The webcomics blog about webcomics

Scope, Scale, And An Appalling Abuse Of Statistics

Those that don’t care about the mechanics of press access to conventions (which can range from simple and painless to frustratingly opaque, show to show, year to year) can read the first two bits and skip the long piece at the end.

  • Know who’s a smart guy? Jim Zub; it wouldn’t surprise me that X number of years from now when a definitive history of North American comics in the 21st century is written, he’s recognized as much for his savvy in navigating UDON through the various realms of webcomics, licensed IP, and creator-owned print as he is for his own comics projects.

    I enjoy every chance I get to talk to him, and carefully follow what he says online; recently, he did a series of Twitterposts that became longer blogposts on comics writing, and with them all done, he’s helpfully linked to all of them. If you enjoy the craft of comics, take a careful read at what he has to say on brainstorming, pacing, page planning, scripting, and dialogue. Good stuff.

  • Because there’s nothing like an unexploited niche: Andy Bell appears to be the most celebrated toy designer in all of Gibraltar (scroll forward to pages 28 & 29 for the August 2012 issue; no direct link I could find). Given Gibraltar’s estimated population of around 29,000 (or, to put it another way, a little more than twice that of my town), if his prominence there was representative of the entire world, there would be about one and a third Andys Bell in his usual stomping grounds of Greenpoint, which is roughly the same as the one they currently have.

    Of course, that undersupplies New York City as a whole (there should be 284 and a fraction Andys Bell, but actually have only one), and don’t get me started on the Expected Andy Bell Population of the United States (let’s just say there should be nearly 10,300 more of him running around, or nearly four per county. Clearly, we suffer a shortage, and somebody should get on that.

  • Seems like I wasn’t the only person to start the process of press credentialling for this year’s New York Comic Con in the past couple of days, and like most people who’ve been there as press before, it’s a very different system this year. For reference, here’s something I wrote in 2009 (back when the show was in February instead of its present October):

    Now, this page has griped in the past about various aspects of how NYCC has been run, but I’ll give them this bit of unqualified praise: last night I got my press credentials for the show with absolutely zero hassle. It was the easiest credentialling I’ve ever been through, driven almost entirely by the question, Have you been here as Press before? with an affirmative answer resulting in Okay, here you go. It took all of two minutes, and every big con needs to adopt this model.

    Since then, the process has changed a little from year to year, but it wasn’t too far gone from those halcyon days. Enter: 2012. Having filled in a bunch of information online, I must now

    • fill most of it in again on a five-page paper form
    • attach a letter from me (the editor) to me (the reporter) assigning me to cover the show
    • include my business card twice (since I am both the reporter and the editor)
    • provide audience metrics
    • include printouts of three stories (at least one of which covers prior NYCC events)
    • and mail or fax the entire packet in

    For the record, I’ve been press at every New York Comic Con that there has been, and I’ve never been asked for this much proof of actual newsgathering from any of the dozens of shows I’ve covered.

    Let’s be clear about this — NYCC is ReedPop’s show, and they have the absolute right to run press access the way they want so that the journalists (and hack webcomics pseudojournalists) that get admission waived provide publicity at least equal to the cost of free admission. It’s true that there have been issues of capacity at the Javits Center, as well as persistent chatter in the internetosphere about people claiming press status from largely non-existent blogs in order to gain access to high-demand shows. But the scope of the problem and the scale of the response (as well as some of the wording in the instructions) makes me wonder if there are legitimate press¹ that will fail to qualify.

¹ You may discuss if I’m legitimate press in the comments, if you so desire; I’m not the only one that has found this year’s process to be of concern.

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