time I am going without my friends Chris, Kyle, and Shane.
The first New York Comic Con I attended was with Kyle and Shane. I still think back to how green we were when it came to conventions. Only a couple of rookies would show up to a Convention filled with artist and writers and not bring books to be signed, or batteries for our digital camera. We learned a lot that year and carved out some great memories. The second year was a different story. This time we went well prepared. Hours were spent preparing books and working out the perfect schedule of panels to attend. We spent three days lugging around a backpack with books to be signed, and a giant bag of Starburst to keep us fed. Year three we added Chris to our crew. He became a regular Con attendee with us from that point on.
Together we made quite the "A-Team" of comic book nerds. Chris was the muscle of our group the B.A. Baracus. He would muscle his way through crowds and was also our wheelman. Kyle took the role of Face. While I would argue my rugged good looks trump his, he was always the one who made the most new friends at the Con. It was common to run into Kyle and a half naked girl from the Suicide Girls. Shane was our wildcard, Murdock. Every year Shane did something to earn that title. Most of the times it included him having words with a writer/artist and making an ass out of himself. I won't go into specifics but let's just say Shane Davis, Bryan Hitch, and Gabrielle Dell'Otto have been exposed to the wildcard. I served as the man with a plan, I was Hannibal. It also helped that I was a bit older than everyone else. Together we had an amazing time each year. At the end of each con we would recognize that we all got together less and less as a group, but agreed that we would always make time for the Con. Think the end of the first "Avengers" movie, but none of us going home with a redhead or in Tony's car.
Although we had a deal to always come together for the Con, something we could got control started to happen. The Con started to HULK out! We first saw signs of this happening in 2013. Back then they still did an online pre sale and you could casually buy tickets at your leisure. I still remember being at work when I got a distressed text message from Chris.
"Dude, the four days passes are sold out! What are we going to do?!"
It was a problem but not one we could not get around. While the four day passes were sold out, you could still buy a Thursday pass and a three day pass. We all agreed that the following year we would have to be more on top of when tickets go on sale. Slowly the New York Comic Con was evolving. It was like someone shared the secret of where all the nerds meet in October. What we did not know was that the secret keeper was dead and everyone was about to discover the Con.
2014 tickets sold out very quickly and their website was not ready for the traffic it would encounter. Not only was the demand higher but villians started to rise from the depths of the internet. Scalpers started buying up tickets knowing they could flip them for 200% profit. Reed Pop, the convention organizer, also started running a second Con during the summer. One of the bigger draws of the New York Comic Con:Special Edition was the chance to buy tickets for the October Con in advance. In my opinion this was just a way to drive ticket sales for their much smaller summer show. When tickets finally went on sale online it was a bloodbath. People were kicked out of ques, received error messages, and were prematurely told the show was sold out. By luck I was able to buy one three day pass for Kyle. Chris was able to grab a 4 day pass. I did not have to worry so much about my ticket as I was going with Bleeding Cool. Shane on the other hand was none too lucky. His luck ran up, and the wildcard would not be attending. Kyle would resort to a scalper so that he could attend day one. By the end of the trip we were all talking like this might be the last trip. Not because we had a bad time but we could see how the Con was changing. 2014 the New York Comic Con had a larger attendance than the San Diego Comic Con.
Before tickets went on sale for this year I was optimistic. Tickets would go on sale before any pre sale events at a summer Con. Reed Pop had also assured the fans that there would not be having a repeat of past technical issues on their site. This would be easy I thought. We would log on to the site the day off, grab tickets for everyone and The A-Team was back in business! Anyone who tried to buy tickets that day already know the ending to this story. The site was a complete mess. People were told tickets were sold out minutes upon going on sale. There was also the villains who invaded the site to buy as many tickets as possible. Almost immediately you would see tickets online selling for 400% the value. The villains had won. They had stole the New York Comic Con from thousands of fans. Though we fought hard to get tickets for the show, the A-Team was defeated.
So back to being on that train as I head from Boston to New York. It is a bit of weird feeling to go without my friends. I think a common phrase that will be heard as I travel the show floor will be, "Yeah I got a ticket but my friend didn't." For the second year I'm going to show to represent Bleeding Cool. As I look down at my press pass I realize that I would not be going if not for this press pass. What will happen next year? Will I be so lucky to go again? Is this my last New York Comic Con? As I hit the floor this year and work my butt off for Bleeding Cool, I will also take time to check over my shoulder and keep an eye on the Black Racer. If he's going to catch me, so be it. At least I have this year. So this year I not only go to have a good time, and write stories. This year I go for all of those who fell to the villains out there. Kyle, Shane, Chirs, I do this for you.
Dedicated to the A-Team
Derek can also be found on twitter @ElBurro4Moo & Instagram @derekfortune4