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NYCC: The 2007 One-Minute Interview Part 1 - Companies

To repeat the experiment from last year, Toon Zone News wandered the 2007 New York Comic Con’s show floor and “Artist’s Aerie” for the “One Minute Interview,” where a variety of companies and individuals were asked the same 3 questions about this year’s convention. The company answers follow, alphabetized by each company representative’s first name. We apologize for any unflattering photos, no doubt caused by Last Day of the Con Frazzle, and you can click on each representative’s face to get a larger photo.

Be sure to check out the One-Minute Interview – Individuals as well.

1. So what did you think of this year’s con?
Adam Sheehan, FUNimation): It was great. The expanded space allowed for a lot people in here so it wasn’t as crammed as last year’s. We did some great things here with Afro Samurai, with the creator coming from Tokyo. We premiered the Tsubasa cast and showed the first episode this weekend. It was a good show for us overall.

Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly): I really thought it was fabulous. Obviously, I wanted to see this convention grow and it has. This year we had double the space. My understanding is that the unofficial numbers on Saturday were 20,000 people in here. The publishers I’ve talked to are al extremely happy with it. There were some snafus with the programming, but overall it was excellent programming. Obviously having Stephen King and Stephen Colbert showing up doesn’t hurt. I think it was a fabulous show, and it’s proven to be fabulous because they have confirmed that they’re going to double the size of the show again for next year. They’re opening up the other side of the convention center. It’s really going to take this show to another level. You have to be excited. I’m extremely happy.

Chris Oarr, ADV Films): If it was any better, I’d be in a coma (laughs). Between the American Anime Awards last night, karaoke on Thursday ’till 3:00 AM, and 3 days of madness on the show floor, I’m wiped! It’s a good thing this only happens once a year.

Jamie Starling, Stone Bridge Press): I thought it was pretty good. I was here last year, and I think because of the close quarters it seemed really packed, so this year I keep thinking it’s not as big as last year. But I realize the difference is that we actually have breathing room this time, which is a big difference and very much welcomed.

Jane Lui, VIZ Media): I think this year’s con was bigger and better than last year. We had a great number of people stop by our booth for activities and the halls have been packed pretty much all the time.

Jim McCann, Marvel Comics): This year’s con was great. It was even better than last year’s con. It was a little more manageable. You could get around and it still seemed like there were a great number of fans. The energy was high, and there was not the frustration that there was last year.

John Cunningham, DC Comics): This year’s con was really good for us. I think the logistics issues from last year were all ironed out and I think we were able to get as many people in here and let ‘em experience our world as we could. It was an excellent show.

John O'Donnell, Central Park Media): So far, it’s been great. Better than what I hear last year was like. I wasn’t there then, but seems pretty great. Looking forward to doing it again.

2. What was the coolest thing that you saw at this year’s convention?
ADAM SHEEHAN: I barely left our booth! From what I saw, it was probably having the creator of Afro Samurai here actually sketching and drawing some of his stuff, and some of our fans were really appreciative of that.

CALVIN REID: You know, I liked that Tokyopop had a lot of their original manga people out. Svetlana Chmakova has obviously been good for Tokyopop with Dramacon, but even more impressive was the story that we broke that Yen Press, the new graphic novel imprint from Hachette Books USA, has signed her up as one of their first artists to produce original manga for their brand new imprint. But also, just walking around, I got a chance to meet Stephen Robson, the publisher of Fanfare/Ponent Mon, who publishes some very interesting and very literary manga. He’s part of the whole nouvelle manga movement, so that was very good.

CHRIS OARR: Probably Vic Mignogna winning best actor…no, I take that back, only because I saw Peter Fernandez — the voice of Speed Racer and the guy who directed and brought so much anime here to this country — win a lifetime achievement award last night, and he said on the stage that it’s the first award he’s ever won. This is the man who brought Speed Racer to the United States. It really kind of choked me up a little bit.

JAMIE STARLING: That’s hard to say. I have a really short-term memory, but just right now, I saw a girl in cosplay from The Fifth Element, with the fake bandages all tied up together. But what was more interesting was all the comments people were saying as she went by, like, “That girl had less clothes on than the LAST one we saw.” (laughs) So that, I was enjoying mostly. Each new cosplay that tends to shock me is my favorite part.

