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New York Comic-Con Ready to Roll

New York City has had its share of comicbook conventions in the past, but few of them have filled more than a hotel ballroom or two. With 10,000 people already pre-registered, the Big Apple is bracing for The New York Comic-Con, its first major comics gathering. The three-day event is set to debut Friday, Feb. 24, 2006, and occupy a huge chuck of the citys massive Javits Convention Center.

Comic book behemoths Marvel, DC and Dark Horse (together with their smaller brethren) will be on hand, as well as Hollywood movie studios New Line Cinema and Lions Gate Films. Major anime distributors, including VIZ, Central Park Media, ADV Films and FUNimation will be previewing their new works and discussing their classics at a variety of screenings and panels.

American film and TV animation is represented too, with Nickelodeon offering sneak peeks and premieres of its upcoming toons, and DreamWorks promising first looks at its CGI animated projects OVER THE HEDGE and FLUSHED AWAY. Execs from Comedy Central and Spike TV (including Eric Mahoney, writer/creator of Comedy Central's first made-for-mobile animated series, SAMURAI LOVE GOD) will talk about developing animation for cable, online and mobile presentation. Animation producer J.J. Sedelmaier will discuss his work for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, Adult Swim and numerous advertising clients.

The New York Comic-Con is targeting both fans and the business community, with publishers looking for graphic novel properties, buyers from bookstore chains and libraries, as well as agents and licensing industry executives in attendance. The business needs to get past the core fans and comic book stores, says Greg Topalian, the shows manager and vp with Reed Exhibitions, an organization primarily focused on business-to-business conventions. We first floated the idea after Book Expo America when we saw how comics were a real growth area there. With the help of several consultants from anime, gaming and the comics world, New Yorks own Comic-Con was launched.

Topalian is confident that (with three enormous meeting rooms dedicated strictly to anime programming), saying, If youre an anime fan you can feel like its an anime show. At the same time, the Comic-Con serves as a business event designed to help the industry grow. An extensive advertising and media campaign is sure to bring in additional thousands of fans off the street, guaranteeing that New York will finally have a world-class comics convention all its own.

Written by Joe Strike