JANE LUI: You know, I actually haven’t had a chance to walk outside our booth, but in terms of stuff inside our booth, we had a Death Note anime trailer download to cell phones, and that was a really neat thing that fans enjoyed. Yesterday, we had a big crowd of people staring at their cell phones staring at the trailer that they downloaded, which was amazing.

JIM McCANN: Stephen King. We had the honor of bringing Mr. King here to Comic Con and just getting to see fans interact with Mr. King. Actually being able to shake his hand and meet someone who’s influenced my life a lot — it was fantastic.

JOHN CUNNINGHAM: For me, personally, the coolest thing I saw here were the lightsaber battles that were going on downstairs. I’ve never quite seen anything like that before.

JOHN O’DONNELL: It has nothing to do with anime: Teddy Scares. The coolest thing at the con for me, because I’m a teddy bear collector, were the Teddy Scares, which are horror movie versions of teddy bears. I got the one that’s based on Leatherface. The face comes off just like in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. I’m a happy camper.

RANDY STRADLEY: We got a graphic novel proposal featuring one of our own employees. Just somebody who met him at a convention and wrote a story about him. It was a graphic novel proposal starring Dirk Wood, who is our convention organizer.

3. What can the con organizers do better next year?
ADAM SHEEHAN: I think better scheduling announcements. A little bit of that sort of thing might help, but overall, I think it was a great show.

CALVIN REID: There were some snafus with some of the panels. Some artists who were supposed to be on the panels didn’t show up. I think there were some problems with coordination, but I think that the organizers really stepped it up this year. There really didn’t seem to be any nightmare scenarios and whenever you’re putting on a convention this big, there’s always going to be some smaller things. So I can’t say that there was any major problems that they need to correct.

CHRIS OARR: You know what? I really don’t know. I haven’t had any incidents. I think maybe it’s always nice if they can get people in faster on Saturday, but it’s such a quibble. I saw people shuffling as fast as they could already through those stanchions that day, so I’m going to say, “nothing.”

JAMIE STARLING: I suppose it was probably the setup. When I got here on Thursday afternoon, I arrived late thinking that some of the stuff was done for me, but my section didn’t even exist. There was no carpet, no markers, nothing. So I spent Thursday trying to get all that stuff instead of actually putting the books away. It was kind of a nightmare for me, but by Friday, thankfully, everything worked out.

JANE LUI: I think if they have a bigger show floor. They’re already moving it to April, so that’s really going to draw a bigger crowd. I heard that on Saturday, they had lines a mile long, I believe, so it’ll really help having a bigger show floor and moving it to April.

JIM McCANN: Honestly, one of the things I think they could do is promote when panel times are coming up, or at least have somewhere around here showing when panel times were coming up. There were a number of panels that were very popular and that were filled, but I think that they’re just THIS CLOSE to being able to get people directed to the panels, especially the first panels of the day. They only give 30 minutes from when they open the doors to when the first panel starts. I think that’s a mistake. They need to give at least an hour between door opening and first panel.

JOHN CUNNINGHAM: I think next year what’s going to be better is bigger. This show ahs shown that it can go from the size it was last year to the size it was this year. Nobody knows what the final numbers are, but I think they’re going to be big and I think their plan is to grow it again next year and make New York as big a show as it can be.

JOHN O’DONNELL: More anime fans! What they can do better is recognize the growing importance of anime and manga as part of American popular culture, and really go out of their way to get more of the anime and manga fans in here to help justify the presence of companies like us, ADV, Bandai, VIZ, and all the rest of us here to sell anime. We just want everyone in NY to know that they have two bites at the apple: one at the Anime Festival in December and one at this one. The first of the American Anime Awards took place this year, and we thought that was a wonderful concept that was done very well last night, so what they can do is keep focusing on anime and manga specifically and bring in more people who are into that sub-segment.

RANDY STRADLEY: Boy, I don’t know. It seemed pretty well-organized this year. I’d say keep the noise level down. Limit the volume of people’s speakers and drum pounding. It would help me maintain my sanity.

Toon Zone News would like to thank all the company representatives who took the time to talk with us during the last hours of New York Comic Con. Special thanks to my wife for the photography assistance. See you all next year.

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